Hungary for dinner: Gulyás (Goulash)

We’ve known for a while that Hungarian food was soon to be on our agenda, and we’ve known for a while that for us at least, Hungary means goulash. One slight problem was that it’s summer, and goulash is definitely more of a wintry dish. Fortunately, this is England, and if you are patient enough, a grey, wet, miserable, perfect-for-stew day is always just around the corner. We had one such day on Saturday, meaning that an afternoon spent inside, completing the stages of our goulash dinner, was exactly right. It’s now Monday, and we’ve just eaten the leftovers whilst hiding away from another torrential downpour. At least the British weather is good for something. Continue reading

Bread and butter pudding with a bonus: Žemlovka

One of Ash’s all time favourite foods is bread and butter pudding. We have a system of keeping the ends of all of our loaves of bread until we have enough to make a big version of this simple dessert, so that Ash can drown his in a river of custard and rave on about how good it is with every mouthful. A world without bread and butter pudding, for him, would not be a world worth living in. In fact, he’s just uttered, ‘You have to worry about any culture that doesn’t include bread and butter pudding.’

A few weeks ago, whilst flicking through the Good Food channel’s offerings, we came upon an episode of the Hairy Bikers’ ‘Bakeation’ in which they were travelling through Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and whilst in Slovakia they made zemlovka, a traditional Slovakian dish that resembles bread and butter pudding, with the bonus addition of fresh fruit (e.g. apples or pears). Needless to say, it’s been on our ‘to make’ list ever since, and this weekend finally brought us to Slovakia on our cooking challenge. Continue reading

A pretty Polish-ed pudding: Plesniak (Polish mouldy cake)

Choosing what to cook for this week’s country, Poland, was easy – and once again, being a dish with flour in it, this was a Miranda job.

I first saw the recipe for the intriguingly named Plesniak (Polish mouldy cake) on Taste of Colours and have had it squirreled away, waiting for our Polish cooking mission, ever since. The different layers of this cake (pastry, chocolate pastry, cherries and meringue) looked so delicious that it seemed like a no-brainer. How could it go wrong?! Continue reading

Czech it out: Bramboraks and plnene ovocne knedliky

Following our Austrian baking adventure, our next stop was to be the Czech Republic. Ash has been to Prague before, but just for the weekend on a stag do, and Miranda hasn’t visited the country at all (though it is on the list!), so our experience with Czech cuisine was pretty limited. And by limited, we mean non-existent. Initial internet searches didn’t prove very helpful in that regard, as we just kept getting the resounding warning that ‘Czech food isn’t diet food’ followed by advice to eat meat and dumplings.

Fortunately, Miranda has a Czech friend who was able to point us in the right direction, and as it turns out, the right direction is the direction of bramboraks (potato pancakes) and plnene ovocne knedliky (stuffed fruit dumplings). He prophesied that once we’d made and eaten these dishes, we’d want to quit our jobs immediately and move to the Czech Republic, which was taking things a little too far, but we certainly did enjoy eating them. Continue reading