Friday, 25 February 2011

Dear All! Please help!! 

Today we’re asking you for help for 28 years old Danusia, one of our family member, Jarek's sister.

Danusia carries the spark of new life that will join our family soon in April. Sadly, she suffers from very rare brain tumor, called chordoma. This slow-growing but highly malignant parasite leaves no illusions - it also fights. It is located in the most inaccessible corners of her brain preventing complete surgical removal and the use of standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After diagnosing cancer, in 2007, Danusia underwent tumor surgery when it was still in relatively small sizes allowing the treatment in Poland. However, the tumour did not give up and came back, this time much larger, as demonstrated in MRI scan in July 2010. Before the MRI results, she learned that she is pregnant. Since then, she has been fighting not only for herself but also her son. 

Due to the complex nature of the tumour, its location around the ocular structures in the brain, and above all its size, the only possible treatment is available only outside the country. In December 2010, Danusia was qualified for a proton radiotherapy (proton beam) in Paris, in the Centre of Proton Therapy at the Institute of Marie Curie. But before that occurs, she needs to undergo a very complex operation to remove that part of the tumour, which cannot be removed even by the French protons, and which could lead to loss of eyesight. While the operation in Poland will be free of financial cost, the Parisian part of the treatment must be dearly paid. The cost of this treatment is 42 982 EUR. In some cases, the Polish National Health Service funds the treatment that is not available in Poland but can be done elsewhere. But the final decision in the case of the Danusia has not yet been made. Unfortunately, the treatment in Paris, is associated with a three-months stay at our own expense because there is no need of hospital stay during proton therapy. This will be a very difficult period in which Danusia will need her son as much as he will need her, and it is therefore necessary to create the right conditions for both of them. Of course, the treatment does not end at the stage proton therapy in Paris, but it will be a great first step, followed by long-term rehabilitation binding with serious costs. 

We are fortunate that the obstacle in the treatment of Danusia is not a medicine, but serious costs which in this case are much more than we can provide. However, we are full of faith and confidence that with the help and involvement of sensitive people she will manage to achieve the goal and she will gain her health back and will see how her son grows up. 

We try to spread our appeal to all for even the smallest help in raising money for treatment and rehabilitation of Jarek's sister. We strongly believe that she will beat the cancer, and with your help it will be possible and easier to achieve. 

Danusia is registered with cancer foundation called Fundacja Rak'n'Roll in Poland. There’s been pretty loud about this foundation in recent times in Poland since the founder, also cancer patient, supports pregnant women with cancer, and whose common serious struggle with the disease in this exceptional period for a woman have remained unnoticed. 

How you can help:

Donations can be sent to Fundacja Rak'n'Roll - cancer foundation – With a note ‘Dla Danusi’.

If you send a donation from Poland, then use the account number of the foundation: Multibank 73 1140 2017 0000 4502 1050 9042.

If you send a donation from abroad, use the bank account number : MultiBank: PL73 1140 2017 0000 4502 1050 9042.
Swift code: BREXPLPWMUL 

We will be grateful for any help. Daria & Jarek

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hurrray... So this week we have the great pleasure to run the Weekend Bakery. We would like to invite you to bake with us this weekend. In our house, among the various bakery goods - these easy and the more complex ones, so-far the triumphant are the loaves we called medically :) 'emergency bread'. And that's because they can be prepared quickly, contain a small amount of ingredients and taste insanely delicious even with just a butter... They are a great idea for those lazy days when you do not want to go for a shopping or simply when your guests are on their way and there is not even a slice of bread in your cabinet :)

Czytaj dalej /

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Today post will be super fast and short... Do you ever have these moments in your life that you just can't manage with all your responsibilities and tasks at once... And you would probably want to extend the day to 72 hours? This is exactly where I am at this moment... huge exam at Uni is just round the corner, my brain evaporates, yet so much valuable knowledge to explore but the time is playing up here with me... :) for last few days, we've been eating only comforting quick food.. just to survive... to Tuesday... Therefore, today super extra fast eggs... 

Eggs in a cups
inspired by Cenk's recipe and modified by me a bit

6 large eggs
3 large tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
a few slices of pastirma
olive oil
A little bit of parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
To prepare a three-minute tomato sauce, peel the tomatoes and squeeze the juice, remove the seeds (if you do it in a bowl, you can use the juice and seeds to the salad later). Finely chop the tomatoes and cook with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 2 minutes. Season with garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.
Take a muffin tin (if you don’t have one, you can use soufflĂ© cups instead) and oil the cups with 1 tsp of olive oil, place the slices of pastirma inside, leaving a quarter inch overhang from the edge of the cup (be careful not to leave any gaps between or beneath the slices, though). Add a spoonful of tomato sauce and eggs on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes. After removed from the oven, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Great with fresh bread or as an alternative to fried eggs, which are usually served in our home with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables and of course with sour milk. Great food for my hungry brain... :)

Enjoy a warm and peaceful Sunday!

