Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Memorable Meals - Budapest

We are very much experiencing the change of seasons at the moment.

Just this week we have warm days and a warm night, but today when I got up it was grey and overcast. After the little chef's game of cricket was washed out, it was time to think about what to have for dinner, and it seemed somewhat fitting to think of something that was almost a bit wintery. After searching for some inspiration I found it!

Not only did I find inspiration but I also bought back memories of when I was travelling around Europe many, many years ago!

When I was touring around Europe, we spent a couple a couple of days in Hungary, spending the night in Budapest. To be honest I was glad to go there but it wasn't one of my must see destinations on the tour so I wasn't really sure what to expect but I enjoyed wandering through the city, cruising along the Danube, walking in the Castle Hill area and viewing the Parliament building which gives Westminster a run for its money in terms of grandeur.

We stayed in a relatively modern hotel, from memory in the Pest side of the river but I could be wrong there (it's been a long time!). At dinner, we were served Goulash which may have been something of a cliche but tasted really yummy, and then a lovely chocolate cake for dessert. What really made this meal memorable though was that the next morning along with the other standard continental breakfast options like bread rolls we also could have goulash and chocolate cake! Goulash for breakfast!

The other really memorable thing about Hungary was actually leaving the country. This was in the days before open borders, and when we got to the border with Austria (I think) there was a huge line of buses waiting to be processed. Our bus driver thought he might try and take a shortcut through an unofficial border crossing into Slovakia (a country that none of us had visas for) and then on into Austria but the border officers didn't like that idea so at one point there was a big tourist bus being chased along a country road by a carful of border officials. In the end we had to turn around and go to the end of the queue. The tour guide and bus driver nearly got into a lot of trouble, but for those of us on board it actually makes for a great story to look back on!

Gulyas (goulash)

1.5kg beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces 
2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 large green capsicum, halved, deseeded, cut into 1cm-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 tbs sweet paprika
500g Baby Coliban (Chat) potatoes, quartered
125ml (1/2 cup) white wine
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
375ml (11/2 cups) beef stock
Sour cream, to serve
Chopped fresh continental parsley, to serve

  • Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add one-third of beef. Cook, turning occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with remaining beef, reheating the pan between batches.
  • Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and capsicum and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and caraway seeds, and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Remove from heat. Add the paprika and stir for 1 minute to combine. Place over medium-high heat. Add the potato and stir to coat. 
  • Add the beef, wine, tomato and stock to the pan. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 2 hours or until the beef is tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Divide among serving dishes. Top with sour cream and parsley to serve.

    Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


    1. It looks so comforting this goulash. I need to find a way to make goulash vegetarian.

    2. I have that image of a tour bus being chased by border patrol, lol.
      I've had some out of the ordinary things for breakfast, but never goulash!

    3. How lovely to remember your holiday that way.

    4. I love this: "goulash and chocolate cake breakfast" -- well, what the heck?!

      I love your border crossing story, it's cracking me up.

      And -- it is finally getting cool here and goulash, with the smells of paprika and garlic, sounds heavenly.

    5. I am ith Uniflame. I wonder how it would go if I used gltuen steaks

    6. That is a great story!! I love the goulash..I want a bowl right now!

    7. memorable bus
      I love mom used to make it. I remember she was very picky about her paprika.

    8. Goulash and chocolate cake for breakfast - I love it! Could go for some of that comfort food today.

    9. Great story! And yummy recipe! Thanks!

    10. Years ago in Austria I had Hungarian goulash, as there are many ‘Hungarischen’ restaurants there. I’ve never tasted a goulash as good since then, they must have a secret ingredient!

    11. What a story! I think I would have been scared, even though it was the driver's fault. :<)

    12. English as a foreign language. Capsicum was pretty easy. In this context in means what we call bell pepper. Then had to look up the potato variety, and it is probably a waxy one, so I would use what we call "new" potatoes (red). This recipe looks like comforting fare for a winter evening. Fay

    13. I have fond memories of eating goulash growing up but have never made it myself. I'm going to have to change this pronto. Perfect time-if I served it on Oct. 31st I could call it Ghoulash (maybe my kids would eat it then).

    14. I'm with Uniflame...need to make this veggie. Looks so yummy and warm!

    15. What an adventure it must've been, being chased by the police! Also, I've never had dinner options offered at a breakfast buffet, but it sure is wonderful for the times when you crave something warm and heavy :)
      I have to agree with Uniflame and Pam, now I gotta find a vegetarian adaptation, because this sure is comfort food that'll do well on these cold days :D

    16. Great story! The goulash looks delicious, nothing like a bowl of good comfort food after a story like that, LOL!

    17. I'm drooling! I love these kind of recipes and I love Hungarian food. Paprika and sour cream, mmmm! My mother-in-law is Hungarian and doesn't cook much or know any of her mother's recipes :( and I thought I hit a goldmine, so sad. Thanks for the recipe!