The first night I stayed in Budapest during my travels I found myself at a beautiful little Christmas market. I was ecstatic because it was the first market I had seen (ok, sure it was only the middle of November), but also just that it was so amazingly beautiful and filled with so much Hungarian culture. There was a massive section in the middle devoted to food – mostly meat related products (including Rooster testicles – no thanks!). There were big chelsea bun looking pieces of bread that were filled with stew (kind of like a Bunny Chow here). It was cold, so there was ‘hot wine’ everywhere. I found a little stand, not part of the main food court which appealed to me the most. The beauty of this market was also the seemingly ‘local’ feel to it – sure, there were tourists around, but many locals just enjoying themselves. Anyway, the lady at the food stall could speak some English and relay to me what the meat options were – to simplify, beef or chicken if I recall correctly. Ordinarily I would choose chicken but there were lots of unknown, foreign looking, vegetables in the chicken, so I chose beef (and I’m so glad I did). I then opted for a flatbread which I am yet to find out what it’s called. Hungarian flat bread is called a langos – but it’s a deep fried bread which is served with sour cream mostly. The bread I had, as you can see from the picture was a ‘normal’ flatbread. Anyway, I got my food, my hot wine, and sat down for one of the most delicious meals I had eaten up until then. I just loved it (and it certainly helped that Hungary is incredibly cheap!) I’ve included some pictures below to show you what I’m talking about!
I had already decided I would like to recreate this meal for Hungarian week – something special to remind me of my travels. When I spoke to my mom she said she had a recipe that her mom (my grandmother) used to cook all the time. I never got to meet my gran, Rita (or Riets as my mom, aunt and uncle would often call her), and thought it would be really special to cook this meal. Riets’ Goulash recipe is from the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book.
I didn’t take as many photos as I had hoped, so there isn’t much to go on below. It’s not difficult to cook, although there are quite a few elements. The main difficulty for me is that I doubled the recipe (alread maths is not my forte), but I also had to convert amounts from pounds and ounces to grams. There were 2 things I did ‘wrong’ I think. I should have cut the pieces of potato smaller, or into cubes – they made it a bit difficult to eat later on. I also should have added less water. It wasn’t bad that it was runny, but could have been less runny – it became more of a soup and less of a stew. It was super delicious though, and I had good reports from my friends.
I was cooking for 7 other people, but one of them (Laura Skead) is a vegetarian. So I had to make something for her too. I chose to make a Hungarian Mushroom Paprikash for Skeadles. It’s similiar to goulash. The recipe can be found here. It was also quite delicious – I tasted some of the sauce.
As mentioned, I wanted to recreate the meal so I made flatbreads. My deep frying skills leave much to be desired – we know this from before, and also I don’t have a deep fryer at my disposal. I wanted to make a similar flatbread to the one I ate in Budapest but I just cannot find it anywhere! I really have no idea what I ate there. So I settled on a Greek Pocketless pita recipe, which can be found here. I was incredibly chuffed with how they turned out! Like super chuffed. I’m finding bread related recipes much easier to make nowadays thanks to my beautiful KMix Kitchen Aid (but also I would like to attribute some of the skills to myself!).
Laura offered to bring a salad and dessert. She opted to make a Hungarian Cucumber Salad (I’ll put the link up for it soon). It was super delicious too (even though it had lots of onion), and I was just so stoked that she got involved in the challenge! The salad is in one of the pictures below!
The whole meal went off really nicely and I think my Gran would not only be super chuffed with the fact I cooked her food, but just that I was cooking for friends and having a good evening with people I love.