- Cut off the rinds of the oranges, removing the white pith.
- Break the clementines into segments and set aside for use later.
- Place the water in a small saucepan.
- Add the orange rinds to the pot.
- Add the sugar.
- Place the saucepan on the stove and bring it to boil.
- Keep simmering until syrup is reduced by half.
- Remove from the heat.
- Hold a smaller sieve over the pot and with a slotted spoon scoop the rinds into the sieve.
- Squeeze the rinds to force the syrup back into the pan.
- Discard rinds.
- Add the clementine segments to the hot syrup and place a lid on the pot.
- Immediately remove pot from heat.
- Let it cool to lukewarm and pour the brandy on the top.
- Don’t add the brandy until you are satisfied with the level of sweetness. If not sweet enough, scoop out the clementines and add a little more sugar to the pot. Reheat the syrup to melt the sugar and then cool it down before you put back the clementines. After the brandy added, the syrup should not be heated again.
- Serve in glasses or spooned over vanilla ice cream.
Jim brought home a small box of clementines the other day and ugh the puckering they caused, but in the end they inspired this simple, but elegant dessert. If you don’t have clementines, chopped navel oranges with seeds removed will be fine. Use fresh oranges. The canned mandarins are overly soft and tasteless. I flavoured the syrup with Grand Marnier, but I suspect any type of orange liquor or rum would do them up nicely.
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or orange brandy
After the holidays you may want something simple, fresh and fast for supper. All you need for this is a small bag of mushrooms provided you are not out of staples; you have some type of pasta at home, a bit of leftover wine and some heavy cream left. The pasta doesn’t have to be linguine either. I prefer fresh, homemade pasta, but the mushroom sauce is so flavourful that fresh pasta is not a requirement. I was out of parmesan and just used some white cheese from the back of the fridge. It was delicious!
large handful of linguini
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
sprinkling of thyme
3 cups of sliced mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup wine [I used rose]
1/4 cup heavy cream
grated hard white cheese
- Prep the mushrooms, onion and the garlic and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook it to package directions.
- Meanwhile melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet on medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Sauté until the mushrooms are soft.
- Add the wine and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the heavy cream; simmer for 2 minutes.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain off the water.
- Add the hot mushroom sauce to the hot pasta and toss.
- Place in warm serving bowls and sprinkle the top with grated hard cheese.
This is not a bread loaf or bunt bread. This is real bread. I up-scaled the egg bread yesterday and it turned out heavenly. I am writing out the recipe, as I made several revisions from the original. One major difference is the lower temperature and a longer baking time. The substantial difference from the egg bread is I added cocoa and increased the sugar. I ate it with butter, Liv with Nutella and Jim just ate it. The crust blew me away; it was extraordinary. The cocoa bread would make a wonderful addition to the bread tray at a party. Imagine the surprise of people thinking they took the “healthy” bread and then watch them go back and fight for more. The egg bread just keeps on giving.
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 sugar sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1-1/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup 1% milk
2 Tbsp oil
flour for handling
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, place all of the ingredients.
- With the flat beater, at low speed combine the ingredients. The dough will be wet and sticky.
- Switch to a dough hook and beat the dough vigorously until the sides of the bowl cleared. You can knead the dough by hand on a floured surface, but this is a sticky-dough and any additional flour will result in a denser loaf.
- Place the oil in a large bowl and transfer the dough turning over so it’s well coated with oil. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size. Time can vary.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Transfer the dough to a flat surface [it will be oily] and twist it into a skinny loaf to fit the baking sheet.
- Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet.
- Allow bread to rest for about 15 minutes in a warm, draft-free place. It will rise a bit but not considerably.
- Turn the oven up to 450F. Set the timer for 9 minutes.
- When the timer goes, place the bread in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, reduce the oven to 400F. Set the timer for 14 more minutes.
- When the timer goes remove the bread from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before slicing. Don’t cut into it right of way.
- At room temperature, the cocoa bread slices wonderfully.
- Use it within 2 days or freeze part of it to retain its freshness.
You can cut pork paper-thin and it will still cook up a bit tough. There are good reasons for tenderizing cutlets by pounding. It makes for a tenderer cutlet; the pounding breaks up the connective tissues. Tenderized meat requires shorter cooking time and a uniform thickness ensures that each piece of meat can cook at the same rate.
