Anyone who loved Rose Petal Jam is going to adore this chilly sister volume about the winter foods of Poland. Sydney GP Beata Zatorska is back with more family and carefully chosen classic recipes from around her native country, lovingly collected on journeys through snow and ice. It takes a lot of love to publish a book that puts so much effort into photography (magical snowscapes by Beata’s documentary maker husband Simon Target) and superb design, creating the effect of a cherished family album.
One thoughtful and sensitive aspect of Beata’s recipe gathering is the way she’s integrated recipes from Jewish culture alongside those from Catholic homes. So you’ll find ways to cook fish for Easter and special saints days favourites alongside dishes for Chanukah celebrations.
The result is simply gorgeous to look at and a source of great inspiration when it comes to rib sticking slow cooked comfort food. Beetroot soup with wild mushroom dumplings gets my vote. There’s a modesty and frugality to the ingredients, with meat used sparingly as a garnish rather than the main event, and vegetables given prominence in a culture where growing your own and going to local markets is not a fashion, it’s a way of life.
And of course, the sweet tooth factor is not forgotten. The only way you are going to enjoy a white Christmas is if you substitute sugar for snow. Orange ice cream, typically eaten in minus freezing temperatures is a pretty and refreshing option that will adapt to our climate in one scoop.
Review by Caroline Baum
Also by Beata Zatorska…
Recipes & Stories from a Summer in Poland
Beata Zatorska recently returned to her native Poland for the ﬁrst time in more than 20 years. Her base was the small mountain village in which she was raised by her grandmother, a professional chef whose homespun herbal remedies – using fresh ingredients from her own garden and made according to recipes perfected over generations – inspired in Beata the desire to become a doctor. It was a dream she would fulﬁll with her family’s unstinting support, ultimately establishing a general practice in Sydney.
Accompanied by her husband Simon, Beata spent the summer exploring her home country, travelling tiny roads lined with wild rose bushes, ﬁnding castles and palaces in rolling meadows and untamed forests. Beata also rediscovered her grandmother’s delicious family recipes – an extraordinary almanac of traditional Polish dishes.
Rose Petal Jam brings together more than 50 of those recipes in one delightful collection. Recipes for Beetroot-shoot Soup, delicate Pierogi (Polish ravioli), Pork with Caraway and Onion and tasty sweet treats like Apple Pancakes and, of course, Rose Petal Jam reveal the subtlety and variety of Polish cuisine.
But it is much more than a simple cookbook: Beata’s memories of growing up in the Communist Poland of the 60s and 70s intertwine with the couple’s discovery of a modern, vibrant and optimistic Poland, a member country of the European Union. Traditional paintings and poems celebrating the best of this rich culture are scattered throughout. And hundreds of photographs taken by Simon on their travels reveal an unspoiled countryside to rival the better-known rural idylls of Tuscany and Provençe, as well as the impressive architectural heritage of centuries-old cities like Warsaw, Gdan and Kraków.
Rose Petal Jam is part-memoir, part-travel narrative, part-cookbook … and altogether a charming and engaging introduction to a relatively undiscovered world and its people, culture and traditions.
Beata Zatorska was born in Jelenia Góra, Poland. She started her medical training in Wrocław but graduated from the University of Sydney, and now works as a family doctor in Australia. Rose Petal Jam was the story of her return to Poland after 20 years away.With photography by her film maker husband Simon Target, Beata recalled summers spent in a remote village in the foothills of the Karkonosze Mountains in the care of her beloved grandmother, and the recipes she learned to cook there. Translated into German and Polish, the book has won design and print awards in many countries.