Recipes, Sweets/desserts

Some sweet for really cold winter days: kókuszkocka

2017-01-12

kókuszkocka (the Hungarian lamington) from the Taste of Memories country kitchenOnce I was working in an artisanal bakery in Spain, one day my boss, Maria prepared a cake with chocolate and coconut. “This is our kókuszkocka!”- I said surprised when she was ready with it than she looked at me with the same surprise on her face. “No, actually it is an Australian cake called lamington”. It was the moment when I realised that somehow this cake dipped into chocolate sauce and rolled into coconut can be traditional in two completely different parts of the world, however in Hungary we use a dough made with honey instead of sponge cake as a base. Continue Reading…

Main courses, Recipes

A bowl of soul-warming lentil stew

2017-01-05

lentil stew from the Taste of Memories country kitchenAt New Year’s Eve I think if I could have a wish, I would ask for as many joyful moments in 2017 as many I could be grateful for in 2016. I think about the moments when I cooked and baked, photographed and tasted. The time spent in the garden that taught me something new every month and I know that this is only the beginning. The community we are living in which is an unlimited source of stories about the village, life and people. I am grateful to be able to get a brand new year, like a blank page which is waiting for to be filled with plans, things to do and dreams to fulfil. Time is the greatest present we can get especially if we don’t forget that moments are possibilities for us to make them unrepeatable. Continue Reading…

Drinks, Recipes

Punch for New Year’s Eve based on a recipe from the 1930’s

2016-12-29

New Year’s punch based on a recipe from the 1930’s I admire our grandmothers for their lives, for their memories and for that evident wisdom and knowledge regarding all fields of life. I could never ask anything that my grandmother couldn’t answer. Sometimes it seems that she could lived her life more fully than me, but maybe it is just the 50 years difference in age that we have between us.
After the “Getting ready for Christmas” series when I baked so many cakes and cookies I wanted to make something completely different for you for New Year’s Eve. I was looking for inspiration in an old cookbook when I found a recipe of a drink which was created specially for that occasion. “Punch for New Year’s Eve” – so is called the alcoholic drink from the cookbook from the 1930’s and after reading the recipe I immediately feel like trying it. Continue Reading…

Celebration, Recipes, Sweets/desserts

Getting prepared for Christmas Vol.4: rococo cake

2016-12-22

rococo cake from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchen Last year at Christmas we were sitting at the dining table, taking one slice after the other one from the rococo cake and analysing it with a worried and thoughtful look on our faces.
“I think grandma cut the dough into four parts not three”- says my sister.
“But the cream was exactly enough for three…”- I answer.
“But it used to be higher”
“The sponge cake didn’t rise properly. I think I made a mistake when I wrote down the recipe and added to much cocoa powder.”
“It is not wider than the plate though… it is mysterious…”
“It used to be slightly softer I think”- adds my father.
“I think it could have needed more time to rest in the fridge”- I answer sadly and take another bite from the “similar-but-not-the same” cake, as a consolation.
That happens, when someone loses a loved family member and tries to reproduce her speciality. I could be sure in my whole life, that there will be rococo cake at Christmas, because my grandmother baked this wonderful, creamy walnut cake for every bigger occasions and took it to the family lunch. She is not with us any more since three years, and now my sister and I have to take the responsibility to continue the tradition. However we both were at her side once when she baked it, we were too young to really take attention to details. So now we have three , not really precise and detailed recipes- my sister has one, I have my notes I have taken, and my grandmother’s handwritten recipe- and some unclear memories. We have at least one starting point: the porcelain cake dish from Herend, which lost one of its handles in an accident. Continue Reading…

Celebration, Recipes, Sweets/desserts

Getting prepared for Christmas Vol.3: Christmas linzer cookies

2016-12-15

Christmas linzer cookies from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenIn my family we cannot imagine Christmas without Christmas linzer. If you have known me for a while, you know that around Christmas I start baking these wonderful cookies which last long so they are perfect for holidays. My mother bakes it every year as well so at Christmas we exchange boxes of our own versions and although we use the same recipe they are always slightly different.
For me it is not only a tradition but the cookie of holiday breakfasts. In those cople of days after the 24th of December the world slows down, even big cities stop vibrating. You can only see a few cars on the roads, those ones, who are heading from home to a family member. This is the time of the year when we all stop for a little while, we rest and more importantly eat. Especially in Hungary. I love Christmas mornings. We don’t need to get up early, there are no long “to do” lists, as usually I have even for weekends. We don’t need to do anything, just BE. It doesn’t matter if it is snowing or not, if it is cold and dark or sunny and warm. We are happy for that what we have. We can take a tray with a cup of hot tea and Christmas linzer cookies to bed, and spend the whole morning reading under the warm blanket. Continue Reading…

Celebration, Recipes, Sweets/desserts

Getting prepared for Christmas Vol.2. : bejgli

2016-12-08

bejgli from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenThis winter lacks on snow so far. Áron is happy about the fact because he doesn’t like shovelling snow, but I am dreaming about the romantic snowy landscape of Bakony mountain not taking into consideration the traffic difficulties that it might cause. Instead of snow there are cold, windy days and mornings with hoar frost. It is difficult to leave the cosy warmth of the tile stove but working outside can warm you up as well and I am so glad to see the beautiful circles I draw from fallen leaves around the trees. Meanwhile my dog is running around in the garden not caring about cold or frost with her toy, a rubber chicken in her mouth which she often drops into the middle of my nicely arranged circles.

