Tuesday, February 24, 2009


"You never know when you start a new job how your co-workers are going to receive you.  In Seattle, I had to say goodbye to some great folks and miss them dearly.  Here in Hungary, there are a total of three of us in the office.  So the stakes are high!  Fortunately I have two of the best.  One of my co-workers even reminds me of my "partner in crime," Erica Wiley, back in Seattle!" - Steven

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Best Flourless Chocolate Cake!

Ok, so I know I promised photos of the cake but I forgot...it was tasty though. Grandma asked how you make cake without flour. Well, you use a lot of eggs, butter, sugar and chocolate! Here is the recipe. If you click on the recipe it should appear larger. The key is the crème fraîche and the berries. The cake will be very moist once it is baked. You will think it is not done-it is. Think less cake and more...wet brownie.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fish from Heaven

Today we went to Panka's for a second time to eat fish from heaven. This fish is very special! It sleeps all summer and can only be caught during the winter months. Her father caught these fish...this was one of the best fish meals I have ever had! I think the other best fish meal we wrote about here. THANK YOU PANKA!
Steve waiting for the metro heading to Panka and Attila's
Smoked fish spread! (The fish was caught and smoked by Panka's father. The spread was made from the smoked fish by Panka!)The fish look like little eels.
Trying to get away! (Just kidding:)
Say Cheese:)
Dessert-Little chocolate sweets with nuts and coconut!
Évi brought some delicious sweets but I forget to take a picture!
They were tasty Hungarian cakes.

Diane, Évi and PankaSteven and Diane

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cake Walk

We are heading to our friends tonight for dessert and wine. I decided to make my flour-less chocolate cake. I ran down to the corner store to buy some ingredients that we didn't have. (I spent a small fortune on bittersweet chocolate.) I will take a picture of the final product and post tomorrow. This cake is so yummy-if I must say so myself!

You can not go wrong with chocolate and butter!
Why are Hungarian eggs so orange?
I think that all these years in the USA my eggs were anemic.
The two mixed together look very tasty....
We had planned on going to a very festive carnival about 190 miles south of Budapest. Unfortunately, we learned that the train ride was going to be at least 4 hours one way. So we decided to stay home and go for walk around town, grab a beer and just hang out.

A beautiful building we saw on our walk.
I wonder what the person is like who drives this car...
are they happy?
We hope that wherever you are, the sun is shining and Spring is not far away. Until tomorrow...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blood Sausage!

"I had my first piece of Hungarian blood sausage (veres hurka) which I believe is literally translated as "bloody sausage" which adds a bit more emphasis to the idea.  My co-worker, Éva, and I grabbed a quick bite to eat today at the Lehel market: one piece of sausage and bread and pickles to wash it down!  The meal was only 600 forints which is about $3.  It was yummy!  I have had Estonian blood sausage and like it very much.  Hungarians prepare it differently.  The sausage is bigger, spices are different and I think they add rice (at least I hope that was rice!)." 
- Steven

A Feast for Kings

A few things I bought at the market today
Let me start by saying that I am overall happy with our food selections at our local market. I hear a lot of foreigners complain that the market has few selections. I completely disagree! We are eating a little bit more seasonally than we did in the states but it makes sense. During the winter we had lots of root vegetables and potatoes-excellent for making stews and soups-perfect for cold winter months! We still had tomatoes and bananas! They weren't nearly as tasty as the tomatoes you get in the summer but they were still lovely enough to cook a wonderful spicy pasta sauce.

Yesterday, Steve called me on his way to work. He stopped by our favorite market (Lehel Piac) to pick a few things up and was excited by the new foods that have appeared. So, this morning I decided to make a trip to the market to see what all the fuss was about...WOW! Fresh green spinach, long fragrant leeks, perfect cilantro, bright red juicy tomatoes and firm zucchinis! I was so excited to see the first sign of spring appear in the market. I bought a lot of everything! Tonight we will have a feast for kings!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Snow and Sun

I have the perfect followup to yesterdays blog...

waking up this morning with snow and sun:)
This is standing at our front door looking out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just post...

Our good friends, Michale & Karri, are writing a blog--almost diary--of their daily lives with their wonderful kids (Michael and Karri aren't too bad either).  They write wonderful 'slice of life' entries--almost SMS like.  This inspired us--at least Steven--to try his his hand.  Steven will probably have better luck posting if he can just write a few lines about hopefully something interesting.

