We spent Christmas at our village house for the first time ever. It was fantastic. Rosie kept saying “this is our prawdziwy dom”. That’s exactly what I was thinking too. We were able to spend Christmas at our house this year because we installed gas heating which was finished just a few days before Christmas. For future reference - when the gas company tells you that it only takes a month or two to do all the paperwork and install everything, please know that they are exaggerating at best or just plain lying at worst.
We had a real tree and put it up in the girls’ room. That’s when I discovered that lights for a little apartment-tree are not enough for a big house-tree. Oh well, better luck next year. I also discovered that it is hard to play Santa Claus in the room where children are sleeping, but I managed to do it somehow. The top hit this year was Baby Alive for Rosie and Lego City for Lizzie. They were also thrilled with their room and the house and spending time together. So were we.
The girls made some decorations for the tree. I love them! It’s my Christmas 2011 “favorite thing”.
I cooked the usual - kutia, herrings and this year pork roast with prunes.
Here are all the ingredients for kutia. Recipe after the pictures.
Here’s the wheat after it is cooked…
…and after all the ingredients have been added.
“kutia” wheat -whole grains
nuts of your choice
candied orange peel
cream at least 18%
Soak the wheat overnight. Boil in a large pot until the wheat softens. Depending on the brand of wheat, it can take from 1 hour to as long as 3. Drain and rinse the wheat.
Mix the cooked wheat, honey (to taste – I use about 6 teaspoons for one bag of wheat), raisins, chopped nuts (I use walnuts and sometimes almonds), poppy and candied orange peel (I used canned and prepared poppy seeds) and a couple of tablespoons of cream.
pszenica na kutię – całe ziarna
orzechy – do wyboru
kandyzowana skórka z pomarańczy
śmietanka – co najmniej 18%
Mocz pszenicę w wodzie przez noc. Gotuj w dużym garnku aż zmięknie. W zależności od rodzaju ziarna może to zająć od 1 do 3 godzin. Odcedź i wypłucz pszenicę.
Wymieszaj ugotowaną pszenicę, miód (żeby był smak ja używam około 6 łyżeczek na jeden woreczek pszenicy), rodzynki, posiekane orzechy (ja używam włoskie a czasami migdały), mak i skórkę pomarańczy (używam maku gotowego z puszki) i kilka łyżek stołowych śmietanki .
I can say that after all these years in Poland, I even like herrings – as long as I prepare them myself. My favorite way to prepare herrings is with onions.
Herrings with onions
8-10 herring filets matias (as we call them “majtasy”). If they are salted they need to be rinsed or even soaked and rinsed in water or milk. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.
Slice an onion or two very thinly. Place on a plate and sprinkle with sugar. Allow the onions to sit until they start to get soft and release some juice (at least an hour). Layer the fish and onions in a bowl. Sprinkle each layer with a little white wine vinegar and drizzle with some olive oil. Allow to sit at least 12 hours. Decorate with parsley and lime.
Śledzie z cebulą
8-10 filetów śledziowych tzw. MATJASY (my mówimy na nie MAJTASY). Jeśli są posolone trzeba je wypłukać lub nawet namoczyć w wodzie lub w mleku i wypłukać. Odcedzić i wysuszyć. Odłożyć na bok.
Potnij w cienkie plasterki 1 lub 2 cebule. Połóż na talerzu i posyp cukrem. Pozostaw cebulę aż zmięknie i puści sok (co najmniej 1 godzina). Ułóż warstwami rybę i cebulę na półmisku. Pokrop każdą warstwę odrobiną octu winnego i polej odrobiną oliwy z oliwek. Pozostaw na co najmniej 12 godzin. Udekoruj natką pietruszki i limonką.
I also prepared a herring salad with potatoes, beets, onions, pickles, apples, herring (of course) and mayo but it wasn’t as good as the plain herrings with onions.
I thought that my biggest challenge would be the schab ze śliwkami but in fact it was the easiest. I was most worried about how I would make the hole in the roast for the prunes but our butcher read my mind and asked me if I needed a hole punched through the meat. Problem solved.
Our Christmas Eve supper - pierogi and uszka courtesy of my mother-in-law
From the sofa I could admire our heater (yippee) and the Christmas decorations on our neighbor’s roof. We don’t have curtains as you can see. It makes things interesting ;)
Here’s some mistletoe from our garden that I hung in the kitchen. I stood under it for ages with no results. Maybe next time.
Some carolers came to our door but while I was looking for my wallet, they left. Impatient little carolers. I also saw my favorite neighborhood pijaki visiting the shop owner at home on Boxing Day begging him to take pity on them and open the shop just for a minute so they could buy a flaszka. The shop owner declined to open the shop. Good for him!
One more favorite thing of Christmas 2011 is the fact that we are mortgage free. We paid the last mortgage payment for our apartment (our house has been paid for awhile) and are now mortgage free. Yippee!