Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Austria. The Viennese Coffeehouse.

A lot of legends and stories go around The Viennese coffeehouse. In Emperor Franz Joseph's era and in the 1920s it was the meeting point of intellectuals, artists and the literati. Most of there people lived in appalling conditions, just a little bedroom. The Coffeehouse was inviting - on one hand, one could sit there, warm and dry, on the other hand, because of the people, the company of kindred spirits. Mail could be delivered there, writing craft could be practiced , the latest gossip exchanged. Supposedly there were even professors who called doctoral candidates into the coffeehouse to take examinations.
Today the Viennese coffeehouse is more myth than reality. More than 600 coffeehouses are open, but they mostly do so to tourists. Classics of literature are no longer written in them, But the young Viennese and tourists have discovered them as meeting points.

Coffee Specialties:

  • Hitch - Sweet black in a glass with whipped cream and sprinkled with chocolate powder.
  • Coachman - Sweetened demi-tasse served in a glass.
  • Monk - Coffee with lots of milk.
  • Big Brown - Large cup with a dash of milk.
  • Small Black - Demi-tasse without milk.
  • Small Gold - Demi-tasse with milk.
  • Small Brown - Small cup of coffee with a dash of milk.
  • Melange - Coffee and fresh milk in equal parts a crown of whipped cream.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Pike-Perch king of "Hungarian ocean".

Fogas or pike-perch is the king of Balaton lake has really king size more than three pounds (1.5 kilograms). Some pike-perches reaches a weight between thirteen and eighteen pounds!

Scientists have argued about the relationship of the Balaton pike-perch to the salmon. Fogas belongs to the salmon family but is of a kind unique to the Balaton, and is not to be found anywhere else. Hungarian chefs have a lot of recipes how to cook this wonderful fish. And the preference for the whole fish pan-broiled.

Whole Broiled Pike-Perch with sour cream sauce.

  • 1 pike-perch about 2 kg
  • salt
  • flour
  • 150 g smoked bacon, sliced in strips
  • 1 medium size onion finely chopped
  • 100 g butter
  • 200 ml sour cream
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika ( we are in Hungary!)
  • 1 slice of lemon

Scale and wash the pike-perch. Cut back the gills, oil and score the fish on both sides to prevent contraction while broiling. Salt the fish, turn it in flour. Melt in a large frying pan butter and broil the pike-perch at a high temperature for about 15 minutes. Remove the fish and keep it warm.

Sauce: Fry in butter onion till transparent. Add the sour and sweet cream, cook a little and add paprika. Combine the flour and remaining butter and add them to the onion cream. Stir constantly till the sauce is thickened. pass the sauce though a sieve. Serve the pike-perch and garnish with the lemon slice and sauce.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Austria. Winter Carnival Doughnuts.

You will be surprised, like me, that the tomato, cauliflower, horseradish and plum puree all have Austrian names. Even coffee has its own Austrian name: Hitch, Coachman, Monk or Big Brown. Soon winter and I want to post about famous Austrian "Krapfen"- winter carnival doughnuts.

The world "Krapfen" is used for deep fried in hot butter pastries. The jam-filled Carnival Doughnuts has a ring around its middle. The Tirole Krapfen is triangular piece of dough filled with fat, milk, sugar, butter and honey. There are a lot of legends of how Doughnuts came to the Austrian culinary. In Baroque times there was a popular tradition of filling a doughnut with a jam and this came to a rage in Vienna in the 18th and 19th centuries. "Krapfen" were even good as royal meat, there were served at the Habsburg Monarchy.

Winter Carnival Doughnuts.

  • 300 g flour
  • 50 g sugar
  • 125 ml milk
  • 20 g yeast
  • 60 g butter
  • salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 150 g jam
  • peel of lemon
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • powdered sugar
  • oil for frying
Warm milk and in first half add yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar and a little flour. let it rise untill double size. Melt butter and remaining sugar in another part of milk. Mix salt, egg yolk rum, lemon peel and remaining flour with the butter-sugar-milk mixture and make a smooth dough.Let it stand and make bubbles for about 20 minutes. Roll the dough out to a 1 cm thickness and using a glass cut out circles. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam onto a half of each circle, cover with another circle and lightly press. Lay the Carnival Doughnuts - "Krapfens" on a floured surface and let them rise for 20 minutes. Fry 3-4 minutes in hot oil. Drain, cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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