Monday, 14 February 2011

I'm, I'm so in love with you
Whatever you want to do
Is alright with me
'Cause you make me feel, so brand new
And I want to spend my life with you...

romantic coffee with a spicy heart
good quality ground coffee
pinch of cinnamon

 'heart' shaped cookies
150g plain flour
100g butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
10g gingerbread spices

Mix all the ingredients of cookies together in a bowl and leave in the fridge for 45 minutesRoll out chilled dough to a thickness of 0.5 cm and cut with cookies cutter. Bake at 210 degrees about 12-15 minutes.

We wish much love...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Not for nothing it is said that this spice is more valuable than gold. It is obtained from dried poles between flowering purple crocus petals. The common method of harvesting its flower is made manually. To gather 1 kilogram of spice there is a need of approximately 150-200 thousand flowers. Obviously, we're talking about saffron. Its name derives from the Arabic-Persian word-zafaran az, meaning the color "yellow" and "thread". Saffron has long been mined from Central Asia from the crocus, whose Latin name is Crocus Sativus. Threads of crocuses are collected in the morning, when the flower opens. Hence, saffron has always been a synonym for luxury. 

According to legend, the reason why Alexander of Macedon ended his victorious march in India, was a field of crocuses blooming in the morning. Saffron was widely used in the culinary arts, as well as in cosmetics and as a dye. In ancient Egypt, pharaohs and priests enjoyed and submits it as a sacrifice to the gods. Emperors took saffron-bathing, because it supposedly raises the male force. Saffron in many cultures of the world was and is still considered a strong aphrodisiac. It would enhance the sex drive in young men. According to the ancient Greeks saffron stimulate female sexual organs, elicited a strong orgasm. In ancient times, saffron was a remedy for the malaise. For other uses, the plant was used to color the robes of Buddhist monks. This color is a symbol of wisdom. Today's saffron is grown on a large scale mainly in the Mediterranean region and Middle East countries. In Spain, the most famous saffron-growing region is La Mancha. Saffron from La Mancha, famed for its color, taste and aroma, is the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is the only spice that gives the dish the color, aroma and taste. Just a few strands of saffron added to the dishes makes them intensely yellow color and unique, delicate, slightly bitter in taste. 

In India, saffron is an essential ingredient of many dishes with rice and sweets. It is used also in ayurvedic medicine and during religious rites. 
The Saudi Arabian real coffee should include saffron. 
In northern Italy and southern Switzerland, Saffron is indispensable in the preparation of the famous risotto. 
In Sweden, the tradition is to bake bread with saffron on St. Lucia Day. 
And finally, the Spanish saffron is added to the famous paella, Galician fabado and pote. 

In our kitchen today, saffron was accompanied by mussels...

Mussels in saffron sauce 
recipe randomly found on Internet, author unknown 

1.25 kg live mussels 
450 ml dry white wine 
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped 
2 sprigs fresh mint, chopped 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 small onion, finely chopped 
4-6 saffron threads, soaked in a little water 
salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Properly clean the mussels under cold water and remove all the little "beards" protruding from between their shells. Discard those that remain open. Place mussels in a large saucepan with 300 ml of wine. Cover and simmer over high heat, shaking pan occasionally for about 8 minutes, until mussels are open. Discard those that remained closed. Stir in chopped herbs. 
In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion gently for about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until the onion becomes very soft. Stir in saffron and remove from heat. Add onion mixture into a pot of mussels and simmer for another minute until the aroma of onions pass mussels and saffron. 

Serve with fresh, crusty bread, accompanied by your favourite wine... 

