About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007
A Grate Adventure
Being married to someone from another country other than your own has huge advantages on the culinary front. It means that you are exposed to many other dishes that in the normal course of events you may never try. Before I met my wife D, there was not a single Polish dish I had tried.

Now there are plenty of Polish dishes that I have grown to love and happily eat over and over again. It seems to me that Polish people love their food, more so than most other Eastern European countries and I can't think of a single country that loves sausage (keilbasa) as much as the Poles, who have raised their making and consumption to an art form. The array of smoked porky bits stuffed in intestines is mind boggling and you had better be paying attention when you are told the names of each sausage.

In one shop, Wisla, that used to be in Chapel Street, Prahran we regularly bought sausages. One time I saw some frankfurters and ordered them and looked away to find something else to purchase. When I got home and unwrapped my frankfurters I was shocked to see they had given me another sausage instead. When I returned to the shop they told me that they had indeed given me frankfurters and what I wanted was called another name. It was no loss really because their frankfurters were fabulous.

Funnily enough later on when I was shopping at The Polish shop in Queen Victoria Market I saw the same sausage and asked for some frankfurters and they tried to give me what was really a frankfurter. I should have realised that The Polish Shop is a bit more Australianized!

But along with their meat, Polish people lurrrve potatoes, in the same way Asians love their rice; no meal is complete without them. Mostly they are plainly boiled, thank goodness, but when D is a little homesick there is one potato dish she invariably makes, placki (pronounced plach-key). It comes from a whole line of grated and fried potato dishes common to most of Europe which includes latkes (Jewish), kartoffelpuffers (German), rosti (Swiss) and rarakor (Swedish).

The particular version D makes calls for finely grated potatoes with none of the potato liquid poured off, it's a very wet mix. This produces a flat pancake with crispy, lacy edges that are impossible to resist. It's not the sort of dish for making and serving at the table, it's the kind of thing that you all need to be standing in the kitchen, family style, and eat them as soon as you can handle one hot from the oil. D likes hers with a dollop of sour cream, me, I prefer the pepper mill, our daughter M eats them plain. But whatever you put, keep it simple. We also never serve anything else with them, try them and you'll see why!


1 kg (2.2 lb) white, starchy potatoes
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour

Peel and finely grate the potatoes into a large bowl, keeping all their juices. Add the eggs, flour and salt to taste and beat in, the mixture will be very loose. Place a heavy or cast iron frypan on the stove and turn the heat to high. When the frypan is hot add a layer of oil to cover the frypan well. Place large spoons of potato mixture evenly in the pan and fry on high heat until browned, then turn over and fry the other side till brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, adding more oil when necessary. Serve with sour cream and some fresh ground black pepper. Eat until full.

This is my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, this week hosted by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen. Unlike last time when I couldn't decide which vegetable to nominate, this week it's potatoes which are probably not served in any South Beach diet approved way! But it is vegetarian, though not vegan.

Labels: , ,

  posted at 9:53 am

At 12:26 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Since I love all thing potato, I'm sure this would please me.

At 12:40 pm, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

It does sound very good. If I ever get to come there, I will temporarily abandon my diet if your wife promises to cook this for me!

At 4:02 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, 'tis pleasing indeed, unless of course you grate your knuckles in the process!

Hi kalyn, I'm sure we would be able to accomodate you, it would be our greatest pleasure.

At 8:07 pm, Blogger Helene said...

Hello Neil.
you perfectly right!:)
In our family it used to be a dish for days of rigorously fasting. :))
We kids looked forward to it and our mother stood at the voen for hours baking piles of them and we eating them as soon as they left the pan.
We used to eat them with marmelade or cooked and smashed apples.
We love fasting that way. :))

At 3:12 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi helene, my first ever taste of this kind of dish was kartoffelpuffers and I do recall grating my knuckles one time I was helping.


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