Last days in Dobrzyn

Well, as I sit here in my Warsaw hotel room, having eaten the two sandwiches and package of sausages that Malgorzata made for me, as well as the very last piece of cherry pie she wrapped up, I’m sad to be leaving Poland again. Here are some photos from my last two days there: quiet, pleasant, and full of friends, food, and cats. TRIGGER WARNING: Photo of Hili with dead mouse lower down.

Here’s dinner on Wednesday, after I returned from Gdansk. Malgorzata prepared a Polish meal: borscht, pierogi, and a Polish salad called mizeria (literally, “misery”), with sliced cucumbers, sunflower seeds, sour cream, and black pepper:

Malgorzata had also baked a scrumptious cherry pie:

On Thursday the weather finally became a bit better; that is, it stopped raining so we could have our walkies to the Vistula. Here are Andrzej, Cyrus, and a new visitor, Monika, a professional translator who got started in her profession under the tutelage of Malgorzata. Monika is spending the weekend with her surrogate grandparents, who are the same as my surrogate parents:

Cyrus chasing his beloved ball (visible against the sky):

Every evening Andrzej makes “sandwiches” for Cyrus: small, open-faced pieces of bread, each adorned with a bit of wet dog food. Cyrus scarfs them up!

Last night we had a special vegetarian dinner (Monika doesn’t eat meat but is a terrific vegetarian cook and once had a food blog). We had a splendid quiche with three cheeses, topped with sun-dried tomatoes, and finished with special pear dessert adorned with a topping of flour, sugar, butter, and fresh hazelnuts (which I shelled).

First, the basket of hazelnuts:

Making the quiche: Malgorzata grates the cheese while Monika rolls out the crust.

Monika puts on the dried tomatoes:

The quiche, completed:

Dessert, which I’ll call “Polish Pear Delight”. In reality, it’s Swedish and called nöt tosca päron.

A preprandial and jovial group:

This morning I unselfishly decided to allow Monika to give fusses to Hili, and so I encatted her (an ailurophile, Monika has a gray cat of her own  named Lila):

Everybody loves Hili!

This morning Hili came barreling into the house with a dead mouse in her mouth (she’s usually stopped if she’s seen carrying a rodent) and ran into my bedroom, where she proceeded to gnaw on it. We tried to chase her out, but she ran under my bed. When she finally made a beeline for the outdoors again, Malgorzata swore that the mouse wasn’t in her mouth, implying that Hili had dropped it somewhere in my bedroom.  A diligent search turned up nothing. Since Monika will be moving into that room now that I’m gone, I teased her by telling her that she’d eventually smell the mouse:

Me eating the penultimate piece of cherry pie (I polished off the last bit in my Warsaw hotel half an hour ago):

So farewell once again to my dear friends in Dobrzyn, and to the Furry Princess of Poland! Until next year. . .



  1. Frank Bath
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Good to see Hili getting something filling to eat as well. Such food.

  2. Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    What a great trip! Lucky you! 🙂

  3. bbenzon
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I had to LOOK a bit to spot the mouse. But those PIES, they sure did a lot of triggering.

  4. Cate Plys
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh please, a recipe for anything possible. Malgorzata’s borscht and the cucumbers–I’m wondering if that’s straight sour cream, or if she mixes anything else in there. I don’t dare dream of a recipe for the pierogis. And what about that quiche? Anything would be appreciated!

    • Malgorzata
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      You have to mix sour cream with some lemon juice or vinegar (I usually take 1-2 spoonfulls), half a teaspoon of sugar, salt and black pepper. Slice cucumber very thinly, mix with the sour cream mixture and sprinkle sunflower seeds. Dead easy.

      The cheese quiche is not all that easy. For crust you need 250 gram flour, 125 gram butter, half a teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of cold water. Mix all this into a dough and put in the refrigirator. Fry about 1/2kg spinach on olive oil, add garlic, salt and black pepper. Allow to cool. Mix four cheeses (or how many you want): cottage cheese, feta cheese, Brie or Camember, grated hard cheese, 2 eggs, 100 mm cream, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Cover baking dish with the rolled out dough, pour your cheese mixture inside, put some dried tomatos or slices of fresh tomato with some pressed garlick on them on top of cheese mixture and bake in 200 degrees C for 40-50 minutes.

