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I DO IT MY WAY! HUNGARIAN GULYÀS

“……… I DO IT MY WAY! …..”

I am pretty certain that most of us have a favourite ‘comfort soup’ – for some it is chicken soup, for others a nice vegetable soup, but for me my absolute No 1 soup is “GULYÀS”.

This ‘love affair’ goes back quite a few decades now and I can never get tired of this.

For you who are not familiar with this deliciousness: GULYÀS is actually a soup! And what is generally referred to as Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás) is in fact known as Pörkölt in Hungary which in fact is a One-pot dish, (sort of stew) and that’s why we can find cubes of potatoes in this dish. And as our Hungarian friend in Vienna assured us, a Pörkölt has absolutely nothing to do with Gulyás.

A few years ago JS decided literally on the spur of a moment to take me to Vienna for my birthday, a city which neither of us had been to previously. We spent two glorious weeks there, seeing “the sites”, visiting friends, etc. But the highlight of our stay was a visit to the “Wiener Staatsoper” to see a performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” – no question about it, this was my most happiest birthday!

Our friends, Katharina and Sandor (who is a true Hungarian!) ‘wined and dined’ us royally during our stay, but when Katharina learned of my passion for a ‘Hungarian Gulyás Soup’, she of course cooked a splendid version of her husband’s traditional Soup for us. Thank you, my friends!

Like most traditional recipes one can seldom find the same one in two households. Every family for generations will put their own little ‘tweak’ to this dish.

And once I started writing the recipe here, floods of (nice) memories came back from quite a long long time ago.

The nearest big city to my hometown Bonn is of course Cologne. And it was and still is quite common to quickly drive or take one of the super trains to this city for Lunch, Shopping or Dinner.

And there one can find one of the famous Restaurants called “Pusztahuette” on the “Neumarkt’ which only serves one dish, and one dish only – yes, you guessed it “Gulyás (Soup)”. This restaurant is still going strong even after nearly 50 years!!! They also sell Gulyás in tins to take home and if you take your own container to this restaurant they fill it with the Soup to be enjoyed at home. Oh, how often I went there with friends for a most enjoyable meal.

Because I started to live around the world, I had to come up with my very own version of this wonderful “Gulyás” which today I like to share with you. And so, although it is not quite like the original recipe, my version is nevertheless most delicious. Maybe you will give it a try one day.

For 4 people you will need:

1 kg of pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 x Tbsp of Vegetable oil
3 x cloves of garlic, minced
2 x big onions, sliced
2 x Capsicum, I like to use 2 different colours, sliced finely
2 x medium sized potatoes, peeled and grated
2 x tsp of caraway seeds
2 x tsp of marjoram
3 x Tbsp concentrated tomato paste

A very generous shot of dry red wine
3 x tsp of paprika, mild
3 x tsp of paprika, hot
1 x Tbsp of “Lingham’s Chilly sauce” – (if liked!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 – 4 x cups of water

And this here is how I do it.

Heat oil in large/wide pot.
Add meat, few pieces at the time, and brown slightly before taking it out again and keep aside.
Now add sliced onions, sliced garlic, and the capsicums, stir and let also brown very slightly.
After some time add the meat, tomato paste, the 2 types of paprika, marjoram and caraway seeds, stir well.
After 5 minutes add the water, cover your pot and let this simmer until meat is NEARLY tender.
Now add your red wine, stir, and also add “Lingham’s Chilly Sauce” and the grated potatoes.
Stir, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes maximum.

How to plate

Fill your soup cups or soup plates with this delicious fare. Sprinkle some finely chopped spring onion greens over this and finish everything off with a dollop of Crème fraîche.

N.B. Here are some tips which I learned over the years out of sheer necessity, i.e. non-availability of certain items.

If you cannot get decent Paprika use 2 types of chilli powder, one for heat and Kashmiri powder for colour.

This dish is equally delicious made from beef.

I like to add the grated potatoes, they give the Gulyás body – remember, this is not a thin soup at all.

That’s it – enjoy!

