Monthly Archives: May 2011

Ahoj Slovensko!

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Máte krásne hory!  Ja by som rád vyprážaný syr !

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Easy-peasy ratattouile

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Ideal for a quick, light meal of 300 kcal (or a budget meal after frantic shopping in  Duty Free.. )

1 aubergine – 1 courgette – 2 small onions (red and white)- leeks – 1 tbsp grape seed oil – a can of tomatoes – basil, oregano, salt, pepper – Maggi spice

Heat oil, add chopped onions and cook till transparent. Add sliced aubergine and courgette, stir fry for  a few minutes. A tip from Jamie:  make some space in the middle of the pan, pour some more oil and let it heat up.  Add spices and let them mix with the fat – it’ll get an intense flavour! Stir, add canned tomatoes (I added 2 fresh ones as well). Simmer under cover for 20 mins, remove the cover and let the sauce thickened.

For more interesting taste add balsamic vinegar, pinch of sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Me, I added Maggi, spices  and lots of pepper.

Fresh grounded pepper makes it right.

Eat, freeze or give away.

Wash the dishes.

Bun Boom Tuesday

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Today hot iron was.. in the kitchen oven (I hate that new gym – couldn’t get to classes again)

Basically, I like to have my morning coffee with a croissant, a few pieces of pogaca, cinamon roll ,etc. The thing is, there’s no nice bakery on my way  home-office and after Italian brioche al cioccolato it became really hard to please me. So! I got an idea to exercise some DIY and got this recipe, it comes from  a Polish granny of a friend of mine.  I got the privilege to name the recipe as:

Morning Buns – 10pcs

0,5kg flour
5 dkg yeast
3 eggs
1/2 glass of milk
1/4 margarine
3/4 glass of sugar

Crubmles:

1tbs margarine
1/2 tbsp sugar
flour (as much as margarine will absorb)

Boil milk with margarine. Cool down. Add yeast mixed with a tablespoon of sugar, add flour, eggs, sugar. I use a wooden spoon to let the ingredients mix. Put into a warm place for 30 min.

Knead the dough and roll over  the board – should be 2 cm thick.  Cut big circles out of the dough using a glass, top with a spoon of  the filling (jam, nutella, anything) I did that with one  heaped tablespoon of jam but it appeared not to be enough after all so next time I will make it double. Cover jam-filled circles with dough and form buns.

I didn’t care to make them a perfect ball shape – real home baking must be a bit fuzzy !

Let the buns grow for around half an hour (somehow I missed this line in the recipe and went straight to baking but that was still ok).

Smear beaten egg over the buns and scatter with crumbles (margarine mixed with sugar and flour)

bake till golden in 190 C degrees..

There they are! House smells beautifully and I have supplied myself with breakfast for the next 10 days with as little as 2 Euro! Buns are now put into the freezer. Can’t wait to make another round.

Sicily trip

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I saw: Palermo, Catania, Syracusa and Taormina.

Palermo: I regret I didn’t see enough of it! Must be back.

Catania: the place lacks beaches and seashore is not easily accessible. The only beach there smells. Tourist centre is dirty, noisy and expensive. It’s Italy at it’s worst.I also had a feeling it’s not really safe..  It’s rather ‘could have been beautiful’ city..  Most of the restaurants are tourist-targeted which means you get minimum quality for a max. price. And a real suffering for me: you cannot eat properly during the day: only pasticceria – gelaterias and coffee bars are open. No lunch spots except of pizzeria fast foods. Breakfast was a croissant and a coffee only..Truly Italian. I didn’t feel good in Catania and I have no desire to be back there. Ok, maybe for Etna , my biggest  Sicilian fascination 🙂

I am dying to spend a long holidays in Taormina! Such a beautiful place: rocks, mountains, clean waters of Ionian Sea ,excellent food, not too much packed with tourists (May), not very expensive, picturesque little town for afternoon walks – perfetto!

Siracusa is for ruin-lovers: nice ancient town.. nothing spectacular – more for a weekend break rather than hols.

