Sunday, 29 September 2013

Indulge with fine food and a glass of śliwowica...

Yes, there are places in this world where dreams of tasting real food are still alive. The region of Łącko in Lesser Poland is remarkably recommended as one of those magic corners where you can explore the very best that this nation, and beyond, has to offer.

This small village comes as a surprise, tucked under a lone hill, with the adjoining plum and apple orchards which seem to become an inseparable landscape feature. Not many would come expecting to be connected to the most uncommon food experiences and local producers you can find here in every corner. But, that's exactly how it is. 

Yet again, with many thanks to Kamil Bankowski, the author of the photographs, who kindly agreed for them to be published on this site. For more photographs by Kamil visit his official website: 

The local people take pride in canning, freezing, drying and preserving the harvest as well as distilling a local plum brandy, called śliwowica łącka (literally slivovitz from Łącko). We are talking here about 70% of pure alcohol so you would have to have nerves of steel to try it out! Quoting local tasters, "it is very refreshing"! lol

Śliwowica łącka has been distilled in Łącko since at least 17th century and due to its characteristic and distincive flavour it has already made a sensation inside and outside of Poland! I would not called it a cheap and ordinary spirit that you drink in large amount! As it is produced with such a great care and attention, it gets people all around the world to taste it with zestful pleasure! A small shot of it after dinner is all you need!

If you feel like trying it out for yourself, 200ml bottles of śliwowica łącka are now available to buy at Krzysztof Mauer's shop in Zabrzeż. Soon, there will join in another 12 types of high-proof spirits including an apple brandy, cherry brandy, black currant brandy, raspberry brandy, pear brandy and any other fruit brandy you can think of!

Those who know the subject may fancy reading the latest article in "Sądeczanin" online newspaper:

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Polish Doughnuts to die for!

As winter is coming, I decided to put these nice spongy Polish doughnuts back to our menu immediately! They are traditionally served on Fat Thursday (or Shrove Thursday) but since I have such a sweet tooth, I am in the mood to make them slightly more often than only once a year! lol I have no doubt you will enjoy them with a morning coffee. They are simply fresh and soft, not too sweet and great for busy bees as all you need is 30 minutes of your time!


500g plain flour
300g curd cheese
100g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
15g vanilla sugar
(icing sugar for dusting, oil for cooking)


1. Mix flour with baking powder then add butter. Using a knife, cut the fat into small lumps then begin cutting them into the flour. Keep going until it's fairly blended.
2. Add remaining ingredients and gradually blend into a smooth dough.
3. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out fairly thick. Start cutting with a glass to get circles. Using a shot glass cut smaller circles inside your circles.
4. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or a heavy-bottomed pan.
5. Fry on each side until golden brown (they get brown very quickly)
6. Pat dry on kitchen paper and sprinkle with icing sugar

butter has to be at room temperature and soft enough to be easily cut with a knife. If it is too cold, you end up kneading the dough twice as long
* make sure your dough is soft and sort of rubbery. If it is too hard, add a little lukewarm water and knead again until you get the right texture. Otherwise, your doughnuts will turn out rock hard (I am talking from experience :)) 
* use leftovers: fry spare small circles in order to get bite-size doughnuts

Smacznego! x

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Seasonality & Freshness. A word about Polish cuisine

If you are about to try traditional Polish cuisine, you'd better forget about counting calories! Typical Polish meals as such are notorious for being very meaty and hearty with lots of potatoes, beetroots, gherkins, cabbage, bread, sausage and... a shot of vodka to help it all digest! lol However, the style of cooking is still evolving, it is truth that we mostly reach for soups, large meat portions and sweet desserts. 

I bet some of you wonder how Poles manage to keep their fine figures without paying too much attention to calories... Here's the secret.

