Polish Home Comforts Food with Ren Behan
Ren Behan, host of Polish Home Comforts, is a British citizen whose parents were both born in Poland and relocated to the UK before starting their family. Ren grew up with a very strong connection to her Polish heritage keeping it very much alive within her own family.
Ren cooks the traditional Polish recipes her mother used to cook for her own family however she has always been interested in researching and recording these recipes. Recently Ren published her first cookbook Wild Honey and Rye – Modern Polish Recipes (you can see my review of the book:- Book Review: Wild Honey & Rye (Modern Polish Recipes) by Ren Behan.), she has visited Poland and become a polish food ambassador.
I am very lucky to call Ren a friend and as we live in the same town we can meet for coffee or lunch at local establishments. From time to time Ren will make lunch at her house and recently showed me how to make the Polish dumpling called Pierogi (see my review of the morning:- Mid-morning Snack of Pierogi – Ren Behan ).
Ren’s latest venture was to hold a supper club featuring her food from the book as well as highlighting the connection between Poland and India. The venue for the supper club was Darjeeling Express in trendy Covent Garden in London.
The menu was from the cookbook. On arrival we had Polish Cream Cheese and Radish on Rye along with Sour Cucumber Soup (v). My first thought was that the soup sounded weird but let me tell you is was absolutely delicious and I am looking forward to making this from the book.
The starter we had Pierogi Ruskie with cream cheese and potatoes, confit onions (v). I have long been a fan of Ren’s pierogi! They are a staple of Polish family food and can be either filled with sweet or savoury fillings.
Main Course we were served Veal Meatballs with a wild mushroom sauce. On the side we had a Dill mash + ‘Mizeria’ cucumber and sour cream salad + Darjeeling Express’ Beetroot Raita.
The vegetarian main course was Cabbage Rolls with cracked barley and wild mushrooms.
By the time we were served dessert we were all so full up from the sumptuous food but somehow found room for the Poppyseed and Plum Cake with Darjeeling Syrup and Cardamon Cream! This couple of mouthfuls of light cake was just what was needed to finish off an awesome meal!
The inspiration for this meal and the link with Darjeeling Express was the special relationship between Poland and India. This was a moment in history when during World War II when thousands of Poles, survivors of the Soviet Union’s calculated cruelty landed on the shores of India. Following the Soviet Unions’ joining of the Allies the Polish prisoners were sent packing, some making their way to India.
The people were welcomed and given refuge in the Gujarat Province. Although some of their beloved Polish foods were not available they soon learned to adapt to life without a lot of beef and vegetables they had never heard of.
The families and children who survived never forgot the kindness of the Indian people. This supperclub was a tribute to them.