Monday, May 16, 2011

East-er Eggs and Stawianie baniek

Easters is, of course, one of the heavily, some would say heaviest, religious times of the year in Poland. Especially in the East of the country also known as Poland B due to the difference in economy from the West of the country to the East, so appropriate that Easter is celebrated more strongly in the However, being where is it in the calendar can mean many tricky and inconsistent things. Such as weather, family relations, weather, food supplies, traffic, television programs, and weather. Mostly it to me it is the weather. In Australia I can normally still be swimming around Easter time, it is fresh but once you are in it is fine, in Warsaw we had had some fantastic weather up until Easter, then on the Saturday of Easter it turned to hell in a hand basket. Making everyone a little sad. Marty also having been sick for a week continued, I suggested a cure I had heard about. The mysterious Banki, in English they call it fire cupping. Marty, was resistant after childhood memories. So, I showed her it was fine by doing it to my most gammy of knees, I really liked it and had 4 cups around my knee, it didn't hurt at all. Of course Marty said that was because my knees are so hairy and not flat. Traditionally it is used for flat surfaces like backs, but I was happy to give it ago. Eventually I convinced Marty and her mum and it also allowed me the chance to document it for our viewing pleasure!
The first thing you need is an application of a cream like a sports cream with menthol and the like in it to get the blood flowing.
Then the little banki are awaiting application
For this you need a decent flame made from a torch soaked in this case in vodka but any flammable alcohol will work.
You roll it around the inside of the cup to get it warm, then simply plonk it onto the skin surface and like magic you have some glass pimples.
As you can see by the formation of a vacuum from the heat now applied it pulls in the skin and flesh to stimulate the circular vascular and immune systems.
Freaky, no?
You are supposed to leave them for about 10 minutes or less, but Marty hadn't been working out so these only stayed on for about 3 minutes.
Then comes the fun part of taking them off.Simply push your finger down next to the lip push kind of down and inwards to break the vaccuum
And there will be a nice little "POP" sound that releases the air and possibly the internal tension of the patient worried about scarring for life.
And you get a really cool halo with a red spot.
I am sure it is also a way of making really cheap non-permanent tattoo patterns
You can see it looks a lot like a lovebite, or hickey as we called them as kids. With a small amount of blood corpuscles broken. They don't hurt and depending on how long you left the cups on they last up to a week. I being the science nerd that I am was skeptical about the potential improvements that could be made with such a treatment. That said after it Marty did stop coughing as much and said she felt better. On the flip side, she still has the cough now some 3 weeks later..... you be the judge if you should try it or not. It can't hurt...... can it?

So from one form of flesh treatment to another. Yes, it is Easter food time. In Poland it is traditional for the main Easter meal to be a breakfast after going to church in the morning. Me in my traditional way was up early cooking and alas missed out on the church visit.... maybe next year.... Anyway, at the end of it all to me, it is more like a brunch. But, what are semantics apart from accurate summations?
This year we whipped up a variety of things, there was a tandoori spiced and roasted chicken, which as I was carving it I didn't photograph. Here is some ham.
The traditional blessed and dyed eggs, of which mine won the ultimate egg off.
I also decided a marinated good breast served cold would be good. It was stunning and stupidly popular being the first dish that was finished. It was a simple marinate of soy sauce, tomato concentrate, brown sugar, honey, some orange juice, paprika, cinnamon and fresh garlic made into a paste and put into the fridge overnight to absorb and then slowly roasted in a medium oven and in a covered pot for about 1.5 hours with a quick blast of heat at the end to get some crispiness into the edge. The fat was taken away for the last crisping too and later used to roast some potatoes, of which I highly recommend it makes terrific tatters.
The table, as always, looked colourful and was set up with salads, compote and the ubiquitous pickle.

I also brought up some of my now famous, or infamous depending on who you ask, nalewki(PL) or Nalewka(EN). The concept of Nalewka is actually under application to the EU for appellation approval, so maybe mine will soon be known as "Traditional Nalweka". I took up samples of my hand crafted, hand refined and time aged wiśniówka (Cheery Cherry), vinogrówka (Grandiose Grapes), żurawinówka (Crispy Cranberry), and finally czarn porzeczkówka (Brilliant Blackcurrent). The later being the crowd favourite. I am not what I shall be trying this year, but high on the agenda are another Cherry, Blueberry, and Apricot. Only time will tell....


Paddy said...

Good lord, never seen anything like that in my life!

Gee Em said...

Like the cupping? It is surprisingly a nice feeling. My wife didn't enjoy it so much. :)

Una Kaempt said...

I <3 this blog. Only, it makes me hungry. Gonna get a cuppa and a snack and sit down to read this latest one!

Tom Otomcio said...

Quite a mix in that post. Freaky medicine stuff and foody traditions.

All interesting, though!

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