Christmas Time

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It's the time when the whole house smells of gingerbread and spruce. In the morning on the 24th of December my dad shops for a fresh Christmas tree, mom makes pierogis and borsch in the kitchen (pierogis with cabbage and mushrooms are traditional Polish Christmas dishes) and me and my sister bake cookies. Then there is time to decorate the tree. And when the first star shows on the sky we have Christmas dinner with twelve dishes. Before we start we share a Christmas wafer and wish each other good health, happiness and good life.

For Christmas, I usually bake poppy seed roll, cheesecake, gingerbread cake and lots of different cookies. And my mom also boils, yes boils babka (cake) from an old family traditional recipe. She is pro in making boiled babka :)

I'm still in the stage of discovering Canadian products and looking for ingredients to make traditional recipes that I brought from home. This year baking is not as festive as previous years but I ended up making ginger bread cookies.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cups sugar
1,5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teasppon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teasponn ground clove
half tespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
1/3 cup warm milk

Mix all ingredients together (add egg and milk at the end) and knead the dough. Roll the dough 5 mm thick and use cookie cutters to cut out christmas shapes. Whatever leftover dough roll out again and cut out more cookies. Bake cookies in 180 Celsius degrees for about 15-20 minutes. When they cool you can decorate them, use icing or melted chocolate, anything you want :)

Gingerbread cookies are soft right after taking them out from the oven, later they get hard but if you put them in a plastic bag for couple days they will get softer again. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Recipe inspiration from Kwestia Smaku.

Great day, great people, great sweets! Food Blooger's Bake Sale Holiday Edition.

20 bloggers, tons of sweets and one idea to support Calgary Meals on Wheels.

Last weekend at the Casel Marche Calgary Food Bloggers were selling home-made sweet goodies.

The founder of the event Vinnci also inivted POLKA girl. I had a chance to meet great people, exchange experiences and of course support Meals on Wheels.

We raised an unbelievable amount of $2,050.31!!!

It was one day of ingredients shopping and four days of baking for me. I made faworki, traditional Polish pastry, rugelach with pecans and appricots (my favourtie) and also mini apple orange and coconut pies and mini chcocolate rasberry muffins. I hope all of you who bought them really enjoyed them :) There were some people for whom faworki brought up their childhood memories. It was really great to hear.

I also had an occassion to get some tips on food photography from Rafal Wegiel. He taught me about the importance of light and my camera seetings.

So it was wonderful day!

I am really looking forward to the Bake Sale Spring Edition!

The night before the Bake Sale I was making faworki :)

Food Blogger Bake Sale, Holiday Edition

Do You like home made baking? Then you can’t miss this event, the Food Blogger Bake Sale, Holiday Edition! Saturday December 8th from 10 am till 4 pm in Casel Marche. Come by to get some delicious cookies, cakes, cupcakes and more. Great Polish goodies made by POLKA girl will be there too :) All the money from the sale goes to Calgary Meals on Wheels.

I would like to thank Vincci, the founder of the Food Blogger Bake Sale, for inviting me for the event! I am really happy to meet Calgary bloggers while also helping others in need.

Rugelach with pecan and apricot stuffing

It took me a little bit longer than I promised but here it is, the recipe for Rugelach, traditional Jewish pastry that can be made with sour cream or cream cheese. They don’t look that exciting but they are delicious! You will not regret it when you try out this recipe. They were gone immediately. The amazing dough with its flavorful stuffing will melt in your mouth.

To make the dough use:
200 g unsalted butter
200 g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
2 cups flour

To make the stuffing use:
200 g pecans
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
50 g dry apricots
½ cup icing sugar
lightly whipped egg white

Use a mixer to mix the butter and cream cheese. When it becomes smooth add the flour. Put the dough in the fridge for an hour. Blend the pecans, cinnamon and icing sugar. You would then the add chopped apricots and melted butter while adding the egg white at the end. Roll the dough 3 mm thick, cut into circles with around a 20 cm diameter (you can use a bowl or I used a pot lid with sharp edge). Divide the circle into 8 triangles, put stuffing on each of them and roll. Bake at 180 Celsius degrees for around 25 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Goodies from the Polish shop

There are a few Polish shops in Calgary and recently I have visited one of them. I got some great Polish sweets like Ptasie Mleczko or Pierniki Toruńskie (Toruń gingerbread). The first one is a soft chocolate covered candy with a filling that is hard to describe, some say it is chocolate covered vanilla marshmallow but I wouldn’t agree because it has a different texture than marshmallow.