Have a nice evening!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Today's entry is not associated with any tasty recipe... It will not consist any of those appetizing photos ...
Today I will talk about issues that affect us all, and if once someone called us nicely Homo Sapiens, I think it's worth to write about it... 
A few weeks ago, Jarek read an article about a British family, who produces only one garbage bag in one year... Wow!!! - I thought! At first I approached the subject rather with scepticism because how can you produce one bag of garbage throughout the year when you see the supermarkets’ shelves full of products that often have several packages - first wrapped in a beautiful foil, next in the more colourful, eye-catching box and so on and so forth... But it reminded me of the situation last year when our favourite supermarket (I add that it is very popular in the UK) got a penalty from the appropriate authority for the use of excessive packaging in relation to the amount of product that was in it... And there came the fact that in the last few months, we have been throwing away frightening amount of rubbish despite the fact that there are only two of us. I thought to myself, what a disaster!!!
I must admit that I'm not a big fan of totally organic way of life because it is not always possible, especially if you live in the great metropolis... But I think that small things can make a difference... There are countries that treat the ecology as a priority - living in Germany for example, where a family friend had probably 5 different bins in the kitchen and carefully segregated it up and even rode a few miles from home to dispose an organic waste to an appropriate landfill – what’s a dedication I thought then... But now in retrospect, and perhaps with a certain consciousness - I am full of admiration for such involvement in saving their environment. 
But back to the topic of this family of Strauss from Gloucestershire in the UK, I'm really impressed with the ways in which they dispose of wastes ... full article is here so I recommend a quick read... family has also established a website where you can find many tips of how to avoid the pile of garbage and its disposal - click
I must admit that we are very moved by Strauss’s sensitivity and we wanted to try some of their ways. Firstly, we decided to use only the flax reusable bags that are comfortable and increasingly trendy. Problem solved itself when it comes to vegetables that we buy on the local markets. The question arose when we had to buy meat - now even our favourite local butcher pack it in layers of bags and boxes but we are trying to take a plastic boxes, which we have enough at home, all for different purposes. You had to see the face of our butcher when we asked him to put a piece of meat in a our plastic box .... bless him, good guy started to laugh but after a moment of explanation, he understood. Since then, as soon as we get to him to buy something, he asks us about our box :) Unfortunately, not everything can be bought without packaging, for example, sugar or oatmeal, but nevertheless we are pleased that through this small changes the amount of discarded waste dropped by half! Well, it seems that with those little steps we all can make a difference or simply reduce the amount of waste cluttering our nearest environment. 

And you? How do you handle the increasing number of packages for food products and what are your ideas for their disposal? 

Have you ever thought about it? Share your ideas with us....

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Some time ago, in every grocery store, near the stacks of all sorts of fruit, the typical European and the most exotic, I kept looking at the yellow, irregular 'something', which looks a bit like an apple, a bit like a pear, coated with 'hair', hard and totally unfamiliar to me... 
Well, no longer! Because in the end I felt brave enough to ask the man behind the counter what it is ... 'quince' the man screamed, looking at me like I came at least from Mars... Oops, I’ve never eaten it before... Or maybe because it’s less popular and its sourness which makes impossible to eat it fresh. So after returning home, I quickly began to read stories about quince and it seems that in Poland it’s hard to get it out of season (October). I wouldn’t have thought that we’ve got so much quince here and that the seasonality of quinces on the island has no end. I totally don’t remember, if my mum or grandma did something from the quince, and this is a shame because now when the first home-made quince preserves are done, I definitely know what I lost... 

Firsty, cultivated in Mediterranean countries. 

According to some legends, it's not apple, but pale gold quince tempted Eve. The ancient Greeks and Romans dedicated the fruit of Aphrodite and Venus ... 
Although not suitable for direct eating, is an excellent candidate for the jam or marmalade (in Portuguese quince means marmelo), or tincture. Due to the large amount of pectin is a great thickener. Slightly cooked, is a brilliant addition to meats and cakes and it's very stable so is suitable for long storage. 
This first time, we managed to make a juice and marmolade from the quince. Quince juice has many medicinal and cosmetic uses. The fruits are irreplaceable in the treatment of colds and strengthening immunity. They contain more vitamin C than a lemon. It also contains lots of vitamins B1, B2, PP and carotenoids. It has an antioxidant effect. 
Infusions of the quince is used in inflammation of the mouth and throat. It also helps to alleviate inflammation in the stomach. 
Fans of the quince liquors will certainly appreciate the fact that quince alcoholic tinctures have a positive effect on heart function and lower blood pressure, weaken bowel contractions and stimulate digestion. 
You can cook it rejuvenating tonic for the face. Just peel the fruits, pour a few drops of alcohol, let stand for 2 weeks, then strain and dilute with water. 

Quince juice for tea. 

1.5 kg quinces (washed, peeled and cut into small pieces)
1 / 2 kg of sugar (to taste)
Pinch of cinnamon

Wash the fruits, cut into thin slices (remove the cores) and arrange in a jars - a layer of quince - a layer of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon (the last layer should be of sugar). Cover with a linen cloth and leave for a few days to let go of the juice. After a few days, pour the juice through gauze to cleaned bottles and pasteurize in the oven in 130 degrees for approx. 40 minutes. 

From the remained fruit, which still retain their valuable properties we made a few jars of lovely marmalade. 

Quince marmolade.

Fruit quince with cinnamon (remaining after the juice)
150 - 200g sugar

Move the remained quinces in a large frying pan, then simmer until the pieces begin to fall apart, pouring water from time to time. Add the sugar and fry for a while. Fill the jars and pasteurise in the oven at 130 degrees for about 20 minutes.


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