Healthy, quick and it’s so delightful!

4 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1 cup strawberries, sliced
balsamic vinaigrette dressing

• Toss spinach and sliced strawberries.
• Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.


This Classic Birthday Cake was adapted from Williams-Sonoma Mastering Series, Cakes, Fillings and Frosting, by Elinor Klivans. The recipe includes a soaking syrup, a buttercream and a frosting. But as far as involved cakes go this was not too difficult. And it’s not a sponge; it’s your classic foam cake. All the leavening is by the beaten egg whites. The recipe was made much more complicated than needed to be. Would you believe it I had to simplify the recipe several times, because the instructions were so elaborate and complex. I cut the syrup in half; you won’t even use half that amount. I will have to make this one more time to fine tune the recipe. I thought this would be a smashing good cake. Happy Birthday Simone!

So we had the cake. I found it way too rich. A thin slice and you are done. There was leftover buttercream and frosting too. I think the soaking syrup was redundant, a foam cake doesn't need soaking besides the cake would have been plenty sweet without it. Actually, the sugar in the cake could be cut down, by about 1/4 of a cup. The flavour of both the buttercream and the frosting was nice, I didn't find them too sweet. But there was just way too much butter and chocolate. There is simply no need for both buttercream and frosting. Next time I think I will loose both the soaking syrup and the buttercream.

But after I met with considerable resistance from grandchild over the issue of making or not making this cake again, the story after all is not yet finished.

Vanilla Sponge Cake
1 cup cake flour
pinch of salt
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp dark rum
1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream
3 egg whites
1⁄4 tsp cream of tartar
2⁄3 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1⁄4 cup water
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, in 10 equal pieces, soft
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 squares of semisweet chocolate, melted
candy thermometer is essential

Chocolate Frosting
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1⁄4 cup whipping cream, room temperature

1. Make the cakes:

• Preheat the oven 350F.
• Lightly spray or butter two 9-inch spring form cake pans.
• Line the bottom and the sides of both pans with parchment paper.
• Lightly spray the parchment.
• In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
• In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
• Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
• In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
• Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually and very gently fold the egg yolks into the egg whites. Do not deflate.
• Gently fold in the sifted flour mixture in 4 additions. Adding the dry ingredients in small amounts prevents their weight from deflating the egg mixture.
• Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
• Bake the cakes undisturbed for 20 minutes or until tops feel firm.
• Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
• Run a thin knife along the inside edge of each pan to loosen the cake, keeping the knife pressed against the side.
• Unhook the spring mechanism and move the cake to a wire rack to cool.
• Repeat with the second layer.
• Let cool completely on the racks. If not using the cake layers right away, tightly wrap the cooled cake layers individually in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for up to 2 days.

2. Make the cake syrup:

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the water and sugar.
Heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot.
Remove from the heat and stir in the rum and vanilla extract.
Let the syrup cool to room temperature, for about 15 minutes.

3. Make the buttercream:

• In a small pan begin to melt the chocolate on the lowest of temperature.
• Make the sugar syrup for the buttercream.
• In deep bowl whisk to blend the egg whites and cream of tartar until the cream of tartar dissolves, about 1 minute.
• Set the bowl aside.
• In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the 2⁄3 cup sugar, the water and the corn syrup.
• Heat on low heat until the sugar dissolves.
• Occasionally stir with a wooden spoon.
• Increase the heat to high and let the syrup bubble vigorously, without stirring, until it is smooth and thick and registers 240F on a candy thermometer.
• Remove from the heat.
• Combine the egg whites and sugar syrup
• Beat the egg white mixture with the 2 Tbsp sugar on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute.
• Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating the egg whites until they look white, shiny and smooth and soft peaks form when the whip is lifted.
• Reduce the mixer speed to low and carefully pour the hot syrup in a thin stream in the space between the whip and the sides of the bowl; the bowl will feel hot to the touch. When all of the syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and beat for 5 minutes. At this point, the outside of the bowl will be lukewarm to the touch and the mixture will form stiff peaks when the whip is lifted.
• With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the butter to the egg white mixture 1 piece at a time.
• Beat until each piece of butter is incorporated before adding the next piece.
• Stop the mixer occasionally and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
• Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate and beat until combined.
• The buttercream should be soft enough to spread but not pourable. If it is too soft, refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm it slightly, then, just before using, whisk briefly until smooth.

