June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

  • The six rules of barbecuing

    28 April, 2016 The six rules of barbecuing

    Even the best cooks can be stumped when it comes to cooking to perfection over coals. We ask Ben Tish to tell us the six most important rules of barbecuing so we can grill with confidence over the long weekend.
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November, 2015

October, 2015

September, 2015

August, 2015

July, 2015

  • Eat like an Italian

    20 July, 2015 Eat like an Italian

    If you’ve ever been on holiday to Italy, like us, you’ve probably eaten classic pizzas, pastas and risottos until you’re fit to burst. While sticking with what you know isn’t always a bad thing, delve a little deeper and you’ll find the true heart of the region; eating cotoletta in Milan, beans in Florence and artichokes in Campania will open up a whole new world of Italian cooking. We spoke to three Air B’n’B hosts about the food of their region, must-eats while you’re there, and asked about the best-kept secrets when it comes to eating out.
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  • Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    06 July, 2015 Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    With so many Michelin-starred chefs on the site, we challenged Cooked writer Imogen Corke to test her mettle on some of the trickier recipes. This week, she cooks Atul Kochhar’s cod in nilgiri korma gravy from his latest cookbook, Benares.
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May, 2015

  • Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    22 May, 2015 Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    We ask our authors ten questions about their life long love of food. This week, we speak to Rosie Birkett, author of A Lot on her Plate, about roast dinners, tuna tacos, and why you should never run your finger through hot caramel.
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  • The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    01 May, 2015 The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    Each week, we take some of our favourite recipes and give them a little tweak to make perfect packed lunches.
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An introduction to Polish cooking, with Zuza Zak

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
13 July, 2016

New to the library, Polska is a beautiful ode to the nuances of Polish cooking. We caught up with author Zuza Zak to hear more.




What inspired you to write the book?

Ever since arriving in the UK aged 8, I found that people didn't know much about my country and its cuisine. I found myself explaining its variety and defending it many times from the view that it's just meat and potatoes. My friend, Anna, suggested that I should write a book, so I began... that was 6 or 7 years ago now.


Which recipes in the book really typify Polish cooking?



Chłodnik - this is a cool beetroot soup, which is like the Polish gazpacho. We often eat cold soups in the hot summer months and this is the typical one.



Knedle - potato dumplings stuffed with plums. These are my favourite sweet dumplings, which means a lot in the land of dumplings. They are eaten when plums called ‘Węgierki’ are available in early autumn.




Bigos - the typical hunter’s stew. This takes three days to make, and is served everywhere in the winter months. I call it the Polish kimchi, as it's made from Sauerkraut.


If people were coming over for dinner, what would you cook for them?

I would serve a table full of ‘zakąski’ because this is what you should serve when guests come round. ‘Zakąski’ are sharing dishes made to be washed down with vodka. Guests are always welcome in a Polish home and ‘zakąski’ can be anything that can be served informally - herrings, blini, pickles, steak Tartare, pâté... what you serve depends on the time of year and what ingredients are available to you.


What flavour combination is unique to Polish cooking?

I think Poles love to combine sour food, like pickles, with something sweet, like dried fruit, for example.




What’s your favourite story behind a recipe in the book?

Steak Tartare has always been fascinating to me because it comes from the ‘Tartars’ (the Mongols), who rode through Poland. It shows Poland's position between the wild east and the European west. On the 9th floor of a concrete tower block, looking out into a sea of identical, monolithic tower blocks, my grandma Ziuta used to make the best ‘Tatar’ I've ever had.


Could you explain a little about any regional differences?

Poland has many different regions, all with their own specific cuisines, influenced by geography, history and what the earth provides. The Tatra Mountains are know for their sheep's milk cheeses, the lake and seaside regions for their fish, while wooded areas abound in wild mushrooms, bilberries and game, broadly speaking.


What is your favourite local produce?

‘Oscypek’ has to be my favourite local produce - this is a beautifully carved, ornate sheep’s milk cheese from the Tatras mountain range. It is a symbol of the distinct mountain style, which the region's people are very proud of. It is not uncommon to see a ‘góral’ wearing his embroidered, regional trousers at the petrol station.


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