Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kolo again, oh we enjoy a hunt

There are many things I love about Warsaw, there are the donuts, the funny street names, the bridges, the Palace of Culture, the girls and their fashions, the history, the nooks, the crannies and of course the grannies. But, one of my favourite things is Koło markets. It is as close as I will ever get to being a treasure hunter. I also think it brings back huge memories of my grandfather who would go to an open air market called 'trash & treasure' every Sunday without fail in Adelaide.

I love this for these reasons, also because it gives me a hint of the old world of Warsaw. The things that I can't really experience due to not having old family here in Poland along with the fact that I get to hear beautifully constructed stories from Marta. We get to haggle and bargain over so many things, sometimes walking away happy sometimes empty handed, sometimes a combination of both.
Hark! What is that? A bargain I see before me?
Nope, just another Stalin surrounded by a bronzed Elk and Byzantine styled Jesus.
Or maybe with all my wind I could use it in a more functional way?
Better yet why not some old farm tools? That is always on demand! At this stand they even had an original 19th Century hand made for the hand by the hand, harpoon!
Nah at the end of it I will just follow like normal to the things that shine the brightest!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday Feasting

Ok, since moving house, we have been lucky enough to move about 100m from a really pleasant open air market which is open every Saturday. So we strolled down there last week to see what goodies we could dig up.

The market has pretty much anything you could need, from furniture, to baby clothes, kitchen utensils and, of course, the most important things to Marty, fresh flowers. However, something they also have of great importance is food.

They have really well priced vegetables, fresh, frozen, dry and cured meats and fish, cheese, breads, cakes. Let's face it, almost anything and everything my little heart can desire. So we were strolling around, slowly filling our bag full of goodies and then came across a sign saying "Mamy Gęś" and "Gęś 16PLN/kg ".

Well thanks to one of my Friday classes I knew exactly what this was, it is saying the shop has Goose at a mere 16 Zloty's a Kilo!! Bargain!

I have had many birds, pheasant, pigeon, duck, turkey, chicken, quail but never goose. So we waited outside the tiny little brown wooden box they called a meat shop. Waiting and waiting for the queue of dithering grannies to dilute enough for us to squeeze in. We asked how big their smallest goose was and, at 4.5kg, we decided on just a breast, which was nearly 2kg in weight alone!
So I parted the skin and the meat and stuffed in some cranberry sauce, hoping the acid nature of it will break up the fat as much as possible. And we are off.....
For our starters and Entree we had french cheeses on dry savoury biscuits and prawn jumbo (I have no idea what prawn jumbo is, I just made up the name as it was prawns with vegetables cooked in a light garlic sauce).
I haven't had a good stinky cheese in a while, so when we could get some ripe ripe brie I jumped at the chance. Delicious with the aforementioned cranberry sauce.
Even the blue cheese wanted a taste or maybe it felt the Spring in the air.....
So after about 35 minutes at 200C, dripping and draining away its golden goodness, it was ready and awaiting my very blunt kitchen knives to attack it.
I have a huge weakness for crunchy animal skins! Goose, did not disappoint! Although a little fattier than duck, it still tasted fabulous.
Another added advantage of cooking goose is that you get some great fat to cook potatoes in at a later date! This one is pre-seasoned with pepper! :)
So at the end of the day, we had a great and delicious goose breast, lightly pink in the middle and sweet like duck but heavy like beef. It was magical. Marty, on the other hand, said it was nice, but declined some extra servings and never wanted any follow up in leftovers form..... All the more for me!

So anyone thinking that Goose is Gross. Think again. It is delicious and I just wonder where I could find it in Australia.....

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Snowkolka

On the road again, do do do do do do, just can't wait to get on the road again.

Ok, so off we go to Sokolka. Of course, we ducked out as early as possible on the Friday. All so that we still experienced some sunshine when we were on the move, oh and to beat the traffic too. We were heading back for little Pawciu's birthday, but alas, it is the northern hemisphere so still winter time. February was still very snowy, so sometimes it was slow going.

On the drive up to Sokolka we stopped in Bialystok to get some essentials, i.e. alcohol, flowers and chocolates. It was pretty darned chilly outside so we rushed back to the car and jumped in to get the remaining hour over and done with ASAP. The road had not been cleared though as it was still snowing and had been for hours. So the going was slow. We eventually made it there with no light remaining at all. Getting out of the car I realised I had gotten into it previously somehow without my wallet. I miraculously had left this in Bialystok! On the ground next to the Carrefour supermarket. Thanks pockets, a lot of good you did me!

Thankfully, a fabulous person found it and called my healthcare provider who called me to tell me she had it. What a relief. So the next morning back into the car for a quick trip to Bialystok, I was sitting in the back and Marty and Stani in the front. I didn't have a book to read or a computer to play computer games on, so I sat staring out the window, watching the world zoom by, or sometimes stare back at me when traffic got heavy.

I had the camera next to me and thought, hey lets be all experimental like scientists are meant to. Let's try and take some slightly slow speed photos, so I had a little play with things and came up with the below. This is about as creative as I can get. Hope you like them as much as I do.
Snow and pines, it sums up the normal drive to Sokolka.
I like how somehow the trees glimpse through.
So when we got back to Sokolka, we needed to pick up the cake for Pawciu. So we stopped at a local cake professional (aka old lady who bakes at home and decorates them all pretty like). While waiting for the chit chat, money-cake exchange to take place, I got out and poked around. I saw a really great old window in the barn next to the house and loved that it didn't make sense.
I mean honestly, cactus, in -20C?! Ahhh the world is amazing sometimes.So with cake in hand, or more to say cake in Marta's lap, we headed to the house. As Pawciu was away studying, we decided to attack the lawn.... well I say lawn but I mean half a metre of snow outside. You can see it covered this sled in half an hour from when it was last used. Yes there was a lot of snow and it had fallen fast. However, now it had stopped and the day looked a little clearer.
We needed to make a trail to the dog house and barn about 50m from the back of the house. So first things first we would need to be appropriately attired. As you can imagine we brought with us our city slicker clothes. We didn't have things warm enough and flexible enough for playing in the snow. So we ducked into the changing booth and came out transferred as simple small town yokals. Don't we look a magnificent couple.... couple of what I am not sure.
Certainly elegant..... we aren't.
They even made a sign to indicate a popular past time in this part of the world. Shovelling snow! Kids here don't need a play station, wii or that fancy internet thing! Hours of fun to be had outside.So hi ho, hi ho, it is off to work the kiddies go.
Ok one metre done now. Is it time for a rest yet?
Ok so two hours later and we have done all the way to the barn, the dog house and also cleaned out the inside of the dogs play area as it was about a metre deep in snow thanks to some sliding off the roof. So even though it was cold I was sweating up a treat. Thinking it would be a good way to cool down by lounging around in the snow.How amazing, just from lying in the snow to cool down a strange angel type shape appeared! What on earth could it mean?Anyway, the snow got moved and then the weather man decided check our resolve and let it snow for the next 24 hours or so! Hence, resolve broken. So after working so hard in the white white fields we would need some form of high energy food. What is a better idea than Birthday Cake?!
At least Pawciu looks happy about it!
Light them candles.
Burn them strong.
Ring around and sing.
Cut it and make a wish.
Great success. Pawciu is a year older, drinking a champagne and eating a hearty cake. Seems like a good start to a new year to me.
Alas, for some. All this hard work, champagne and cake was too much. Not sure why the cat was resting. All it does is lick itself and bite feet. Maybe that really is the hardest work of all.

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