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Plum dumpling with white chocolate-poppy seeds sauce

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Hungarian, Austrian plum dumplings, known as szilvás gombóccan be eaten as dessert, a meatless main dish or side dish. At the Croatian and Check dumplings, the dough is made with freshly mashed potatoes. This dough, however, is rolled with a pin, rather than formed into dumplings by hand.

But to return to the plum dumplings they are essential part of the German, Rumanian, Croatian and Check cuisine. In Germany it is very popular to finish the dinner with them. Lately I was invited to a party where I was offered with plum dumpling with white chocolate-poppy sauce! It was divine!

Ingredients: 5 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed and cooled (don’t use leftovers)

2 large eggs 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 18 damson or Italian prune plums, washed and pitted, 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, 1 1/2 cups very fine breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar,

for the white chocolate sauce: 1 bar of fondant chocolate, cooked poppy seeds, 1 tbsp of Limoncello liqueur

  1. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, and salt. When well combined, add flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
  2. Place a large pot of salted water on to boil.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/3 inch. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place a plum in the center of each square and fold in half, pressing out all air and sealing the edges. Moisten edges before crimping if necessary to seal.
  4. Carefully drop filled dumplings individually  into boiling water. Repeat until all plums are in the water. Cook 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet, add breadcrumbs and brown. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove dumplings to a colander to drain. Place skillet back on the heat and add dumplings, coating with buttered crumbs.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Prepare sauce, melt chocolate over steamed water, add liqueur and poppy. Mix well and before serving the dumplings melt it again then pour over dumplings!

 

 

 

Summer fruit delicacies

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During the month of June and July, so many home-grown summer fruits are at their best, among cherries, currants, gooseberries, raspberries, loganberries and tayberries, and of course the inimitable strawberry. I love cherries in the hand, a great snack, but they equal pleasure cooked, both in sweet and savory dishes. It is said that they are over 2000 varieties of cherries in the planet, and in parts of Italy they claim to have been growing them for at least 2000 years. Most cherries are derived from two species-the sour or Morello cherry and the wild or sweet cherry.

Gooseberries seem to be a particularly British and Hungarian fruit to me, and in fact there aren’t many gooseberry recipes from other countries in Europe. Like cherries, they can be used in both sweet and savory contexts, poached and plain, baked in sweet pies or pounded in a fool, or famously, as a tart sauce to accompany mackerel. Raspberries are one of my favorite fruits, and the best in June and July, when the summer days are long. But the prime June-July for me is the strawberry. The original fruit was the wild variety of fragaria vesca, which is native to both North America and northern Europe (it is thought to be circumpolar that by some botanical miracle, it passed across the pole). The name in English comes from the Anglo-Saxon streow, to scatter or strew, and refers to the runners which stray out from the plant in all directions. Both garden strawberries and wild or Alpine strawberries are at their peak of perfection during these summer months, exemplified by their appearance at many European summer sporting occasions.

Cointreau champagne raspberries or strawberries

Served almost iced on a hot day provide probably one of the coolest and easiest of desserts. A spoonful of sweet vanilla whipped cream, is all that is needed to complete this dessert.

serves 4

Ingredients: 450 g raspberries, 1 teaspoon of finely grated orange zest, 3-4 tbsps of champagne, 1 tbsp of icing sugar, plus more for sprinkling, 2 tbsps of Cointreau

for the vanilla whipped cream: 1 vanilla pod, 150 ml double whipping cream, 1 heaped tbsp of icing sugar

Directions: Blend 100 gr of the raspberries with the orange zest 3 tbsps of the champagne and the tbsp of icing sugar, then strain through a fine sieve. The extra tbsp of champagne can be added for a stronger flavor, if needed. chill until ready to serve.

Separate remaining raspberries between four dessert glasses or bowls, then sprinkle each portion with icing sugar and the Cointreau. These can also be refrigerated until needed.

To make the vanilla whipped cream, split the vanilla pod, scraping the seeds from each half. Add the seeds to the cream in a chilled bowl, along with the icing sugar. Whisk until soft-peak stage and the cream is ready to serve. The addition of the icing sugar to the cream will help maintain the creamy consistency for up to 1 hour comfortably, providing i is kept in refrigerated.

just before serving, spoon the champagne raspberry sauce over each bowl of raspberries, offering them with the flavored whipped cream.István király 132

Fried polenta

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P1120513My husband hated the polenta, because of a bad childhood memory. Me, I have never eaten it before but I could live without it. Then we were in France (in 2014) at the Cote D’Azur and we went to Camargue and I ordered it in a small, cosy restaurant. I liked it so much I even asked the waitress for some more information about the way it was prepared! Then returning home I interviewed my Italian friend who praised this dish. He couldn’t stop talking about it! He told me that in the past it was the staple food of the poor people in Italy. So I gave a try and prepared a polenta dish and my husband loved it! He found it so delicious he even wanted to be sure it’s really “the polenta” what he disliked so much in the past?

