Month: August 2011

Two wows in one summer in Europa

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I am invited to two weddings (one in Italy and one in Belgium) this summer and apropos of these fascinating events I had some interesting thoughts what I would like to share with you

What to wear or get ready to look your best!

Whenever I open my wedding album I am still satisfied with my gown my then choise. I wore a white gown with blue flowers patterned leaves. I loved my dress very much not because I looked good in it but I think it reflected my personality.

I was very young (19 years young) in that time but I had already been aware of the fact that is really important what you wear in a big event, even if you are not the bride just a relative or guest because what will remain of the special occasion? The photographs. And you will eventually rely on them to remember the event, the people, how did they look like and later you share it with your family, friends, your children and as the years pass with the grandchildren. And people will judge you according to what they see.

In my opinion the best dress should celebrate your individual beauty, your stature, your style. And now don’t grunt out saying that there is no dress for you (because of this and that) there is a dress for every figure but the only way to find the one for yours is trying on lots and lots of different sytles. And don’t be afraid of the experiment. I followed this rule.

I did my wedding dress search with my mom. I had prepared her well in advance that I wanted a bohemian wedding dress or Midsummer night style fairy gown, like Titania’s in Shakespeare’s famous comedy but nothing traditional. “Don’t worry! –answered my mom because she had always loved shopping (so had I, running in family) but we were not prepared for that much fuss what we would go through.  Two weeks before my wedding day we were really looking forward to the day when we would hit my hometown, Budapest and would start our shopping maze. And the day sat in. When in some hours later we had already checked all wedding departments, stores and by the way my mom started to develop a hatred toward shopping but when I was about trying on the dress number 52, we both knew that that was the right dress for me. Just as I knew about the guy I wanted to marry. I looked at myself in the mirror like Charlotte in the Sex and city and it hit me. I was a bride. Everything was perfect, the silhouette, the proportion of my body and of dress. My mom heaved a sigh of relief and was ready to pay but I stopped her with an exclaimation “but mom what about my head tiara?” She sunk in herself and was close to give up. She had just realized that I did not belong to those brides who dreamed of walking down the aisle wearing a headpiece or veil. I wanted something extravagant that defines my personality with panache and just a hint of coquetry. But when I told her about my ideas such as –„only a flower wreath would do the job for me”- because it is more unconventional, and little more surprising than the typical headpieces and veils, she started to itemize many dramatic, romantic, whimsical, or traditional veils what she had seen in wedding magazins, hats such as the Duchess of Windsor wore, blue straw halo-style hat trimmed with pink and blue coq feathers, or Rita Hayworth’s enormous cartwheel, and Grace Kelly’s a Juliet cap that matched the lace of her gown. But I was a rebel and stubborn, I told her I’d rather had a Dutch bonnet or a mob cap than a ridiculous veil. -“Yes sure with the clogs!”-quirked my mom with a sarcasm.

But I really meant that. I saw in a previous shop a Dutch bonnet with the same pattern and colour such as my dress. Unfortunatelly my mom was exhausted and she didn’t feel like going back to that certain shop so finally I had to give up. And guess what I wore? A veil with white flower tiara!!! Uhh I try to forget it…but in spite of this little mishap my wedding was an incredible experience, my only regret was that (not only the bridal veil) I loved my wedding dress very much so I wanted to wear it again and again. Since my wedding many years had passed but my husband and I have been several times bride and groom in Halloween-carnival time. And I am happy because I have two daugthers and when it will be their turns I hope they can get as much enjoyment as I did from this very special dress.

Everyone loves a party-the coctail hour

The key to a perfect wedding is sharing the experience with those who close to you. Many couples today are choosing to keep their weddings small and personal. But that doesn’t mean newlyweds have lost their will to party. To satisfy both impulses, some couples opt for a quiet wedding followed by a large reception closer to their home. So that will be the case of the couple, (our friends) whose wedding will be held in Belgium on 24 of September. They will get married near Brussels before 30 guests, then later 150 people are invited to their garden party’s. I am really looking forward to the feast because they are strict vegetarians. I hope their vendor knows the guests tastes.

However my younger brother’s wedding, who is going to tie the knot in Italy (on 29th of August in Positano, Amalfi island) will be a formal traditional wedding, with the wow in the little, picturesque church of Positano followed by the dinner but he will hold a post-wedding bash in Hungary, for guests from both families. We are excited because when you have a separate party it trends to less formal.

A hundred years old recipe book and my tuna steak with caper and potato beignet

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Today when I discussed with my husband what’s for lunch he told me jockingly: I want to have the usual five stars menu! All right-I nodded with disapproval- but I still don’t know what to make? But he didn’t care he kissed me and left for work.