It took me a while to think how to fully define Polish cuisine and I think the word that says it all is SEASONALITY. There are four proper seasons in Poland which appear in the following cycle: a soaking wet autumn, bitter cold winter, rainy spring and scorching hot summer and no wonder these changes, to such a great extend, determine what we eat. To give you an idea how it works I will give you a quick example. During hot summer Poles mainly stick to seasonal veg soups, summer fruits cocktails and hectolitres of fizzy drinks, while in winter we opt for larger portions of more calorific and stodgy food (potato rules!!! lol). To face the cold body requires more fat then naturally burns it in the heat. At least that's my theory :) 

Another distinctive feature of Polish food is its FRESHNESS. However big and stodgy portions are, they are always made of organic, locally grown and fresh ingredients! And even though many of our traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation, we allow ourselves taking time in cooking and enjoying the meal. So as you can see, every dish is home-made and 100% fresh! 

Again, many thanks to Kamil Bankowski, the author of the photograph, who kindly agreed for it to be published on this site. For more photographs by Kamil visit his official website: 

Out of spite, I am going to say: Polish cuisine does not have to be boring! There are tones of exciting recipes (unknown to the rest of the world) that are quick to make, easy on the wallet and super tasty! I will keep you posted! x

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Our Renaissance gem

And now for something completely different... During my last holiday stay in Poland I went to see an aristocratic residency of Potoccy in Lancut. Although it was not my first visit, it has definitely made the deepest impression in me. I guess, the older you get, the more you appreciate the tremendous value of the history. However cliché this may sound, I felt there like our history is something more than only piles of dusty books in a library. The residency in Lancut is a must for any first time visitor exploring Southern-East part of Poland. The castle is so well preserved that you almost feel like you belong there. Like the time has stood still.

For those who have not been there, here is a brief.

The palace is definitely one of the most impressive aristocratic residencies in Poland, famous for a rare collection of carriages, beautiful English gardens and luxurious interiors reflecting the distinctive beauty of the era. Attention to detail and good taste are seen with every step you make.
Originally, the residency was designed and built by famous at that time Giovanni Batista Falconi who gave it a shape of "a palace inside a fort" sort of thing. The person who converted this rough fortress into a beautiful palace-park complex we can admire today was Izabela Lubomirski of the Czartoryski family. It is Princess Izabela who the mansion in Lancut is owing its current splendour to. She was the one who invested all her time and money in modernising and decorating the castle in order for it to meet the standards of other great European mansions. And believe it or not, she nailed it!

Until World War II, the mansion remained one of the most luxurious residencies in the continental Europe (they even had a private theatre there!). Throughout the years the castle has been re-built and modernised a few times but its purpose always remained unchanged. It functioned as a place for social meetings for representatives of royal dynasties, aristocracy and diplomats from all around the world. Potoccy more than anyone else were very determined in their efforts to strengthen Polish cultural vitality and promote fine arts in all aspects. Following this tradition, the castle, to this day is open for all art exhibitions, live orchestra concerts, musical contests and plays.

This is all I am going to say for now as I think the best bits you should experience yourself! I hope there is no need to say anything more, anyway - pictures speak for themselves! I personally strongly recommend this unique place and I am sure you won't be disappointed!

PS. Included in the price of a ticket are: visiting the palace and its excellent interiors (unfortunately photo taking is not allowed inside), extraordinary collections of horse-drawn carriages and sleigh rides, English gardens, rose garden, Orangery, Orchid House, Stables and Couch House. All for a tenner!

Useful information:
  • to get to Lancut it's best to fly to Rzeszow (Jasionka Airport), flights from all UK airports 
  • I recommend opting for a visiting with a guide who will fill you in with all extremely interesting information regarding historical background to the castle
  • opening times and ticket prices depend on the season. For details click on
  • for virtual tour around the castle click on
To find out more about Castle Museum in Lancut:

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

There is not such a thing as Polish sense of humour

People say there isn't such a thing as Polish sense of humour, I say it is, but it's miles away from the British one. Even now, after six years of living in the UK I can't say a single joke in English has me in stitches. Laughing out loud even though I don't get the joke always lets me save face! It doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humour, I just don't see these jokes particularly funny. Maybe the barrier arises with the language. From what I gathered, Brits like to play on words so humour often gets lost in translation. Seriously, try to translate the craziest English joke into Polish and it would just sound weird! You know what I mean if you feel the same when the Pole tries to crack a Polish joke on you.

