Blog Archives

Oatmeal Porridge – A Beginner’s Guide to Boiling Water

Oatmeal topped with caramelized blackberries.

(Note: I don’t really like releasing individual oatmeal recipes because of how redundant and easy they are, so I decided I just wanted to compile all my oatmeal knowledge into one post and call it a day. The only exceptions are my apple cinnamon porridge and my steel-cut apple risotto. If I ever make another exception in the future, it’d have to be absolutely amazing.)

I won’t lie, I used to be a health nut. So after reading that cereal is just empty calories and that I should be eating a healthier breakfast, I learnt about porridge, particularly the porridge known as oatmeal. Porridge basically refers to any kind of grainy starch (e.g. rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, etc) cooked in water or milk. At the time I didn’t know about the varieties of oats, all I knew was that I didn’t want those shitty microwavable Quaker packets that I always hated as a kid. So I instinctively bought a bag of small rolled porridge oats labeled “quick-oats” and a porridge mix which included whole flaxseeds, both of which were a bad idea. First of all, don’t get a porridge mix, get just the oats and mix them with your own stuff (you can’t even digest whole flaxseeds unless you grind them… what were they thinking when they made that mix?) Second of all, don’t get quick oats. More on that later.

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Chili – A Beginner’s Guide to Emptying the Pantry and Freezer

Beef & bean chili topped with crème fraîche.

Chili was one of the earlier things on my bucket list when I was first learning how to cook. At first I wanted a Texas-style beanless chili recipe for the purpose of being more “authentic”, but then I realised I’m not a Southerner, and I’m not really passionate about keeping Southern recipes authentic. Also I like beans, so I decided “screw it” and just went for a nice beanie chili. So the first chili recipe I tried was Chef John’s beef, bean and beer chili recipe, which was amazing and I highly recommend it to everyone who loves beef, beans and beer, but since then I’ve made plenty of other chili pots without following any recipes in particular. I’ve done vegetarian chilis before too. Later I became friends with a fellow cook who says “Chili is something you make when you want to make room in your pantry and freezer.” and there is quite a bit of truth to that… So now every time I make chili, I use it as an opportunity to get rid non-perishables I don’t want to see anymore. Especially dry beans and spices, and oftentimes frozen vegetables.

What most chili recipes have in common is the spices; a large handful of them appear in many different recipes, and chili all comes down to tasting and adjusting the spices until it’s perfect to your taste. So for this post, I won’t be giving an exact recipe with precise ingredient amounts, but rather I want to teach you how to chili, essentially. I’ll be giving out a bunch of commonly used chili ingredients, all of which are optional, even the beans are optional if you want to go southern-style. However, you do need chili powder, whether it’s ancho, chipotle, or even kashmiri. Most people seem to prefer ancho though, especially for chili pots. You can also make your own chili powder blend. And once you know how to chili, you can go on to creating your own personal chili recipes and sharing them! Or keep it as your secret recipe if it really is that amazing. Whatever you prefer!

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Pancakes – A Beginner’s Guide

Pancakes with blueberries and chocolate chips cooked into the batter, served with blueberries and drizzled with a generous amount of maple syrup.

Pancakes with blueberries and chocolate chips cooked into the batter, served with blueberries and drizzled with a generous amount of maple syrup.

I’ve been avoiding attempting a Scotch/American pancake recipe for awhile because most pictures always present it as a huge portion that could probably feed a family of 6, and I tend to avoid not only promoting but also eating big portions especially for breakfast, but seeing as pancake day is just around the corner I figured I’d come up with and share my own pancake recipe, albeit with a more reasonable portion size. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pancakes, I just don’t like how you have to make so many at once!

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Kakaós Csiga (Cocoa Rolls)

Flaky cocoa-filled pastries.

(Pronunciation: “Kah-kah-osh Chee-gaw”)

Although the translation for this is actually “cocoa snails”, I figured since some people aren’t a fan of escargot I’d put “cocoa rolls” in the title instead.

Jokes aside, these baked sweets are common in Hungary, similar to cinnamon rolls, but with cocoa powder instead of cinnamon. Cocoa rolls are generally larger than cinnamon rolls since the dough is rolled out much more thinly which makes space for more filling. These also don’t include that deliciously rich cream cheese glaze that cinnamon rolls usually come drizzled in… But then again, this is my website, and today we’re doing cocoa rolls! \(^O^)/

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Rice Pudding

Creamy breakfast style rice pudding topped with cinnamon.

Creamy breakfast style rice pudding topped with cinnamon.

