September 30, 2010


Gougère is a French specialty of the Burgundy region. Usually, it is served after a wine tasting either as they are or stuffed with mushrooms, beef, ham or they can be served warm filled with Mornay sauce as a starter. It is actually a savory choux pastry with cheese, traditionally Gruyère. Somehow, I do not like to prepare choux pastry, and frankly, I do not even know why. It is really simple, fast and the basis for my absolute favourite dessert the éclair. I think it is time to change that!

(recipe by Michel Roux)
125 ml milk
100 g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
150 g flour
4 eggs
100 g Gruyère
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bring the milk, butter, salt and sugar to the boil. Add the flour and use a wooden spoon to beat until well combined. Put it back to the heat and stir until it begins to come away from the side of the saucepan and you see a light white film on the
bottom of the saucepan. Take it again away from the heat and stir in the eggs one by one. Stir in 3/4 of the grated cheese, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Fill it in a piping bag and pipe circles on a baking paper, use a milk-egg wash for brushing, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika powder and serve lukewarm.


Pollo alla Cacciatore

Saturday for lunch, I decided to cook white polenta and if polenta I think braised meat is almost a must. Soon, it was clear that I am going to braise a chicken and the polenta took me straight to the Italian cuisine. I have added a lot of fresh mushrooms like champignons, oyster mushroom and of course fresh and dried porcini. However, I have only cooked the dried porcini together with the chicken, the rest was fried separately, and served on top of the poletna, because they were just too beautiful to let them sink in the sauce.

Pollo alla Cacciatore (chicken hunter-style) is an Italian dish, that has probably as many variations as
regions. Originally it was prepared using pheasant and partridge, however nowdays chicken is more popular. Every type has it in common, that after seasoning the meat it is fried and then braised together with garlic, tomato sauce and wine for quite a long time. Often it is prepared with red wine, but in some regions they use white wine. Depending on the regions mushrooms, onion, olives, capers or potatoes are added to the dish. Usually it is served with bread or polenta. An almost identic dish comes is the „pollastro in squaquaciò“ that is originated in Veneto and around the Lake Garda. (source:wikipedia)

1 whole chicken cut in parts
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
300 g chopped, canned tomatoes
1 bay leaf
few juniper berries
few allspice
1 glass dry white wine
10 g dried porcini
1 clove garlic
400-500 ml chicken stock
fresh chopped parsley
fresh chervil
salt, pepper

Dust chicken parts with flour and fry in oil from both sides, then set aside. Sauté the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil. Add chicken parts, bay leaf, juniper berry, allspice, wine and, when it has evaporated, add poricini (previously soaked in warm water), some porcini water,
the tomatoes and chicken broth. Cook for about two hours over medium heat. When ready remove chicken parts, sieve the sauce and reduce or add some in water dissolved starch to reach the desired consistency, then pour the sieved parts back, add chopped parsley and chervil, season and serve.

September 29, 2010

Stinging nettle sabayon

It won't sting you while eating! No worries. Since a long while I would like to prepare something using stinging nettle. My first thought was a risotto, however I didn't have enough stock, so I decided to prepare some kind of sauce. During the morning walk with my dog, I collected a nice bunch of it, using gloves. Though, I must say while separating the leaves from the stems, I even got stinged through the gloves!

Anyway, nettle has a flavour similar to spinach. Soaking nettles in water or cooking removes the stinging chemicals from the plant, so after it is safe to eat it. I should have done that before removing the leaves... The nettle sabayon
was served among a fried fillet of sea bass, caramelized turnip, fried chanterelle mushroom and a sweet corn puree.


150 g stinging nettle
2 egg yolks
salt, pepper

Wash nettle leaves and bring it to cook among 100 ml of salted water and cook it for 1 minute. Puree, press it through a sieve and let it cool on ice. Pour the puree into a bowl and place it over a bain-marie, and add the egg yolks while stirring constantly. Beat it over low heat for 8-10 minutes or until it reaches 70°C. Season and serve.

September 28, 2010

Fresh goat cheese mousse

Ziger is a fresh white cheese made by reprocessing the whey drained from cheeses. It is similar to fresh ricotta, however it has a different texture and taste. It is a real good alternative to Urda, a Transylvanian cheese, that has such a wonderful and unique taste. The farmer, where I buy potatoes, eggs and berries, keeps goats, and produces different types of cheeses. Once I asked if she could make some fresh goat cheese for me, she did and it was gorgeous, however the next time it didn't work out. Therefore she told me that she can get me some ziger right from the Alps, of course I couldn't say no! My freezer is now full with Hungarian túró and ziger.