Namaskaram
Carina

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TILAPIA IN A LEMON-PARSLEY SAUCE

This here is such an easy and quick fish recipe, which I first tasted in Florence/Italy in one of our friend’s houses. She knew that Jo absolutely adores fish (coming from the coastal area in Kerala this is no wonder!) – and so this was really for him.

Tilapia recipes are seen in profusion all over the Net but it has not, here in Kerala, quite reached the appeal this fish has outside our State.

Compared to Seer fish/King Fish (which is the absolute number One fish here), the price of which has gone literally through the roof, Tilapia is much easier on one’s pocket and apart from that it is a delicious light fish and our freezer is always well stocked.

So I do hope you will enjoy my “<strong>Italian Tilapia dish” as we do. Buon appetito!

For 2 people you will need the following:

For the fish:
400 g Tilapia fillet
25 g Butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly grounded pepper

For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
250 ml Milk
Juice from the other ½ of your lemon
A nice handful of Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

And here is what you do:

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and keep aside.
Heat oven to 190 C.
Wash fish well and dry completely, using paper towels.
Melt butter and stir in the lemon juice.
With a pastry brush, spread this mixture all over the fish fillets, grind the pepper over this and bake in the oven for app. 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt butter on the lowest!! heat.
Add the flour into this and cook for app. 3 minutes, keep stirring all the time.
Now add the cold!! milk and with a balloon whisk, mix everything together.
Bring to a slight boil and then turn down heat to medium for 5-10 minutes – stirring all the while.
Finish this off with salt, lemon juice and chopped up parsley.

To plate:
Place your fish on a plate and top it with the sauce and some basmati rice or a few “finger chips” on the side.

That’s it – all done. Enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

Pollo con limón

Translating a Quote from my home country, Germany, which goes as follows “… it does not always happen as one wants or has planned”. This applies to our desire to travel to Europe on another 1-month long trip to countries we have already visited many times in the past and also to new countries, which are on our “bucket list”.

But since my health still does not allow me to travel so far abroad, I have decided to ‘visit’ those countries through my kitchen, i.e. trying to bring you easy recipes from those places.

So I am starting off with Spain. This was triggered by a telephone call from our friend Francesca in Madrid. And since we had taken our girls some time ago for a long family holiday to Madrid, we have very fond memories of some of the delicious, but so simple, dishes eaten in either our favourite ‘Bodegas’ or in the homes of some of our friends.

Francesca’s Mama one day made for us an easy Chicken dish for Lunch. And it only took her 45 minutes before we were able to sit at her table, accompanied by a chilled Cava ‘Segura Viudas’, lots of chit-chat and lots of laughter. Oh yes …… those were the days!

Pollo con limón

What you need: (for 4 people you can use 8 or more Chicken drumsticks)
8 x Chicken drumsticks, washed, dried and kept aside
500 g x Chorizo, skin removed and sliced
12 x (or more) Potatoes, peeled and cut like thick chips
2-3 x decent size red (for colour) Capsicum, halved, cleaned and cut into strips
Some lemon slices (skin removed)
2-3 x Cloves of Garlic (pounded slightly)
1x Bunch of Spring onions (the green part only) cut into small rings
Some Olive oil
Salt and black pepper (to taste)

How to make this dish

In a large pan heat the Olive oil, add the earlier prepared chicken drumsticks and brown those from all sides, take out and keep aside.

Now add the also earlier prepared potatoes and fry those lightly – add some salt.
Next add the Capsicum and Garlic and fry those too for a few minutes only. Now add the chicken drumsticks.
Turn down your heat and cook all this for appr. 30 minutes.

Before serving your “Pollo con limón” add all your Chorizo slices and fry for 5 minutes with your sliced lemon.
To serve, sprinkle the Spring onion greens over your Chicken and add some more Lemon halves.

That’s it – all done. Ready to be enjoyed.

Namaskaram,
Carina

Quiche Espanola!

Memories of a month in Madrid…..
…..and a Quiche named “our own Jewels in the crown”.

