Refreshing rhubarb kompot

Summer is now in full swing, the temperatures going over 20C mean that the hottest season of the year has finally arrived to the Northern latitudes! Nothing complements the lovely weather like a light, refreshing drink made from seasonal fruits or veggies. I have spotted this lovely rhubarb kompot on Around the kitchen table blog. Kompot (that has not much to do with a French compote) is a simple central European drink made most commonly from fresh seasonal fruits boiled with sugar. When I was a kid, my grandmum was serving all kinds of kompots luke warm, but I prefere it much more when they are icy cold. Yumm!

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INGREDIENTS

500g of rhubarb
1.5 l water
4-5 tbsp Demerara sugar
a bunch of fresh mint
zest and juice of a big lemon
2 zest and juice of 2 limes
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
3-4 cloves
2 green cardamom seeds cracked
optionally 8-10 tbsp of pink wine
ice cubes
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1.  Boil the water in a big pot, add a bunch of mint, spices and zest of 2 limes and a lemon.
2.  Boil for 5 min. Meanwhile prepare the rhubarb. Wash it thoroughly and cut into 2-3 cm pieces (leave the skin on, the more red it is, the more vibrant colour you’ll get).
3. Add rhubarb and sugar to the boiling water and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the juice of lemon and limes, set aside to cool down. Transfer to the fridge and let it stay there overnight.
4. Drain the kompot through a fine sieve, pressing the rhubarb against the grid, to squeeze as much of the juice as possible. You may add a bit of pink wine if you wish.
5. Serve with ice cubes, garnish with mint and lime slices.

Racuchy – Polish mini pancakes with fruits

I adore slow weekend  mornings. Not that we have so many of those, actually we sleep through most of them 😉 You see, we are not really morning people. I wish we were though, but of course there are some positive sides of our laziness. We can skip breakfast and go straight for lunch, or actually brunch for that matter 😉 Pancakes are perfect on such occasions, they are warm, filling and extremely fast to prepare. Actually true Polish pancake is nearly as thin as crepes, but we  also have  something similar to “American style” pancakes that we call racuchy. They are much smaller, as they are made from just a dollop of dough and they often contain fruit pieces and are sprinkled with icing sugar (I adored those with apple slices as a child). They are also most commonly containing yeasts, but who would have patience in the morning to wait  for the dough to raise 😉 This time I used baking soda and frozen raspberries, but of course you can put fruit of your own choice or eat them plain.

INGREDIENTS:

0,5 l buttermilk

350g flour

2 eggs

50g icing sugar

1 tsp baking soda

200g frozen raspberries

frying oil

Mix buttermilk, flour, eggs and sugar to blend. Whisk in baking soda and fruits at the end. Fry until golden brown. The recipe makes around 30 mini pancakes. Serve with whipped cream and jam or sprinkle with icing sugar.

Recipe comes from blog Moje Wypieki

 

Kolyadki

I really like to read stories about food, various habits and different cultures’ cuisines. That’s why I’m really glad that on the food forum I often visit, we have a custom of so called theme weeks. The theme can be whatever – it can be a cuisine of a given country, some particular ingredient or even a … color. Doesn’t really matter, the point is to have fun and cook something together. Last week we were having a Russian cuisine festival. Since I was pretty busy, I decided to go for something easy yet with a history. That’s how I came up to this recipe. The pastries are called kolyadki and they are baked for the ceremony called likewise. The festivity includes wishing of wealth and happiness for everybody.

The practice comes from pagan times, but as many others it has adapted well into Christian celebrations. On Christmas Eve groups of young people travel across the villages and sing songs called kolyadki. Some of those are about general well being while others are sung for baby Jesus. Before Christianity has arrived, those songs were homages to ancient solar goddess Kolyada, who according to tales, was responsible for bringing the lengthening days of sunlight. People usually wear costumes that impersonate them to manger animals. As a reward, they get money and food from inhabitants.  Those pastries here, are traditionally baked for them.

So do you still wonder why I just HAD TO bake them? I find the story pretty enchanting and for me making the food is not only about tastes but also about experiencing customs – I just love when the food I’m eating has actually some story to tell. I have found the recipe here. It seems like they can have many various fillings – I have chosen the easiest one – just berries (plus a bit of potato flour to absorb the liquid) sprinkled with sugar.

The pastries are really simple. They may not be fit for everyone’s taste, particularly when one is not keen on rye. Definitely though, I believe that those are one of the very few pastries that you can  eat without any guilt while you’re dieting 😉 . Packed with fiber and antioxidants, they also are basically without fat. Myself, I prefer when they are warm, served with a dollop of yogurt.  I also think that the dough should be actually rolled thin – I’ve just patted it with my hands.