You will need a meat mallet or tenderizer. Not to be confused with the chemical powder sold as “meat tenderizer”. The meat mallet comes in different shapes, some are stubby, and some come with a long handle. I prefer the long handled tenderizer; it gives leverage so I don’t have to use force pounding the meat. If you don’t have a tenderizer, wash a hammer with soapy water and wipe it dry. You will place the meat between sheets of plastic anyway, as you do not want either the mallet or the hammer to touch the meat. The other reason is you don’t want raw meat particles flying around and attaching to various surfaces in your kitchen. Using a rolling pin to tenderize cutlets is a joke.
You will also need a heavy, wooden cutting board. It will distribute the pressure from pounding evenly, protecting the surface underneath. Never use a plastic cutting board on its own; it will fall apart and worse you will damage your countertop. Don’t pound the meat on a rickety table either, the noise and the movement will be aggravating. A glass table or a tiled surface is much too fragile to pound meat on. Make sure you place your wooden cutting board on a stable, level surface.
- Place a plastic cutting sheet on the wood cutting board.
- Arrange as many slices your cutting board accommodates, keeping in mind the meat will spread as it flattens out.
- Cover the meat with heavy plastic wrap to avoid splatters.
- Next, pound the meat with the coarse, ridged side of the mallet. Pound it to the desired thickness.
- Turn the meat over and put back the same plastic wrap. Pound the other side as before.
- Discard the plastic wrap.
- For the following batch of cutlets use fresh sheets of plastic wrap.
- To butterfly a boneless pork chop or vertical slice of pork loin, cut it almost in half through one side, stopping about 1/4 inch from the edge.
- Open the chop as you would open a book.
- Place the chop between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it gently with the flat side of a meat mallet to a uniform 1/4 inch thickness.
Buttery shortbread is a teatime favourite of mine and toasted coconut adds a new pleasure to this cookie classic. Toasting coconuts is a simple task and the exceptional flavour and aroma it gives to shortbread is worth the extra steps. It is best in small batches, the cookie log can be frozen, these are best freshly baked as they loose some of their aroma after a couple of days.
Toasted Coconut Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cups fine cut coconut, lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the coconuts in a baking pan.
- Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Stir it and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile cream together the butter and the icing sugar until very smooth. Do not beat the butter until frothy, but no lumps of butter should remain.
- Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and stir to combine.
- Next, whisk the flour and the cornstarch.
- Blend it slowly into the creamed mixture until dough forms.
- Add the toasted coconut and stir to combine.
- Roll the dough into a 2-inch diameter log. Wrap and chill for 2 to 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Unwrap and slice with a sharp chef’s knife into 1/4 inch rounds.
- Arrange on the prepared cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
- Let the cookies settle before transferring them to a wire rack cool.
- Yield about 2 dozen cookies.
These wonderful cupcakes are reminiscent of my version of sachertorte, because good things are worth spreading and repeating. It is not imperative to use two types of chocolate, however for ganache only pure chocolate will do. Check the ingredient list. Pure chocolate should have a maximum of FIVE ingredients, with chocolate being TWO of the top three. It should have 70% or greater cacao solids with no artificial flavours or extra ingredients. The chocolate must be fresh with a recent date, because the flavour is lost very quickly and the bar goes rancid within a few weeks. Inferior chocolate, chocolate chips or cocoa will never make it into ganache.
Chocolate Cupcakes With Ganache
4 eggs separated
4 heaping Tbsp sugar
2-1/2 heaping Tbsp cake flour
2-1/2 heaping Tbsp cocoa
1.5 oz [or 42.5 g] pure bittersweet chocolate
3/8 oz [or 10.6 g] pure semisweet chocolate
3/8 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp salted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- If using a stand beater transfer the beaten egg whites to a different bowl.
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon coloured.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the cake flour with the cocoa.
- Stir the flour mixture into the egg yolk batter.
- Gradually, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Generously spray a large cupcake pan with cooking spray.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a sharp knife inserted into a middle cupcake comes out clean.
- Make the chocolate ganache while the cupcakes bake in the oven.
- Chop the chocolate into small, matchstick-size pieces and place in a large stainless steel or heat-resistant bowl.
- Bring the cream to a rising boil and pour, all at once, over the chopped chocolate.
- Stir until the chocolate is melted and completely smooth with no lumps.
- Quickly stir in the softened butter, until completely dissolved.
- Set aside.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. The cupcakes are fragile to handle.
- Remove cakes from the cupcake pan and let them cool completely before dipping the tops into the ganache.
Anyone who ever experimented making artisan breads knows that sticky dough is notoriously difficult to get off surfaces.
One would think the best way to clean off sticky dough is to put every bowl and utensil into hot, soapy water. Except heat makes the sticky dough even stickier, and you end up smearing the gloppy mess everywhere. Someone said put the dough in the composter not to clog up your sink. Fair enough, but who said you have to flush it down the drainpipe? Besides composting dough in the backyard is a bad idea. The one advice every composter comes with, and we have four, is never to put carbohydrate or protein into the composter, because it brings rodents into the yard. So after cleaning up huge messes and throwing away brand new dishcloths and soaking bowls for days, I decided to share my experience on this sticky subject.
Cleaning Off Sticky Dough:
- The cutting board is the easiest to clean. Leave it to dry and just scrape the dough off with a plastic dough scraper. Metal scraper can scratch the surface so use it with caution.
Utensils andMixing Bowl:
- Fill the bowl part of the way with COOL water and place all non-wood utensils inside for 15 minutes. Don’t leave them soaking too long though.
- Rub the loosened dough off the utensils with your fingers. If you have nice nails, wear a plastic glove.
- Then with a rigid plastic spatula, scrape the loosened dough off the bowls.
- Let the water down the drain and scoop up the accumulated dough with paper towel.
- Use more cool water to wash off everything.
- Finish cleaning the bowls and the utensils with hot, soapy water just as you would wash the rest of the dishes.
Did you hear about the Toronto man who hijacked a bus to go to Tim Hortons? We do like our timbits! Tim Hortons was bought out a couple of years ago. If that wasn’t bad enough the new owners tried to take timbits off the menu, underestimating our love for it. “Timbits are more than just deep-fried balls of water and flour to Canadians,” picketer Tom Delmont told the Oakville News at a rally outside that city’s Lakeshore Road Tim Hortons location. “If these Americans think they can just stomp in and take away our Timbits, they’re in for a Whopper of a surprise. Welcome to
This is the way we do things here. Source Canada
A year later we are still buying timbits, but since one never knows how long we can, I made these donut holes and they actually taste better than Tim’s. Still, as long as they are selling the stuff I will be buying. But in case we can't... I already figured out how to make two of the staples; old fashioned chocolate and the honey glazed.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Donut Holes
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp buttermilk
2 Tbsp melted butter
oil for frying
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and the salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and melted butter.
- Add to the flour mixture and stir to blend.
- Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
- Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, buttermilk and the vanilla extract to make a pourable glaze.
- Line one tray with parchment paper and one with paper towels. Set aside.
- Scrape the chilled dough onto a generously floured cutting board.
- With floured hands, shape the dough into 1/2 inch thick ropes.
- With a chef’s knife cut the dough rope into 1/2 inch segments.
- Roll into balls and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Meanwhile heat up 2 inches of oil in a smaller dutch pot on medium high heat.
- Roll 4-5 donut holes into the hot oil. Turn them over in the same order they went into the pot.
- As soon as the last donut hole is turned, start taking them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the paper towel lined tray to drain.
- Fry the remaining donut holes.
- Dip them into the prepared glaze.
- Let the glaze set for ten minutes before sampling.
Venison steak is prepared much like a beefsteak. I like mine well done with no blood running and every time I get a tasty, tender well done steak. There are two differences when preparing venison steak. One is in the serving and the other is in the brining. Hunters advice against marinating venison and suggest instead brining. Source
The salt solution prevents the meat fibres from toughening up and helps the meat retain its moisture. The brine penetrates deep into the meat and colours its flavour. Don’t brine for longer than one day or the meat will be too salty. There is room for individuality in the choice of fresh herbs. Start with a brine of 2 tablespoons of salt per 1 litre [4 cups] of cold water. Add herbs, preferably fresh. A few bay leaves, juniper berries, a bit of cracked black pepper, chilli pepper, thyme, and a small sprinkling of celery seed are all good. I didn’t have juniper berries and cautiously omitted the chilli. Once brined, the venison steak cooks up like beef. The cooked and rested venison steak is then thinly sliced.