Yes, Ireland is a green island. But Sicily in May is ultra-green.  This pic I took on the bus heading to Siracusa:

Creamy veggie lasagne

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That’s one of my biggest favourites: creamy, light, tastes sweet tomatoes and spicy courgette-ricotta sauce. Cheap’n’easy!

  •  lasagne sheets
  • 2 onions
  • 4-6 courgettes
  • yellow cheese (cheddar makes it well)
  • ricotta cheese (250 g max)
  • tomato purée
  • canned tomatoes (1 can)
  • 1 carrot
  • garlic
  • spices: salt, pepper, nutmeg, basil, oregano)
  • optionally Worcestershire sauce

This recipe is of my own but the dish itself is well known so I’m not being very original here.

Let’s do it:

I boil water for lasagne sheets and cook them for a few minutes (never ever cook it till soft) to get to ‘almost al-dente’ stage. Lasagne always drives me mad  as  the sheets get glued together, I get my fingers burnt, pasta tears apart… But well, let’s say that’s done. I then chop one onion and cook it till transparent with 2 crushed garlic cloves. Meantime I peel and grate courgettes to add them to onions and cook for a few minutes. As soon as courgettes become bright green  I add ricotta, grated cheddar, lots of grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Fresh nutmeg is a little secret of this dish and I wouldn’t attempt to skip it.

Now it’s time for tomato sauce, which would be done in parallel with courgettes if I didn’t have only one pan.This part is inspired by Jamie’s bolognese: grate carrot, garlic and onion altogether, place into a hot pan and let the vegetables ‘get sweated’. After this, I put some more olive in the middle and throw in any Italian-style spices I have around: basil, oregano, rosemary…  Fat is a great distributor of flavours : once I learnt this, I always practice and it really makes the difference. I stir tomato concentrate into the mixture. I add tomatoes and let it cook under cover for some time. Really long cooking will make the sauce nicely thickened  but I usually don’t have this patience and simply add 2 tablespoons of ricotta to make it creamy straight away. Jamie reckons Worcestershire sauce is just right here and so do I. A tablespoon or two.

Having two fillings ready I spread them between lasagne sheets and let it cook for approx. 20 minutes in the oven (very, very long 20 minutes when you tasted it before and you know it tastes great, and you starve after a day spent on shopping for summer dresses  ) I add even more grated cheddar on the top.

After 20 mins: voila! Fresh basil on the top, a glass of wine, movie, a couch ready to comfort you after, and the eve gets close to perfection…

Photo-proven:


My new invention: lasagne laundry. Works fine! Nothing got glued, nothing got torn apart, ha-ha

Ostoros Kalács

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recipe here (click!)

First: I don’t really bake. Second: I don’t really speak Hungarian. Third: I will make it. Probably to take the sweet as a souvenir to reminisce my Hungarian stage of life.

I got this recipe from a Hungarian friend after a tasting it in the office.

And, by the way, this is a fine example of ‘language travels’ in the region: Kalács  is read as [ˈkɒlaːtʃ] and is exactly the same as kołacz, a Polish type of ritual bread . Kołacz’s name is comes from ‘koło’ = a wheel. No wonder as  kołacz has a round shape. Kołacz’s history reaches as far as to pagan times and nowadays sometimes appears at the weddings and ritually important feasts.

A popular sweet in Hungary (but coming from Transilvania) is Kürtőskalács which is actually a tube shape with a preserved analogy to a wheel.

Hungarian Kalacs is usually braided and obviously the name got a mix up with on the way from Poland to Hungary (possibly Russia- Ukrakine-Poland-Hungary) as the sweet refers to Hebrew  חלה (chala), a traditional bread eaten by Jews on the Sabbath and holidays. The custom says to start each traditional meal with two loaves of it.

I just remembered a Jewish saying: Poszukując chały możesz stracić chleb. (hunting for challah you can lose bread). True.

Challah (chałka) is a typical Easter food in Poland and Hungary and I guess it’s well spread over the region.

So, here we go:

Kołacz:

Kalács:

Kürtőskalács:

Chałka:


Upcoming is my (painful) translation of Ostoros Kalacs recipe !