THE history that connects Scotland and Poland is long and deep – and one of the largest immigrant populations within Scotland is of Polish decent.

My personal knowledge of Polish culture is sketchy. My only exposure has been through a good friend from London, Ren Behan. She and I connected over a common passion and change of career – leaving law for careers in food and writing. What I didn’t know was that Ren’s father had links with Scotland, having been stationed here during the Second World War. Ren’s first cookbook, Honey And Wild Rye (out on September 7) explores modern Polish recipes, drawing from her heritage, her family stories and her love for her cuisine.

I recently visited one of Glasgow’s largest Polish delis, Polish Taste. With three branches, it was set up by the Korzenioski family. I spoke to the son, Jacek, who moved with his parents to Scotland in 2004 after Poland joined the EU. Scotland felt like a natural fit for them, as many Poles were already settled here. Jacek’s father was a chef and trade businessman and his mother an insurance agent, but they began working in a hotel in Glasgow. Yearning for the flavours of their homeland, they realised that there were very few shops that stocked Polish products and set up their first small deli in Glasgow's west end. The older generation of Polish immigrants craved brands they had been familiar with during communism, and the younger, second generation Poles craved the newer brands, cold meats, cheesecakes, sweets and alcohol.

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One item that has suddenly become ‘trendy’ with locals in Scotland is kefir, a fermented drink made with milk cultures. Kefir has some incredible gut benefits, and is easy to make it at home. Demand for Polish ingredients has been boosted recently be budget flights from Glasgow to Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk and Wroclow, which see Scots returning home fuelled with a desire to relive holiday memories through cuisine.

Asked which recipe reminds him of his childhood, Jacek opts for pierogi: dumplings which can be savoury or sweet. Other delights that he loves are cherry vodka, Zubrowka (bisongrass vodka).

An interesting Polish/Slovak restaurant called Janosik, which translates to "Polish Robin Hood", has recently opened near the London Road branch of Polish Taste. The growing number of Polish eateries suggests that demand for the flavours of Poland continues to grow in Scotland.

Jacek mentioned a young Polish blogger called Jestem Borowicz who is recording a series of TV shows for Polish television, exposing a new culinary side of Glasgow, one which isn’t known by many back in Poland, where they associate Scottish food as fish and chips alone.

A special thanks to Ren Behan, Jacek Korzeniowski and Komal Patel of Pavilion Books.

Strawberry-filled Pierogi

(Makes about 20)

In Ren’s words:

In Krakow, the old capital city of Poland, there is an annual pierogi "street food" festival, now in its 16th year. Each year, more and more interesting flavour combinations are showcased, and even though I had tasted sweet pierogi many times before, these pierogi, lightly fried and drizzled with honey, were particularly memorable. At home, we often made blueberry-filled pierogi, topped with whipped cinnamon cream. Pitted cherries make another wonderful seasonal filling.

350g/12 oz/scant 3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour or "00" pasta flour, plus extra for dusting

1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk

1 tbsp icing (confectioners’) sugar

125ml/4fl oz/½ cup lukewarm water

1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the filling and topping:

350g/12oz fresh quartered Scottish strawberries

2 tbsp unsalted butter

100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup runny honey

50g/1¾oz/¾ cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped

Mix the flour, whole egg and yolk, icing sugar, warm water and oil together in a large bowl. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about five minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and feels smooth. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

To fill:

Divide the dough in half and keep one half covered with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Sprinkle your work surface with flour, then roll out the dough until it is about 3mm/1/8in thick.

Have a floured tray or board to hand. Using a pastry cutter or an inverted glass tumbler, cut out 8cm/3in circles of dough. Place 2-3 quartered strawberries in the centre of each circle. Fold the dough over to enclose the fruit. Using your thumb and finger, pinch the dough along the edge so that the pierogi is well sealed. Place each dumpling on the floured tray and cover with a damp tea towel while you make the rest.

To cook the pierogi:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully drop the dumplings in, a few at a time. They will sink at first, but will float up to the top when cooked – this will only take a minute or so.

Lift them out using a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool. If you have sealed them well, none of the filling should have escaped!

Heat the butter in a large frying pan and gently fry the pierogi on both sides until slightly golden. To serve, drizzle with honey and sprinkle over the chopped pistachio nuts.

Cinnamon whipped cream

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup double (heavy) cream

1 tbsp icing (confectioners’) sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Caster (superfine) sugar or vanilla sugar, to sprinkle

Whisk the cream with the icing sugar and cinnamon until thickened.

Serve the warm pierogi with a sprinkling of caster sugar or vanilla sugar and a spoonful (or two) of the cinnamon whipped cream.

Extracted from Wild Honey & Rye – Modern Polish Recipes by Ren Behan, published by Pavilion Books on September 7