Monthly Archives: December 2014

Milk loaf with poppy seeds & greetings from my Grandmother

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Milk loaf with poppy seeds & greetings from my Grandmother

I am sitting under the christmas tree at my grandmother’s house in a little Hungarian village and cannot help but share the next recipe with you: mákos kalács (milk loaf with poppy seeds).

Bejgli is a centuries-old traditional Hungarian pastry for christmas. It is a roll filled with poppy seeds or nuts, both simbolizing prosperity. Mákos kalács differs slightly in the dough, yet I prefer this one to bejgli, as it is softer and easier to veganize. The dough I use is similar to the one I used for the kürtöskalács, you may remember.

The expertee's hands.

The expertee’s hands.


HUNGARIAN MILK LOAF WITH POPPY

Ingredients (for 2 big rolls):

The dough

  • 25 g of fresh yeast
  • 80 g of sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
  • 1/2 l of lukewarm vegan milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125 g of margarine
  • 2 tbsp of oil (any oil with a neutral taste)
  • about 700g of flour (depends on how much you need to get a bread-like dough)

 The filling

  • 4 cups of grout poppy seeds
  • 1.5 cups of powdered sugar (depends really on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 glass/2-3 cups of sour cherries (Optional, yet I love to eat poppy seeds with cherries. You might as well add grated apples or lemon skin.)

The icing

  • 4 tbsp of milk
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • a pinch of curcuma (you may add a little curcuma also to the dough, to give it some colour)

Preparation time: 2 hours (with leavening and baking)

My grandmother in action :)

My grandmother in action :)

Heat the milk (but it shouldn’t be too warm) and dissolve the yeast in it. Mix it with sugar and a pinch of salt. Now add the flour (about 500g first), the soft margarine and the oil. Kneed it well and keep adding flour if necessary. Put it to a warm place and let it leaven for an hour.

Cut the dought into two parts and extend each of them into squares. The dough should be about 1/2 cm or a bit thicker. Sprinkle the poppy seed-sugar mixture on the top and add some cherries randomly. Some like to cook a cream and fill the dough with that. I find it unnecessary, as after baking it the filling becomes creamy anyway.

Leave the two rolls leavening in a pan for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 170 degrees (C) and bake it for about 40 minutes. When it is almost ready, I glaze it with the mixture of milk and sugar, to make it shiney.

milk loaf with poppy seeds

Waiting for christmas

 

Chocolate cookies with seeds’ brittle

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We are off to hunt for Dracula during the holidays. (To be reported soon.) Wishing you a

Glitter Words

If you have friends or family to come over for Christmas, this is a perfect treat on the run.


 CHOCO-COOKIES WITH SEEDS’ BRITTLE

'Lecker' cookies and season's greetings

‘Lecker’ cookies and season’s greetings

Ingredients: (16 to 20 pieces):

Cookies:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp of oat flakes
  • 200g margarine or coconut oil
  • a pinch of salt

Brittle:

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp oat flakes
  • 2 tbsp linseeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • a handful of chopped raisins
  • 3 tbsp of soy or rice milk
  • 3 tbsp of honey or maple syrup

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Mix all the ingredients for the cookies together and kneat until it gets a clay-like texture. Add some soy or rice milk if it’s too dry. Wrap the dough into plastic foil and put it in the fridge.

Roast the seeds for a couple of minutes in a frying pan and mix with raisins, milk and maple syrup until you have a sticky mixture.

To make the cookies you can make a thick roll out of the dough and cut thin slices or extend it and cut it with cookies forms. Spread the seeds mixture on top of each cookie and bake them for 15 minutes at 180 ºC.

Escaping from Timisoara

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Escaping from Timisoara

Getting out from Timisoara was definitely more difficult than getting into the city.

In those 3 days we spent in the city we learned that bus stops happen quite randomly and you should not trust on schedules too much. It is not so easy to find a stand that sells tickets but you might be controlled.

After arriving, we immediately started to organize our trip further to Sibiu. My friend, Cristina, who is from the region, suggested that we travelled by bus. And also that we booked the tickets via phone numbers found on Autogari, unless we wanted to wait for hours.

So we did. We chose a nice and early 6:30 bus with a company called Vertrantis, as it took only 6 hours. We asked our hotel receptionist to call them. Out of the three numbers provided, none was existing. We asked three different receptionists on three different days, three different times… Yet, no success. We went personally to the bus station, but there the girl informed us, that we buy tickets on the bus, no need for reservation.

Thus we chose a different company, one that is known there, Autotim. This trip was going to be 8 hours and from a different bus station than the one we had checked outpersonally, but we thought it’s better to have a reservation. So the receptionist called and tried to reserve two places for the 6:45 bus.

On the phone they said that the 6:45 bus we found on the internet goes at 7 am. And that there is no need for a reservation, there is plenty of space left. So far so good.

Timisoara-pissed-offWe decided to leave in time and try the no-reservation thing with the first bus as well, as it would save us 2 hours of being squeezed. So we left the hotel at 5:20 and headed to SuperImposer bus station. We went there and the very “friendly looking” guy just looked at us and denied access to the bus. NO! No. No reservation, no bus – he repeated. We tried to explain that we had tried to reserve, and that we could wait to see if there were free spaces left in the end. But a NO is a no, no place for sympathy. (Now we know why it’s called Super Imposer.)

So we had 15 minutes to walk to the next bus station, that was luckily not so far from the first one. Wait, did I just say bus station? We had the address but there was no sign of a bus station there. There was a bench but no written information, nor buses. Nevertheless, as it was our only chance, we stayed there and waited. It turned out that buses only slowed down there and you had to wave if you wanted them to stop. A realization just in time.

At 6:51 there was finally an Autotim bus coming, yet ithe destination said nothing about Sibiu. So we waited. On the phone they said not 6:45 but 7:00 is the correct time… We waited 20 minutes more but no other bus passed. We switched to the opposite side of the road, where we saw buses slowing down as well. We tried to find out from which side the bus to Sibiu goes, but the again “very friendly” driver just said no Sibiu, and we could not trigger a hand movement showing us to where to wait.

It already seemed we would never get to Sibiu – or in fact, leave Timisoara…

train-ticket-romania

We read in a blog that trains in Romania are expensive, very dirty and partially even dangerous, as they are not maintained. But finally we decided to walk back towards the train station. It was 7:30, still dark, and we were extremely cold. There we actually met a nice and friendly lady (no irony here), who helped us with the ticket. We found a good wi-fi for the remaining 20 minutes and then happily departed towards Sibiu – by train.