4. Make the chocolate frosting:

• Melt the chocolate in a small pot over very low heat.
• In a large bowl, combine the icing sugar and butter.
• Beat on low speed until combined; beat smooth.
• Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate and beat until fully incorporated.
• Pour in the whipping cream and beat on high for 1 minute until the color lightens and mixture looks fluffy.
• Use the frosting as soon as possible, while it is still soft and spreads easily.

5. Assemble the cake:

• Cut each cake into 2 uniform layers.
• Place a large sheet of waxed paper on the work surface.
• Place the cake layers on the waxed paper, keeping one cut side down (this will be the top of the cake) and the rest of the layers with cut side up.
• With a clean pastry brush, brush the top of each of the 4 layers LIGHTLY with the cake syrup. The syrup will moisten and add flavour to the cake.
• Place 4 strips of waxed paper, each cut 2 inches wide, about 1 inch apart on a cake stand or plate.
• Reserve 1-1/2 cups from the chocolate buttercream.
• Divide the remaining chocolate buttercream into 3 parts and spread each cake layer [but not the top one] with one part of the chocolate buttercream.
• Slide the bottom cake layer, syrup side up, onto the waxed paper strips.
• Place all the cake layers on the top ending with the top layer without the buttercream.
• Place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes.
• Remove cake from the freezer and lightly crumb coat the top and the sides with the chocolate frosting.
• Place back in the freezer for another 15 minutes.
• Remove cake from the freezer and transfer to a serving platter.
• Generously coat the top and the sides with the chocolate frosting.
• Pipe the reserved chocolate buttercream around the bottom and the top of the cake.



Funny thing no ribs only pork chops. Why the name I don’t know. Not only that but shepherds don’t have access to pork and how would you cook this in a cauldron anyway? Maybe the meat used to be lamb. Maybe the chef’s name was Pásztor. The rib part… who knows? The dish is a half attempted ragout, perhaps an Italian influence? The nutmeg could be French or Asian. Could be Hungarian or could be not. All I know the cookbook it comes from is Hungarian.

This the perfect dish to make ahead. Be sure not to serve it right of way. Assemble it, bake it, remove it from the oven and then let it rest for 4 hours. [Or place it in the fridge for the night.] After that reheat and serve it. The flavours will merge and develop. It’s worth the wait though.

4 pork chops without the bones
8 medium red potatoes
1/4 cup oil
1 knob of butter
1 cup full fat sour cream
2 tomatoes
4-6 Havarti cheese slices
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 nutmeg, grated

• Cook the red potatoes in their jackets.
• While the potatoes cook, prepare the pork chops.
• With a meat tenderizer pound the pork chops very thin.
• Cut off the fatty bits.
• Heat the oil in a non-stick fry pan and add the pork chops.
• Fry the chops on both sides but don’t pierce them. Turn them over with a pair of kitchen thongs.
• Place the chops on a plate and season it with salt and pepper.
• When the potatoes are cooked, pour off the water and let them cool a bit.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Peel and slice the potatoes.
• Butter a large casserole dish with the butter.
• Arrange the potato slices on the bottom.
• Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
• Spread the sour cream on the top.
• Lay the pork chops on the top.
• Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the meat layer.
• Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
• Cover the entire dish with slices of Havarti cheese.
• Sprinkle Swiss cheese on the top.
• Grate half a nutmeg over the top.
• Place the cover over the casserole dish or wrap it well with aluminum foil.
• Bake the casserole at 350F for 40-50 minutes.
• Uncover casserole and bake for another 10 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and let the dish rest for four hours. If you put it in the fridge for the night, put the cover back on the casserole.
• Heat the dish through in a 350F oven and serve.



