Saturday, January 30, 2010

a little project.

So still working through the world that was 2009 within the photo archives. We went to Sokolka some time before Christmas. I needed to get some pants and some jeans taken up, so it was suggested that we went to the lovely ladies of the railway tracks. Sounds a little scary, right? I thought how quaint this place is and wanted to become a photojournalist to show everyone about it.
Well, from the outside you may think that it was a place you would go to get your car fixed. However, inside..... well, let's see what the pictures tell us.
The scene that greets you as you walk in is one of a bomb site, I thought maybe it had been ransacked before I got there by Belarussian terrorists. But apparently that is normal.
The manager of the shop is displaying one of the little aprons they have made for a school girl to wear during cooking classes.
The world where magic happens. They have quite a lot of facilities here, and they only really employ the older generation. So a lot of work gets done here and gets done quickly and cheaply. To take up two pairs of pants and have the waist taken in in one pair, it cost me 18 PLN (AUD 6.90, EUR 4.40 , USD 6.10, GBP 3.80).
They will press it all for you too.
Sometimes you just never have a piece of paper handy, so why not use the wall?!
I have never heard of a Juki before, but they look strong enough to cope with many a task.
Look at those fingers go! Just a blur of activity here in Poland.
I get the feeling the green is not so popular with the kids these days.
I love the order of things, written on rough papers and random cheap business cards.
Of course, some things in Poland are omnipresent, this photo shows one. Dogs.
A lost Russian soldier from the previous years was here to record reconnaissance.
Not everyone was happy to be part of the photo museum that is my blog, but I hope they are happy with the quality photos I took..... So my first attempt at Polish photojournalism. From the high consistency and amazing photos, it may also well be my last!

Monday, January 25, 2010

who wants tarts?

So still trolling through the old photos, and I came across. One day I wanted to pretend that we were having a cocktail party. Problem is that we thought about it at about 1800 on a Sunday. So we thought small finger food for all! All being just the two of us of course.
We already had the raw ingredients such as basil and feta,
Ham, cheese and some leeks that were quickly sauteed.
So we started applying things these to some quickly prepared dough
Also caramelised some Onions with a dash of chilli.
Sliced and diced till our hearts were content, and also lightly fried in butter some spinach too.
Everything looked fine and dandy.
So with the little things things ready to go in, we quickly egg washed them
Made a couple of small pizza type things with the left over dough.
And there you have it. Party finger food, which was great fun to make, but more importantly,
More fun to eat!
We even had left over pizzas for the next day for Marty to take to work! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The brewing conclusion

Ok so the last post left you with the stewing stage. Where the grapes would leach out their beautiful flavours. Also I should mention at this stage I went and bought some cranberries at the lovely Hale Mirowskie as well, as I have always wanted to make a liqueur with them.

Over the next 2 months, these soaked and released their lovely flavours. I would assist them by shaking them fiercely on a regular basis, and also sampling them on odd occasions too. The grapes developed wonderfully in flavour. To be honest, they have the taste of an alcoholic Ribena! The cranberries had a fresh and wonderful smell, but their taste was really astringent. After tasting it, you would end up making the face as if you had eaten a lemon. So I was forced to add a touch more brown sugar. Not much, about a half a cup or so. This worked well, so then just before Christmas, it was time to finish them off.

First I needed to drain the liquid away to leave just the fruit.I did both the grape pulp above, and the cranberries below which I hadn't pulped like the way I had with the grapes.
So as we didn't have a press or any fancy muslin bags, we went and bought some sterile gauze from the pharmacy. I then squeezed away, releasing all the trapped liquid, and most importantly, lots and lots of flavour.
The end result is a much drier pulp than went in. And of course a delicious and dark looking liquid.
Finally we poured it all into some bottles we had saved from previous alcoholic "research", and of course, this is environmentally friendly, as we are re-using these bottles which is better than recycling!
The end products are really lovely. The grape is on the left and the cranberry is on the right. From a distance, you would think they are just a red wine and a rose. But they both have beautiful flavours to them, and the natural and brown sugars within have made them slightly syrupy.
Happy days!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

There's no business, like snow business

Well,with the weather outside making polar bears shiver and hide in fear of frost bite, it gives me a great chance to try and catch up on some of last year's happenings.

Time to go back to the old days in Autumn when we were working on our larder. Ok, maybe not a larder, but more a cellar. It was more about liqueurs than long term foods. So previously, you saw apple and pear liqueurs and the last real Autumnal post was about the frosts kicking off in Sokolka.

So first things first was to harvest.
After the frost, the grapes have a nice sweetness as well as some more complex tannins.We had to harvest before Hagus the grape eating dog got to them.Ok, it is getting heavy now.But I will need some help to get it into the box from here.So then we have a box full of fresh Sokolka grapes.
So we get home and remove the grapes from the bunches and start the mashing.
We keep mashing.......Till we can mash no more!
This pulp then gets mixed with equal measures of vodka and brandy and a small amount of brown sugar dissolved in warm water. It was then set aside in a large preserving jar to sit and release its flavours. It was shaken at least once a week and kept in the dark. The next post will follow this.

Also on the same grape harvesting day, we attacked the remaining plums. As you can see, the trees have lost all of their leaves due to the intense cold snap. So this meant that the plums were much easier to see!
They just hung around waiting to get picked.
Collecting plums must be fun according to the glee on Marty's face anyway.So upon the return to Warsaw, I washed the plums.
Then removed their stones
and cut them in quarters
Next I put them into a small pot and added a cup of brown sugar, as they were a little tarty.
Then after about 3 hours of simmering them, enough to remove lots of excess water and make it quite thick, I was able to bottle it, or is that jar it?

I must admit that this plum jam, or sliwkowy dzem as it is in Polish, is untried. I am thinking we will crack it open sometime around my birthday. A vintage dzem!

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