Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hearty Hungarian Goulash Soup

I don't know about you, but here in Vienna it's freezing cold and after walking a while through the city we were longing for some warm comfort food.
For tomorrow temeratures below -6C are expected, but despite of the weather we will be visting the New Years Trail. Now you might ask - what's the New Year's Trail?
For the last night of 2014 and following a 25 year old tradition, the Vienna News Year's trail offers
12 hours of entertainment - a great way to begin the New Year.
The programe starts at 2pm with children activities and continues  from the late afternoon on with everything from live bands and DJs to free for all waltzing clases and a live broadcast from the Vienna State Opera where traditionally "Die Fledermaus" is performed.
Apart from that, countless stalls around the city offer all kinds of treats from sparkling wine to toast to the New Year to hot goulash soup, sausages and sweets to keep the visitors warm.
Every year there is a beautiful firework at one of the big squares in down town, the Heldenplatz.
At midnight, the big bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral, called the Pummerin will ring to announce 2015.
For the ones who prefere to dance into the New Year, the glittering New Year's Eve Ball in the Imperial Palace "Hofburg" will be the place to be and to enjoy a unique experience.
To keep you warm during walking through the city, Gulaschsoup is the classic  soul warmer from the Austrian-Hungarian cuisine.
Spicy, hearty and restorative, it's the star during the ball season when nights are short and people are dancing and celebrating until dawn.
Before going home, it's tradition that everybody tastes this amazing soup.
It's Hungarian roots makes it spicy and passionate and the Austrian background adds a touch of harmony and perfect balance between the different flavors, light and charming as a Viennese Waltz.
There is a "student version" of Gulash soup - lots of gravy and less meat for a small Budget and the Fiaker (carriage driver) version, adding a hearty sausage.
This dish is easy to cook, can be prepare at least 1 day in advance and is a crowd pleaser on cold Winter days.
This is what you need:

2 yellow onions, chopped
1 clove garlic,crushed
200g bacon, chopped
2 spoonful olive oil
1/2 kg stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 spoonful flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 spoonful sweet (Hungarian) paprika 
1/2 spoonful spicy (Hungarian) paprika 
1 spoonful tomato paste
2 beef stock homemade or low sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar 
3-4 medium size potatoes, quartered
Salt, pepper
Sour cream and freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Toss beef with salt, pepper and flour.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat

Add onion and crushed garlic and fry gently until it softens and starts to turn Golden.
Add bacon, fry until golden brown, add beef, sear on all sides.

add beef, sear on all sides.

Add both paprikas, mix well until blended with the other ingredients, add tomato paste, beef stock and vinegar.

Stir thoroughly , leave covered to simmer gently for about 1 hour or until meat is soft.

Add potatoes and continue simmering until soft.
Check seasoning.
Serve warm and top with sour cream and chopped parsley.

Enjoy! Serves 8P.

Happy New Year to everybody!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Warm Apricot Punch For Cold Winter Days

Sorry, I've been late for this post.
We traveled to Vienna to spend Christmas  with our family.
Until everything is settled, luggage is unpacked and Internet is reinstalled it takes time.
I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving, missed you all.
It's already very cold here and for Tuesday the first snow is expected.

People crowd at the beautiful Weihnachtsmaerkte (Christmas  markets) where all kind of sweets, hot chocolate, mulled wine and different kinds of punch are served.

At least one stall at every market sells for charity.
Many charity organizations, usually with voluntary helpers, are reliant on these donations. 

There are as well live concerts with Christmas music and the ambiance is beautiful and festive.

Christmas wouldn't be complete without the annual "Christmas in Vienna" in the Konzerthaus a great classical music event hosting international singing stars. This concert is broadcast on TV every year.
But before rushing to the next musical event, I would like to share with you one of my favorite punch recipes,  a highlite for every Christmas or winter party.
Apricots add a wonderful, aromatic flavor to this hot drink.

This is what you need:

750 ml apricot juice
750 ml white wine
2 star anise
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1 vainilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
75 g brown sugar
zest of 1 untreated lemon
3 table spoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
150 ml apricot liqueur

Bring all ingredients except for the apricot liqueur to a boil, then let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove spices and lemon zest and add apricot liqueur.
Serve hot and top with a spooon full of whipped cream ( optional)
Serves 8 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Will be back next week

Dear all,
Sorry for being late with my post.
Hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Will be back next week.

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