Bella’s 2012 Easter re-cap…food…food & more food!!!
I haven’t celebrated Easter with my mum & dad since about 2007, so this Easter was definitely special…weaved in with errors & nearly burning down the house!
Easter like Christmas at my mum & dad’s house is wonderful, we joke, we laugh, we celebrate life, we talk of the old times, of those that have left us. We listen to dad or mum reminisce about life in Poland, our move to Australia & we share all of this around the dinning table that is filled with food as far as the eye can see!
The Easter festivities that I am used to can go on for hours & hours! It’s fair to say that when you go to a Polish person’s house for Easter lunch you can be sure that if you sit down at the table around noon you will most likely still be still sitting there come dinner time having plenty of fun & amazing food!
The Easter Sunday table is filled with delicacies that you have abstained from over the last few days in lieu of fasting & some how even though you may have eaten ham only a few days ago…it still manages to taste different on Easter Sunday.
Growing up our Easter festivities would start for us on Good Friday, the day would be spent in the kitchen preparing all the dishes for the next few days. I had two favourite tasks, dyeing the eggs for the traditional Easter basket blessing ceremony called Swienconka & making salatka – Polish root vegetable salad.
The tradition behind Swienconka, which is said to date back to the 15th century or even earlier is that you fill the basket with a sample of the foods that will be eaten on Easter Sunday, each item is supposed to be of symbolic religious significance. Whether you are religious or not, it really is a sight to see & a lovely experience.
So my first Easter with the family since 2007…I had to impress! I had managed to WOW the family with my first Makowiec last year so I had to top it! I had scoured endless Polish books for recipes & settled for two traditional sweet dishes…Sernik which translates to Cheesecake & Babka which is baked in a bundt cake tin…too easy…or so I thought!
Queue a comedy of errors!
Error No.1 - For the Babka I had realised that I had no bundt tin! Easily solved…run up the back alleyway to Blondie’s house!
Error No. 2 - Let the Babka cool down fully before you try to tip the tin over…if you dont it will split in half. I had 1/2 of mine left in the tin!
I had managed to somehow scrape the half that was stuck to the cake tin & stick it on the bottom half. It wasn’t too bad once I laced it with lemon & icing sugar syrup! The issue was that it was a white chocolate & almond meal Babka…so quite sticky & dense. I had brushed the tin with butter but it still got stuck.
The cheesecake is made from farm cheese, a fairly dry cheese. It is not a cheese that you will find in most Coles or Woollies.
I had bought 1.2 kg, the recipe called for 1 kg, I figured that I would use the other on sandwiches, little did I know how much I would be counting on it later!
I started this recipe at 10pm…yes I do cook late at night due to the fact that everyone in my household is asleep by then & I have peace & quiet…most nights!
Cheesecake enters the oven at 11 pm so with husband sleep on the couch I thought I would check in on Imogen who should have been asleep by now in her bed…wrong! With the excitement of the Easter bunny coming on Sunday & us travelling to mum’s house Imogen was finding it difficult to get to sleep so I decided to lay down with her but only for 10 minutes max!…knowing full well that I had to keep my eyes wide open as I had my ”pièce de résistance” in the oven!
I had just managed to lie down when I found hubby standing over me saying “what the hell are you cooking in the oven at 1 am in the morning woman!” I am not quite sure how I made it down the stairs but I did & of course I was greeted by a very burnt cake in the oven!
Error No. 3 - I had dozed off!
Fast forward 6 hours & all was not lost! I still had 500 g of cheese left! With ingredients halved & cheesecake part 2 in the oven it was time for a coffee refill! It was then that my heart stopped yet again! The oven was off & the cake was not even close to being baked!
A few hundred swear words had left my mouth at this stage! The oven had died! Yes…my cake part 2 was sitting in a luke warm oven doing nothing! “I can still do this” said the little voice in my head! So I called Blondie in despair & ran with gloves & cake in hand down my back lane way & shoved the cake in her oven & hoped for the best!
That evening seeing mum cut into the cheesecake was intense, but seeing dad taste it & give it his sign of approval brought a little tear to my eye.
Food is beautiful & I love how it brings family together & lets you have a laugh…even if you do almost burn the house down!
I passed with flying colours with both cakes! I can’t wait for a very Polish Christmas!