They look like little breads. The best known bukta is filled with jam, these are called lekváros bukta. My grandma always made some kakaós bukta for us; you guessed it, these were filled with cocoa. The funny thing about bukta the cocoa ones always disappeared. So quite often all that we had was the jam filled kind. I remember eating the bukta around the jam. But I wasn’t the only kid to desecrate grandma’s bukta. By evening a tray of bukta could look as if an army of rodents have been through it. I couldn’t figure out why she insisted putting jam in half of them anyway. I am the grandmother now and I make my bukta with a cocoa filling. Is there anything better than coming home from school to a tray of warm bukta? This recipe makes 12 buktas in a square baking pan. If doubled, make 24 buktas and bake them in a rectangular pan.

2-1/3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg. vanilla sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
1 egg
2 Tbsp melted butter

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa, sifted

• In a large bowl, combine bread flour with soft butter.
• Add the sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and the instant dry yeast.
• In a small bowl whisk together the milk and the egg.
• Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients.
• Combine to make soft dough.
• Turn the dough onto a lightly floured kneading surface.
• Knead for a few minutes.
• Place the dough into bowl and sprinkle flour on the top.
• Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled.
• Punch down and roll the dough out to half an inch thickness.
• Cut into twelve squares.
Prepare the filling next.
• In a small bowl whip 1/4 cup of butter with the sugar.
• Add the cocoa and stir to combine.
• Divide the cocoa filling between the twelve dough squares.
• Pinch together two opposite ends and then roll up the dough to encasing the cocoa filling.
• Line a small square pan with parchment paper.
• Spray with cooking spay and arrange the twelve rolls in the pan slightly touching.
• Brush the tops with melted butter and let the buktas rise until doubled in size.
• Bake the risen buktas in 350F oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.



It’s been freezing in the garden on and off at night, but the baby bok choy doesn’t seem to notice. Baby bok choy has a much sweeter flavour than adult varieties. I fry it up quickly with fresh peppers and a tomato and then combine it with cooked pasta. I am not sure about the nationality of this one, Chinese bok choy, Hungarian peppers, extra virgin olive oil and Italian pasta. Hmmm. This just might be a typically Canadian thing eh? I serve it as a side dish with either meat or fish. I only had yellow peppers at home. Using both red and yellow peppers definitely elevates this dish.

pasta for two
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh peppers, 1 red and 1 yellow
1 medium tomato
2 bunches baby bok choy
salt and pepper to taste

• Begin with cooking the pasta.
• Wash the peppers and the tomato.
• Core the peppers and cut into chunks.
• Chop the tomato into 8 pieces.
• Wash the baby bok choy and drain.
• Separate the stalks and leaves.
• Chop the stalks and the leaves across.
• Heat a large non stick fry pan and add the olive oil.
• Add the peppers and the tomato.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.
• Sauté for a minute or two and then add the bok choy stalks; stir once.
• Add the leaves and stir once.
• As soon as the bok choy heats through the leaves will wilt.
• Remove pan from the heat.
• Drain the pasta and transfer it to a bowl.
• Add the bok choy stir fry, toss and serve.


This will be the absolute last plum based preserve I can make this year. It’s so late in the game that these plums have been waiting in the freezer pureed for the better part of a month. I defrosted them last night, now they are ready to go. Some will be made into fruit leather. The rest will fill up my few remaining jars with plum dipping sauce. This is a mild plum sauce. If you like plum sauce with a bit of a kick, add 1/2 teaspoon of red chili paste, or more, with the chili flakes. Recipe makes 5 jars of 250 ml plum dipping sauce.

5 cups plum puree
[I estimate this to be about 1 kilo or a bit more than 2 lb of fresh plums.]
1/3 cup liquid honey
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
a very small pinch of chili flakes
1/8 cup soy sauce
Fruit Fresh

• Pit and chop the plums.
• Puree them in a blender or put them through the food processor
• Place them in a large pot along with the honey, ginger, wine vinegar, garlic and the chili flakes.
• Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Be careful, this can scorch easily. Keep the temperature on low simmer and stir it often.
• If you make it for immediate use or intend to keep it in the fridge for awhile, 15 minutes of cooking is sufficient besides the sauce can be thickened with a little cornstarch. If you intend to can the dipping sauce, keep simmering until the consistency of jam. You will know its ready, because the top will be shiny. The sauce will thicken as it cools, but keep in mind that you still have to add a 1/8 cup of soya sauce.
• Once the sauce is the desired thickness, remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce.
• Pack the hot plum sauce into hot sterilized jars and process the usual way.