2 Tbsp salt
1 litre of cold water
2 bay leaves
few juniper berries if available
small sprinkling of cracked black pepper
small chunk of fresh or even smaller amount of dried chilli pepper
a sprig of fresh thyme or a sprinkling of dried thyme
1/4 tsp celery seed [don’t use more]
2 venison steaks
sprinkling of black pepper
2 Tbsp oil
2 + 1 Tbsp butter
- Let the venison sit in a brine for 4 to 6 hours.
- Take it out of the brine and dab both sides with paper towel.
- Pepper the steak on both sides.
- Heat up a non-stick pan on just under medium heat.
- Add 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan.
- Add a 2 Tbsp of butter to the oil. It should sizzle.
- Bottom of the pan should be coated with 1 to 2 mm of butter.
- Add the steak to the pan and do not touch it.
- Place a lid on the skillet.
- Do not move steak or lift the lid for 6 minutes.
- Just before turning the steak, add another knob of butter to the pan.
- Turn the steak and place the lid on the pan.
- Again, do not touch steak or lift the lid for 6 minutes.
- Remove steak from the pan, put on a heated plate, and cover with the lid.
- Keep the pan juices warm over minimum heat.
- Let the venison steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- This allows the meat fibres to relax - giving a more tender bite.
- Thinly slice and arrange on a platter.
- Pour some of the pan juices on top and serve.
As corporate greed is making more and more of our standard foodstuffs unpalatable, I have been forced to make more and more things from scratch. If you eat it all the time, your palate can adjust to the changes, but if you don’t, be prepared for the occasional nasty surprise. For instance, I cannot stand graham crackers anymore, no more almond roca for us until I can make my own graham crackers. It is hard to get graham flour where we live. Apparently, they go rancid in record time. More recently, the toasted, buttered English muffin my darling so lovingly prepared for me tasted metallic and distinctively bitter. Never fear I said we are going to make crumpets. After a few trials and errors, here is the fast version, leavened with just baking powder and buttermilk. So simple to make, I never thought crumpets could taste so good.
Baking Powder Crumpets
1 cup flour
1⁄8 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup 3.25% buttermilk
1 Tbsp melted butter
oil for the pan
- Combine everything, leaving the melted butter for last.
- Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium heat.
- Lightly oil the griddle.
- Pour 3 small mounds of batter onto griddle. Leave a half an inch between the crumpets, they will spread out a bit. I kind of helped the batter into a circle with my fingers. You can do that because the batter is thick.
- Turn down the heat a notch and cook until the tops are shiny and bubbles break on surface.
- Turn the crumpets over with a spatula. They will be ready when the underside matches the top.
- The tendency is to make the next batch a little bigger; the eye gets used to the finished size and overcompensates. There should be enough batter for seven good-sized crumpets.
- Serve the crumpets with butter and jam.
Never was a soup with so many names. In Hungarian “korhely” means drunkard, someone with excessive tendencies. Indeed this soup is pretty indulgent, as it may contain not one, but up to four types of smoked meat products. If served on New Years Day, it is “Újévi Leves” or New Year’s Soup. If served at dawn it is “Éjszakai Bagolyleves” or Night Owl Soup. Back in the days, before the wide use of coffee, this was fashionable to serve in the wee hours of the morning to revive inebriated party guests. The idea was to stop the pains of hangover and to get people to leave. [This can be a challenge after a big party.] I cannot vouch for the validity of such claims, all I know is the soup is deliciously restorative.
When I cook with sauerkraut, I never rinse it, I combine it with fresh salted cabbage instead. The fresh cabbage tames the acidity of the sauerkraut and the two become indistinguishable. One of the meat products used in authentic drunkard soup is smoked pig-knuckle. Except the pig knuckle one can get in a mid sized Canadian city is a faint shadow of Hungarian pig knuckles. Our pig knuckles remind me of local “not quite breads” and the reason I bake my own. Why pay $18.00 for a tiny smoked pig knuckle that is devoid of flavour? Might as well put in a chunk of ham. If you are able to get your hands on some flavour rich smoked pork, use it. Otherwise, ham is the best alternative. With full fat sour cream and an artisan bread, this soup makes a great meal for six people. Served in cups it can feed up to sixteen.