And Pierniki Torunskie is something I must have every Christmas. They come from the city of Torun where Nicolaus Copernicus was born. They are handmade in Torun and are either covered with chocolate or icing, some are stuffed with jam and come in different shapes. I love these cookies!

You should try it :)

Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign Gala

I was thinking to make a post on my blog and add couple pictures from the Portrait Campaign Gala.

I met Anna Basak at the beginning of my Canadian journay. She and her husband Rafal Wegiel are owners of Fashion Calgary.

Thanks to them had chance to be part of really amazing event Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign. The Campaign was organized to celebrate the fact that Calgary was chosen for city of culture this year.

Thank you guys for such a wonderful night. It was a great experience! I saw an amazing performances of Oscar Lopez, Sophie Serafino and Justine Tyrell Leach and met many great people.

Pumpkin soup with orange and ginger

Fall is over. The first snow fall of the season has arrived and it got pretty cold outside. If you want to warm yourself up, you should try this recipe for pumpkin soup with orange and ginger, especially when there are so many pumpkins around :) A perfect treat for such cold days.

To make the soup, you will need:
600 g of pumpkin cut into big pieces
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
half of an orange
100 g almond flakes
salt and freshly grind pepper

First place the butter and ginger in a pot. Add the cut pieces of pumpkin (I left the skin on). Squeeze out the juice from the orange half and pour it into the pot, you can put the orange skin as well, as it will give more flavor. Keep it on medium heat for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
In the meantime brown the almond flakes on a pan.
When the pumpkin is soft, take it out and let it cool then pill the skin off. Blend everything and add salt to taste. Finally, pour the soup in a bowl, sprinkle with browned almond flakes and freshly grind pepper.

Canada here I come!

I arrived safely in Canada but also a little bit sick. Feeling a lot better right now though.

It has been a while since my last post but it's because I have been quite busy recently.

I am focused on my job searching, having a temporary part time job, and also being engaged in Fashion Calgary project, Portrait Campaign 2012 ( So very busy!!!

Despite all this work, I also had moments of pleasure. I went to Lake Louise, where I could see a stunning landscape of the National Park. I did a 6 km hike (I made it, barely but I did :D ), cannoed on the lake and had a wonderful tea break with a glass of ice wine, lots of different cookies and scones with amazing view of the lake.

September was really warm in Calgary. Fall revealed different kinds of beautiful colours and sun was giving lots of positive energy.

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving, with amazing turkey baked by a friend. And now waiting for Haloween. The event that we don’t really celebrate in Poland. But here it is a quite big thing. People dress up, carve pumpkins, decorate their houses.

And speaking about pumpkins...wherever you go, there are pumpkins everywhere. And because it became bit colder in Calgary I thought that delicious pumpkin soup with ginger and almond flakes would be a great idea. Recipe coming soon :) !!!

Spelt apple pie

I like to involve spelt flour in my recipes. Here is a simple recipe for apple pie made from that flour. It doesn't take much time to make it as I used ready apple mousse but if you prefer you can make the mousse by yourself.

300g spelt flour
100g flour
200g potato flour
250g chilled butter
150g brown sugar
1 small egg and 1 yolk
1 jar apple mousse (about 400g)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
icing sugar
Mix all the flours and sugar, cut chilled butter into small pieces and add to it, use your fingers to knead a dough, add small egg and the yolk, keep kneading. Form a ball from the dough and devide into two parts, one smaller and one larger. The smaller put in the freezer and the larger in the fridge, both for about an hour. The larger part from the fridge lay on the bottom of the baking form, poke it with a fork and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 Celsius degrees. Take it out and spread the apple mousse, sprinkle with cinnamon and at the top grate on the large holes grater the dough from the freezer. Put back in the oven for about 45 minutes untill it is golden. When the pie is cold, sprinkle with icing sugar. Enjoy!

Coconut swirls

When you need to make something sweet but quick for your unexpected guests, here is a great simple idea.

