Tuesday, 3 May 2011

An ovenful of childhood memories

Kromeski cromesqui, croquetas, wherever, whatever
I shared my mother’s very same enthusiasm for culinary opportunity,watching with careful eye her kitchen procedure, asking questions whenever I could, and in turn started to acquire a basic culinary knowledge for myself. The Scottish lowlands, Berwickshire, East Lothian,West Lothian and Midlothian and Edinburgh  were at this time hosts to a sizeable expatriate community made up mostly as we know of Italians, but also Polish. Many of my mothers circle of friends were employing Italian and Polish staff in their households.My mother gleaned recipes from these expats, and adapted them into her own repertoire. At a very early age I too unconsciously acquired my multi-cultural palate.  

Kromeski
(makes12 pieces)
a recipe my mother was given by a Polish expatriate in Scotland and a childhood mealtime favourite of mine. Now I find myself an expatriate in Portugal eating an almost identical dish but as a tapas item called Croquetas in neighbouring Andalucia.I recreated the dish following the original polish recipe for nostalgias sake, and it rekindled fond memories of tastes gone by.

For the batter 
1/2 pint water
6oz plain flour
pinch of salt
1tablespoon of oil
2 egg whites

For the filling
8oz cooked chicken,or other left over meat ( I used quail )
4oz fresh breadcrumbs
1oz butter
125g streaky bacon, pancetta or toucinho diced
1oz plain flour
2 egg yolks
1 medium onion
1/4 pint milk
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
12 rashers of toucinho fumado or thin bacon rashers
0il for deep frying

Prepare the batter mix and leave to stand for one hour.
Finely chop the onion and chop the cooked meat.
Sauté the onions gently in the butter until softened but not browned.
Combine the mixture with the breadcrumbs, egg yolks, milk, nutmeg and season to taste.
Add the cooked meat.
Remove the rinds from the bacon and flatten with a knife.
Spread some of the mixture generously along each bacon rasher then roll up.
(for smaller kromeski or to serve as canapés cut each rasher in half before spreading the mixture)
Beat the egg whites until stiff.
Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Dip each of the bacon rolls into the batter mixture.
Deep-fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot.

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