This is the Hungarian answer to shepherd’s pie. But instead of ground beef this dish is made with lean ground pork. Serve it with a green salad and various pickles. It’s very delicious. Make this and you may never want to make shepherd’s pie again.

40 g [about a pound] of lean ground pork
2 large slices of light rye bread
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced

4 medium large red potatoes
2 Tbsp full fat sour cream
1 egg yolk
scant 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter, melted

• Place the ground pork in a large bowl.
• Slightly dampen the bread [do not soak it though] with water and crumple it up with your fingers.
• Add the crumpled bread to the bowl and kneed it into the meat until the bread and meat are indistinguishable.
• Add the egg and season with salt, pepper and the paprika.
• Knead to combine. At first the egg may make the mixture a little wet, but keep kneading it until the mixture becomes smooth and uniform.
• Dice the onion.
• Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a non stick fry pan.
• Place on medium heat and sauté the onions until soft and tender.
• Add the soft onions and the fresh minced garlic to the bowl.
• Kneed to combine.
• Spray an oven proof dish.
• Form a round mound from the meat mixture and place it on the prepared pan.
• Bake it at 350F for 45 minutes.
• Meanwhile peel and chop the potatoes and cook them until soft.
• In a small bowl combine the sour cream, egg yolk and the freshly grated nutmeg and then set this aside.
• Remove the meat from the oven and transfer to a plate.
• Discard the fat and the juices that have collected in the pan.
• Spray the pan again and put the meat back in the pan.
• Drain the potatoes and mash them.
• Add the sour cream mixture to the potatoes and whip them up with a wooden spoon.
• Spread the mashed potatoes all over the meat.
• Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and pour it over the mashed potatoes.
• Raise the oven temperature to 375F and return the pan to the oven.
• Bake until the mashed potato begins to get a bit of colour.
• Slice into four wedges and serve.



The aroma filling the house with pepper jelly was pretty intoxicating. The inspiration came from here. I started with 5 very ripe red and yellow peppers and ended up with 4 small jars of sweet pepper jelly. The Light Certo jelled almost immediately. It remains to be seen if I need to reduce the pectin for the next time. I jiggled a jar and it appears well… jelly like.

Remember to always use pickling salt for preserving, because the iodine in table salt eventually turns every fruit and vegetable brown.

5 large very ripe red and yellow peppers
1 cup red wine vinegar
3-1/4 cups of sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
1 box of Light Certo [powdered pectin]
1/4 cup sugar
Fruit Fresh

• Core the peppers, discard the stems and wash thoroughly removing the seeds.
• Put them through the food processor reserving a few small bits.
• Place the processed peppers, including the few reserved bits in a large pot.
• Add the red wine vinegar and 3-1/4 cups sugar.
• Add the salt and bring the mixture to a boil.
• Boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.
• In a small bowl combine the Light Certo with 1/4 cup of sugar.
• Add to the pepper mixture and bring it back to boil.
• Boil for one minute all the while stirring.
• Remove from heat and pack the pepper jelly into hot sterilized jars.
• Add 1/4 teaspoon of Fruit Fresh to each jar.
• Wipe the rims, place on the snap lids and screw on the caps. Check the box and make sure to follow manufacturer’s suggestion for softening the cap seals. In the past we had to boil the caps for 5 minutes to soften the seal. Recently purchased caps had to be heated only with boiling water.
• Place the jars in 210F oven for 40 minutes or until the jars are very hot to the touch.
• Prepare a dry pack: line a basket or a box with tea towels.
• Remove the hot bottles from the oven and transfer them to the prepared dry pack.
• Encase the dry pack into an old quilt or several blankets and leave it to cool.
• Every jar will be sealed.


It began with the last 1.4 kg overripe tomatoes from our garden, but after I peeled them and removed all the water, I only had 4 cups of tomato flesh left. This is so little I thought I better make it into something special. With one eye on Sissi’s spicy tomato chutney recipe, I came up with this milder version. It turned out so mild and tasty, a child could enjoy it! I didn’t want oil in my chutney so I used small amounts of ground spices instead. We had a bit of this chutney with our poached salmon last night and now I wish I made more while I had the chance! Who will want ketchup after this chutney? But Sissi is correct; you do need good quality, fully ripe tomatoes for good chutney. We have 3 small jars until next summer. But it’s all mine.

