Friday, January 25, 2013

1 Listopada

Probably the biggest holiday on the Polish calendar after Christmas is All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows Day and is followed by Day of the Dead, a day which brings back great memories of my time in Guatemala. It is the first of November, and is the craziest time on Polish roads as everyone travels to their family hometowns past and present to feast, and visit the cemeteries where they lay candles and flowers to wish their loved ones well and show that they remember them. Also, some people put candles on graves that are untended because the family has moved away, have all died, or maybe just do not look after graves.

It is now, to me at least, more than just a family time and very much a commercial venture. At the cemeteries you will find many people selling candles and flowers obviously, but you will also find snack and sweet stalls, grills, hot wine, almost anything that can turn a profit. I don't think these stalls are associated with the church but one would think as they are operating on Church property they would have to pay a fee to the church in the form of a donation probably. There is also something else odd that appears in supermarkets here, unfortunately I do not have a photo of it, but it is Grave Wax. A wax specifically made for grave polishing. The Poles love a good clean grave and some people even have their plots and headstones ready waiting before they have entered the ground so that they have a good position..... a little morose for me.
Someone knows we are home.

So we travel to the family plot
In the van so there is plenty of room for the candles.

Yes, it is also about showing off to the neighbours by buying a bigger bunch of flowers than them.
The colours are endless.

So a normally somewhat drab cemetery bursts with colour.
It is hard to get men to dress up in Poland, but they will always get organised for a religious festivus, Polish women on the other hand will put on make up and heels to walk the dog.

Candle number one of many.

The cemeteries are actually crowded and it can be hard t get a park on such a day.
But when it is sunny it is great to stroll, especially after we have just recovered from a bout of snow.
This year we went to a much smaller town where some distant relatives lay. It has a very pretty little church on the hill and the crucifixes stick out on the top of the slope.

But even here away from any major town there are plenty of flowers and candles.

The thing I have a problem with, is by buying all these candles and plastic flowers there is more rubbish that you can poke a bin at.
It is just wasteful and a really sad thing to see when the day is about rememberance even as a non-religious person I do not mind visiting someone in a physical sense to let you think about them somewhat. But the fact that people care so little about the environment to buy so much plastic and create such wastage really disappoints me. It would be nice to see the church push an environmental bandwagon one

Sunday, January 20, 2013

bzik kulinarny

Sometimes you need to get out of the house for dinner. I know I love cooking, but often you just feel the need to do something else. To find something else to eat. One of our favourite little places is only a few streets from our house and it is called Bzik Kulinarny, meaning 'food obsession'. It is a Polish restaurant but has influences from French and Italian food, and has some really lovely dishes. It actually has the feel of being a restaurant as if in France or Italy and has the feel of quality goods coming in so that is why the dishes coming out are good.
I started with a Czech beer.
What about a beetroot salad?

Steak nice and rare in forest mushroom sauce

Veal in Calvados cream

Simple almost austere decor.
all finished with a wafer thin plum tart.

A little restaurant with a big heart. I hope that gets the tastebuds running wet!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Armagedon *Product Review"

*Product Review*

Brewery: Krajan Browary Kujawsko-Pomorskie Sp. z o.o.
Alcohol: 6.0%

Volume: 500mL
Cost: 4.80PLN

Apperance: Brown, not dark as it was still transparent (as much as beer can be), it had a nice coffee coloured head which had little retention.

Aroma: Smells of caramel and only lightly of malt.

In the mouth: For my tastes it is a little too sweet, it has almost honey richness to it along with the expected malt and caramel flavours. Also coffee and tobacco present.

Drink with: For me, you will need a heavily salted thing to take the sweetness off it if you don't want to be overpowered. So maybe Chinese food would be good with this one.

Overall: A problem that many Polish dark beers have is this long sweetness that sticks in the mouth over coming any potential complexity. I think it was a limited edition beer too, associated with the "end of the world" hence the name. So no need to chase this one down.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Early buds of Spring

 Well, these photos are getting close to a year old, so I really should get them up to help us all remember the lovely sunny days there were previously. Not so much these cold and grey days now full of snow, and winds that make your eyes want to jump out and run away to the tropics.
"Wanna play? Try these claws on for siz"

"I dare you"

Hey Buddy
Apple Bud

Tree morse code

Pondering the days to come with leaves.

Please click Lichen, I am sure it is German for like.
Lichen the old days...

The little house on the prairie.

Come on Spring.... You can't be too far away!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dionizis - Czarny Kot * Product Review*

 * Product Review*

As part of a new series this year I will be reviewing Polish products to give my opinion on things "Polish Made", as I think Polish products are mostly really great!

Czarny Kot

Brewery: Browar Krajan dla Kraina Alkoholi "Dionizos". Radom, Mazowieckie.
Alcohol: 6%
Volume: 330mL
Cost: 3.50PLN

Apperance: Dark but not pitch black, a nice white/cream coloured head although a little thin and light, retention of which was poor.

Aroma: Dark rye bread, prunes and meady hints.

In the mouth: Not too sweet like many Polish dark beers, smooth, hints of charcoal and caramel, almost able to taste aniseed. Rich Malt flavour.

Drink with:an open fire outside and maybe some pretzels.

Overall: A decent beer much better than some of the super sweet porters about in Poland at the moment  



Saturday, January 05, 2013

Bread festival - 100% not gluten free

Everyone seems to love a festival. this time we went to a bread festival. Yes, the world of wheat was thrust upon us in loaf, slice, bun, and all manner of forms.

I love that there was a bread festival, the reason I was so happy and impressed was because ever since I moved to Poland people were telling me how great Polish bread is. People who had travelled or lived in places like England and the US had found life tough because the bread was of poor quality. When I first came to Warsaw, I still found the bread was really not so great, but of course, I was buying it in a supermarket.

Once I started to go to little smaller bakeries, the quality of bread grew along with the variety as well. The best bread to eat in Poland really is the rye breads, and these are the breads which most people prefer, and refer to as the bread they miss. Yet, funnily enough many people here still buy by price rather than taste. As such, the bread quality, according to connoisseurs here has continued to drop as the larger factory bakeries take over and continue to put more additives into the bread. After reading about this, I decided to start to make my own bread, and now very rarely will eat anything else.

That said, the fact that they are even celebrating a bread festival shows you how important it is to this country. Bring on the bread.

Some traditional fare.

Sekac is a popular and quite expensive cake.

As you can see even the smallest one is 44PLN ($AUD13.50, £8.80, $US14.15)

Look they are even holding wheat!

Of course bread needs condiments

Some of the rye breads. Not the darkest but the most common and popular.

Bread mermaids, clocks, you name it they'll make it.
Some smoked cheese for your bread maybe.

The mullets love it.

Bread isn't part of the food pyramid, it IS the food pyramid.

Chocolate or apple Grandma... ;)

Sweet breads.

Bright traditional colours.

What is this?! A competitor to the bread world? Yes, Poland's other love.

Sour dough breads.

Now something completely not heard of in Australia, as far as I know, bread drinks. The first one L-R is juniper berry, then young beer, Hops, and sour bread
The hops based bread drink was really tasty, like a really fizzy light beer. I think they year I might try to make one of these bread drinks.

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