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Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 23, 2007: Mushroom paprikash, potato pancakes and pickled baby beets

With Emma and Simon coming over to enjoy our hospitality, I decided to make use of my European inspiration and crank out a Hungarian inspired meal. Having had at least three shots at the potato pancake and mushroom paprikash at Vegetarium, I figured I was experienced enough to have a crack at my own version. Luckily, Cindy had already tracked down a mushroom paprikash recipe, and the weekend papers had a nice-looking potato pancake with pickled beetroot recipe that sounded like the perfect accompaniment. Unfortunately, I think I threw the recipe away by mistake, so the following will be the product of my fading memory.

The paprikash was a lot spicier using hot, Hungarian paprika (an interesting spice - not one that leaves a burning on your lips, but one that gets you in the back of the throat), and I think I preferred it without the seitan. The pancakes were a divine accompaniment (as I suspected following my Budapest experiences) and the beets (which I was sceptical about) were probably the highlight - soft, sweet and with a tang from the vinegar. Superb.

Mushroom paprikash
Follow this recipe, with the following changes:
Skip the dumplings.
Drop the seitan.
Add in 1/2 a cup of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in about a cup of water.
Use genuine imported Hungarian paprika.

Potato roesti
3 desiree potatoes
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
oil for frying

Boil the potatoes (whole and unpeeled) for about 30 minutes - until they're soft without being completely mushy. But don't be too conservative - I was sure mine were too mushy, but they grated perfectly.

Peel and then coarsely grate the spuds.

Stir through the flour, salt and pepper.

Form the mixture into roughly tennis-ball sized lumps, flatten them slightly and then fry on both sides in a small amount of oil.

Pickled baby beetroot
2 bunches baby beetroot
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar

Trim the beetroot and boil them in 3 cups of water and half the vinegar until soft (about 35-40 minutes).

Peel (you'll look like you've stabbed someone by the time you've peeled 12 baby beets).

Dress the peeled beetroot in the rest of the vinegar and the olive oil and let them soak for a while.

Serve up the pancakes, scoop a few ladles of mushroom paprikash on top and set some baby beets gently to one side. They're very photogenic.

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