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Recipes: Polish apple pancakes, roast duck and more from 'Rose Petal Jam'

Here's some of the recipes from "Rose Petal Jam: Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland," by by Beata Zatorska and Simon Target, featured in today's Buffalo News. Included are a twist on deviled eggs, apple pancakes, "Russian" salad, and roast duck with apples.

Józefa’s ‘daisy eggs’   Jajka w skorupkach

In my last week of high school before I went off to sit the exams that would determine whether I had any hope of becoming a doctor, Jozefa made a special trip to our apartment in Jelenia Góra. She came so she could cook me ‘daisy eggs’ for breakfast. 

This is a popular way to serve eggs in Poland – the eggs are boiled, then chopped with herbs and butter and served in their shells. Józefa arranged them on the plate in a daisy pattern – hence her nickname for one of my childhood favourites. 

Józefa returned the used egg shells to the village for Julia to feed back to the chickens. Julia would first pulverise the shells in her bronze mortar, especially if they had been imprinted with communist slogans from their newspaper wrapping. 

3 fresh eggs (or as many as the family can eat)

1 tablespoon dill, parsley and chives, finely chopped

butter for frying

Hard boil the eggs for 5 minutes, then run them under cold water for a moment so they are not too hot to handle. Using a sharp knife cut the eggs (still in their shells) lengthwise into 2. Scoop out the yolks and whites, keeping the shells intact. Chop the egg roughly and mix with whatever herbs you have to hand – dill, parsley, chives. Add salt and pepper to season and carefully replace the mixture in the egg shells without breaking them. Fry face down in a little butter for a few minutes until lightly brown. Arrange like daisy petals on a plate and serve with fresh bread for breakfast, lunch or a snack when studying.

Russian salad  Sałatka jarzynowa

Russian Salad is a popular party dish, made with mayonnaise and often decorated - my grandmother put roses carved out of carrot peelings on top. The recipe also has a more humble life as a day-to-day snack, in bars and cafeterias, even at railway stations.

You can make this with your own fresh mayonnaise or one of the good-quality mayonnaises available by the jar.

(Serves 4 as a starter)

4 medium-sized potatoes

5 carrots

1 parsnip 

1/2 celeriac

2 dessert apples, peeled and cored

3 hard-boiled eggs

2 small pickled cucumbers (see pickling recipe, page 22)

1 leek (white part only) or white onion

1 teaspoon English mustard

1/2 jar of mayonnaise, about 250gm (9 oz)

125g (4 1/2 oz) cooked green peas

Wash the vegetables well, peeling and cutting if necessary. Boil the potatoes, carrots, parsnip, and celeriac and cook until they are just starting to soften (but avoid overcooking them as they will then be not so easy to slice and chop). Strain and allow to cool. When cool, cut all the cooked vegetables into little cubes the same size - 6 mm (¼  in) is good - but you can choose your own size. Also chop the apples, eggs, cucumbers, and leek or onion to the same size. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with the mustard, mayonnaise and peas. Season with salt and pepper. You can add more pickled cucumber if you would like a more piquant taste. Serve with fresh bread.

Apple pancakes Placuszki z jabłkami

These are small, sweet pancakes served for breakfast or afternoon tea. My grandmother placed whole apple slices on the batter while it was still sizzling in the pan.

(Makes 8 pancakes)

2 eggs

350 ml (12 fl oz) milk

2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar

300g (11 oz) self-raising flour

4 small eating apples

50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter for frying

icing (powdered) sugar for decoration

Whisk the eggs, milk, and sugar together, then fold in the flour. (These pancakes are like pikelets and need to be thick and fluffy so it is best not to use an electric mixer). Add a pinch of salt, cover and put aside for 30 minutes. Peel the apples, cut into halves, de-core and slice thinly. Melt a knob of butter in a hot frying pan and add a dollop of the batter mix to form a pancake. Lay one or two slices of apple on top of the batter then fry for a couple of minutes. Turn over and cook the other side. Sprinkle with icing (powdered) sugar and serve hot.

Roast duck with apples Kaczka pieczona z jabłkami

A popular, traditional Polish dish. It is as simple and easy to roast a duck at home as a chicken. Roast duck goes down nicely with a bottle of dry red wine.

(Serves 4)

2 kg (4lb 7 oz) duck

2 medium sized apples

2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) small potatoes (any type)

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 240°C  (475°F). Rinse the duck with water and pat dry. Wash, peel, core, and chop the apples into small chunks and stuff the cavity of the duck. Rub the skin well with the marjoram, the garlic, and salt and pepper. Place on a large plate, cover, and leave for 45 minutes to marinate. Place the duck in a roasting tray. Collect any marinade left in the plate, and add some more water to make up one cup of liquid. Pour this liquid around the duck in the roasting tray – not over it or you will wash off the marinade.

Roast the duck uncovered for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160°C (320°F) and cook for 2 hours. Every half an hour or so use a fine skewer to pierce the duck skin with holes to release its juices and then baste the duck with the liquid that collects in the bottom of the pan. Clean the potatoes and cut into halves or quarters (there is no need to peel them). When the duck still has about an hour to cook, salt the potatoes, place them in the tray with the duck and sprinkle with caraway seeds. They should start to fry gently in the duck fat. When you next baste the duck, turn the potatoes, making sure they are well covered with the duck juices. Add another sprinkle of caraway seeds if you like. The duck should be so well cooked that it can be easily pulled apart and served in chunks. It’s no fun trying to carve a duck.

(Recipes from "Rose Petal Jam" by Beata Zatorska and Simon Target, (c) Tabula Books 2012)

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