Thursday, November 29, 2007

Marzipans in Hungary

Have you ever heard about the Hungarian Szamos and Szabó Marzipans? Anyway do you know what does marzipan mean? Well, marzipan (marcipán) is a very delicious sweetened almond dessert.

Originally uploaded by Nóra

These wonderful shapes are also made of marzipan mass. They not only look like indeed attractive, but they are very tasty too.

Szabó Marcipán, Szentendre
originally uploaded by gremionis

There are two well-known Marzipan dynasties in Hungary. The Szabó Marzipan is one and another is the Szamos Marzipan. Both of them have lot of shops and confectioners in different parts of Hungary. In these shops and confectioners you can view, buy and taste their beautiful and delicious products.
If you don't like the taste of marzipan, but you want to view the delightful masterpieces which was made of marzipan mass, you can do that, because in Hungary there are several marzipan exhibitions, for example in Szentendre, in Pécs and in Kőszeg.
Actually Szabó Marzipan has opened his newest marzipan exhibition at Buda Castle in the halls of Hilton Budapest next to Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion. The scale and standard of the exhibition makes it a worthy successor of the Marzipan Museums in Puchberg in Austria and in Szentendre.

Marzipan exhibition in Budapest
Model of the Parliament building, made of marzipan
originally uploaded by dekanya

Marzipan pillow
originally uploaded by Irina Kostenko

originally uploaded by euphemy

Model of the Parliament building
originally uploaded by gaborpor

originally uploaded by Eszter Terdik

More information about the history of Hungarian Marzipan you can read here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Székely goulash

My this week's post on the Hungary starts here blog:
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Today I would like to recommend you a typical Hungarian dish, a dish which I like very much and also my husband's favorite.

Székely goulash (or székelykáposzta)
originally uploaded by Nóra

We call this dish "székely goulash" in spite of it's nor really goulash and neither originates from Transylvania. (The "székely" word means the székely people, who are a Hungarian speaking ethnic groups and mostly living in Transylvania. Before the first world war Transylvania was a part of Hungary. ) But our székely goulash got the name from a Hungarian journalist, who's name was József Székely. (He lived in 19th century.)
According to legend one day evening Mr. Székely was very hungry, so he went to a restaurant, but there everything had already been consumed, except some meat and some sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). "Please mix them!" said he sadly, but finally he consoled himself with the result.:)

My székely goulash is also legendary. For years before, when I've started to work my salary was very low. That time every day eating in the restaurant would have been very expensive to me, hence I always used to pack and carry the foods with me to my workplace. One day my favorite colleague Tamás (whose salary was also very low) ate my leftover lunch, which certainly was székely goulash. He found it very very delicious. :) So few weeks later on his birthday I surprised him with it, instead of a birthday cake or other birthday gift :) He appreciated both of the székely goulash and my humor :)

Oh my husband correct me just now, he says that the székely goulash is not his fav dish, only the székely goulash what I cooked :)

Actually here is the time to disclose the secrets of my székely goulash. I always use vecsési sauerkraut. This is one of the most important secret of a good székely goulash.

Vecsési sauerkraut (pickled cabbage)
originally uploaded by Nóra
(More photos about vecsési cabbage and cabbage festival you can see here),

Ingredients:
1/2 kilo meat (pork shoulder/leg or turkey's leg), 1 kilo sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), 1 medium onion, 1 tbs red paprika powder, water, oil, salt and ground black pepper and marjoram to taste, ingredietns for the roux: 1 cup sour cream, 1 tbs flour

Instructions:

1. Make a pörkölt (stew). I mean that heat the oil in a large pot and the sliced onions and sauté until they get a nice golden brown color. Add the meat cube and sauté together until the meat begin to whiten. Sprinkle them with paprika powder and sauté a bit more. Add the salt and ground black pepper and marjoram, pour water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat for the meat is half-cooked.