By the way, it is surprising how sense of humour is linked to nationality. It's true that other nations and cultures find different things funny. French are masters of dark humour, Brits with Monty Payton on board, very dry and ironic, German... seem not to have a sense of humour at all (?).

It may seem controversial talking about sense of humour as per usual it all depends on the person. However, I tried to make a list of what makes Poles laugh.

1. This really makes us laugh hysterically - politicians. Everyone who watched the live broadcast from the Parliament knows it is a pretty good comedy. Ubiquitous nonsense, verbal battles and bad grammar became a breeding-ground for all cabaret sketches.
Polish political jokes as such have their roots in 1950's when under communist regime Poles developed their jokes to manifest their criticism towards the communist government. Thanks to those jokes, they were able to cope with tension and overwhelming frustration. Until now, jokes have remained our tool to deal with, so to speak, bad politicians.

(We have promised you everything. What else do you want?)

With many thanks to Janek Koza, the author of the image, who kindly agreed for it to be published on this site. For more images by Janek Koza visit his facebook page: 

2. We also share a lot of banter about policemen and their ignorance. A stereotypical Polish policeman is dull and almost retarded!

A couple of  fine jokes I have been recently told:

A conversation going between two Polish policemen:
- "Have you got the time?"
The policeman looks at his brand new Casio watch. And stares, and stares..
- "Have you got the time?" - asks again the other.
- "Hold on a minute. It's not easy to divide 18 by 32!"    (18:32)


Two Polish policemen drive home. At some point the car hits a tree.
- "Never before we have turned up so quickly on the incident location!" - says one to another.

For more Polish jokes visit or the facebook page:

3. Daily life situations make us often laugh, especially when they are full of nonsense.

(We are running a collection for a fine for illegal collections)

Again, with many thanks to Janek Koza, the author of the above image, who kindly agreed for it to be published on this site. For more images by Janek Koza visit his facebook page: 

4. Polish football team - as we always lose the game...

(It's just bad luck...)

With many thanks to Szczepan Sadurski, the author of the image, who kindly agreed for it to be published on this site. For more images by Szczepan Sadurski visit his website:

PS. We love having a laugh at others but can actually we laugh at ourselves?? All comments welcome

Monday, 16 September 2013

Celebrating Polish Food - Pierogi

You can't talk about Polish cuisine without mentioning Potato-Cheese Pierogi or "Pierogi Ruskie". Pierogi are Polish stuffed dumplings, a little like Italian ravioli or Asian samosa, though boiled rather than steamed or fried. Traditionally, pierogi ruskie are served with caramelized onion, bacon fried pieces or a dollop of sour cream. I wouldn't say they are hard to make, but rather time consuming. However, anyone who decides to try this for themselves would agree they are worth the hassle. As I was making them today I thought it is a great opportunity to share the recipe with you. Again, you can stuff them with a filling of your choice: potato and soft cheese, meat, sourkraut and mushroom, soft cheese and spinach, lentils etc. You may also like sweet versions of them: soft cheese pierogi, pierogi filled with fresh strawberries, blueberries, plums or apples. As you can see there is a plenty of choice. Today I decided to make traditional pierogi.

Potato-Cheese Pierogi (my mum's recipe)
serves 6

Preparation Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 15 min


2-3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup of lukewarm water

500g boiled, mashed potatoes
200g dry curd cheese
1 finely chopped onion sauteed in a little bit of vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon herb pepper (optional)


These are polish products I used (all easily available in Polish shops):
  • maka poznanska (flour) costs £0.69
  • twarog poltlusty (cottage cheese) - £0.99
  • pieprz ziolowy (herb pepper) -£0.39


1. Mix mashed potatoes with sauteed onion and cottage cheese until smooth. Season to taste, mix it and put aside. I add herb pepper for better result. The filling is ready.

2. Place two cups of flour in a large bowl, break the egg into it and add a little bit of lukewarm water. Start kneading the dough adding a little water and flour at a time. Make sure water is neither hot nor cold, it has to be lukewarm, otherwise the dough will get hard. Don't worry if dough seems to be loose or sticky, keep adding a little flour when necessary. It should end up soft  and sort of rubbery. 

