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Polish Traditional Gingerbread

Courgette Fritters

Homemade Cream Cheese

Homemade Raspberry Vinegar

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Classic Basil Pesto

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Bilberry Muffins with Lemon Icing

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Bread and Butter Pickles

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Steak Bavette and Sweet Potatoes with Hummus and Herb Salsa

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Pork Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes with Apple and Beetroot Salad

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Celebrating the Lunar New Year: Money Bags Dumplings

Homemade Dumpling Wrappers

Red Onion Marmelade

Orzo Pasta with Courgette, Mushrooms and Green Peas

Pigs in Blankets

Ancho Crema Dip

Guacamole: a Classic Mexican Dip

Pico de Gallo Mexican Salsa

Mexican Black Beans with Tomatoes and Totopos

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Fishcakes with Rémoulade

Rémoulade - French Cold Sauce

Avocado Dip

Mexican Spicy Mini Chicken Wings

Danish Crisp Bread

Smoked Trout Pate

Gougeres

Polly Eats London at the Great British Bake-Off: An Extra Slice

Polish Plum Cake

Polly Eats London at Liberté Chérie

Polly Eats London for International Women in London: Polish Christmas Traditions

In Poland, Christmas Eve Supper, Wigilia is the most important celebration of Christmas and the day of the main feast. Tradition calls for 12 meat-free courses cooked for this special evening and only once a year. I’m happy to announce that I've been invited to speak about Polish Christmas Traditions at the meeting organized by Kensington Chelsea Woman's Club - International Women in London.  I’m going to take our guest on a fascinating journey through the culinary tradition and traditional Christmas flavours of Poland. More about the event and menu here...

Gingerbread Mix Spice

I always start the festive season by making homemade Gingerbread Mix Spice. The preparation takes only a few minutes, and all I have to do is mix all ingredients. The Gingerbread Mix Spice is a blend of seasonal spices: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. You can make the spice mix milder by cutting the ginger amount or adding more if you need an extra punch. The Gingerbread Mix Spice is very aromatic, fresh, warming and great for gingerbread of all kinds and muffins. It should be kept in an airtight container. Find the recipe here…

German Stollen

Traditional stolen often contains marzipan – a confection made mainly from ground almonds and sugar. I don’t use marzipan because the fruit blend and a thick coat of icing sugar that covers the bread are sweet enough, so extra sweetness is overwhelming for me. Stollen is a yeasted bread baked with dried fruits and spices that's originated in Dresden. It’s traditionally served at Christmas time in Germany, Austria and parts of France. Stollen symbolises the baby Jesus blanket, and the fruits in it represent gifts of the Three Wise Men (called the Three Kings or Three Magi as well). Find the recipe here…

Traditional Italian Panettone

Panettone, sweet enriched bread comes originally, according to many sources, from Milan and is a true symbol of Italian Christmas. It’s more bread than a cake, although brioche-like dough of slightly sweet flavour is studded with dried fruits, almonds and raisins. The most traditional panettone is made by wild-yeast fermentation, augmented by a small amount of commercial yeasts. Making of this Christams sweet bread is a lengthy procedure, but the result is well worth it: you will end up with a golden, aromatic, and delicious Christmas bake that melts in your mouth with every bite.  Find the recipe here…

Pigs in Blankets

This is a classic dish served in the United Kingdom and Ireland as an accompaniment to roast turkey for a Christmas dinner or as a side dish. Pigs in Blankets, also called kilted soldiers are small chipolatas wrapped in bacon, and baked in the oven until crisp. I used the chipolatas of the usual size and divided each sausage into half to get ‘pigs’ that can be served as finger food or a one-bite size dish. And honey drizzle made this staple of the festive season super sticky and shiny. Find the recipe here...

