Sunday, January 11, 2015

Meals on wheels: Budapest, Hungary

Ok, ok, fine, fair enough, I won't make the hungry-Hungary pun on words... Fine then. Our annual Nutracker trip took us to Budapest in 2014. Apart from the absolutely stunning performance (definitely one of the best waltz of the snowflakes I have ever seen!!), we of course also enjoyed sight seeing, flea markets, hot springs and food!

I had a bad start though since I was too sick to eat anything but Tuc-trackers the first day. I guess it's fair to say that I did some catching up for that on Saturday when I, amongst other things, had two Strudel for breakfast...
In Budapest, make sure to have a look at the central market hall. Paprika is what will catch your eye wherever you look. 

Whatever you do, make sure to have a slice of this Zserbó at the Lipóti Pékség bakery in the market hall. It's one of the most delicious sweets I've ever had. And now that I just googled it, I found a recipe which I will definitely have to make in the near future.

Budapest is famous for its coffee house culture and we made sure to squeeze in visits to the two most famous coffee houses.

On Saturday, we went to Gerbeaud, Budapest's most prestigious coffee house. I had a Gerbeaud slice, which tasted out of this world. It features amongst others chocolate ganache and walnut-almond marzipan! (and might be the same as Zserbó?)

The place was packed, but the waitresses were extremely patient and friendly. The café looks marvelous, especially shortly before Christmas and it definitely has a k. und k. feel to it and almost immediately, you feel the compulsion to say Sissssssi and Frrrrranz! The prices are however also quite royal....

On Sunday, right before relaxing at the Széchenyi thermal baths, we went to New York Café, again an architecurally very impressive building and a coffee house with a lot of history - amongst others, Thomas Mann used to be a regular when he visited Budapest. 

I had one of their cake variations, while my sister had foie gras.

If you only have time to visit one coffee house, I would definitely recommend Gerbeaud over the New York Café except what I really liked about the New York Café was the fact that they had a piano player sit and play in the café.

 copyright of all photos j.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year // Breakfast rolls

When I was a little child, I always woke up super early on Chrismas Eve, hardly able to wait until it was finally evening and we got to open our Christmas presents.

This year, I also got up really early. However, rather than the pre-Christmas-excitement, it was the alarm clock that woke me up at 6 o'clock: if you want to make breakfast rolls, you have to get up early! The beautiful sunrise made up for it though!

I learned to make these rolls at the bread baking course I took at Goldhahn und Sampson in September and though they require some planning and some TLC, they are very straight forward and taste so, so good!

Breakfast rolls

for the pâte fermentée (prepared at least 48 hours before you want to bake the rolls) you need

100 gr of wheat flour (550)
70 gr of water
2 gr of fresh yeast 
2 gr of salt

Mix the salt, the yeast and the water, then add the mixture to the flour. After one hour, fould the dough a couple of times. Leave the mix for at least 48 hours .

The day you want to make the rolls, take the pâte fermentée and

250 gr wheat flour (550)
140 gr water
5 gr fresh yeast
5 gr of salt

Even though baking is much more an exact science than cooking, don't worry about the exact amounts. I didn't have a digital scale and it worked out just fine!

Mix the salt, the yeast and the water, then add the mixture to the flour. Add the pâte fermentée. Mix thoroughly for about 10-15 minutes in the food processor until the dough has a dry feel. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes at around 25 °C, then fold it 4 times (do not knead!). Then, let it rise another 30 minutes. Now, take the dough out of the bowl, cut it into 8 pieces, softly roll the pieces inot round balls without letting any air in the dough escape. Always place 2 balls close to each other on the baking sheet and let the rolls rise again for 45 minutes. Make sure to properly cover the rolls with a piece of cloth so that they won't become dry on the soutside. 
Preheat the oven at around 270 °C. Add a pan of water to the oven so that the rolls will bake in steam. Once the rolls have risen for 45 minutes, slice them on top with a sharp knife, then turn the oven temperature on 220 °C and put the rolls in the oven. Bake them in a lot of steam for 20 minutes, let them cool off a little and enjoy breakfast!
If you want to have breakfast at aorung 9-9:30, you should get up around 6 o'clock. Make sure you can take a nap in the afternoon :-)

Making these rolls should be your new year's resolution. I usually don't have any, except this year, my resolution is to: attend at least 4 protest marches and volunteer for asylum seekers and refugees. During the 1990s, when I was in elementary school, we had a Lebanese refugee boy come to attend my class. My mom made this little German/English sheet for me, because Hassan knew some English, but no German.

I think everyone should do things like that to make people who had to leave everything behind feel at home! I found it again when I cleaned out my bedroom at home and in times of Pegida, it is unfortunately up to date.

copyright of all photos j.