4 cups of chopped and well drained tomatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pickling salt
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
sprinkling of ground nutmeg
sprinkling of ground ginger
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1/8 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup raisins
Fruit Fresh

• Fill a large pot with water and bring it to the boil.
• Only use blemish-free, healthy tomatoes.
• Add some tomatoes and continue cooking.
• The tomato skin will first split and then begin to curl up a little. Remove these promptly.
• Peel and core and chop the tomatoes.
• Place the chopped tomatoes in a colander and let stand for 15 minutes.
• Discard the liquid.
• Place the chopped tomatoes in a large pot.
• Add the sugar, pickling salt, spices, wine vinegar and the corn syrup.
• Slowly sauté this mixture until it has the consistency of ketchup.
• Stir in the raisins and remove from heat.
• Cover the pot and let the raisins plump up for an hour or so.
• Then return the pot to the stove.
• On very low heat reheat the chutney and bring to simmer.
• Simmer the chutney for 3 minutes all the while continually stirring.
• Pack the hot chutney into hot sterilized jars.
• Add 1/2 teaspoon of Fruit Fresh to each jar.
• Wipe the rims, place on the snap lids and screw on the caps. Check the box and make sure to follow manufacturer’s suggestion for softening the cap seals. In the past we had to boil the caps for 5 minutes to soften the seal. Recently purchased caps had to be heated only with boiling water.
• Place the jars in 210F oven for 40 minutes or until jars are very hot to the touch.
• Prepare a dry pack: line a basket or a box with tea towels.
• Remove from the hot bottles from the oven and transfer them to the prepared dry pack.
• Encase the dry pack into an old quilt or several blankets and leave it to cool.



Here is my cake with Lydon's caramel syrup

All is well. The original cake was discarded and replaced with one of my cakes. [pictured above] You will be amazed at how delicious this caramel cake really is. With a light, fluffy texture, restrained flavour, not overly sweet and not overloaded with gooey frosting, in fact there is no gooey frosting; this cake is completely delightful! I should have just gone with my instincts right from the start. But when the Daring Bakers* took on Shuna Fish Lydon’s signature caramel cake, against my better judgement mind you, but I had to give it a try too. Yes it’s an involved cake [which is what invited me to try it in the first place] the caramelization was evident, but that “great crumb” Lydon talks about failed to materialize. It reminded me of the dense cakes pretentious urban eateries serve up these days. Where this trend came from I have some theories, suffice to say it’s not European influenced, not from mainland Europe that is. Now I am no novice to cake making and I had no problem following Lydon’s recipe and indeed it came together as promised. But man, it was so dense I wouldn’t want it for a quick bread. I looked at the other photos and they were much like mine. One daring baker must have had similar misgivings about the recipe, so she made it into cupcakes. The sloppiness of it too! Half the caramel syrup would have been sufficient and the caramelized butter frosting could have covered not one, but 5 single layer cakes! Ah and it was way too sweet! The one good thing that came from this experiment was Lydon’s caramel syrup plus her ideas for its use. I have to admit that I found her caramel syrup quite remarkable. As for the cake, I wisely replaced part of the liquid with Lydon’s syrup in one of my own recipes and because caramel syrup is sweet, I reduced the sugar by about a one third. Now THIS… is cake!

