Sunday, August 31, 2008

Balatoni Hekk

Hekk or "balatoni hekk" is a popular freshly fried fish, you can find it in any of the vendors at Lake Balaton.

Balatoni hekk

Ingredients:
* 3 pikes (1 lb. or less each)
* 3 1/2 oz. bread crumbs
* 2 tbsp. oil
* 4 servings of tartar sauce
* salt to taste
* 1 lemon
* 1 parsley as garnish

Prepare:
Carefully clean the fish, rinse in cold water and wipe dry. Salt and score each side, leaving 1/2 inches between the scorings so it will fry evenly.
Turn in bread crumbs batter and turn the ends up to form a half-moon shape, and place in the hot oil. Fry on both sides until crispy. Garnish with lemon, parsley and serve with French fries or home fried potato wedges.



Sunset and swans

Actually Balaton is the largest lake in Hungary, and in Central Europe, too. We call it the Hungarian Sea. The southern shore of the lake consists of sandy beach, while on the northern shore there are wonderful mountains. The picturesque landscape and the water ideal for swimming and other water sport attract more than million tourists annually.

Balatonkenese

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Somló and somlói once again

We have spent the last few days at at a wonderful traditional Hungarian peasant house in Magyarpolány. Magyarpolány is situated not so far from the Somló wine region, hence we've not missed it :)

Somló wine region

Somló wine region:

The smallest wine region in Hungary lies on the slopes of Somló hill on the one hand and those of KisSomlyó and Ság hills on the opposite side of Marcal baisin. The particularity of the region lies in the fact that vine is grown here even on the northern slopes of Somló, which means that vineyards reach around and actually embrace the hill slopes. The equalizing effect of Lake Balaton is hardly felt here. It looks as if vine grew right from the basalt rocks in many places so the mineral quality of wines is even more pronounced than in other regions around Balaton. This is why anyone ever tasting Somló wines will always recognise it / will never mistake it for another one. Although the climate is free from the extremes, the area is rather windy. A moderately warm summer is followed by a long warm autumn and a relatively mild winter. Somló hill used to be an active volcano, which is today a real basalt hill with a symmetric shape an the volcanic base rock is covered with remains of lava.

Somló wine region

Varieties of grapes and wines:

Wines grown here are fiery and rich in extracts and alcohol; they are primarily recommended for slow consumption.They are par excellence aged wines, which means that they characteristically show their real aromas only after two years of aging but are at their best after being aged in oak barrels for four years. The leading varietal is Olaszrizling in the region, followed by Chardonnay, Hárslevelű, Furmint, Rizlingszilváni, Juhfark, Rajnai rizling, Ezerjó, Tramini and Bánáti rizling. This is the only region where Juhfark is grown in a considerable quantity.

Somló wine region

History:

The area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Early man was attracted here by the opportunities offered by the brook Séd. Growing vine on the side/slopes of the inactive / sleeping volcano was probably started in Roman times. The first written document referring to winemaking dates from the 11th century. On the sunny slopes grapes often start to desiccate to turn aszú, and on the quondam church vineyards here even aszú wines were being made. One of the leading varietals of the wine region, Furmint was brought here by Italian settlers after the Mongol invasion int he 13th century. Till the mid-seventeenth century the sick were treated with wine int he absence of a doctor. Somlói, the Wedding-night Wine was a favoured drink of the Habsburgs because the it was reputed to assure male progeny for the ones tasting it on their wedding-night. That time wines from the region rivalled Tokaji wines in reputation. By now, the special indigenous varietals of yore has been replaced or at least supplanted by high-yielding kinds that are not really suitable for making quality wine. One of the most important challenges of the present is the structure of property, with a predominance of too small estates. A more reasonable and efficient division of property is under way and slowly everything gets together for the rebirth of great Somlói wine.

(Source)

Somló vár

Somló is the name of the hill, the Castle and wine region and "somlói" menas the somlói galuska and the wine in the same time. Of course we tried the authentic somlói, it was delicious :)


somlói galuska

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Challah (Barhesz or "szombati kalács")

Barhesz

Challah (hallah) (Hebrew:חלה) also known as khale (eastern Yiddish), barches (German and western Yiddish), "barhesz" or "szombati kalács" (Hungarian) is a special braided bread eaten by Ashkenazi and by some groups of Sephardic Jews on the Sabbath and holidays.

Barhesz

Maybe my callach is just a simple milk-loaf, because the kosher has 6 or rather 8 braids, which you can read more about here.