1 package puff pastry (25 x 42 cm)
1 yolk
half tablespoon icing sugar
coconut flakes

Cut the pastry into 2 cm stripes. Whisk yolk with icing sugar and brush it on the puff pastry, sprinke with coconut flakes. Roll each stripe shaping a swirl. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 15-20 mins.

Deep fried bites

These ingredients are enough to make quite a large plate of bites, and everyone will love them. They will be gone almost instantly. I promise ;)
around 10 small plums
20 g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
100 ml milk
2 eggs
pinch of salt
200 g flour
And also: oil and icing sugar

Cut plums into quarters. In a bowl, grind the yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar, mix with warm milk (warm the milk on the stove, can't be too hot, check with your finger), eggs, salt and flour until the dough is smooth. Put the bowl away, cover with a cloth and let it rise for around 20 minutes. Take off the cloth and put in the quarters of plums, gently mix it. Scoop up a portion with a tablespoon, making sure there is also a plum in the scoop. Fry it in a small pot filled with oil for 2 cm, turn each bite and keep until both sides become golden. Poke it with a toothpick and if the toothpick is dry, take the bites out. Let it dry on a paper cloth, and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

Good breakfast. Good start of the day!

Mini tarts with red currant

Before my trip to the Baltic Sea I made mini tarts and as promised here is the recipe.
We have tons of red currants in the garden, so it was a must to bake something using those fruits.

Recipe for 8 mini tarts.
270 g flour
140 g butter
140 g sugar
20 g icing sugar
2 small eggs
pinch of salt
half glass of grated almonds
around 250 g red currant

Mix together 250g flour, 100g chilled butter, 100 g sugar, 1 egg, 1 yolk and a pinch of salt into a bowl until it turns to a dough form. Place on a flat surface and knead until the dough is smooth. Form a ball, cover with foil and put it in the fridge for an hour or two to cool. Melt 40g butter and mix with grated almonds, 40g of sugar and also 20g of flour. Grease the baking trays with the butter. Divide the dough into two parts, one larger portion and one smaller. The smaller one you would put in the freezer. Lay out the dough and shape onto the bottom and sides of the trays. Poke it with a fork and then put a mixture of almonds in each of the trays. Finally, place a layer of red currants over it. Whip the egg whites until it turns into a rigid foam. Add the icing sugar and keep whipping. Put a little bit on each mini tart, directly on top of the red currant. Grab the dough from the freezer. You will then need to grate the dough with a grater over the top of the foam. Bake for around 20-25 minutes at 180 Celsius degrees. Turn off the oven but leave it half open. Keep inside for another 5 minutes to let it cool. Enjoy!

Sun, beach, relaxation...

How did you spend your weekend? I went to the seaside for mine!

Before my trip to Canada, I wanted to spend a nice weekend with my parents. We decided to go to the Baltic Sea. Driving from our town of Piła, the total distance to our destination was 220 km.

I love the sound of waves and the smell of the sea-breeze. What a great feeling; looking at the sea and feeling the power of nature.

Besides chilling on the beach we visited a couple of cities (Ustka - Poddąbie - Kluki - Łeba). We also went to Slovenski National Park where we got to see how the first settlers lived.

Life decisions

My new life adventures will start in a month. I'm moving to Calgary, Canada! This is going to be my life journey and I am really excited.

As I love baking, cooking and decorating, you will find lots of recipes and ideas that will come to my head in this new land.

You will read about things I like there and things that I may miss from back home. I will be making new recipes using different ingredients that will inspire me there while also sticking to my roots cooking polish dishes and baking polish cakes. I hope my page can be an inspiration to you as well.

Come join me on my new journey!

Taste of summer_chanterelle

One of the flavors that I associate summer with, is the flavor of chanterelle. I love scrambled eggs with chanterelle or chanterelle sauce that you can eat with pasta.
On an olive oiled pan place the small chopped onions, add a couple handfuls of chanterelle and continue frying for about 8-10 minutes, not too long as they will become hard and rubbery, spice with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add cream and mix. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with some pasta and you have a delicious dinner ready in 15 minutes. Instead of cream you can add a couple of eggs. Even scrambled if you prefer ;)
My other summer flavor that I look forward to a whole year is a flavor of strawberries? And what is yours?
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