Tag Archive | Bonn

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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“Silverbells……… are ringing”

1-BookAs you know by now I was born in “A small town in Germany” then so aptly named by the famous novelist John le Carré in his 1968 novel of the said title.

Bonn of course has grown tremendously in the last 47 years – but certain traditions and customs , which are synonymous with this beautiful and charming university town on the banks of the almighty River Rhein and, on its east bank, the famous stretch of hills, known as ‘ Siebengebirge’ (the 7 hills)., will remain here forever – I certainly hope so very much!

1-a
Since 21 October 2015 Bonn now has a new Mayor , Ashok-Alexander Sridharan – and of course not only the people in my old ‘Homeland’ but also many people here in South India, wish him well for now and the future.

Picture right: Source: Wikipedia

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Now of course is Advent time and everywhere one can find the famous Christmas markets – in every city, town and village – never mind how big or small. As a child I used to love those markets – trying very hard (not always successfully  thou ) to be extra good at school and at home so that, as a treat, my mother would take me to those markets. And to be honest, I still would love to go there today, taking my husband Jo and our 2 big girls along – I know for sure, they too would easily fall in love with this tradition. Pic: Oberbürgermeister Ashok Sridharan

Just in time for the ‘Weihnachtsmarkt” in Bonn comes this nice little story, send to me by a friend. The Police in Bonn came up with a simple but ingenious idea hoping to combat the pilfering of handbags by thieves. They patrol the markets, especially looking out for ladies with open or semi-open handbags. They will be stopped and a friendly discussion will follow resulting with the Police giving away little silver bells to be hung on the zipper of the handbags. So, should a pick-pocket try to do the dirty deed those little bells will ring and (hopefully) send the thief running.

Needless to say, this brilliant PR exercise by the Bonn Police turns out to be a tremendous success and maybe will even be copied by others!?

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Wie Ihr ja mittlerweile wisst, bin ich in “A small town in Germany” geboren. Der beruehmte Author John le Carré gab seinem 1968 geschriebenen Bestseller diesen Titel.

Natuerlich ist Bonn in den letzten 47 Jahren sehr gewachsen – aber gewisse Traditionen und Braeuche, die gleich sind mit dieser schoenen und charmanten Universitaetsstadt , an den Ufern des maechtigen Rhein Flusses und an den Ost Ufern, die beruehmte Strecke der Huegeln, bekannt als das ‘Siebengebirge” werden fuer immer bleiben – ich hoffe es so sehr.

Seit dem 21 October 2015 hat Bonn nun einen neuen Oberbuergermeister, Ashok-Alexander Sridharan – und selbstverstaendlich wuenschen ihm die Bewohner in meinem alten Heimatland wie auch viele Leute hier in Sued Indien, alles Gute fuer jetzt und die Zukunft.

4-PolNun ist natuerlich Adventzeit und ueberall kann man jetzt die beruehmten Weihnachtsmaerkte finden – in jeder Metropole, Stadt und Dorf – macht nichts, ob gross oder klein. Als ich ein Kind war liebte ich diese Maerkte sehr – ich versuchte sehr hart (aber nicht immer erfolgreich ) ganz lieb und fleissig in der Schule und zuhause zu sein, so dass meine Mutter mich als Belohnung zu diesen Maerkten nimmt. Und um ehrlich zu sein, Ich wuerde so gerne heute noch dahin gehen, aber mit meinem Mann Jo und unseren 2 grossen Maedchen – Ich bin mir sehr sicher, dass sie sich auch in diese Tradition verlieben wuerden.

3-PolPictures: Bells for your Handy. Source: Bonner Polizei

Nun gerade zur Zeit dieses Weihnachtsmarktes in Bonn kommt diese kleine nette Geschichte, die mir eine Freundin zugeschickt hat. Die Bonner Polizei hatte eine einfache aber brilliante Idee in der Hoffnung, das stehlen von Handtaschen etc. zu bekaempfen. Sie patrolieren die Maerkte, wo sie Ausschau halten auf offene oder halboffene Handtaschen. Diese Damen werden gestoppt und eine freundliche Discussion i.e. Beratung erfolgt mit dem Resultat, dass die Polizei kleine silberne Gloeckchen austeilt die an den Verschluss der Tasche befestigt werden. So, sollte ein Taschendieb seinen Trick versuchen diese kleinen Gloeckchen werden klingeln und (hoffentlich) werden sie dann den Dieb schnell verscheuchern. Natuerlich ist diese brilliante PR Uebung der Bonner Polizei ein Riesenerfolg und vielleicht wird sie bald von anderen kopiert!?

Tschuess fuer heute,
Carina

Kölle Alaaf! “Long live Cologne” – ROSENMONTAG IN KOELN

Forgive me my friends for not quite being myself today – Samba Music and other Carnival music (mostly in the Cologne- /Rhineland dialect) is to be heard in our house nearly all day, somehow household chores seem to be getting done just a bit easier J. So come and join me, play the first video  “….Mer han dr Karneval em Blot …” and dance along with me.

“We have Carnival in our blood….”

Tomorrow, Monday, is the famous ‘Rosenmontag’ (Rosemonday) in Germany – the highlight of the Carnival season, celebrated by Millions of Germans and foreign tourists alike. No cold, snow or rain can keep us off the streets at this time. Old and young just want to do one thing – to dress up in any kind of costumes, the more ridiculous the better and often more fun, and to enjoy themselves. No social- or language barriers can stop us – because they simply don’t exist.

“Rosenmontag” sees an incredible parade of wonderful floats driving through the city centre – it is a fantastic spectacle and all along the route one can hear the cry “Kamelle” (sweets) of the crowds and the people on top of the floats oblige happily and by the arm full throw “Kamelle” into the swaying and singing throngs of people. Another float throws “Struessjer” (sweet little bouquets of flowers), tiny toys, Erasers into the crowd of “Jecken” (crazy people). But of course, I must not forget the “Buetzje” – little pecks/kisses on the cheeks, on this day it is like “kissing under t he Mistletoe”.

Once the parade is over, the celebrations don’t stop here – but continue in Pubs (Oh, give me a good Koelsch Beer), Restaurants and Halls -.

Difficult to bring you, who has never been there, quite the atmosphere? of that day, but let me include those two videos here  (my thanks to Youtube) which will give you a little insight at least. And to all of you my friends, who have been there, even a long time ago, happy memories.

Kölle Alaaf! –   LONG LIVE COLOGNE AND MY RHINELAND.

Carina

I am back – in time for ‘Weiberfastnacht’

At last – after a long 5 months I am back on screen! I feel better and my Doctor promised that I will be completely ok again in another 5 months. But for now, that’s enough talking about me in connection with this (stupid) bathroom accident.

But somehow I have not completely got back into my daily routine as yet – or I would not have forgotten that in Germany, especially in my part of the world in Bonn/Cologne, we have entered the craziest few days of the year – the Carnival Season. So, when I switched on my TV this afternoon to see the German news on Deutsche Welle, I found out, that today is “Weiberfastnacht” in Bonn/Cologne. My urgent telephone call to the Cologne Tourism Office did not bring any result – everybody!! is out on the streets celebrating.

Why not come and look at this video on YouTube (with my thanks) – it’s in English! – It will introduce you to our Carnival. Believe me; nowhere do Germans celebrate their carnival as enthusiastically as in the Rhineland, in beautiful Cologne. And today, Thursday, we get our chance to take charge – it’s women’s day – Weiberfastnacht!

Have fun, come back for more this week-end and until then I leave you with our ‘battlecry’ –  “KOELLE ALAAF”.

Carina