3 eggs
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup of 3.25% buttermilk
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature

You will also need:
1/2 batch of caramel syrup
1 batch of caramelized butter frosting

• Begin with the caramel syrup. It has to cool down before the cake can be assembled.
• When the caramel syrup is lukewarm, turn the oven to 350°F.
• Lightly spray the bottom and sides of two 9 inch spring form cake pans.
• Line completely with parchment paper, bottoms and sides included. The paper will stick to the sprayed pan.
• Spray the parchment again.
• Place the 3 eggs and 2 yolks in a medium sized bowl.
• Add the 1/8 cup of buttermilk, whisk well and set aside..
• Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend.
• Add the remaining buttermilk, 1/3 cup of caramel syrup and the butter to the dry ingredients.
• Blend together on low speed.
• Increase to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light fluffy.
• Add the egg mixture in three parts, scrapping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
• Do not over mix.
• Divide the batter among the two prepared pans.
• Bake the cake layers for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• Place the cake pans on a wire racks.
• Let the cake layers cool completely.
• When completely cooled down, place the cakes still in the pans in the fridge.
• Chill for about an hour.
• Remove from the fridge and proceed with the removal.
• Unhook the spring mechanism and remove the ring.
• Carefully slide a blunt knife under the bottom parchment and loosen the cake from the pan.
• Grasp the bottom parchment and carefully slide the cake layer onto a platter.
• With the aid of the blunt knife carefully pull the parchment from under the cake.
• To remove the second layer, run a blunt knife around the pan.
• Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert.
• Spread the cake layer that is on the platter with caramelized butter frosting.
• Slide the inverted cake layer on the top.
• Frost the entire cake with caramelized butter frosting.
• Drizzle with caramel syrup.
• Chill the assembled cake for half an hour.
• Remove, slice and serve.

* Among the ever increasing adds The Daring Bakers website seems to be inundated with spam at the moment. That is why I took off the link.


Make the caramel syrup first. Let the syrup cool to room temperature before making the frosting. Use unsalted, room temperature butter. The beauty of this recipe lies in its flavour. Its caramelized butter flavour yet it's not too sweet. I developed it for the caramel cake, but it would be equally delicious on a spice or a pumpkin cake.

1/4 +1/8 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp caramel syrup
2-1/4 cups icing sugar,
2-3 Tbsp sour cream
salt to taste

• Cook the butter until brown.
• Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl and set it aside to cool.
• Set out the rest of the ingredients.
• Sift the icing sugar.
• Pour cooled brown butter into a medium sized mixer bowl.
• Add the lemon juice and the caramel syrup.
• Begin to add the icing sugar a little at a time.
• When the mixture looks too chunky to take any more add from the sour cream.
• Repeat until frosting is smooth and all the sugar has been incorporated.
• Add salt to taste.
• Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
• To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then beat until smooth and light.


This syrup is what gives the flavour to the caramel cake and caramelized butter frosting. Be very careful when making caramel syrup. Wear long sleeves and have a pair of long oven mitts nearby. Do not attempt to make this if you have little people around. The recipe comes from Shuna Fish Lydon’s website. I cut the original recipe in half; that is all you will need to make both the cake and the frosting.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup water (for stopping)

• Place 1 cup of water nearby.
• In a medium sized stainless steel saucepan with tall sides, combine 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar.
• Place the pot on maximum heat.
• Cook the syrup until dark amber in color. Do NOT leave the pot, not even for a second. Watch the color develop. Syrup should have a dark amber colour for the flavour to fully develop.
• When the colour is dark amber, remove the pot from the heat for a moment and turn the heat down to medium.
• The next step is dangerous. Do not attempt this with little people around.
• Put on a pair of long oven mitts and put the pot back on the stove.
• Now stand back from the stove as far as you can, and very carefully pour the 1 cup of reserved water into the syrup. The caramel will jump and sputter about!
• Whisk over medium heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.
• Let the caramel syrup cool down to room temperature before using.
• Although it is easier to work with caramel syrup on the day it was made, left over syrup can be heated up slightly in the microwave.



I made 4 good sized flatbreads using half of my pizza dough recipe. I used mozzarella and Swiss cheeses, an eggplant 1/2 yellow pepper, a dozen or so cherry tomatoes and 2 mushrooms. The pizza sauce should be used sparingly; you don’t want a soggy flatbread. This flatbread is all about the bread and the vegetables. Red onion, red pepper, portabella mushroom, black olives and various fresh herbs also work well on a flatbread. Please note that eggplant slices have to be salted and let stand for a minimum of two hours before using [to draw out the bitterness]. This recipe makes 4 servings of flatbread. Eat it just as is or with salsa and sour cream.