 

Tejberizs… milchreis… Arroz con leche… Riz au lait… Rice pudding…?

In case you didn’t catch that; pretty much every language names this dish “Rice & Milk”, or something along those lines, except English, where for some reason it’s a pudding. I guess that’s because pudding is not really considered breakfast food in the western world, but dessert rather. However in many European countries, what English calls “rice pudding” is actually a porridge/cereal-like dish, served warm and is very commonly eaten for breakfast, especially by children. I know I used to eat it a lot when I was baby. (´・ω・`)

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Semolina Porridge (Cream of Wheat) – A Beginner’s Guide

Tejbegríz, semolina porridge, semolina pudding, Grießkoch, Grießbrei, griesmeelpap, mannagrynsgröt, and sometimes “Cream of Wheat”, this is a porridge dish commonly eaten for breakfast in Europe, especially by children, and sometimes as a dessert in both Europe and outside of Europe.

All these different names and regional variations are confusing… I actually used to think this was a Hungarian dish because my mother used to make it for me for breakfast when I was a kid, and so I grew up thinking it came from Hungary because it was called tejbegríz and we never called it anything else. Turns out it’s a type of porridge; very similar to grits or polenta, except it uses semolina instead of cornmeal. In fact, outside of the US, grits is referred to as semolina with no distinction between the type of grain unless explicitly specified. This is way too confusing and so I’ll stop talking about it. Let’s keep things simple… A rose by any other name, this dish is made from semolina; the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used to make Italian pasta, commonly enriched and packaged as a hot breakfast cereal in North America under the name “Cream of Wheat”. (´・ω・`)

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Sólet (Cholent)

Bean stew topped with smoked duck breast, beef, and a halved egg.

Bean stew topped with smoked duck breast, beef, and a halved egg.

(Pronunciation: “Sho-let”)

Sólet, which apparently is the father of cholent, is a Jewish-Hungarian dish usually prepared on Friday nights before the sabbath, simmered overnight, and then eaten the next day for lunch. This was done to conform to Jewish laws that prohibit cooking on the sabbath. Now I’m not Jewish, but this was something I was pretty curious about because it involved cooking on very low heat in an oven for a long period of time, something I haven’t really done before.

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Jókai Bableves (Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hock)

Bean soup with smoked ham hock, smoked sausage, egg noodles, carrots, topped with some sour cream.

Bean soup with smoked ham hock, smoked sausage, egg noodles, carrots, topped with some sour cream.

(Pronunciation: “Yo-kaw-ee Bob-leh-vesh”)

Well actually the translation for Jókai bableves is “Jókai’s bean soup” as it was named after Jókai Mór, a Hungarian writer whose favourite soup included beans, egg noodles, smoked ham hock and smoked sausage, and topped off with a heaping spoonful of sour cream. Whoever this guy was, he certainly had good taste. This dish can also be called “csülkös bableves” which literally means ham hock bean soup.

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Eggnog – Raw vs Cooked

Eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum.

Eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum.

Alright, eggnog! Let’s do this!!!

So let me start off by saying that I’m not scared of salmonella and I’m perfectly fine with consuming raw eggs. After looking into the history of eggnog a little, I found out that traditionally it is made using raw eggs. Also, look up “raw eggnog” and I guarantee most of the results will be by vegans, many of which who deliberately left out the word “vegan” from the title of the post with the chance that non-vegans may click on it and get tricked into making a vegan eggnog using carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices, monoglycerides, and colorings… Wait sorry, those are actually the ingredients found in store-bought eggnog. Raw vegan eggnog is actually pretty good stuff, however, that’s not what I do here. I’m a traditionalist, so if you’re vegan, look for an eggnog recipe elsewhere. And most importantly, regardless of your dietary preferences, don’t buy eggnog from the store, please. Make it yourself, it takes literally 5 minutes and tastes that much better. (´・ω・`)

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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup made from puréed roasted pumpkin and veggies topped with crème fraîche and scallions.

The last recipe of pumpkin season~!!!! ♪((└|o^▽^o|┐))♪

I still had some leftover pumpkin from this pumpkin season, so I decided to give this classic pumpkin soup a pumpkin try.

Well I suppose pumpkin soup is also something you can serve on the holidays as well, but here, fresh pie pumpkins aka sugar pumpkins are no longer in season (and neither are carving pumpkins now that I think about it), so I had to make do with the leftover pumpkin I had in the freezer. Of course, you can use standard canned pumpkin purée for this instead, but I like to make my own stuff.

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