Tag Archive | travel

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

Christmas in Fort Cochin in Kerala

After I posted my previous video here I had a sort of minor brain wave; why not take you on a little journey around some of the many many places in the world we have either lived in or visited (in some cases many times over). And knowing how busy you are all during those last hectic days before Christmas I thought that just a little musical introduction to these places is just enough – for now!

So – why not sit back, with a cup of coffee or tea (and a biscuit or two) and enjoy my “Christmas music from near and far”.

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The journey starts here right on our own doorsteps – with the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica (one of the only eight Basilicas in the whole of India) in Fort Kochi, who’s history goes back to the sixteenth century, beginning with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries in 1500 CE. (pic. Above and below)

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The following musical video features CSI Immanuel Church Choir, Cochin/Kerala, India singing “Whispering Hope”.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful Third of Advent.

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Nachdem ich mein vorhergehendes Video hier zeigte, hatte ich einen kleinen Geistesblitz ; warum nehme ich Euch nicht einfach mit auf eine kleine Reise zu den vielen vielen Plaetze in der Welt wo wir entweder gelebt haben oder die wir besuchten (in einigen Faellen mehrmals). Und da ich weiss wie beschaeftigt Ihr alle seid waehrend dieser letzten hektischen Tage vor Weihnachten, dachte ich dass nur eine kleine musikalische Einfuehrung zu diesen Plaetzen gerade genug ist – fuer jetzt!

So, warum macht es Ihr Euch nicht bequem mit einer Tasse Kaffee oder Tee (und ein oder zwei Plaetzchen) und geniesst meine “Weihnachtsmusik von Nah’ und Fern”.
Die Reise beginnt hier “vor unserer eigenen Haustuere” – mit der Santa Cruz Kathedrale Basilika (eine von den nur acht Basiliken in ganz Indien) in Fort Kochi, deren Geschichte zurueck geht bis auf das Sechzehnte Jahrhundert, angefangen mit der Ankunft der Portugisischen Missionare in 1500 CE.
Einen schoenen, geruhsamen Dritten Advent wuensche ich Euch allen.

Carina

Risotto Primavera alla Cipriani

-Cipriani’s Spring Risotto-

With many of you starting to send out posts about the first signs of spring, which I sadly cannot do since I live in a tropical climate, I like to take you with me instead on a short journey ‘down memory lane’ to the beautiful city of Venice.

Andrea-Venice

One of the domes of the Basilica di San Marco, Venice

Many many years ago a number of our international friends and I had a very noisy, and I confess, slightly boozy, but, oh so enjoyable Lunch at the world famous Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Andrea-Bellinis2

…..preparing our Bellinis

In fact it was one of those wonderful impromptu get-togethers one really cannot organise – they just happen!! And certainly nobody wants them to end quickly.

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(Andrea outside Harry’s Bar)

The original plan that day was for all of us to meet at “Harry’s”, have refreshments and take Cipriani’s own boat out to the Island of Torcello to their beautiful and romantic Locanda – one of those wonderful little honeymoon locations , where we all were going to have lunch. But, one way or the other, we never made it to Torcello that day but remained in Venice until closing time! I of course now cannot, by the best will in the world, remember what each and everyone had ordered that day, except I do remember, that I had “Risotto primavera” (Spring Risotto) making use of many of the vegetables grown near the Locanda on Torcello. This dish was created and recommended to me by Arrigo Cipriani himself – so how could I refuse? It was a dish so divine, that I never, with all my travels around the world, have forgotten the smell and taste of this exceptional Risotto. He very kindly gave me permission to use this recipe in my own blog or book. And before I forget let me tell you – this dish is really very easy to prepare, so do not be put off by the length of the ingredients list. I hope that you enjoy this risotto as much as I did then and in fact once again only two days ago when I tried to recreate this for my post here.

For: 6
For the spring vegetables you need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
250 g of shiitake mushrooms; thinly sliced (I used button mushrooms)
3 small artichokes, thinly sliced (were not available)
1 tsp onion, finely chopped
4 small zucchini, diced (I used green ones)
12 asparagus spears cut into short lengths
1 large slice of red capsicum, cut into pieces
1 small leek, white part only, cut into short lengths
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Risotto you need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
150 g risotto rice (I used Arborio)
1.5 l chicken stock
40 g butter
3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper

Andrea-Food1

To prepare the vegetables: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then remove it from the pan and discard. Add the artichokes and cook for 8-10 minutes, then add the onion and cook for a further 2 minutes. Finally, add the Zucchinis (courgettes), asparagus, red pepper and leek, increase the heat to high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Andrea-Food3

To prepare the Risotto: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. Stirring the rice, lower the heat, add about 120 ml of the stock and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Gradually add more stock as each addition is absorbed. After about 15 minutes, when the risotto is half-cooked, add the vegetables and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the rice is tender and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For a softer risotto stir in a few more tablespoons of stock.
Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

And the next time Jo and I are in Venice, maybe we find the time to once again enjoy Cipriani’s splendid hospitality.

Ciao Carina