But 1 hour later meanwhile I was torturing my body at the gym’s (pilates) suddenly my grandma’s best potato beignet crossed my mind! When I was already about stretching I had already recalled how did they taste..so heureka! that will be for lunch today!

After having a shower I ran immediately to my bookshelf and searched for my grandma’s 100 years old recipe book (she passed me over and I have just spruced up the cook book recently). I have found it!

the recipe follows

Tuna steak with caper and potato beignet with crunchy vegetables

Ingredients for the beignets: 2-4 potatoes ( 4 potatoes for four persons) cooked, 1 egg, 100 or more grs flour, 100 ml milk, 2 grs yeast, pinch of sugar, salt, oil for frying

for the tuna: 4 steaks of tuna fish,  3 tbs oil or butter, salt, pepper, mustard, capers (8-10) 1 dl cream, 1 tbs of soy sauce

Direction:

1. Cook potatoes. When they are well cooked peel them.

2.In a bowl, stir together the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand in a warm place until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

3. In an other bowl toss the flour with the salt and stir well. Add the egg and yeast mixture to the well. Using a wooden spoon, incorporate the flour into the liquid ingredients.

4. Smash potatoes and add into flour-yeast mixture. Work everything together one more time until dough is smooth.

5. Heat oil and add dough one by one with a help of a soup spoon and fry them until golden brown.

The tuna steak (my own recipe)

1. Salt and pepper fish. Heat butter, add fish. Cook for 3 minutes on each sides. Put aside.

2. Add mustard, capers. Cook for 2 minutes. Set back fish steaks and pour over cream.

3. Add soy sauce. Serve in hot with the beignets and the fried or cooked vegetables.

Sponge cake with marmalade and grated walnut

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 Ingredients: 250 gr sugar, 250 gr flour, 250 gr butter or margarin, 5 eggs, baking powder, one pinch of salt, lemon zest,  juice of a half lemon and 1 tbs of rum, jam or marmalade or fresh fruit purée as you wish

on the top: 150 gr grated walnuts and bitter chocolate fondant or flakes

Directions:

1. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and preheat oven to 350° F /200 Celsius

In a medium sized bowl, mix the cake flour, salt, and baking powder together with a fork.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly after each one.

3. Put dry ingredients in a sifter and sift approximately 1/3 into the egg mixture. Add the lemon zest and fold the flour and lemon zest into the mixture. Add lemon juice and rum. Continue with remaining 1/2 of flour until all of the ingredients have been blended together. Pour into prepared cake pans.

4. Bake for 25 minutes or until cakes are set; they will have pulled away from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and turn out onto wire racks to cool.

5. When the cake is cool, cut into half and spread marmalade on top of one cake, reserving a spoonful for the top of the cake if desired. Place the second cake on top of that and place the reserved marmalade in the center of the top layer. Grate fondant choco on top and toss grated walnut. Serve with cream.

Not only easy but also delicious!

Hungarian stuffed peppers

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Stuffed pepper–paprika is as popular dish in the Hungarian cuisine as the stuffed cabbage.

We took over from the Turks but since centuries the recipe had been varied and became a classic dish. Today the usual procedure is: meat, ground beef or pork and beef (in Croatia and Slovenia) is mixed with rice, diced red onion, egg, salt, herbs and spices, like garlic, ground black pepper, ground paprika and parsley. However it is easy to make but extremely delicious. In Hungary the paprika is served with tomato sauce and sour cream.

Ingredients: half kilo minced meat, 2 tbs oil, 4 bell peppers, 1 clove garlic, 150 gr rice, 1 onion (chopped), salt, pepper, paprika powder, 1 tomato sauce (can), 1 or two tbs of sugar, sour cream to serve 

Direction:
1. Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Rinse peppers under cold water and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté garlic, chopped onion and rice together over medium heat, add some water to rice. Finish cooking after five minutes. 

3. Combine minced meat with the pre-cooked rice, add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, paprika powder and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well ingredients and stuff paprikas with the meat and laid out in a large pot (tops facing up). Add enough water to completely cover the peppers. 

4. Boil the stew until the peppers become visibly soft on the outside and the water reduces down to half.

5. The thickening agent for the gravy is browned roux or flour and water. Reduce heat and add tomato paste (or even pasta sauce can be added) mix well into the gravy. Flavor it with 1 or two tablespoons of sugar.

6. Serve dish with sour cream and fresh bread (in certain region it can be served with mashed potatoes).

The dish is called punjena paprika in Serbo-Croatian, Polneti Piperki in Macedonian, Plnená Paprika in Slovak, and Töltött paprikain Hungarian, meaning “stuffed peppers”. The dish is popular in Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. There are also many variations of the dish across the Balkans.