You missed a wonderful eventide meal here last night, as Mrs. Ware decided that it been too long since Béla had been treated to a full Hungarian meal. And indeed, it included Hortobágyi Húsos Palacsinta, meaty pancakes! It all started off after Mrs. Ware was dancing away the night at a contradance recently held here with Chasing Fireflies with Iain on fiddle, Béla on violin, and a piper-lass named Finch. During a break in the dances, Béla was telling me (in French as he speaks no English and my Hungarian is next to nothing beyond knowing the names of Hungarian beers and breweries, though I can read a packing slip in that language after years of practice, as we carry some Central European ales here by way of a Hungarian vendor), that he missed the food of his country.
So I mentioned this to Mrs. Ware, who decided to make a number of dishes for him, one of them being the aforementioned pancakes and Mákos Tészta, wide egg noodles with whole dark blue poppy seeds, coated with sugar and dripping with butter! Hungarians put poppyseeds into almost everything, both sweet and savoury alike, which was why there were yeasty poppy seed rolls as well.
And there was fresh baked Turos Lepeny (Hungarian yeast bread with cheese topping) out of the brick ovens, as he taught Mrs. Ware how to bake it many years ago. To make it even better, you had arranged for our Central European shipper to get us Hungarian Lekvar, a thick, soft spread made of fruit (usually prunes or apricots) cooked with sugar, and Hungarian Poppy Butter, so wonderful on warm breakfast rolls.
There also was Székely Gulyás, a Goulash stew which is made from three kinds of meat and sauerkraut, which reminded me of Choucroute Garnie, a hearty pork and cabbage dish common to the region straddling the French-German border. Other than the addition of poppy seeds (surprise!) and Hungarian paprika, it was the same tasty dish, as peasant food really doesn’t vary a lot across much of Europe and Russia.
Dessert was Roulades, which really are just simple sponge cake bases filled with whipped cream or fresh strawberries in a jellyroll that’s chilled. And her staff dug deep in our centuries-old cookbook collection for a recipe for Almás Pite — Hungarian Apple Cake — which I swear made Béla weep.
All in all, it was a rousing success, made even better as we washed it down with Rizmajer Maibock from Rizmajer Sörfözde, a Budapest brewery, and Béla was very, very happy.
After this extended Eventide meal, Béla got out his fiddle and played a set of Hungarian tunes that even the Neverending Session musos had never heard. It was simply wonderful music.
Affectionately, your favourite fox