1/2 of my pizza dough recipe
1/4 cup or less commercial pizza sauce
1 small eggplant
1/2 yellow pepper
12 cheery tomatoes
2 large mushrooms
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese or other hard cheese

• Wash and slice the eggplant.
• Place the eggplant slices on a plate and salt them well on both sides.
• Let them sit for a minimum of 2 hours to draw out the bitterness.
• Next assemble the pizza dough. Make half a recipe for four flatbreads.
• Let the dough rise until it’s doubled in size.
• On a floured board roll the dough into a large rectangle.
• Cut the rectangle into four short strips and lay them on a prepared baking pan.
• Tuck the ends under and let the dough rise for an hour or two. This all depends if you want a rather crispy or fluffy flatbread.
• When the second rising is finished preheat the oven to 400F.
• Now wash the vegetables and chop them into large chunks and set them aside.
• Dry the eggplant slices with paper towels and set them aside.
• Grate the cheeses and set them aside.
• Using a pastry brush, paint the flatbread strips [sparingly] with pizza sauce.
• Arrange the vegetables on the flatbread strips and cover them with the grated cheese.
• Place in the preheated oven to bake until dough has a nice color and the cheese is melted over the vegetables.
• Serve the flatbreads hot or cold.




This one is the quintessential vegetable dish with roast beef, as important as gravy or mashed potatoes. I also like to serve cauliflower with cheese to extend some leftover dish; in this case we had a bit of Transylvanian Layered Cabbage left from the other night. The two dishes were surprisingly good together. My plate reminded me of an ethnic potluck I attended once.

fresh cauliflower florets
cheese sauce

• Cut the cauliflower florets off the central stalk taking care not to break it into small pieces.
• Cut the large pieces through the stalk gently separating the floret section. Aim for uniform, medium large pieces.
• Blanch the cauliflower florets in salted boiling salted water for 4 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook.
• Meanwhile set out the ingredients for the cheese sauce.
• When the cauliflowers are tender remove florets with a slotted spoon.
• Place the florets in a baking dish large enough to hold all the florets in one layer.
• Make the cheese sauce and pour over the cauliflower making sure all the florets are covered.
• Sprinkle with grated nutmeg.
• Bake it in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Or simply heat it through in the microwave. Microwaving the dish might not be the British way, but it’s still delicious.


Cheese sauce begins with a simple béchamel. When the sauce is ready, remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese. Use cheddar or other hard cheeses. Get all the ingredients ready before you begin to cook the béchamel. Using a whisk, stir the mixture continuously to ensure that there are no lumps.

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

• Set out all the ingredients.
• In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
• Stir in the flour.
• Gradually add the milk, stirring until well mixed.
• Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.
• Cook for 5 minutes longer.
• Remove from heat and add the grated cheese.
• Stir until smooth and well blended.
• Serve as required and sprinkle with nutmeg.



This one is a very homey and delicious dessert. It’s not a cake or a pie or a coffeecake. It’s not even a crepe. Plums are baked in a crepe batter and come out looking like a bread pudding without the bread. We had it hot out of the oven with whipped cream. It’s also lovely piled into a tall dessert cup and eaten after it cools down. It’s amazingly simple to make, all you need is a bowl and a whisk to combine the crepe like batter and just pour it over the plums. Then into the oven it goes to bake. Come to think of it, almost any seasonal fruit would be good prepared this way... particularly apricots.

12-16 plums [depending on the size]
sprinkling of cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
4Tbsp melted butter
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk

• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Wash the plums, cut them in half removing the stones.
• Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.
• Arrange the plums with the cut side up in the prepared dish.
• Sprinkle the top [sparingly!] with cinnamon.
• In a bowl place the flour, sugar, melted butter, eggs.
• Stir to combine.
• Add the milk and whisk the batter smooth.
• Place in preheated 350F oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
• Serve the szilváslepény hot out of the oven or after it has been cooled to room temperature. The texture of the pudding remains the same even after it cools down.



This cake is from Caludia’s Cookbook. I bookmarked it over a year ago; it was time I made it. I know a good cake when I see one. Since I might not be as good a baker as Claudia is, I lined the bottom of my cake pan. Don’t you just hate it when a chiffon cake looses its bottom? Or it’s top actually.