So here is his first try...

"It finally snowed for a sustained time here in Budapest.  Two whole days of snow!  We don't get much snow which saddens me.  I love the cold and winter, but I want snow!  Related to this is my so-called "happy place."  This is the place you go when stressed or just wanting to daydream for a bit.  My "happy place" is an Estonian evergreen forest blanketed with snow.  I love the solitude and peacefulness.  Diane's "happy place" is in Croatia on a warm sunny day lying on a beach listening to local music and drinking a beer.  Can you see a difference between us?   Alas, winter is nearing its end.  This coming weekend is the Busójárás Carnival (similar to Madri Gras) where people dress up like animals in rather scary costumes to celebrate the end of winter.  I guess spring is a good compromise for Diane and I.  Not too hot, not too cold.  "Just right," as Goldilocks says."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

We wish you a Happy Valentines Day.
I can not resist adding our friends web link to this entry. I read her post to Steve and we both chuckled understanding first hand (almost) everything she wrote. Thanks Adrey for making my post and easy one. Click HERE to read Audrey's latest post.

Have you ever wondered where this holiday came from? Was it invented by Greeting Card Companies? Click HERE to read the history of Valentines Day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mangalica Festival...oink oink

The Mangalica Festival was this weekend! A fantastic pig fest! The Mangalica is a breed of pig grown especially in Hungary and the Balkans known also as a curly-hair hog.

oink oink (or röf-röf-röf in Hungarian)sleeping hogs (really, they are sleeping)
And so we ate....
We headed to the park around 1:00. Just in time to eat a hearty lunch and try pork in all forms.

We started with the thinly sliced cured ham on bread, much like prosciutto.Then we moved on to the bread, pig fat, onion and paprika.
(200 Forint is about $.85)

Next the roasted pig.
The festival had everything from music, pig slaughtering, sausage stuffing to eating! (I was not too upset that we missed the sausage stuffing and slaughtering.)
Fresh Sausage
A pig made of nuts, dried fruit and candy.
Kids playing a game where they stab the wooden knight.There was even a guy with a Falcon!
By the end of the two hours, our bellies were full and we headed home...

Two little facts about us.
1. We are from Cincinnati Ohio, also known as Porkopolis.
2. Diane's great grandfather slaughtered pigs.

Great Grandpa Woeste on the left, his brother in the front and
two neighbors on the right. Pigs in the back.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Breif Interlude...

...before our pork-o-Sunday begins. Diane made this delicious dinner--bean soup with focaccia topping--acompanied with a nice bottle of Montepulciano. The soup was primed with some bacon to get our stomachs ready for tomorrow. Yum!

Friday, February 6, 2009

2nd Annual Budapest Mangalica Festival - Part I

Coming Soon...some very interesting photos!

Ironically, our friend, Kate*, in Seattle told us about the Budapest Mangalica Pig Festival.  We plan to attend this weekend.

The Mangalica pig is rather cute by some standards with its wooly coat.  We hear too that the meat is healthier then "regular" pork--less cholesterol.

The festival offers opportunities to pet live piggies and of course eat pork prepared in all variations such as cured, smoked, boiled, fried, baked and roasted.  There will also be a sausage making contest.  Let's hope they use safety equipment.  We can just imagine a finger here, finger there going missing!  Yikes!  

There will also be disznóvágás ("pig cutting")...so we will get to see the whole continuum of a pig's life.  Here is some additional humorous info about piggies in Hungary--click here

* It should be noted that Kate is the daughter of a butcher and grew up on a farm! :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Good Things

You may have the realized the the blog updates have decreased. Well, we have been so busy since the first of the year. Things are going very well despite the world economy... Steven just spent a week at a conference in Florida (got back last night) and Diane has been busy actively searching for freelance (with good results) and trying to get involved with the arts and people in Budapest. So, although it is sad we are not updating as often, it is a good thing.

So, today I am going to post a few photos that we took a week and a half ago. Steve and I went to a few of our favorite places and enjoyed sights, sweets and wine....
A Kávéház close to out flat
Cappuccino and chocolate cake makes everything OK:)SteveSzent István-bazilika
Relaxing and enjozing a glass of wine