2. Rinse the sauerkraut a little right (so it's not to sour too). After steam the sauerkraut on oil until it's half-cooked.

3. Add the steamed sauerkraut to the pörkölt and cooked together until the meat cubes and sauerkraut are also softened.

4. Mix a flour with the sour cream in a soup-plate and add one big spoon soup, mixed well. When cool enough the soup carefully add the whole mixed and boil again.

5. Finally if necessary add more spice and a little (just one or two teaspoon) juice of rinsed sauerkraut. This step is the second most important secret.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pörkölt (stew)

My this week's post on the Hungary starts here blog:
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I chose the pörkölt for today, because lot of Hungarian specialties are based on our national stew (pörkölt). If you know how the pörkölt is made, you are one step closer to preparing some typical Hungarian foods, especially a very tasty goulash.

Hungarian beef stew (Marhapörkölt)
originally uploaded by Danburg Murmur

The history of pörkölt is very closely related to the history of the traditional Hungarian goulash. Both of them were originally peasant dish and both have the use of much paprika powder in common.
Pörkölt derives from the Hungarian verb "pörkölni" which means "to roast" or "to singe". Any kinds of meat can be used when making pörkölt. Most common are beef, lamb, chicken and pork, but tripe can also be used or even fish. If thick sour cream added to pörkölt it will become what the Hungarians call a paprikás. When making paprikás, only light meat like chicken, veal or pork is used.

You can find many prökölt and paprikás variations on the Hungarian restaurant's menus. For example beef stew, chicken stew (csirkepörkölt or csirke paprikás, lamb pörkölt and tripe pörkölt (which we call it pacalpörkölt)

Chicken stew (we call it csirkepörkölt or csirkepaprikás or paprikás csirke)
originally uploaded by add.me

Probably these photos made you hungry and finally you would like to know the recipe, too.

Ingredients:
(for 4 person)
80 dkg meat, 2 medium onion, 3 tbs oil, 1 tbs red paprika powder, 1 green pepper, 1 medium tomato, water, ground black pepper, salt and ground caraway seed to taste, and if you like you may add marjoram and 1 clove of garlic, too

Prepare:
1. Heat the oil in a large pot add to the chopped onions and garlic and sauté until they get a golden brown color.
2. Add the meat cube and sauté together until the meat begin to whiten.
3. Sprinkle them with paprika powder and sauté a bit more.
4. Add the tomato green pepper and spices.
5. Add water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat until the meat is cooked.
6. Make a roux from 1 tbs flour and 2 dl sour cream, or don't make roux just serve with sour cream like in Vöröspotakocsi Restaurant in Budapest.

originally uploaded by CarolLow

Pörkölt is commonly served with home-made gnocchi (galuska or nokdeli), but we love to eat with potato and bread, or tarhonya (pasta grains) or other kind of pasta and with pickled apple-paprika or any other kind of pickles.
Actually if you are lazy to prepare gnocchi or you just simply don’t like washing up after gnocchi cooking, serve the pörkölt with pasta, like me :)

originally uploaded by Nóra

Bon Apetit!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Made of cottage cheese

After the Hungarian cottage cheese dumplings here are some another Hungarian dishes, which are also made of cottage :)
Hope you like them too!

My cottage cheese cake
originally uploaded by Nóra


strudel stuffed with cottage cheese
originally uploaded by nicole b


túrós csusza
originally uploaded by beatafrancis


originally uploaded by Nóra

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cottage cheese dumplings

The Hungarian cottage cheese or "túró" (as we call it in Hungarian) has a special slightly sour flavor and a grainy consistency.

