Sunday 28 November 2010

One last pumpkin dance: the polish, pumpkin breakfast soup

So winter is well and truly here

And yet I still have one more pumkin recipe for you. It's the ultimate pumpkin recipe really, as it is the one I grew up with. As I am at my parents' house in Eastbourne, and there has been a pumpkin sitting in the kitchen since the last time I was here (in September!) which my mum didn't know what to do with, I thought I'd take advantage and remind her about a childhood dish that she used to always make for me at this time of year when we were still living in Poland, and for a time after we moved too. She wasn't sure if she remembered how to make it anymore, but it turned out that her hands had a memory of their own thankfully, so the Polish pumkin soup will live on after all. This is a pumpkin soup with a difference though, because it's sweet and eaten for breakfast


1 small pumpkin
150-200g flour
1 egg
700ml milk
1tsp salt
1tblsp sugar

Sorry about the photo up there, my mum decided to make the "zacierki" when I was asleep and take the photo herself, and unfortunately it turned out fuzzy. Let me start off by explaining the concept of "zacierki" - they are a cross between little pasta shapes and dumplings, and you can use them in a variety of dishes. They are an integral part of the Polish pumpkin soup. You make them by combining the flour and egg with a little water and forming a dough ball. The dough ball is ready when it stops being sticky and falls away from your hand - just add more flour if it's too sticky. At this point, you have a choice about whether to make the "zacierki" yourself by ripping little bits of the dough ball to form little maggotty shapes - sorry for the comparison, that really is the only way I can think of to exactly describe the size and shape of the thing. Or, if you have time, then you can do what my mum did and put the dough ball in the freezer. Then, once it is hard and you are ready to cook, you take it out and grate it, as shown on the photo. For the actual soup, you cook the pumpkin chunks in a little water until soft, which can take up to 20min. In a separate pan, you cook the "zacierki" in the milk, which takes about 5min. Then, you combine the two, adding sugar and salt to taste

It's a really lovely, comforting soup, but then when you have grown up with something, I guess it always is comforting. It may actually taste unusual to a different palate, especially a British one, but anyhow, if you're adventurous, then it's worth giving it a go, because it is something a bit different... I am starting a course of antibiotics today - whopee! It may be a strange thing to get excited about, but I haven't slept properly for a week, and I want my life back. There's some horrible bugs going around out there, so keep warm and look after yourself!

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