I made my buttercream from scratch though. I don’t use anything packaged, unless I really, really have to. The lemon juice and the salt are essential components of this buttercream. They effectively neutralize the sweetness plus give a bit of extra punch to its flavour. I have yet to try using salted butter, salted butter in my experience don’t seem to work with buttercreams.

1/2 cup poppy seeds
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
7 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda

• Soak the poppy seeds in 1 cup water for 2 hours.
• Line the bottom only of a 10-inch two-piece tube pan with parchment.
• Don’t line the sides.
• Place the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
• Whisk it well with a balloon whisk.
• Make a well in the center.
• Add the egg yolks, vanilla, the poppy seeds - water mixture and the vegetable oil.
• Beat to combine.
• In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites, baking soda and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually and very gently fold the beaten egg whites into the poppy seed batter.
• Pour the batter into a non-greased 10-inch two-piece tube pan.
• With a knife cut vertical sections into the batter.
• Bake at 325F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
• Carefully position the cake pan upside down over 3 ramekins.
• Cool the cake in pan completely. Not just so-so, completely!
• Cut around the edges with a thin sharp knife.
• Gently remove cake from the pan and place inverted on a large round platter.
• Spread the cake with Swiss Lemon Buttercream.

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/8tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

• Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. But make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
• Keep whisking the egg whites and the sugar no sugar granules remain when you rub the mixture between your fingers.
• Transfer the mixture to a deep bowl and whip it until the cream has doubled in size.
• Add the salt and the fresh lemon juice.
• Add the butter and whip at the highest speed. Buttercream will be ready when the consistency suddenly changes from foamy to buttery.



The garden froze last night, or what was left of it, so I thought comfort food was in order. This layered casserole dish comes from the Erdély region of old Hungary. With two layers of sauerkraut, a cooked rice layer, a pork pörkölt layer and a good layer of sour cream you can’t go wrong. In other versions the pörkölt is replaced with sausages or ground pork, or the cooked rice can be replaced with potatoes. By far this is how I like it. Yes you can use light sour cream. But it won’t be as good.

2 cups of cubed pork tenderloin
1/2 onion
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 tomato, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup basmati rice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of hot tap water
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 cups of wine sauerkraut
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
2 cups [approximately a 500ml tub] full fat sour cream
2/3 cup whole milk

• Make the pork pörkölt first.
• Dice the onions.
• Heat the oil in a saucepan.
• Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent.
• Add the cubed pork and brown it lightly; turn to sear every side.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Stir in the paprika.
• Add the red pepper and the tomato.
• Add water to cover half way up the meat.
• Bring to slow, steady simmer, cover with lid and cook until tender.
• Add more water if necessary, so the pörkölt doesn’t burn.
• Meanwhile prepare the rice.
• In a moderately large pot put 2 Tbsp of oil over medium heat.
• Add the rice.
• Season the rice with salt and pepper.
• Let the rice come to boil and place a lid on the pot.
• Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and set timer for 5 minutes.
• Do not remove the lid during cooking.
• When the pot has no remaining liquid the rice is done.
• Toss the rice with a fork and set it aside.
• When the pörkölt meat is tender simmer uncovered for 15 minutes longer to reduce the sauce.
• Set aside and prepare the sauerkraut layers next.
• Place 3-4 cups of wine sauerkraut in a sieve and run cold water over it.
• Drain and squeeze out liquid.
• Heat 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add the well drained sauerkraut.
• Heat the sauerkraut on medium.
• Add the Hungarian paprika and the caraway seeds.
• Stir to combine.
• Remove from heat and set sauerkraut aside.
• Scatter 1/2 of the prepared sauerkraut in the bottom of a large baking dish.
• Add the prepared rice.
• Arrange the pork pörkölt over the rice.
• Scatter the remaining sauerkraut on the top.
• Combine the sour cream with 2/3 cup of whole milk.
• Spread the sour cream mixture on the top and place in a preheated 350F oven for 40-50 minutes or until the top is bubbling and nicely browned.
• Remove from oven, tent the dish with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15 minutes and then serve.


Privacy & Cookies

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy



My photo
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!