Some time ago we took our girls for a month long family holiday to Spain – to the beautiful and lively city of Madrid in fact. We rented a beautiful little flat in a nice and most convenient area. From here we took many trips, mainly by bus, to some of the interesting little towns often only a one to two hours bus ride away. There is so much to see – the towns, like Toledo and El Escorial by themselves, the churches, galleries, Museums etc. – so much beauty not to be missed!

Frequently arriving back ‘home’ late, we did not feel like cooking but just wanted to “chill out” as the girls called it. So to make one of my nice party/picnic/TV-viewing Quiches the day before was just the right thing to do. The only company this Quiche needed was some lovely red wine and/or Cava. Bliss!
So, to make this dish now when I am rather busy with house- and other matters, makes sense – only Cava is missing!! And instead of Spanish Red we have our Indian SULA.

For a 9 inches (22.5 cm) flan dish, I used the following:
250 g tender corn kernels (frozen) thawed
250 g tender green peas (frozen) thawed
2 x large onions, very finely chopped
5 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 x red large Capsicum, finely chopped
1x yellow large Capsicum, finely chopped
1 x green large Capsicum, finely chopped
½ x a generous bunch of fresh Coriander, washed and finely chopped
3-4 x Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and some Pepper, to your liking
3 x Tbsp Flour
4 x Eggs, room temperature
2 x tsp red chilli powder (or less if you can’t stand the heat)
½ x tsp Cumin
10 x drops (at least) of Tabasco – optional – (this Quiche does need some heat)

Method:
Drain the de-frosted corn and peas (separately!) in a small colander. Heat most of the oil in a wide pan, add onions, garlic and the entire chopped capsicum stir and cook at medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Let this mixture cool down a bit and then add the coriander – stir.

Now ‘blitz’ the corn only until a very fine paste. Add this and the flour into a bowl, add your eggs and mix everything very well.

Combine the Capsicum mixture with the corn/flour/egg-mixture, stir and finally add more salt (if needed), Chilli powder, Cumin and of course Tabasco – stir once more.

In the meantime I have pre-heated my oven to 200 C. The total mixture gets filled into the flan dish and baked in the oven for ca 45 minutes.

Since ovens vary I recommend you check around the 45 minutes stage. In my case I switch off but leave the dish in the oven. Do not let the Quiche get dry – slightly moist is delicious.

This dish is equally good warm or cold; I happily freeze any left-overs.

So, that’s it again – enjoy – Guten Appetit.
Carina

KOHLRABI

I love vegetables and salads – I really do.

Looking at some of the posts and sites on the Internet I see that quite a few are flooded with what I like to call the “fashionable vegetable of the week”. In most cases I cannot get those here which is as well, since I hesitate joining the general bandwagon – instead I prefer to dig deeper into my recipe box from around the world and go for the “old fashioned” dishes – some forgotten for a couple of decades (or more?) because they ran out of favour with the young fashionable cooks.

Germans just love their kohlrabi and children do in particular. It’s so versatile; it can be eaten raw (in salads for example) or cooked. The normal standard way to serve cooked kohlrabi is with a delicious simple butter/cream/lots-of-black-pepper sauce. The vegetable is either sliced into small cubes but mostly into small ‘French fries’.

To be honest I happily could eat myself through the many many recipes which I learned from my own family and friends all those years ago and now that our Hypermarket started stocking those little “Sputniks” (as we children then called them) they will be used in my kitchen a lot.

I made this dish a few days ago when yet again we had to be out and about and did not feel like eating, as we normally do, in a Restaurant in town. I made this dish the night before, kept in the fridge and re-heated on 200 C in my (gas-)oven. This was a good decision and I enjoyed my Kohlrabi a lot.

Today I will not give you the exact measurements here, since it all depends on the size of the individual vegetable and your personal requirements. So, do what I do in situations like this, be flexible!!!