Drunkard Soup – Korhelyleves
3 cups thinly sliced fresh green cabbage
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lard or oil
1-1/2 cups diced good quality bacon
1 cup diced onions
3 cups wine sauerkraut3 cups diced smoked boneless pork meat or ham
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
4 cups water
3 cups sliced franks or kielbassa sausage
2 sticks dry Hungarian sausage or landjaeger sausage
2 Tbsp lard or oil
1 heaping Tbsp flour
3 cups water
salty cabbage brine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
freshly ground black pepper for taste
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
14% sour cream and fresh artisan bread for serving
- Thinly slice the green cabbage, don’t grate it.
- Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl.
- Add 1/4 cup water and the salt. Toss to coat well. [The small amount of water makes the cabbage penetrable and the salt draws the moisture out much faster than from dry cabbage.
- While the cabbage is letting its juices, dice the bacon and the onions.
- After twenty minutes, squeeze out as much liquid from the cabbage as you can. Cabbage should be limp at this stage.
- Reserve the salty cabbage juice for use later.
- Keep in mind not to add salt to the pot during cooking. The salted fresh cabbage and the sauerkraut are both salty as the reserved cabbage juice.
- Next, place lard or oil in a medium sized dutch pot and add the diced bacon.
- Slow fry on medium heat stirring often. Don’t let the bacon brown.
- When the bacon begins to get a golden color, add the diced onions and sauté ‘till soft.
- Do not brown the onions.
- Add the squeezed out fresh cabbage and the sauerkraut to the pot.
- Add the diced smoked pork meat or the ham.
- Add the caraway seeds.
- Stir and add 4 cups of water to cover the pot’s content.
- Bring the cabbage mixture to a slow steady simmer and maintain it for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile chop the remaining sausages and set them aside.
- In a non-stick skillet, melt two Tbsp of lard on medium heat and add 1 heaping Tbsp of flour.
- Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add 3 cups of water.
- Next, pour this into the pot with the cabbage.
- Add the reserved salty cabbage liquid and the chopped sausages.
- Season the soup with 1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika and the minced garlic.
- Bring to a simmer again and maintain the simmer for 10 minutes.
- Taste it. The soup should have a pleasant flavour, neither bland nor too salty.
- Don’t add more salt to the pot. If there is any leftover, it will be saltier the following day anyway.
- If the soup is too salty dilute it with water, but this is always at the expense of flavour.
- If you must add salt, salt at the table.
- Just before serving, stir freshly cracked black pepper and an extra teaspoon of Hungarian paprika into the soup.
- Serve the drunkard soup with plenty of good sour cream and a fresh artisan loaf.
Oh my, winter arrived with vengeance! At first, I loved the beauty of it and even enjoyed the holed up seclusion for a few days. And then slowly... we began to dig ourselves out. Our street, I thought, may not even see a snowplow before January. What it will scrape off the road will deposit at the end of our driveway.
I wanted to make Maria’s mashed whitebeans, but all we had at home was garbanzo, so I made this hybrid and Jimre who hates beans was none the wiser. Yesterday I baked bread but somehow I have to get to the store for milk. Oh and eggs. And sour cream. What kind of household without eggs and sour cream? The air looked all purple yesterday. I am hoping there will be no more snow today. Well the snow stayed, the plough came and that is how we ended the old year.
It was Peach Lady who alerted me to cooking beans in the pressure cooker. It would take way too long to cook garbanzo beans with the conventional method, but the pressure cooker made them soft in fifteen. I could have used a can of garbanzo beans, but that would not be half as much fun.
Garbanzo Mashed Potatoes
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1-1/2 cups cooked red potatoes
1/2 cup 3.25% plain yogurt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
2-3 Tbsp melted butter
Paprika Onion Topping:
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup red onion slices
sprinkling of salt
1 tsp paprika
- Cook 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans with 3 cups of water in the pressure cooker until soft.
- Meanwhile peel, chop and cook the potatoes in water until soft.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Place the beans in the food processor with the yoghurt the minced garlic and the salt.
- Next add the potatoes and the milk and puree.
- Add the melted butter and pulse to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a plastic bowl, cover and heat up in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.
- Make the paprika onion topping just before serving.
- Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet on medium heat.
- Add the sliced onions and sprinkle with salt.
- Sauté until the onions begin to wilt.
- Remove from heat and stir in the paprika. Once you add the paprika don't put the skillet back on the stove; the paprika will turn bitter.
- Transfer the garbanzo mashed potatoes to a serving bowl and pour the paprika topping on the top. The paprika butter will melt down and nicely pool at the base of the dish.
- It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!