This goat cheese is absolutely fabulous with tomaotes and a slice of bread, nothing else is needed. However, except my mom and me, nobody else eats it that way in my family, so I decided to preapre a mousse in order to convince the rest of them. I didn't want to hide the taste of the cheese, therefore I only used some lemon zest to flavour it, however feel free to add some herbs or other spice
s. It is served among raw beetroot and a raspberry vinaigrette.


200 g fresh goat cheese
80 ml milk
2 sheets of gelatine
zest of 1 lemon
100 ml cream
salt, pepper

Soak gelatine in cold water. If you want to add some fresh herbs, then puree it together with the milk, if not then simply whisk the milk together with the goat cheese. If you want it to be really smooth, press the cheese through a sieve before mixing it.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Over low heat melt the wet gelatine, then mix it with the goat cheese. Leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Beat cream and fold it carefully into the goat cheese cream. Leave it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but better over night.

September 27, 2010

Olive oil cake with tarragon poached peach

At the begining of this month my parents were here for week or so. My mom brought me a lot of delicious Hungarian fruits including juicy and fragant peaches. I haven't had peaches for a long time, because those that are available here usually are tasteless and hard.

Last weekend, by accident I found some fragant ones from Italy in a Turkish grocery, and I decided to try them. Luckily, these were pretty good! I was surprised, they were soft, moist and fragant. I decided to save some for a dessert. After having many ideas, I decided to poach them with
estragon and served among a moist olive oil cake.

3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or a vanilla pod
375 g sugar
250 ml milk
250 ml olive oil
250 g flour (German Type 550)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 160°C. Beat the eggs together with the vanilla paste and the sugar until fluffy. Whisk in the milk and the olive oil, then stir the flour, salt and the baking powder. Pour the batter in a baking form covered with baking paper. I have divided the batter in one round and one long cake form. Bake for 40-50 minutes. For the poached peaches cook a simple syrup using 150 ml water and 150 g of sugar, add the tarragon twigs and poach the peaches for 2-3 minutes from each side, then let it stand until it cools. Remove the skin and serve it among the cake.

September 25, 2010

Beetroot salad with horseradish

The beet is best known in its numerous cultivated varieties like the red or purple root vegetable known as the beetroot or garden beet. However, other cultivated varieties include the leaf vegetables chard and spinach beet, as well as the root vegetables sugar beet, which is important in the production of table sugar, and mangelwurzel, which is a fodder crop. The beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. The plant was probably domesticated somewhere along the Mediterranean, whence it was later spread to Babylonia by the 8th century BC and as far east as China by 850 AD.

The major root vegetable cultivars include: "Albina Vereduna", a white variety, "Burpee's Golden", a beet with orange-red skin and yellow flesh, "Chioggia", an o
pen-pollinated variety originally grown in Italy. The concentric rings of its red and white roots are visually striking when sliced. As a heritage variety, Chioggia is largely unimproved and has relatively high concentrations of geosmin. The "earthy" taste of some beetroot cultivars comes from the presence of geosmin. (source:wikipedia)

I simply love beetroot! Especially, this salad that you can keep about for 1 month in the fridge. It is done fast, especially if you use precooked beetroot, however I wouldn't recommend that. I was lucky to find different types of beetroot last weekend and I prepared the salad using a mixture of them. The result is just gorgeous, it has such a deep flavour, yet fresh! Actually, there is always a portion of the salad in the fridge during autumn and the whole winter. By the way, this is a family recipe.

4 beetroot
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Cook beetroot, cook time depends on their size. Peel as long as they are warm and grate
coarsely. Great horseradish fine, use as much as you like. Mix horseradish with sugar, salt and grated beetroot. Mix water with vinager, here also make it as sour as you like and add beetroot. It should not swim in the water-vinegar mixture. Cool.

September 24, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

This autumn seems to be perfect for mushroom fans, because thanks to the weather there are a lot available, though I wouldn't dare to go and pick some myself. Have you ever collected some? I still had some fresh poricini and chanterelle in the fridge and some dried black trompet, so I decided to prepare a risotto topped with fried mushrooms. This time I have used a special slow food rice the Riso di Grumolo delle Abbadesse. Originally, it was first grown by the Order of Saint Benedict in San Pietro in Vicenza about 500 years ago. However nowdays it is almost unknown, therefore it is under protection and the slow food organisation is working on it to make this, in fact gorgeous, rice more popular.

100 g risotto rice
10 g dried porcini
10 g dried black trompet
50 ml white wine
1 shallot

500 ml stock
fresh thyme
2-3 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
2 tablespoon cold butter
olive oil
flat leaf parsley
70 g fresh mushrooms of your choice
lemon juice

Soak porcini and black trompet for about 25 minutes, after chop.
Heat olive oil, add chopped shallot and rice. Mix until rice is well covered with oil. In a separate large saucepan bring the bouillon to simmer, and keep it hot. Add wine, increase heat to medium, and stir constantly. When the wine has been absorbed, add a little of the hot bouillon (I have added a bit of the porcini water to the stock for a more intense taste.) Add salt and pepper. After the second ladle of stock add chopped porcini and black trompet to the rice. Once the stock is absorbed, add a little more; repeat this process, stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked through. Stir in some fresh leaves of thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter and parmesan melt. Season with salt, pepper. Let it stand covered for a few minutes. Meanwhile fry the fresh mushrooms in olive oil, add some butter just before it is ready, season with salt, pepper, chopped parsley and a dash of lemon juice. Serve on top of the risotto.

September 23, 2010

Plum&Poppy Cake

Phew! I am almost ready with moving my old Hungarian food blog to its new place.Though, about 300-350 posts are still missing, but I am almost done with two years posts in two days, so I can already see the light. The reason why I decided to move it is because that way I do not have to prepare the photos in different sizes for the posts and I can type the entries faster at one place. Anyway, today's dessert is a plum and poppy cake, that is by the way is baking right now! It is already the second time that I prepare it this month. After all it is plum season so when if not now?


150 g ground poppy
100 g butter, room temperature
100 g sugar
4 eggs
1 pinch of salt
25 g flour
15 g ground almond
600 g plum
2 tablespoon plum jam
powder sugar for serving

Butter a cake form and preheat the oven to 175°C. Whisk butter and 75 g of sugar until frothy,
then add the egg yolks one by one and mix well. Beat egg white with a pinch of salt, slowly beat in the rest of the sugar. Mix poppy, almond and flour into the egg yolk and fold in the beaten egg white. Pour batter into the baking form, put the halved plums on top of the cake and bake for 45 minutes. Warm plum jam and spread it on the top of the baked cake. Serve with powder sugar.

September 22, 2010

Old fashioned cauliflower soup

Why old fashioned? Well, in nowdays modern kitchen preparing dishes with roux might be outdated unless we are talking about the three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté and sauce espagnole. Roux is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and fat, traditionally clarified butter. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. It is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight. When used in Italian food, roux is traditionally equal parts of butter and flour. By contrast, Hungarian cuisine uses lard (in its rendered form) or - more recently - vegetable oil instead of butter for the preparation of roux (which is called rántás in Hungarian). (source:wikipedia)

550 g cauliflower florets
1 leek (only the white part)
600 ml chicken stock
20 g butter
20 g flour
salt, pepper

Melt butter in a pan and add the sliced leeks and stir to coat them well in butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes, but do not allow it to get brown. Add flour and stir well, leave it on the heat for 2
minutes, then let it cool. Bring the stock to the boil and ladle it into the roux while whisking constantly. Add cauliflower, some salt and cook for 35-40 minutes. Blend it with help of a mixer, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

September 20, 2010

Lime Sabayon

The berry season is still blooming, well except for the strawberries, though I have seen some Swiss strawberries, but I bet they haven't seen the real sun and frankly, I am not curious about their taste. Besides, the most fragant and juicy raspberries are available at the moment, but now I am here to post a light blueberry dessert. It is simple and if you have some unexpected guests, it is perfect because it is prepared within a couple of minutes. Simply marinate the blueberries in lime juice among some zest and sugar, and let it stand until you are ready with the sabayon.


3 egg yolks
60 g sugar
50 ml dry white wine or sherry
juice of 1 lime and zest

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and wine in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until thick and frothy. Take it off and stir in the lime juice and zest. Serve it together with the
marinated berries.

Heaven on a slice of bread

I believe that I am not exaggerating, when I say that cep is the king of mushrooms or as Nero said "the flesh of the gods". There are four species the cépe de Bordeaux, Tête de nègre,Cèpe des pins and Cèpe d'été. Porcini are available fresh in markets in summer and autumn and dried or canned throught the year. Needles to say that this is my absolute favourite mushroom. If you browse through my blog, you gonna find a couple of recipes using cep, like a rich soup, a beef liver spread, gnocchi, risotto, sabayon, pasta dish or home made porcini oil. Last Saturday, I found some at my greengrocer and had a bunch of ideas how to prepare it. At the end I picked the most simple one: ceps with Parma ham. I was wondering, if I should add
some fresh thyme leaves, but then I decided to go for flat leaf parsley instead, because I thought it would highlight the porcini, where the thyme might not. Though thyme and mushroom is a gorgeous combination. But considering the raw ham, it might have been too heavy together.


4 porcini
1 tablespoon porcini oil
10 g butter
70 g raw ham (e.g. Parma or San Daniele)
1 shallot
flat leaf parsley
salt, pepper

Separate the mushroom stems from the caps. Chop the stems into small dice and fry them in butter over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add sliced ham, chopped shallot and cook for another 3 minutes. Fry the sliced caps in the oil until golden brown. Stir it to the fried stems and add some chopped flat leaf parsley. Season and serve with in olive oil fried white bread.

September 17, 2010

Pointed Cabbage Quiche

In French cuisine, a quiche is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Usually, the pastry shell is blind baked before the other ingredients are added for a secondary baking period. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked. Although quiche is now a classic dish of French cuisine, quiche actually originated in Germany, in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, under German rule, and which the French later renamed Lorraine. The word ‘quiche’ is from the German ‘Kuchen’, meaning cake.The original 'quiche Lorraine' was an open pie with a filling consisting of an egg and cream custard with smoked bacon or lardons. It was only later that cheese was added to the quiche Lorraine. The addition of Gruyère cheese makes a quiche au gruyère or a quiche vosgienne. The 'quiche alsacienne' is similar to the 'quiche Lorraine', though onions are added to the recipe. The bottom crust was originally made from bread dough, but that has since evolved into a short-crust or puff pastry crust. (source:wikipedia)

Well, enough history! Instead of the usual fish dish on Fridays, I decided to prepare something else for lunch. I found a forgotten pointed cabbage, I guess it was in the fridge for about 2 weeks... I also had some bacon, leek, some leftover short-crust pastry and a small piece of Vacherin Fribourgeois, that is one of my favourite cheese. So it was obivious that I am gonna bake a quiche.

(pastry recipe adapted from Michel Roux)
250 g flour
150 g soft butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold milk
125 g bacon, cubed
250 g pointed cabbage
half a leek
fresh majoram
1 egg
200 ml cream
150 g cheese such as Gruyére, Emmentaler or Vacherin
salt, pepper, nutmeg

Put the flour in a large bowl and add the butter, salt, sugar and egg into the middle. Rub these ingredients togehter with your fingertips. Then rub the butter mixture into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrums. Add the milk and knead a dough as fast as possible. Chill dough for an hour. The pastry can be kept in the fridge for a week or frozen for 3 months. For the filling fry bacon, as soon as it starts to brown add thin sliced leek and shredded cabbage and
fry for 5-7 minutes, season and stir in the majoram, then let it cool. Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll out pastry about 2 mm thick and line 4 flan dishes. Line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another 5 minutes to cook the base. Let them cool. Mix the egg with the cream, season and pour it over the filling, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

Steph's aubergine & tomato sugo my way

Well yesterday, the plan actually was, to cook Steph's aubergine and tomato sugo for lunch, but then I realized she used garlic confit, that I didn't have in my pantry. I thought, it wouldn't be the same with fresh, so I decided to take her recipe as the basis for my lunch.

While I was waiting for the aubergine to get baked, I peeled a nice clove of garlic, chopped it and roasted in olive oil until it got golden brown. Then I added a can of chopped tomatoes among a bit of dried oregano and fresh basil. I cooked it for about 10 minutes, then I passed it through a sieve. When the aubergine was ready, I peeled and chooped it with my flat wooden "spoon" and added it to the tomato sauce among some ground black cumin and about 3 pinhces of garam masala and cooked for about 5 minutes together with fresh cocktail tomaotes. At the end I seasoned with salt, pepper and dried chilli, added some fresh mint, fresh goat cheese and roasted walnuts. That's it! This weekend I am gonna prepare Steph's garlic
confit and make her version of this delicious sugo as long as the aubergine season is blooming.

September 15, 2010

Mornay Sauce

Once again, it's been quite a long time since I have posted. Just like in May, I am back with a sauce and fish. Mornay sauce is a Béchamel sauce with grated cheese added. Usually, it consists of half Gruyère and half Parmesan cheese, but there are other variations using different combinations of Gruyère, Emmentaler, Comté or white Cheddar. It is often served with seafood, vegetables or poached egg. I bought beautiful fresh spinach from my greengrocer, who grows all the vegetables by herself and buys the fruits from other producers in her area. Except for the exotic ones, like ginger, lemon and co. I love to buy local and seasonal products, therefore I am more than happy about the opportunity to have such a great greengrocer and other farmers in my area. Now back to the dish! I am not content how the fish got fried, maybe because I used frozen fish or I simply screwed it up. I do not like to freeze fish, because it is far from the fresh one, but sometimes it happens. The organic sea bream I prepared today went really well with the young spinach and the fried orange and purple beetroot.

(recipe adapted from Michel Roux)
15 g butter
15 g flour
250 ml milk
1 egg yolk
25 ml cream
50 g Gruyère, Emmentaler or Cheddar
freshly grated nutmeg
salt, pepper
First prepare the Béchamel: melt butter over low heat, add flour and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring. Add cold milk and bring it to the boil while stirring constatnly. As soon as it cooks reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk together the egg yolk and the cream and stir in to the Béchamel, then cook for about a minute. Remove it from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese is molten and adjust the seasoning.

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