3. Now cutting. Place a half of the dough on floured work surface, then roll it out thinly and start cutting with a glass to get circles. Using a teaspoon place a portion of the filling into the centre of each circle. Then fold dough in half and pinch edges together so that the filling is locked inside. Repeat with remaining circles and another half of the dough.

4. Sprinkle a kitchen towel with flour and place stuffed pierogi on it. In the meantime bring water to boil (it's best to use a large pot so you can boil about 8-10 pierogi at a time). Drop in pierogi into boiling water, reduce the heat. When pierogi rise to the surface, let them simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Remove one to taste if they are ready (the dough should be soft). If you are with them, remove all pierogi with a slotted spoon to a strainer and rinse with a little of cold water. 

5. Serve warm with caramelized onion, fried bacon or sour cream.

PS. It may not be to everyone's taste, but I recommend you to also try them slightly sizzled in a tiny bit of vegetable oil or butter. You will get this nice, crunchy skin! Smacznego!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

No one likes to be judged by appearances

I was wondering how Poles are perceived by other nations so I did a quick research on the Internet. On the following website I have found a number of comments about Polish as such (some of you made great observation). See what people said:

"Sodding hard workers doing a very good days work for a third of the price of a locally sourced worker.I used to supervise some in a nearby store, I have also worked with some in garages etc."

"My dad's family is Polish, my mum's Ukrainian. Normally people assume we love vodka, massive portions of stodgy food, are of few words and many actions, a very blunt sense of humour and have the look of a sleazy gangster. 


"Hard workers and big on family. Hypocritical with their religion. Rude in queues"

"Very religious, somewhat racist, heavy drinking, principled, hard working people who don't put up with any nonsense at all, especially the women. Also the women are hawwwt. 
They also have a pretty big chip on their shoulders when it comes to German and Russian people, but thats only to be expected really".

"I'm a quarter Polish so my family have been here since the war and are pretty much British. Fair play to the Poles that have come over since joining the EU though - a lot of Brits slag them off and claim they're here to take benefits. That couldn't be further from the truth, the Poles work incredibly hard and if every single one of them stayed it wouldn't be a bad thing - they're a lot better than certain other immigrants who DO just want to come here and live on benefits/work illegally" 

and my number one! "Rybka po grecku" still makes me giggle when I read it! :)

"I lived with Polish people in west London for 2 years, almost married one! Learned the lingo, did the wigilia at christmas eve, listened to their music (except the **** like Skaldowie!), ate the food and I note the following in general from my experiences:

1 - They are grafters, I mean 14 hours a day, 7 days a week type grafters and I never heard a pole complain about how hard the work was.
2 - They are very social, especially around Wodka (which they invented)
3 - They are generally quite religious and most Polish houses will have either a book or a photo of Pope John Paul II in it somewhere.
4 - They are quite segregatory. I would often come off the wrong end of racial discrimination due to the mistrust of the English from the Poles (did you know they consider Churchill not to be a hero but a gangster?)

5 - You can tell a Polish couple from a long way off cos the girl is hot, wearing flat comfortable shoes and carrying a primark bag and the guy is in a tracky and is "homely" looking! Try it out if you live in london!
6 - They shorten their names to completely different names to confuse you! Like Barbara is shortened to Basia (pronounced Basher) etc

7 - They produced the most beautiful woman in the world, Kasia Cerekwicka  hehe

8 - Polish women like to turn life into a massive soap opera style drama as often as possible. just when you think all is well, your polish girlfriend will turn a slightly burned Rybko po gretsku into the beginning of armageddon."

I am Polish I can say that yes, we are really hard working, very friendly over vodka, rude in queues and Polish women do like a little bit of drama lol. What I personally appreciate about Poles is the fact that they hardly ever complain and would compromise a lot to give best for their families. I guess, we are distinctively resourceful too. A typical Pole, I would say, is a McGyver kind of a guy possessing a wide range of skills including an ability to fix 99.9% of household equipment by means of a nail and hammer! I think it is very rare. I doubt if any German or French would be able to compete! lol

I don't agree about statement that we are racists or ignorant, though. We are renowned for our hospitality and friendly attitude towards those who are visiting our country. Majority of the population eagerly communicates in English which makes visitors feel comfortable and very welcome. I don't know why is that, but we like teaching visitors naughty words in Polish too! 

