How do you try out a new recipe? Do you follow it to the letter, or are you a tinkerer? For years, I didn’t cook often enough to feel confident deviating from the written word; the recipe was law unto the kitchen. But after being forced to improvise when I was living in a rented apartment in the Balkans without cookbooks or measuring cups, I got used to following my own instincts over the stovetop. It helps that I was mainly cooking for myself, and I kept the bar pretty low; Valerian or anyone else daring enough to join me generally wasn’t familiar with what I was trying to do, and didn’t know any better if something came out wrong. Continue reading
I hope you still like pancakes. Continue reading
There is not a mistake in the title – yes, it is Valeria. Valeria was my grandmother, who I never met, but I was named after her. Everybody in the family remembers her as an amazing cook and queen of Hungarian recipes. During the war (WWII), she ran a small workers’ kitchen, and her cooking is still remembered by those who outlived her. The problem with my grandmother’s recipes is that she wrote them for herself. She did not write a lot about how to prepare this cake, at which temperature to cook it, how long to cook it, what kind of cake pan to use. I tried to check online and asked some friends but when I mentioned the ingredients, they said “no flour? you must be missing a page!”. So I looked into early twentieth and late nineteenth-century cookbooks, and there it was. Potato torte, at least 4-5 versions. Mr. Kugler (a Hungarian pastry celebrity from the early twentieth century) explains a lot about the cake, but my questions were still unanswered. It seems that since then this recipe has been forgotten. So we had to experiment and bring it back. The main difference between my grandmother’s and Mr. Kuglers recipe is that my grandmother wrote it during or right after war, so she used a limited range of ingredients. Her version of the cake is great not only for people with gluten intolerance but for people watching their fat intake and for people who watch their wallets. A great cake for hard economical times.
My mum used to make these amazing Slovak potato pancakes. She would come home during her lunch break and make lunch for us, so it would be waiting for us when we came home from school. She made sure there was some soup and a main course. By the time we would get home, Mum was back at work, but she always left a note about what she cooked and how much we can have — with three hungry boys she left nothing to chance. I still remember that we could have 5 pancakes each. Continue reading
I don’t know why is this different then wienerschnitzel or a grilled pork chop, but it is. I thought this meal is only special to me; as a kid I used to request it all the time, and it was always my dad who cooked it for me. But I grew up and this pork chop became forgotten. Until one day I made it again.