“Smacznego” – Polish people advising you to enjoy your food.
You have probably read before about my love for Polish food. I have written many articles on my favourite Polish food, my favourite pierogi, my favourite soups etc. Ever since my early visits to Poland I developed a surprising tongue for Polish cuisine. This is often unexplainable in my circles as my family don’t eat Polish food and neither do the friends I grew up with. I had never even heard of pierogi until I started working with Polish people in England’s seaside town of Bournemouth. But I became addicted to it.
There’s something special and tastebudly appealing about the gastronomic culture here. Despite all that, 2 years into my Polish life and I’m still a novice in the kitchen. It was time to attempt to shift that. I needed a challenge!
It’s not that I’m a useless chef. It’s just that I’m a busy guy and if it came to the option of writing a travel article and eating in a restaurant over a two hour period or cooking for myself over a two hour period, I always choose the first option. I became lazy and as a tourist and travel writer, I also review restaurants, bars and pubs. So it comes with the job, with the lifestyle. I don’t have time to cook. Time is money, time is happiness and time is travel writing.
In 2016 I did a Polish Food Tour with Eat Polska in the gorgeous seaside town of Gdynia. That was my biggest introduction to Polish food since eating with Rafał and Artur in Warszawa City back in 2007. On that food tour I was alone (it was a tour for two, but sadly my friend didn’t turn up that day, and without reason or telling me).
Here in 2018 I realised this Polish Cooking Course was also better when shared with someone else as you work in pairs to cook. So I invited my Polish friend Ania who said yes and was delighted to attend. We would be cooking and eating together. My friendship with Ania dates back to 2005 when we met in, yes, the English seaside town of Bournemouth. So we were all set to try and cook!
Booking a Cooking Course at Polish Your Cooking
There are two ways to book your cooking course at Polish Your Cooking. Either directly from Polish Your Cooking via their website or through Tinggly Experiences. Tinggly Experiences is a great way to give a surprise gift to someone, so this is a cool option if you want to surprise a friend or family member.
Arrival at Polish Your Cooking
The kitchen that we cook in is a custom made kitchen near Ratusz Arsenał in Warszawa City. It’s a super location near the metro station Ratusz Arsenał as well as the bus and tram stops. You can also walk here from the old town.
The address is on Ulica Długa (Long Lane) and is on the 9th floor of a grey skyscraper. It can be hard to find so get there in advance if you can. Go up to the first floor, then take the lift. We arrive at 9.25 am for the workshop which begins at 9.30 am. On arrival we met two English guys, two Australian ladies and a couple who cycle a lot and live in Toronto. They are also all in pairs and will be cooking at their stations at the same time as us. There is a great view out the window and the place is bright and spacious, making it easy to relax, and of course cook here.
Introduction at Polish Your Cooking
Once we are all here, it’s time for an introduction from Magda, today’s delightful host. Ania and I take our positions and are ready to cook. We have free juice, water, tea and coffee. This is provided for free throughout the day and you are advised to skip breakfast. They also bring us a cherry vodka shot. It’s a bit early for that so we take just a sip and get to work on our first cooking challenge.
Cooking Breakfast – Polish Apple Pancakes
Magda introduces our work station and plan for the day. First up we are cooking Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes). It is my first time to cook these, though I have eaten them many times before. It’s actually very easy. Ania chops the apples into small pieces and I prepare the pancake mix (butter, yeast, eggs etc.). They have all the ingredients ready for us and in the exact quantities so it is hard to go wrong here! We mix it all together then we put the mix spoon by spoon onto the frying pan which is on level 7.
Ingredients – All purpose flour, sugar, yeast, buttermilk (maslanka), egg, oil, apples.
Eating Polish Breakfast
So now we have cooked the delicious pancakes – it’s time to eat them! Ania and I have both surprised ourselves as we love the food and we eat all the pancakes we make. On top of that, there is so much food here. All kinds of traditional Polish breakfast and lunch snacks are here. Looking at the photos you’ll recognise some of them. We munch as much as we can, gulped down with juice, water and coffee. These are some of the food types here:
- sledz (herring with onion)
- oscypek (smoked mountain sheep cheese with cranberries)
- smalec, chleb i ogorki (pork fat, bread and gherkins)
Cooking Lunch – Polish Pierogi
Next up it’s the main meal of the day. As we start to prepare, it is obvious we are now cooking pierogi! My favourite Polish food is Pierogi Ruskie and that will be one of three pierogi types we are cooking today!
- Pierogi Ruskie (with potato, cottage cheese and onion)
- Pierogi z Mięsem (with pork mince, garlic and spices)
- Pierogi truskawkowy (with strawberries)
This is going to be a great experience for me as it is the first time I have cooked and prepared pierogi from scratch. First we mix the dough, then we roll the dough and split it into circles. Then we add the fillings. We have enough dough for around 22 – 25 pierogi (pierog is singular).
During the pierogi making we were also given two cocktails – one made with milk and hazelnut which was my favourite. The other one had Zubrowka in it (Polish bison grass vodka). We were also given a “guess the 7 spices” quiz. Ania and I guessed only 4 of them. This was the spice mix that we put into the pierogi with pork.
Eating the Polish Pierogi
Now all that is over, it is lunch time! We sit round the table and munch our delicious pierogi! It tastes great – just like any pierogi I have bought before in a Bar Mleczny (Milk Bar).
Graduation at Polish Your Cooking
After the cooking and eating and eventful day, there is the small matter of the graduation ceremony. All of us graduated, passing with flying colours and we each get a certificate and a wooden spatula.
After the graduation, it is time to say goodbye. As a bonus, Polish Your Cooking have prepared some information for us about places to visit and good restaurants and bars in Warszawa to check out. I had visited a few already but will now be testing the other places out!
Thanks to Magda, and everyone at Polish Your Cooking and Tinggly for such a great time. Thanks to Ania for coming and the other chefs we met!
Here are the details for booking a session in Polish cooking!:
Here are some videos I made while learning how to cook Polish food: