Chicken soup

June 26, 2009

Excellent things about Hungary, no.1. 🙂

This is really a winter dish, but it’s also a fine treat for anyone who’s ill or otherwise under the weather…

1. Ask the butcher to cut a small, fresh chicken into six or eight pieces. Wash the chicken and put it in a big pan or pot with three litres of water. Bring to the boil.

2. Peel two or three onions and five carrots; slice half a celeriac; cut three or four parsnips in half lengthways. Add the vegetables to the pot. Season with salt, peppercorns, half a teaspoon of paprika paste, a tiny amount of carraway and a bayleaf. Simmer for three hours, adding brussels sprouts for the last hour if you like them.

3. Boil some quick-cook pasta, e.g. vermicelli.

4. Pour the liquid from the soup through a sieve into a large pot or bowl.

5. Bring the soup (liquid part), soup (chicken & veg part) and pasta to the dinner table. Put whichever items you like into your soup bowl, and eat. (The onion, parsnip and celeriac were only in the pot for their flavour, but you are of course free to add them to your bowl as part of your soup.) Enjoy!

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“Hungary:

“The first meeting in this town to express sympathy with the Hungarians in their struggle with Austria, was held in the Corn Exchange, May 23, 1849, and several speakers were in favour of sending armed help, but no volunteers came forward.”

There is also an entry for “Kossuth:

“Louis Kossuth, the ex-dictator of Hungary, was honoured with a public welcome and procession of trades, etc., Nov. 10, 1851, and entertained at a banquet in Town Hall on the 12th. He afterwards appeared here May 7 and 8, 1856, in the role of a public lecturer.”

Igen … és nem.

June 4, 2009

“The Hungarians are a mystery in Europe, a totally distinct people, apparently completely unrelated to any of their neighbours, with a language that is written in the Latin alphabet but otherwise seems to bear no resemblance whatever to any other European language, apart from loan words. The non-Hungarian who visits Budapest as a tourist, for example, is dismayed to find himself in what in all respects but one looks like a familar European metropolis. The difference is that he feels that he has been struck by total dyslexia. Nothing that is written is even slightly familiar.”

Edward Fox, “The Hungarian who Walked to Heaven”

Those words chime with my first impressions of Hungary – that first morning walking round the centre of Gyöngyös. But then an unfortunate – and very amusing – error creeps in…

“The police car that zooms by in any other European city bears a name on its side thatis roughly comprehensible: polizei or polis or policia. In Hungary, the word is ‘szobarend’.”

I’m not sure whether that mistake ruins the book or makes it delightful! Anyway, don’t let that put you off reading it – Csoma is a fascinating character and the book is otherwise a pretty good introduction to his life.

Hello world!

March 17, 2008

Welcome to my blog. So many things to write about, but other things usually take higher priority…