Basmati rice, cooked and kept aside
2 x or more kohlrabi, peeled
1 x carrot, peeled and very finely chopped
1 x large onion, chopped finely
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 x dollop of butter
Pinch of salt and a generous! pinch of black pepper
¼ l of the kohlrabi cooking liquid
2 x Tbsp of cream
3 x Tbsp of nice cheese, like Gouda or strong cheddar, grated

Cut peeled kohlrabi in half and boil in salted water for 15-25 minutes (again, check, because it all depends on their size) When cooked and cooled down ready to handle, scoop out some of the inside without damaging the walls.

Now for the sauce; heat butter on medium heat, add chopped onion, the carrot and the scooped out kohlrabi flesh and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add cooking liquid and cream; slowly cook for a few more minutes. Take off flame and add ½ of the grated cheese, mix.

Take an oven-safe dish and add the kohlrabi.

Fill the kohlrabi with the cooked rice and spoon the sauce over the vegetables, with the remaining cheese sprinkled over this.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for app. 30 minutes or so (again – you will have to check – oven heat various and once again, in the end it all depends on the size of the vegetables.)

That’s it – ready – enjoy – Guten Appetit.

Namaskaram
Carina

Gratin with just a little ‘kick’

Our version of ‘Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin

Maybe one of you dear Reader Friends has been to an English Public School? You have? Oh, then of course you will NOT recognise this particular version of the (in-) famous school “Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin”, since I have tried to give it a little bit of Carina’s flavouring.

And since my family and I always liked this home-made Gratin I now like to share this recipe with you in the hope that you might as well.
It goes well with chicken and meat but is also just lovely by itself, the amount of grated cheese and red chilli flakes added will have to be to your personal liking (but do not amiss all together, since this dish needs a little ‘kick’).

So without further ado here is my version for you hopefully to prepare for your family as either a side dish or a main meal.

For just 2 people I suggest:

1 x small broccoli, broken into smallish florets
1 x small cauliflower, broken into smallish florets
¼ x cup of natural plain thick yoghurt
½ x of grated sharp cheddar cheese
A sprinkling of dry red chilli flake, depending on your heat tolerance
1 ½ x tsp wholegrain mustard
2 x Tbsp or so of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

In lightly salted boiling water cook broccoli and cauliflower for maybe 8 minutes or until they are just tender. Do not over-cook the vegetables!

Drain well and transfer to a lightly buttered flameproof dish.

In a bowl mix together yoghurt, red chilli flakes (if used), mustard and grated cheese, and of course also with salt and pepper. When this is done spoon over your vegetables.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and grill under a pre-heated grill until golden brown.

Serve hot with maybe a chunk of French bread.

That’s it – all done – Guten Appetit.
Namaskaram
Carina

A Marriage of Fennel & Carrot

Hallo – hallo – yes, I am back!

But do not worry, I will not bore you with the many stories of WHY I have been away from my computer that long – too many to be told – but just in case there are one or two of you who actually missed me (  and no this is not meant to be in an arrogant manner) the main reason for being off the air for 2 months is quite a simple one – I needed (and wanted) to do some other things around the house, away from the computer desk!!!.

So today I like to introduce you to one of my favourite vegetable dishes. I am not always able to get Fennel here, so when I see it in our Hypermarket I buy some bulbs and make the most of it.

300 g Carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
300 g Fennel, cleaned and sliced thinly
15 g plain oats
15 g butter
50 ml Vegetable Stock, (I use a Knorr Cube)
50 ml Cream (light)
1 small onion, chopped finely
2-3 Garlic (optional) finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter (but do not let it get brown!), add oats and stir for 1 minute before adding all the carrots and fennel, onion and garlic. Mix and stir for another minute or two. Add prepared stock, cover and on medium heat let it cook for 10 minutes or so. Before serving add Cream, spices and bring to your table.

In our house I serve mainly some creamy mash potatoes with this for myself and rice for JS.

That’s it – ready – Guten Appetit!

This is one of my “Speedy-Gonzales” vegetable dishes which is wonderful just by itself or with meat or chicken and ideal for all of us who are “in a hurry” since it can be on your plate in less than 30 minutes.

Namaskaram,
Carina