Many years ago when I was in Sweden on the last day (what I spent with my Hungarian friends in Göteborg) we wanted to surprise our Swedish hosts with pancakes stuffed with cottage. So we went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients, especially cottage cheese, but we didn't find anything, what is same type of cottage cheese like the Hungarian "túró". So our plan was unsuccessful, we realized that this food is not known in Sweden. They also have cottage, but that is different from ours.
Few years later I spent a month with a scholarship in Belgium and my experience was the same. The Belgian cottage cheese (quark) is somewhere in between the Hungarian túró and our sour cream and very delicious, but of course I like mostly the Hungarian version :)

Here you can see the Hungarian cottage cheese dumplings (túrógombóc) :)


The cottage cheese dumpling is one of my favorite desserts. I guess you would like to know the recipe. So, here you go :)

Ingredients:
500 gram cottage cheese
1 egg
9 tbs grits
salt to taste
bread crumbs
1 liter water for cooking
oil for toasting the bread crumbs

Prepare:
1. Mix well the main ingredients (cottage, grits and egg). Add little salt to taste.
2. Create dumpling forms.
3. Let rest the dumplings for at least 30 minutes.
4. Cook a few dumplings at a time in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. After cooking put them in toasted bread crumbs.
5. Finally sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with sour cream.

I hope that nobody will steal your sour cream, how my daughter did when she was around one year old :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Palóc Soup or Palóc Goulash

My this week's post from the Hungary starts here blog:
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In the previous post I've shared with you the recipe and history of the Hungarian Goulash Soup. Today I would like to show you our another goulash as I'd promised.
Well, this is our Palóc Goulash or Palóc Soup, which is similar like our national goulash, but different. It is because palóc goulash consists of more ingredients (for example French beans and sour cream) and originally it's made of lamb, hence before sharing the recipe let me share with you the history of this dish too.

originally uploaded by Nora

The "palóc" word means the Palóc Country , which is home to Hungary’s largest Catholic ethnic minority. Although it is difficult to establish exactly the origin and spread of the Palóc people, the Palóc country extends from the Mátra to around the Rima and Sajó valleys, and from the Bükk Hills west to the marshes of the Ipoly. But the palóc soup is originated really not from the Palóc Country, our palóc soup got the name from Kálmán Mikszáth , who was a well known novelist and the major palóc in Hungary. He made the phrase "The Slovak Kinsmen and the Good Palóc People" famous in the 19th century. According to legend this soup was created for him by János Gundel (or Johann Gundel), who established the most famous Hungarian catering dynasty.
The legend was simply: Mikszáth wanted to eat a special dish, which consists of all elements of the the Hungarian tastes and cuisine, hence János Gundel surprised him with the palóc soup on his birthday.

Now let's take a look at the recipe!
Ingredients:
60 dkg lamb (but honestly I've never cooked from lamb, so I guess you can prepare with whichever meats you may find in the fridge (beef, prok, chicken or turkey)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium chopped onions
2-3 small cloves of garlic
3 carrots
1 turnip
1-2 celery leafs
parsley
4 medium sliced potatoes
1 and 1/2 tablespoon Hungarian red paprika powder
ground black pepper and salt to taste water
450 gram French (green) beans
2dl sour cream
1 tbs flour

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and the sliced onions and sauté until they get a nice golden brown color. Add the meat cube and sauté together until the meat begin to whiten. Sprinkle them with paprika powder and sauté a bit more.
2. Add the salt and ground black pepper and the pressed garlics, pour water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat for the meat is half-cooked. Add the diced vegetables, the celery leaf, and parsley and some more salt if necessary and add some more (2-3 cups) water too.
3. When the vegetables are already half softened put it in the green beans.
4. When the beans and the meat are almost tender add the sliced potatoes. Let it cook until the potatoes are also soften.
5. Mix a flour with the sour cream in a soup-plate and add one big spoon soup, mixed well. When cool enough the soup carefully add the whole mixed and boil again.

Well, this soup is not really a palóc dish, but the recipe with the sour flavors is not far from the world of the palóc kitchen and the soup is also central in the palóc cooking.