St. Lucia Saffron Buns

My, oh my! These buns are so light, delicate and pillowy that you can’t stop eating them! They’re St Lucia buns, served in the run-up to Christmas across Scandinavia. The sweet rolls are eaten traditionally on the 13th of December, St Lucia’s Day (also known as The Festival of Light), in celebration of Lucia, the patron saint of light and the victory of light over darkness. These golden-hued saffron buns are formed into an S shape that resembles a curled-up cat and two raisins are added to represent its eyes. The slightly sweet rolls taste best warm with butter. Find the recipe here…

Christmas Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Baking biscuits is definitely a winter activity, especially during the Christmas season. We love the scent of freshly baked goods that circulate the house and boost our festive spirit. If you are looking for inspirational baking ideas, you should try Christmas Almond and Strawberry Biscuits. They are delicious and delicate, very easy to make and can be made in any size and shape. Use any fruit jam you like: strawberry and raspberry jam have red festive colour, however orange jam with a pinch of ginger and orange zest smells very Christmassy. Find the recipe here…

Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread Biscuits of different shapes can easily replace traditional glass baubles and stars on the Christams Tree. They also can be an excellent edible Christmas present and great fun for children in the festive season. This gingerbread dough has a perfect balance of spices – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, all spices, and plenty of honey. It’s soft and may be a bit difficult to handle at the beginning, however make perfect and delicate biscuits that snap when break. The dough develop its flavour and makes better biscuits when left for a few days in the fridge. We decorate our Christmas tree with homemade gingerbread biscuits every year. Find the recipe here…

Homemade Marzipan

Marzipan is a confection, usually used for icing birthday, wedding and Christmas cakes. It can also be used in biscuits and petit fours and cakes such as German Stollen. Marzipan consists mainly of sugar and almond flour, augmented with almond extract, rose water, and it’s easy and quick to make.  The homemade treat is much more delicious than the store-bought one as it contains up to half less sugar, and almond flour is much stronger in taste. Find the recipe here…

Pickled Herring Fillets

We are obsessed with herring in myriad forms. Pickled in vinegar or with onion in oil, creamed, fried, it’s served as a cold appetizer or a side dish at any time of year but especially at holiday times like Christmas Eve. This pickled herring should be prepared at least 5 days in advance as the fish needs time to develop its flavour and absorb the aromas of spices. The pickled herring can be served straight from the jar with pickled onions on rye bread, with various sauces and used as the main ingredient of cold salads. Find the recipe here…

Sauerkraut with Forest Mushrooms (Kapusta z grzybami)

A traditional polish delight is served usually on Christmas Eve. This meatless dish can be eaten on its own with a slice of bread or fill other traditional Christmas Eve meals – pierogi z grzybami (dumplings with sauerkraut and forest mushrooms). Sauerkraut is always prepared at least one week in advance as all flavours need time to combine and develop. We use porcini - the most delicious and aromatic wild mushrooms, a few dried prunes to balance the sour taste of fermented cabbage and a large glass of red wine that deepen the flavour of the dish. Find the recipe here…

Keks - Polish Fruit Cake

Keks is a sponge cake with a high content of unsalted butter, packed with dried fruits and almond flakes. It’s baked in a loaf tin and then served generously dusted with icing sugar. Dried fruits – apricots, black currants, sultanas and raisins are soaked in a warm mixture of orange liqueur and orange juice with the addition of orange zest. Keks is buttery, sweet and moist, taste amazing both freshly baked and after a few days. The cake can be prepared in advance and kept tightly wrapped in baking paper and aluminium foil. Find the recipe here…

Vegetable Salad (Salatka Jarzynowa)

Vegetable Salad is a staple dish of Polish cuisine, served on many occasions and holidays. It's a delicious medley of root vegetables, complemented by sweet garden peas, crunchy apples, eggs, sour brine cucumbers, pungent leek, all blended with homemade mayonnaise. The salad is quite simple to make, but the whole process involves a lot of fine dicing: the finer dice, the better taste. Vegetable Salad is served cold, usually with sliced meat and bread for breakfast or lunch. Find the recipe here…

