KJ: I’ve really had my eyes opened to Poland as a beautiful country, when you are in Australia and think of Poland what do you remember first.
Beata: I remember the sound of the wind in the linden tree outside my grandmother's house. Sometimes the tall gum trees outside our house in Sydney make a similar noise, and suddenly I am back in Poland. I also remember fireflies lighting up the garden on a warm June night. (In Oz the evening begins with the tropical roaring of cicadas - but no fireflies.
KJ: Which dish do you cook that takes you back in time?
Beata: Pierogi ruskie (Russian pierogi - a giant ravioli like pasta filled with cheese and potato) is something our kids love and that takes me back to my childhood as soon as I start rolling out the pastry (as I did for my grandmother when I was only 5). In our family today in Australia there is often a competition to see who can eat most. The record stands somewhere around 40 (they are teenage boys after all). I am not sure why these are called 'Russian' but they are known as such at every cafe and restaurant in Poland. You can also make pierogi filled with meat, cabbage even fresh seasonal berries.
KJ: What would you like to tell readers about Polish food?
Beata: The food I describe in this book is traditional Polish food, sometimes for special occasions, but often for ordinary meals during the week. It is simple and delicious and hopefully won't be re-invented as 'modern Polish' (just one pierogi on a bed of pesto etc) too soon!
KJ: Do you have a favourite savoury and sweet recipe from the book?
Beata: I love the herring in sour cream recipe on fresh rye bread with or without cold vodka (preferably with). My favourite sweet recipe is kisiel - a sort of jelly made with fresh fruit - its fruity fragrance and deliciously gooey consistency reminds me of long summer days in my grandmother's house.