Recipes                 The following recipes are not unique by any stretch of imagination, however they illustrate that although the surviving brothers left Poland
                                 and settled in countries far away, they maintained links with their past and tradition, if only through occasional dabble with food which brought
                                 back many memories.
                                 Bon appetit !



Matzo ball and soup - Julek Rutkowski

The Rutkowski family, settled in Australia, maintained the Jewish tradition of celebrating Pesach (passover) every year. Together with friends they shared many meals during that time and it was a tradition that each family would take turns in making a matzo ball soup for the feast. There were always debates as to whose matzo balls were the best, were they firm yet soft, too large or just right and made with the correct ingredients as prescribed in the traditional Jewish literature. As the circle of friends began to diminish, the dinners became less frequent, however the Rutkowski family always got together to celebrate. Julek took it upon himself to provide matzo balls for the occasion and continued to cook these until he and Irena moved to a retirement village.

This is his recipe :

Ingredients (will make 36 small matzo balls)
2kg of chicken pieces,  a few carrots,  celery, parsley and turnips
6 cups of matzo meal, 4 coarse, 2 fine
6 cups of boiling water for making of matzo balls
6 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons of fat
Salt to taste

 



Matzo ball and soup

Process
Make soup first by boiling chicken pieces with carrots salt, celery sticks, turnips and parsley. Put cool water in the pot to just cover the chicken and vegetables and boil with lid on for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Strain the soup through a colander and put into the fridge when cooled down so that the fat accumulates at the top. Remove the fat but save 2 tablespoon of fat to put into the matzo ball mixture.

Mix the matzo ball meal mixtures - 6 cups together with 6 cups of boiling water and wait until the mixture cools down. Add the eggs and fat and put in fridge for 1 hour. Mix really well. Add salt to taste. Form the balls with your hands and cook them in chicken stock  (1 or 2 chicken stock cubes in boiling water). They will float when done. Do not cook them in the soup because if one disintegrates the soup will be spoiled. When ready to serve, serve immersed in the soup.

Almond fruit cake - Irena and Julek Rutkowski

The scarcity of quality cakes and tortes in Australia in the 1960s enabled Irena, Julek's first wife, to supplement the family income by making cakes and tortes for restaurants and private functions. This was done in the small kitchen of the semi in Bondi. When Irena passed away in 1968, Julek decided to try his hand at making one of his favorite cakes, the almond chocolate torte with fruit. This was not a business anymore, the cakes were only made for special occasions such as family birthdays and holidays.

Ingredients :
8oz (200 gm) ground almonds
8 eggs
8oz (200gm) castor sugar
300ml sweet cream
Dash of lemon juice
Punnet os strawberries (cut into pieces), some pineapple pieces)
Other fruits as desired (eg kiwi fruit pieces).
Block of dark chocolate for melting

Process
Beat yolks with sugar until creamy and add almonds. Beat whites until stiff. Combine the mixture and bake in oven at 180degC  for an hour or so until brown. Leave cake to cool. When cool, slice the cake into 3 horizontal sections (like 3 thin cylinders).

Beat a quantity of sweet cream until stiff, add strawberries, pineapple and any other fruit. Add a dash of lemon juice. Spread the mixture between the 3 layers. Melt chocolate and spread on top layer. Decorate with almond slivers, fruit on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sauerkraut - Stefan and Nata Drobot

The making sauerkraut probably was started by Stefan’s wife, Nata, whilst they were in Siberia during the war. Cabbage grew well,  provided a much needed source of vitamin C, as well as being a welcome change from the staple diet of potatoes. When they moved to Poland, food was also hard to get and a supply of sauerkraut ensured healthy meals throughout the winter. When the family immigrated to the US, this became more of a tradition and Stefan, together with Nata and the rest of the family joined in preparing and cooking.The recipe was never written down but Frank located what he believes to be the closest on the web – what follows is an abbreviated version with some additions.

Special Equipment:
Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greater,
Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock) for weight,
Cloth cover (like a pillowcase or towel).

Ingredients (for 1 gallon (3.8litres) ):
5 lb (2.25kg) cabbage
3 tablespoons sea salt
Carrots, onions, apples, caraway seeds
Any other vegetables you fancy


Note : 1 US gallon = approx 3.8 litres
1 pound      = approx 0.45 kg

 




Sauerkraut

Process:
Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love to mix green and red cabbage to end up with bright pink kraut. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go.
Grate and add other vegetables.  

Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement.

Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. Cover the whole thing with a cloth.

Chicken soup - Wanda Drobot

Wanda, Jan's wife, acquired the reputation as an excellent cook. Here is her recipe for a traditional chicken soup, well known medicine for any ailment.

Ingredients:
2 lbs (abt 1kg)  chicken thighs, wings or legs
20 cups water
3-4 celery stalks
3-4 carrots
Small piece of celery root or parsnip
2 medium onions with skins on
Parsley or dill

Process
Rinse chicken and place in pot. Add water. Bring to a boil. Prepare vegetables – wash, chop, set aside
Singe onion  skin over gas burners. Cut into quarters.
When liquid has boiled, skim off as much  foam as possible.
Add veg., including onions with charred skin. Bring back to a boil, cover partially then reduce to a simmer for 1 ½ hours.
Serve garnished with fresh dill or parsley. Add boiled rice or potatoes to bowl.

Barszcz (borsch - beetroot soup) -  Wanda Drobot

Another traditional East European delicacy, a soup made from beetroot. There are a few variations around, this one was recommended by Eve.  Can be served hot (great for cold winters) or cold (great for hot summers).

Ingredients :
2-3 good beef marrow bones
Celery root or stalks, parsley, carrots, onions,
2 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
20 cups of water
2 lbs (abt 1kg) beets – fresh and canned
2-3 tsp. vinegar
Sour cream
Fresh dill

Process
Slice beets thickly; layer in a shallow bowl sprinkling with salt and vinegar. Marinate at least ½ hour.
Make broth with bones, carrots, celery and parsley and water.
Add beets to stock and boil 2 hours. If soup isn’t bright red, grate some canned beets into it.

Season to taste with salt, celery salt, lemon, Maggi. Pass through colander before serving
Hot soup: add garlic cloves to strained soup. Serve with hot boiled potatoes and chopped dill
Cold soup: serve with sour cream

Cucumber dill pickles - Jan Drobot

There are many varieties of commercially available pickles, however most of them are vinegar based. These dill pickles are fermented with brine.
Jan has a couple of pieces of advice : Do not eat all the pickles at once, and the left over brine is an excellent cure for a hangover.

Special equipment
Containers such as glass jars, clay pots, barrels
cleaned with boiling water
Piece of cheese cloth for cover

Ingredients :
Medium size cucumbers, not fully ripe and rather green
2 tablespoons of salt per litre of water to make brine
A slice of rye bread
Garlic, dill

Process.
Make brine from boiled water adding 2 flat tablespoons of salt per one (1) liter. Allow to cool.
Wash the pickels and leave them so that the water drips off. Do not cut the ends or prick them.
Place the pickles in the jar and put at the bottom, in the middle of the jar and at the surface some garlic and dill. Do not fill completely the jar.
Pour cold brine to cover the pickles.
Put on top of the jar clean piece of cheese-cloth. On this cheese-cloth put a piece of rye-bread.
Leave the jar for about two days in room temperature – at least 18 or 20 ( C ) ot higher. After 2 days put the jar in the refrigerator for at least one week. After one week try one pickle for taste. If not yet ready, leave the jar for another 2-3 days.

The pickles when ready can stay in the refrigerator for several weeks


Kasza - all good Polish and Russian cooks

Kasza (kasha) is a traditional East European and Russian meal, and as Vlad pointed out, can be prepared using any grain as the main ingredient although it is most commonly associated with buckwheat. There are hundreds of ways of preparing, here is a recipe sent in by Eve.

Ingredients
1/2 -1 cup kasha oats (available in health food stores
   and “ethnic” aisles of most supermarkets)
1 egg
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cups chicken broth
1 onion

Process
Put kasha oats in cold pot. Break egg into them and stir until grains are coated
Add  the mushrooms
Heat broth as hot as you can in microwave; pour it into pot.
Turn burner on to high; bring broth to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. Cooks in about 10 minutes, that is, when all the
broth has been absorbed by the oats. Check occasionally to make sure it isn’t all sticking to bottom of pot.
Meanwhile, fry onion till nice and brown. Serve kasha and add fried onions as garnish.