Dried Fruits Beverage (Kompot z Suszu)

Dried Fruits Beverage is one of 12 traditional dishes served on Christmas Eve in Poland. This is a naturally sweet drink, which distinctive flavour comes from dried apples, pears, apricot, prunes and fragrant spices: cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Dried fruits, prunes, in particular, give the kompot enough natural sweetness; however, if you need to have it sweeter, add honey to the cool mixture. My Dried Fruit Beverage also contains thick slices of fresh orange, making this traditional drink even more Christmasy and citrusy. Serve cold with cooked fruits on the side. Find the recipe here...

Christmas Mince Pies

Traditional sweet mini pies baked and eaten in the festive season before Christmas. Mince pies are made from short crust pastry filled with the sweet mix of dried fruits, spices, citrus zest, all soaked in alcohol. These festive pies of English origin have been known there since the 13th century. They originally were savoury, not sweet as consisted of a mixture of minced meat, suet, fruits and spices. Today almost every housewife has her own recipe for mince pies and mincemeat if she prepares a homemade version of the pies. I prefer less sugary filling but use a bit sweeter French buttery pastry. Try my recipe here…

Home-made Christmas Mincemeat

Mincemeat needs at least two weeks to macerate before using in mince pies. Dried fruits, almonds, spices and orange zest have enough time to soak beautifully in sherry, and their flavours become rich and complex. Although I’m not entirely against store-bought mincemeat as you can buy a very good one, but when is homemade its taste is completely different. Homemade mince meat is easy and quick. Cooking takes only 10 minutes, dried fruits, almonds are available at grocery stores, and you can control the amount of sugar which may be important. The homemade mincemeat can be made up to six months in advance. Find the recipe here….

Smooth Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce is sweet and tart, packed with festive flavours - orange, cinnamon and ginger. It's a perfect condiment or a side dish served with cheese, meat such as chicken, goose, duck. It's also a must to top off Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. The cranberry sauce is very easy to cook at home and can be made of frozen or fresh fruits however, cranberries are in season so can be easily found at grocery shops at the moment. I prefer my sauce smooth which is actually a cranberry relish. Find the recipe here...

Ginger Cake

When this cake appears in our tea-time menu it means we have just started to think about Christmas. The ginger cake smells of cinnamon and cloves which are very Christmassy, is deliciously sweet, very rich moist and sticky. Ginger – fresh and ground - makes the cake a bit spicy and warms up beautifully. The cake is great freshly baked and even better after a few days if you manage to save some. Let it cool completely before you serve it, sprinkle with the icing sugar. Find the recipe here…

Chipolata Sausage Rolls with Tomato Relish

Sausage Rolls are a staple of British food. They are a very popular snack available from bakeries, take-aways and supermarkets. One of the popular british bakery chains sell 2.5 million sausage rolls per week! An early version of the roll with pork filling was popular in London during the Napoleonic Wars and then recognized as an English dish. The sausage rolls are the best party food. They can be served with drinks, either straight from the oven or cold, with vegetable dips or relish. Great and easy snack for a coming Christmas party or Christmas. The sausage rolls can be prepared and cooked in advance, kept in the fridge and warmth through in the oven. Find the recipe here…

Mushroom Tartlets

Great for a lunch served with a crunchy green salad, as a starter or a savoury bite for any occasion. The Mushroom Tartlets which are extremely delicious and flavoursome, combine flaky shortcrust cases and creamy filling. I used Chestnut Mushrooms which have great flavour and texture but if you have wild mushrooms at hand, use them - they would be even better. The Mushroom Tartlets are quite easy to make and assemble. The filling can be prepared ahead and shortcrust pastry would be more crusty and flaky if it’s kept in the fridge overnight. The homemade shortcrust pastry can be replaced with good quality store-bought one. Find the recipe here…