The authentic kosher challah looks similar like the traditional Hungarian Easter braided bread (or milk-loaf). Honestly in spite of the fact, that I originates from a half Jewish family it was the first time that I baked challah. Couple of weeks ago when I was watching Világfalu on dvd (World village, series by András Kepes) I decided that sometimes I would prepare jewish or kosher foods too. Finally Fűszeres Eszter's blog inspirated me to bake challah. Thank you! :)

According to Jewish tradition, Sabbath and holiday meals begin with a blessing over two loaves of bread. This "double loaf" (in Hebrew: lechem mishneh) commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion fell before the Sabbath and holidays. It is these loaves, recognizable by their traditional braided style, that are commonly referred to as challah. Read more!

Barhesz

Ingredients for the CLASSIC CHALLAH

1 ounces fresh yeast or
2 packages dry yeast
1,75 cups warm water
0,33 cup sugar
1 Tbsps. salt
6 or 7 cups flour
3 eggs, slightly beaten
0,5 cup oil
GLAZE:1 egg, beaten, Poppy or sesame seeds (2 to 4 loaves)

Prepare:

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. When dissolved, add sugar, salt, and half of the flour. Mix well. Add eggs and oil, then slowly stir in most of the remaining flour — dough will become quite thick. (Until the kneading stage, dough can be mixed in an electric mixer.)
When dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl, turn onto floured board and knead for about 10 minutes. Add only enough flour to make dough manageable. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic and springs back when pressed lighty with fingertip.Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Turn it so the top is oiled as well. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in four or five places every 20 minutes.
Separate challah with a blessing. Divide dough into four to six parts and shape into loaves; place in well-greased bread pans or on greased baking sheet. Let rise until double in bulk. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush tops of loaves.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aubergine cream a'la Nóra

aubergine

As far as I know the typical Hungarian aubergine cream originated from Transylvania, but for today the wide choice of the different aubergine creams can be found in the Hungarian gastronomic culture and also in the Hungarian restaurants. For example in some recipes, you may find the influence of Turkish flavors too. But to be honest I love mostly my own version :)

Take a look at my special recipe!

Ingredients:

2 pieces of middle aubergine
1 middle onion (or a half big onion)
2 slices of green pepper
2 or 3 slices of tomato
2 or 3 big cloves of garlic
olive oil
1 tbs mustard
salt and black pepper (to taste)
1 tea spoon fresh lemon juice

Prepare:

1. Peel and slice the aubergines.
2. Cut the other vegetables into pieces.
3. Heat olive oil in wok and put in the sliced vegetables.

aubergine cream a la Nora

4. Sauté the vegetables until tender.
5. Liquidize the vegetables to create a smooth cream.
6. Add the spices and smash well.
7. Serve with toast or with fresh baguette!

aubergine cream a la Nora

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sponge cake with apricot

sárgabarackos piskóta

I'm sure my readers already know my sponge cake's recipe. Try it with apricot, too!

sárgabarackos piskóta

Good luck for your first attempt and Bon Appetite!

sárgabarackos piskóta

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hungarian green pepper (paprika)

zöldpaprika Another gem from my garden :)

The green pepper (beside the well known Hungarian red paprika) is also a very important and a very often used vegetable in the Hungarian cuisine. Probably the Hungarian stuffed green pepper (töltött paparika) and the lecsó (green pepper stew) are the most famous Hungarian foods, which made of green pepper. But we also like to eat it in fresh for example with sausage and white bread.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hungarian cherry paprika

Hungarian cherry paprika

This year was the first time that I have planted paprika plants in my own garden and it was worthwhile:)

"It is not fully clear how the paprika arrived in Hungary, but there is no doubt that the fruits were brought by the Turks in the 17.th century, who might have encountered them before in Portuguese settlements in Central Asia. Anyway, paprika became quickly naturalized and have since proved an important flavor in Hungarian cuisine. Still, some of the best paprika cultivators in Europe are found in Hungary. An example is the cherry paprika ("cherry pepper", cseresznyepaprika), which has medium pungency (well, enough for most Europeans) but an excellent flavor. This is one of the few non-American paprika cultivators that can rival with Mesoamerican, particularly Mexican, varieties. Cherry paprika can be dried and ground to a rather piquant paprika powder, but in Hungary it is also eaten fresh and served as a kind of table condiment."
Source

Related link: Hungarian red paprika