Sunday, November 29, 2009

Best photos of the year? Please help!

Hi all,

Firsty, thank you for reading me through out the year.

Now I am trying to make a top ten of my colour photos. So if you can have a look at the ones I am throwing up here and let me know which are best that would be great. There are only 20 odd here (that is down from the nearly 2000 taken this year). This is the colour series and a later group of black and whites will come through too.

Thanks for helping!

1) Summer Fruits
2) Wacky World of Warsaw
3) Cabeleireiro
4) Revenge of the Mimes
5) Rainy Days
6) Marked!
7) Tea Cups a go go
8) Praia Del Rey
9) Faturas or Fasturas
10) Fast times at the Fair
11) Shadowy Churros
12) Fun is fast
13) Peniche Beache
14) Hale Mirowskie
15) Running of the Jellyfish
16) Caracoles
17) Make a prayer come true
18) Lil and Big Belem
19) Late Summer Meadow
20) Modelling the Curves
21) Hefty Tat
22) MArt the Model
23) Guimares Day
24) Mateus Winery Grounds
25) Douro grapes - not destined for Port any more
26) Ducklings on the market
27) Beans and Olives
28) All Saints Day

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some of the late summer memories, warm your soul.

I know for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, you are all worried about it already being too hot! But for those of us in the Northern part of the world that is saturated in cloud, I thought it might be nice to turn back the clock a few months and stare at the great warmth of late Summer.
This is one of the little meadows that are scattered around us. We have them almost in all directions from our house. They are great places to walk and watch happy puppies chase birds and over stimulate themselves with a sniff directed at everything they can possibly.

The wild grasses sway lazily in sunshine and make you think of happy things, and one of the best things about Warsaw is that these meadows seem to pop up anywhere there isn't a building.
Something else you notice in Poland is that there are a lot of fruits on the trees, however most of them are poisonous to us and many other animals. However, these are mirabelki, wild yellow plums, deemed edible by all Polish kiddy-winks scrambling through the grassy fields.
At that stage, we were strolling in a place after there had been no rain for an extended period, and we found this little fella strolling along the path looking for some water or at least cool environments across the way.
More poisonous berry like fruits.

Then there is Marty walking away into the sunset, or at least to the supermarket at the end of the road.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pierogi Oz style.

As many a person knows, I love Pierogi! As most people who are exposed to truly good pierogi will think the exact same thing. So I thought, being a scientist, it can't be too hard to make my own recipe of Pierogi or dumplings in simple English. So without a recipe, I made a scone style base with minimal raising agent and instead with wholemeal flour. The original Pierogi recipes tend to use only light white flour. You might remember an earlier posting with these photos.

These Pierogi are fried. So they end up brown, but if you get them boiled/steamed instead they look less brown and crispy.

Now, to make mine! First point, before I even made the dough that I have already mentioned, I needed to make the filling. As you cannot put a hot filling into dough; it ruins it. So I needed to make a nice filling. I decided to make a very traditional food, which is cabbage and mushrooms all shredded up and reduced down with a little stock and some white pepper.
Roll out some small balls, about the size to make a nice palm of the hand covered.
Throw in a small fork full of cooled cabbage based mixture and start folding.
folding, pressing, folding, pressing, folding, pressing

And then tuck it in.
Happy days, you have a delicate and pretty little package full of delicious filling. I decided to roast, as I was unsure how delicate the pastry would be. They survived well, and I liked the results! I also made a variation with the cabbage and blue cheese, they paired perfectly well. Hmmmmmm, what will be next? Golonka....????

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Something's cooking!!

So I have been lately cooking up a storm in the kitchen. On the weekend, we had some of Marty's relatives over for dinner, we cooked Asian pastries, Indian Beef, Spinach and Chickpea curry with homemade Naan bread and dessert was the ever staple in this house of Apple Crumble. It all appeared to go down a treat. We also were able to drink a St Halletts Shiraz from the Barossa, thanks to the lovely importers of Marks and Spencer. Sometimes I do like this globalisation!

So I thought, as I am always talking about food I cook to my students, friends, family, complete strangers and even at times inanimate objects, I should through a few recent photos up. Many are inspired by Poland, sometimes the weather, sometimes the food available and other times by absolutely nothing at all.

So we can start with the influence of the markets at Hale Mirowski where we saw the lovely little chicken mushrooms.
Fry them with some lovely butter,
Add some cream.
And combine them with Asian marinated free range duck, and some breadcrumbed garlic yellow beans! Yumo!
Another day, when I was home due to some cancelled classes, I decided to buy some roasting beef and cook it very slowly, so that at the end of it all, I could shred it and serve it on a bed of mashed potato.
Another time, I wanted to make a pie. So I used some decent beef with some lovely porter, look at it froth away! It made a lovely steak and stout potato pie at the end of the day.
Now to some Rydze mushrooms, as you saw in the market photos earlier, these are very pretty mushrooms. So I took them and added herbs, cream and a healthy dose of black pepper to make a lovely rich sauce.Then I took turkey mince, added more herbs and spices, breadcrumbs, eggs, capsicum, and some blue cheese as a filling. Whipped up some barley...
And hey, presto meal made in all of about 25 minutes!
Problem being with my limited Polish, I didn't know the number for anything smaller than half a kilo of mushrooms. Therefore I needed another evening of planning to come up with a simple mushroom, ham and potato stew. Really great for cold Winter days. Match that with some fresh dark brown bread and you are on a warming Winter streak!
So cooking is super duper easy! I will be adding more food things now as I know you all love them.

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