Religion, political views and fashion are so individual things that I would not want to comment on them.

Obviously, I am aware that among Poles, the same as in other nations, happen to be the ones who match certain stereotypes, although I would like to think that it's only a drop in the ocean.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The making of... Polish Sweet Cream Cheese Pancakes

I am very excited to share this recipe with you hoping it will inspire you to try Polish cuisine. "Nalesniki z serem" is a very popular dish in Poland, definitely one of my favourites. Nice, fluffy pancakes wrapped around with rich sweet cheese filling is what I Iove treating myself with on lazy morning... Smells divinely. Tastes equally good. It is a great breakfast option or an alternative to a sophisticated dessert. If you like New York Cheesecake, you will quickly become a fan of Polish pancakes. Simple enough recipe with all ingredients you easily find in your fridge. So, why wait for a Pancake Day? Let's get them done now!


For the pancake mixture:
  • 200g plain flour

    300ml milk
  • 1 table spoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tea spoon bicarbonate of soda

For the filling:
  • 100g curd cheese (you can get it in Polish shop for £0.99
  • 1 table spoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15g vanilla sugar

To serve (optional):

whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream
fresh or canned fruits (I like pineapple or peaches but you can also serve them sprinkled with icing sugar, fresh raspberries, blueberries or strawberries)
dark chocolate

Tip: if you happen not to have curd cheese, a Philadelphia will do.

Preparation method:

Put all ingredients into a bowl then begin whisking until all lumps disappear. Add milk and flour until it is smooth, with consistency of thick cream. Start making pancakes as you would normally do using butter or a bit of oil. Stack them as you make them. Spread each of them with cottage cheese filling, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Basically, they are ready to eat but what I like is an upgraded version of them: get the pan really hot, coat it with butter, then place 4 pancakes each time and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes until tinged gold. Serve hot with whipped cream/vanilla ice-cream and fruits of your choice. 

As we say in Poland: Smacznego! 

Unlike Brits, Poles have pancakes when they like them. Making them is not restricted to any particular day of the year. You can also find them in Polish restaurants menu. I am planning to come back soon with a savory version which I hope you will also like. What I like about pancakes is that you can serve them in tones of different ways, always achieviening success. You can spread them with sweet cream cheese filling, strawberry jam, apple mousse, wild mushroom filling, bacon and grated cheese... The list is endless. I hope you managed to try them and you fell in love. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Answering the question: Why Poland?

I was wondering why people know so little about Poland or have such a wrong image in their heads. It couldn't be caused, I thought, by distance as Poland is only 2,5 hours by air away from here. I don't believe it is caused by ignorance either. It makes me think the responsibility is probably on mass media's shoulders which creates this image of the country in serious financial need, full of snow and polar bears (?). Yes, it is a rather small country and may not be as rich and prosperous as others but it is growing fast and definitely has got potential! We should not forget that during World War II, a vast part of the country was destroyed; Warsaw, the capital city, was razed to the ground. Having have to start everything from the scratch resulted in slow economic recovery and as a consequence, bottom place on the list of developing countries. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that in order to understand Poland you have to experience it! Its beauty, variety, hospitality and rich history.

Here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

With many thanks to Kamil Bańkowski, the author of the photographs, who kindly agreed for them to be published on this site. For more photographs by Kamil visit his official website: 

Rożnowskie Lake

Łapszanka. Excellent views of the Tatras mountain peaks.

Beskid Sadecki & Poprad Valley

Nowy Sacz

Roman style church in Tropie


Dunajec River Gorge. Pieniny Mountains

To be continued...

Good night, sleep tight! x

What is it about?

To my surprise, a lot of friends I made here in the UK asked me questions about my home country. To my delight, they are still eager to know more and more. Hence the idea to create a blog to share information about Polish culture, Polish nature, Polish tradition, cuisine, entertainment, top travel destinations and much more! Information is first-hand, my dear, as it comes from the Pole born and bred! It is going to be a story about Poland that I know and I long for, as despite the fact that almost six years ago I started a new life outside of it, I still call it "home".