Ingredients: 3 cups milk or water, 1 cup polenta, 2 eggs, butter, oil for frying

Methods: Bring water or milk to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Pour in polenta steadily, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until polenta is thickened. It should come away from sides of the pan, and be able to support a spoon. This can take anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes (not true for me it took 15 minutes non-stop stirring) Pour polenta onto a wooden cutting board, let stand for a few minutes. Then add two eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Make balls or cut out from the dough nice baking forms. Put into oven and bake or fry them in oil.

Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal that was historically made from other grains. It may be served as a hot porridge, or it may be allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled. The dish is associated with Northern  and Central Italy. The only problem with the polenta that it takes a long time to cook, simmering in four to five times its volume of watery liquid for about 45 minutes with near-constant stirring; this is necessary for even gelatinization of the starch. Some alternative cooking techniques have been invented to speed up the process, or to not require constant supervision. Quick-cooking (pre-cooked, instant) polenta is widely used and is prepared in just a few minutes; it is considered inferior to polenta made from unprocessed cornmeal and is best eaten after being baked or fried. That was the way I have done! Polenta can also be prepared with porcini mushrooms, rapini or other vegetables or meats, such as small songbirds (in the case of the Venetian and Lombard dish polenta e osei).

Some Lombard polenta dishes are polenta taragna (which includes buckwheat flour), polenta uncia, polenta concia, polenta e gorgonzola and missultin e polenta—all are cooked with various cheeses and butter, except missultin e polenta, which is cooked with fish from Lake Como where George Clooney lives. In some areas of the Veneto region, it can also be made from white cornmeal (mais biancoperla, once called polenta bianca). In some areas of Piedmont in the northwest, it can also be made from potatoes instead of cornmeal. In the westernmost alpine region, the maize is sometimes combined with local grains like barley and rye (polente bâtarde or polente barbare), and often frichâ and toasted on a loza (thin refractory stone)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buchteln Viennoise with vanilla sauce or strawberry compote

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1010821_10152049210115830_1150624628_nBuchteln (Buchtel; also Ofennudel, Rohrnudel), are sweet rolls made of yeast dough, filled with jam, ground poppy seeds or curd and baked in a large pan so that they stick together. The traditional Buchtel is filled with plum Powidl jam. In Germany they are often topped with vanilla sauce, powdered sugar or just eaten plain and warm. Buchteln are served mostly as a dessert but can also be used as a main dish.

The origin of the Buchteln is the region of Bohemia, but they play a major part in the Austrian Slovak Slovenian, and Hungarian cuisine too. (In Bavaria the Buchteln are called Rohrnudeln, in Serbian buhtle or buhtla, in Hungarian bukta, in Croatian buhtle, in Polish buchta, and in Czech buchta).

In Vienna the Buchtel has become famous during the period of Biedermeier due to an enterprising innkeeper. Originally, in Vienna yeast delicacies were filled with jam or fruit. The smart innkeeper filled the Buchteln with lottery cards und sold them at a good price. The Viennese were excited and bought many, many Buchteln. Today, the Buchtel is still very popular in Vienna. It tastes especially delicious with vanilla sauce!

Ingredients for 4: 100 ml  milk, 250 g (2 ¼ cups) flour, 35 g (1/8 cup) sugar, 10 g (1/16 cup) yeast, 40 g (1/8 cup) soft butter, 2 egg yolks, salt, 1/2 lemon (rind, grated), flour (for the work surface), butter (melted), icing sugar (for dusting)

For the vanilla sauce: 3 egg yolks, 150 (0,3 pt) ml milk, 125 ml  (0,2 pt) cream, 60 g (1/4 cup) sugar, 1/2 pod vanilla (cut open)

Prepare a sponge with lukewarm milk, yeast and 1/3 of the flour. Dust with a little flour and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place. Then add the rest of the flour, sugar, egg yolks, lemon rind a pinch of salt. Knead into a half-stiff dough. Finally, work in some butter. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise again until the bulk has increased considerably.

On a floured surface, roll the dough flat to about 2 cm. With a cutter, cut out pieces about 6 cm in diameter, fold and close the edges tightly at the top. Dip each piece one by one in the melted butter and place them closely side-by-side in a well greased baking tray with the folded edge facing down. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C for about 20-30 minutes until golden yellow. Separate them to serve, and sprinkle over icing sugar.