      • Cate Plys
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! If you ever want to spend the time to share the borscht and pierogi recipes, maybe Jerry would be kind enough to put it in a post all its own. You cook a lot of the foods my Polish gramma made us, but she didn’t write anything down, so I’m always still trying to recreate things. The cucumbers for instance are of course very simple, but even in the simplest dishes, tiny things can make all the difference. I will test it with both lemon juice and vinegar. Many thanks again!

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the cuke recipe…I was wondering about that too. I’m always looking for new cucumber recipes as in the Summer, I grow them and even one plant produces too many cukes for my family of 2. It reminds me of german cuke salad (usually has some onion and dill along with the sourcream/lemon). Never have had with sunflower seeds, but I can imagine it is really good. I think I have some dry-roasted sunflower seeds; that might be too salty, but I’ll give it a try.

      • Richard Bond
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        The recipe that I would really like is nötfilé på potatisbädd. I have tried hard and totally failed to find it on the internet.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted September 16, 2017 at 4:18 am | Permalink

          It’s not complicated. Take about 1 kg potatoes (depending on the number of consumers), slice them, place in a baking dish (greased with margarine or butter) adding salt and black peppar after every layer. Add 100 ml cream. Cover with tin foil and put into the oven (200 degrees C). Remove the foil after 15 minutes and bake further 40-45 minutes. While it’s baking; put quite a lot of black pepper on the whole tenderloin or the bit of it suitable for the number of people you are going to feed (but it must be in one piece) and fry it in butter on a very, very hot pan, from each side. When it’s fried all ober, lover the heat, add 100 ml water, cover the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes. Prepare garlic butter: mix a piece of butter, one teaspoon of lemon juice, salt, black pepper and cruched garlic. Cut the meat in 1-1,5 cm thick slices. When potatoes are baked, take them out of the oven and place the meat slices over them with garlic butter on each one. If your guests are already waiting put it immediately back into the oven (250 degrees)for 10 minutes. If your guests are coming in a few hours and everything is alredy cold, put it into the oven with 200 degrees for half an hour.

          • Richard Bond
            Posted September 16, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            That sounds really good. After Jerry’s original description, I was wondering how on earth the cooking times of the meat and potatoes were matched; now I know. Thank you very much!

  5. Debbie Coplan
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing vacation! It all looks so wonderful..
    nice to see Hili got her own version of cherry pie.

  6. Vaal
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m triggered by that amazing looking food!

    (Only hint of dissent is that, although the spare crust on the pictured pie looks beautiful, I prefer a pie with a full crust covering – I like pie crust too much and feel a bit let down if there’s little pie crust on top. As well, a full pie crust to me provides the best fruit to pie crust ratio. Probably why I’m not a big fan of tarts).

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    It is what good friends do when they get together. Eat. Sometimes the kitty eats the whole thing but from my experience they usually leave something behind. Why they always have to bring back the kill, I don’t know?

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes my kitty eats the whole mouse. Sometimes he leaves an unidentified organ or two. This morning, he left me a whole mouse, plump and quite dead just outside the door. I guess last night the fun was just in the hunt.

    • David Harper
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Some years ago, we had a visiting cat named Reggie who was a mighty hunter. He often left little piles of mouse giblets on the step outside our back door as evidence of his nocturnal work. We soon learned not to go outside in bare feet.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Yup, no bare feet rule here too. Made that mistake only once. Ick.

  8. Darren Garrison
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    The mouse is probably in the cat. I used to know a cat that would swallow mice whole.

  9. Glenda
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    It must be so hard to leave when you are enjoying your vacation in Dobrzyn with such close friends. The home is cozy, food is to die for and of course I am a devoted fan of Hili’s too.

  10. Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this most lovely post, PCC(E), and for sharing your extended family with us. Safe journey back, preferably goose-free!

  11. David Duncan
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    “When she finally made a beeline for the outdoors again, Malgorzata swore that the mouse wasn’t in her mouth, implying that Hili had dropped it somewhere in my bedroom.”

    She probably thought you’d like a snack for your trip home. 🙂

  12. Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Malgorzata is an artist with food. You are so lucky to enjoy those meals! I wish I could.

  13. Richard Portman
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you.

  14. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Cats will be cats. (With occasional intercalations of being cats.)

  15. David Coxill
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    My cats are forever bringing in dead and alive Birds and Mice .
    They let some of the live ones go .

    Here the 2 black ones are waiting for a mouse to make a break for it .

    Now Callie has joined them .

    This time Misha didn’t bother joining in .

  16. Posted September 18, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Looks like Hili caught a bank vole (Polish: Nornica).

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