If you travel to Hungary don't forget to taste the really palóc dishes beside the plaóc soup and visit the Palóc Country, because not only the foods are delicious in this part of Hungary, but it's famous for the folklore and the whole countryside is wonderful.

Hollókő (the most famous part of the Hungarian Palóc Country)
originally uploaded by Zsolt

Have a nice trip and Bon Apetit! :)

Nóra

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hungarian goulash

My weekly post on the Hungary starts here blog:
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Let's continue our travel to the rich world of Hungarian flavors. I'm sure if you hear that Hungarian culinary, you immediately associate it with the paprika, goulash, goulash soup and bogrács goulash. Actually do you know what's the different between the goulash and the goulash soup and what is the exactly meaning of goulash and bogrács?
Well, as you know goulash, we call it "gulyás",pronounced "goo-yash" is our traditional spicy beef dish, the gulyás word originally means herdsman, while bogrács means the big pot over the open wood fire.

Bean goulash
originally uploaded by Hungaro phantasto

Our "bogrács" word is Ottoman Turk of origin "bakrac" means copper-kettle and the use of the stew-pot is originated in the nomad civilization. (More photos about bogrács you can see here.)

The authentic Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew, it is somewhere in between.

Goulash was a very popular dish among herdsmen in Hungary and of course they made it in bogrács. The popularity this peasant dish due to development of our national conscious. The Hungarians felt their cultural identity was threatened by the far-reaching reforms of the Holy Roman emperor and Hungarian King Joseph II, which were implemented after his mother's death in 1780. As the result from the second half of 18th century that every Hungarian thing (culture, language, folk dance, foods and beverages) came to have significance for them to protest against the Germanized politics. The Hungarians wanted to assert their independence, the national characteristic of the Magyars, everywhere, even in their gastronomy, and so goulash became highly fashionable. The dish that had until then been eaten only by herdsmen using wooden spoons and from a shared kettle, was now served in the manor houses at elegant tables bedecked with porcelain and silver cutlery. And from there it moved on - or perhaps we should say back - to the simple folk outside the Great Plain, where it finally became common property.

Restaurants started to put goulash on their menus too and by the second half of the 20th century the soup became the most popular dish of Hungary.

There are several other Hungarian dishes with goulash in their name, for example székely goulash (goulash with sauerkraut), bab goulash (goulash with bean), palóc gulyás (goulash with green bean). (I'll tell about them next time.)

In the beginning of November the weather is already too cold to cook in outside, but don't worry! Just follow my instructions step by step and use a big pot in your well heated kitchen, like me :)

originally uploaded by Nora


Ingredients:

60-70 dkg beef shoulder (or pork leg if you don't like beef), 2 tablespoons oil, 2 medium chopped onions, 3 carrots, 1 turnip, 1/2 celery, 1-2 celery leafs, parsley, 1 medium tomato, 1 fresh green pepper, 4-5 medium sliced potatoes, 1 and 1/2 tablespoon Hungarian red paprika powder, 1 teaspoon ground caraway seed, ground black pepper and salt to taste, water, you may add Hungarian paprika creams (pirosarany and gulyáskrém, if you have)

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and the sliced onions and sauté until they get a nice golden brown color. Add the beef cube and sauté together until the meat begin to whiten. Sprinkle them with paprika powder and sauté a bit more.

2. Add the ground caraway seed, some salt and ground black pepper, pour water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat for the meat is half-cooked. Add the diced vegetables, the celery leaf, and parsley and some more salt if necessary and add some more (2-3 cups) water too.

3. When the vegetables and the meat are almost tender add the sliced potatoes, in half sliced tomato and green pepper. Let it cook until the potatoes are also soften.

If you like "csipetke" (Hungarian salt pinched dumpling) make it and put it into your soup! Here you can see my csipetke recipe.

This was my recipe, but better if you know there are no two Hungarians who cook the goulash soup in the same way. Here is another version:



Please send us how successful was your first own goulash attempt!
Have a good cooking!
Nóra