bejgli from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchen bejgli from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchen
In the Christmas baking serie I started last week I continue by baking bejgli, a traditional Hungarian Christmas cake filled with poppy-seed and walnut cream. Being a trained chef having working experience as a pastry chef in Spain there are only a few recipes which can stress me or shake my confidence. Bejgli belongs to these few exceptions. My mother bakes it every year and so far I didn’t take the courage to make it. Until now. I knew I wanted to bake it for you for this blog post so I was getting ready emotionally for this day. I knew it will taste good, I didn’t have any doubt about it. But what if the crust breaks in the middle? Because this is the thing our mothers and grandmothers were mostly afraid of. If you make a mistake the crust can break and the filling will spread out. Which is not a big problem, if you have a nice family because most probably they won’t care about the appearance. But I have to take photos… On the top of it I realise when I start breaking our walnuts, that this harvest went bad because of an illness. My neighbour, Ani saves me with a little bag of walnut so I can start preparing the feared Christmas cake, bejgli. Continue Reading…

Celebration, Recipes, Sweets/desserts

Getting prepared for Christmas Vol.1. :Vaníliás kifli (vanilla crescents)

2016-12-01

vaníliás kifli from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenI am sitting in my grandmother’s living room and listening to her while she is telling stories. I love her stories. Stories about her youth and childhood. When snow crackled below their feet while they were walking to the church. She remembers the carol singers, who visited each house singing Christmas carols. The smell of traditional pig slaughters. She tells about the jumper she made for my grandfather. It was a beautiful blue wool jumper for that she span the yarn for. Unfortunately once they washed it in warm water by accident so it shrunk to a kid size.
I listen to my grandmother and I unwillingly compare her memories to today’s Christmas’s. I have such a strong desire to smuggle this feeling somehow to the present world. Continue Reading…

Recipes, Sweets/desserts

The first bottle of wine and máglyarakás

2016-11-24

máglyarakás from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenHave you ever read Joanne Harris’ book, the “Blackberry wine”?
In this wonderful book six bottles of fruit wines from the year 1975 – elderberry, damson, blackberry, raspberry, rose hip and jackapple- seem to come to life when Jay, the main character finds them in the cellar. They laugh, whisper, fizzle and make noise while they recall long forgotten memories as soon as he opens them one bottle after the other one. Memories from past summers when he met Jackapple Joe, the old men who created a paradise behind some brick walls in a shabby and abandoned quarter of an English small town. Kitchen garden with vegetables, greenhouses, healing plants, fruit trees and small red flannel bags filled with herbs to keep away bad energy from the garden. All these things were very far away from that life I was living at that time, when I first read this book 10 years ago. I was living in Budapest, in the centre, was working for a multinational company so in a world which is completely the opposite of all things I was reading about. I was thrilled and shaken by the story, by the idea and I still remember that feeling: an impatient craving and strong desire for a life in harmony with nature, having my own orchard, fruit trees and fruits from which I can make wine myself. Or máglyarakás, a special Hungarian dessert by using our own apples. Continue Reading…

Breakfast, Celebration, Recipes, When guests are coming...

The scent of home- fonott kalács /challah

2016-11-17

fonott kalács/challah from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenRegular Taste of Memories readers know already, that I am big fan of yeasted doughs. It is like a passion which I try to control, but time to time I must come up with a recipe, moments when I cannot resist and I must bake! Fonott kalács, in English challah is ideal for breakfast but you can pair it very well with a liver paté, as I did a year ago, when we invited our families to a series of housewarming parties.
We moved to our house at the first weekend of October, but it was December when we finally packed out all the boxes, arranged furniture, mended heating, replaced the old, broken sink in the kitchen, so all in all we could create a comfortable and liveable home for ourselves. We wanted to celebrate this moment – which sometimes seemed to be hopelessly far away- with our families, but our living room is not big enough to have everybody at the same time at the same spot. So we organised three housewarming parties in a row within a week. The menu was the same, only guests have changed, and they were coming with lovely little presents: with a bottle of wine, a potted flower, family relics that they wanted to give us to preserve…And we were welcoming them with the scent of baking fonott kalács and the warmth of the tile stove. The house was finally filled up with life and not with boxes, and after being so much time away from my family living abroad it felt so good to be surrounded by them. Continue Reading…

Drinks, Recipes

Simple little things: hot caramel drink

2016-11-10

hot caramel drink from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenWe are getting ready to a one-week trip. I don’t know if there is anybody among you who can prepare a trip in a relaxed, calm state of mind, but even after so many travel challenges and adventures I had to face in my life, I still can’t. I am writing different kinds of to do lists, I think about thousand times if I had presents for everybody who we are going to visit, and check travel documents more times than needed. The funny thing is, that we are not going to a mysterious, unknown place we hardly know. Quite the opposite. We are going to a place, which has a very special place in my heart. My second home. A place where I know the baker, the sellers at the market and the paper shop owner by name, where familiar faces pass by when I walk down the streets, exactly the way as I feel in our small village. Maybe this is the reason for my excitement, it is a positive kind of, like as we were children and were waiting for Christmas Eve to come. We leave our little house, the garden, the apple trees for one week to get lost in another, very different world that we love so much. While I am packing our suitcases I decide to stop for a short time. I caramelise sugar in a saucepan and add milk. Relaxing movements which calm me down, the scent of caramel fills up the air of the kitchen and the hot drink gives me enough energy to finish preparations. It is so simple, as good things in life are, but this recipe is like these little good things in life. We easily forget about them, or just don’t take notice of them. Continue Reading…

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