For the vanilla sauce, heat the milk and vanilla pod. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Beat the egg yolks and sugar. Gradually stir in the milk (without the vanilla pod) and keep stirring on medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly. Place the pot in a bowl, filled with iced water and allow to cool, stirring now and again. When the sauce is cold, fold in some whipped cream.

Enjoy with: Sweet wine

PS: Buchteln desserts are the specialty of the Café Hawelka in Vienna and are made according to a very, old and secret family recipe!

 

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Roast chicken au Porto

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P1070301Chicken cream, and mushroom is one of the best combination. This perfectly delicious French recipe is not difficult at all, but it can not be prepared ahead of time or the chicken will lose its fresh and juicy quality!

The chicken is roasted, then carved, flamed in cognac,  (that’s my fav part) and allowed to steep for several minutes with cream, mushrooms and port wine. It is the kind of dish to do when you are entertaining a few good, food loving friends whom you can receive in your kitchen

Ingredients: 60 g flour for dredging, 5 chicken legs, 30 g butter 60 ml port wine, 120 ml dry white wine, 120 ml chicken stock, 250 gr mushrooms, 30 ml heavy cream

Directions

1.      Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour.

2.      Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in the preheated skillet until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Pour the port, white wine, and chicken stock over the chicken, and add the mushrooms around the skillet.

3.      Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmer until chicken is fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and cover with foil.

4.      Bring the sauce in the skillet to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in the cream and pour over the chicken to serve. You can accompany dish by parsley potatoes, buttered pasta or fresh vegetable. And a full bodied red Burgundy or Beaujolais!

Stuffed kohlrabi with a twist

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P1120146.JPGHave you ever eaten kohlrabi? If not it’s high time to give a try. 

Some info about it: These little “UFO”-shaped vegetables come in green or purple, can be eaten raw or cooked, and taste a bit like broccoli stems, but milder and slightly sweeter. And very important to say that kohlrabi is not a root vegetable. It’s a brassica—like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower—and those cute bulbous shapes grow above ground, not below.

Kohlrabi is a rather versatile vegetable when it comes to how to prepare. It is usually eaten raw—peeled, sliced and added to a salad or used for serving with a dip.

Ingredients: 4 medium kohlrabi, 1 large finely chopped onion, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or oil, 1 pound ground uncooked beef or ground leftover cooked beef, veal, pork or lamb, 2 large eggs, salt and pepper to taste, 1 1/2 cups broth of choice, 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions: Parboil kohlrabi for 20 minutes. Cool until they can be handled. Peel away the tough, outer skin. Cut a bit off the root end so they will stand straight. Cut off the tops and reserve, and scoop out the flesh of the bulbs, leaving at least a 1/4-inch wall, and chop it finely.
In a medium skillet, sauté onions and chopped scooped-out kohlrabi in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter until tender. Transfer to a large bowl, and combine with 1 pound meat of choice, 2 large eggs, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff hollowed kohlrabi with meat mixture, place in dish and place kohlrabi tops on. Pour the 1 1/2 cups broth of choice over the kohlrabi. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until tender. Serve with sour cream.

You can use the leaves of the kohlrabi as well! It gives a very unique aroma to dish, its mildly sour flavor similar to Greek stuffed grape leaves!

Almond pancake filled with spinach and peas

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P1120157.JPGIngredients for the pancake: 160 g flour, (I used Italian chestnut flour), 500 ml almond milk, 3 eggs, 75 gr young spinach, water, salt, oil

For the filling: 120 gr peas, 75 gr spinach or 1 zucchini,  1-2 cloves garlic, grated, fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional), 2 tbsp olive oil or butter, 2 tbsp lemon juice, sea salt, 200 gr goat cheese or feta, ricotta, 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, 100 ml cream

Directions: First prepare pancake! Pour almond milk in a bowl. Add three eggs, a pinch of salt. Place the baby spinach leaves into a mixer. Purée it. Add spinach to almond milk. Add chestnut flour to milk mixture. Spoon 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Start to make pancakes: hit oil, fry pancakes on both sides for 1-to minutes.

When the pancakes are ready put them aside.

Prepare veggies: Sprinkle butter into a frying pan. Squeeze garlics, put to oil or butter. Add grated ginger as well. Simmer both for one minutes then add spinach and peas to dish. Salt and pepper to taste. Flavor with caraway seeds and Garam masala. Pour over some water and 100 ml cream. Wait until liquid evaporates a bit and the veggie filling become dense. Toss some feta cheese on top and cook everything together for one more minutes.

To serve: Fill each pancakes with the veggies. Roll pancakes as you wish, but definitely add more cheese to filling. Garnish them with fresh cilantro.

The almond pancake with chestnut flour is just a sensational treatment for us! It’s fluffy  and light and divine!P1120161.JPG