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  1. Latvian Wild Mushroom and Potato Soup Recipe

    October 16, 2014 by Varga László

    Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 8


    During the summer, I had visiting a friend from Latvia, Dace, very pretty girl, studying theater.

    After a while, this autumn we chatted online and she told me that she was as most of her countrymen busy picking mushrooms, she laughed when I told her I never did mushrooming ;). (Though, a few weeks later I went picking mushrooms and the ensuing recipe will follow soon).

    Inspired by this huge Latvian tradition for mushrooms I cooked the following recipe with some wild mushrooms bought from the farmers market, you can you whatever you find as long they are wild!

    The recipe turned out to be very tasty as my Ukrainian guests agreed, soon I will cook Varenyky inspired by talks with them.


    Ingredients (4 servings)

    • 500 g wild mushrooms – I used once scotch bonnet mushroomsLatvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 1
    • 6 larger potatoes
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 tablespoon butter
    • 100 ml white wine
    • 1 l vegetable stock
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
    • 100 ml heavy cream
    • some freshly dill for garnishing


    Preparation method:

    1. Chop the onion roughly.Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 5
    2. Peel and dice the potatoes.Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 3
    3. Chop roughly the mushrooms if using larger ones
    4. Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot.
    5. Saute the chopped mushrooms until soft.Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 2
    6. Add the white wine, vegetable stock, potatoes and salt and pepper.
    7. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft.Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 4
    8. In a different small frying pan heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown and having a nice aroma.-
    9. When potatoes have cooked take out about half of them into a blender. Add some liquid from the soup and puree them.Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 7
    10. Add the pureed potatoes add back into pot of soup, together with the heavy cream, paprika and some salt and pepper to taste.
    11. Serve the soup while hot, add a tablespoon of creme and some dill leaves.Latvian Wild Mushrooms and Potato Soup 9


  2. Gulyásleves Recipe – Hungarian Goulash in Cast Iron Kettle

    October 8, 2014 by Varga László

    Gulyasleves Recipe - Hungarian Goulash in Cast Iron Kettle

    I had over a friend from France – Robin – very nice guy and very good blues musician. His plan is to go by hitchhiking all the way to Australia along singing and playing his guitar and harmonica.

    He has seen a lot of places and has been in a lot of places, having a lot of good stories to tell. He has been through Hungary but from his recollection didn’t eat tasty Hungarian food. So I had to correct his impression on Hungarian cuisine. I met with some friends with whom planed for ages to cook, gulyas soup in a cast iron kettle over open fire. This was a very good opportunity to to finally do it.

    We went to our friends garden unpacked the kettle, set the fire and cooked the delicious goulash or gulyas as it’s called in Hungarian. It was the beginning of the summer on a long Sunday warm afternoon prolonging into the cooler night. In the meantime we had fun, singing talking and drinking beers. As it turned out, it was the start of the open fire kettle cooking – since this time we had another five cookouts at the same venue which (apparently) finished for this year at the end of September. Some of the recipes I already shared, some are still to come.

    And here follows the recipe:

    Ingredients (8-10 servings):

    • 2 kg lean veal, preferably,  but you can also use beef    Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 05
    • 1 kg onionsGulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 01
    • 2 whole bulbs of garlicGulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 03
    • 2 kg potatoes
    • 100 ml rendered pork lard or vegetable oil
    • 1/2 kg red/green bell pepperGulyasleves Recipe - Hungarian Goulash in Cast Iron Kettle
    • 4 tomatoes – about 1/2 kg
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
    • sweet and hot paprika to taste ( 1 used about 1 tablespoon sweet and 1 tablespoon hot)


    Preparation method:

    1.  Dice the veal into 2 cm cubes.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 06
    2. Chop roughly the onion and garlic.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 04Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 02
    3. Dice the bell peppers.Gulyasleves Recipe - Hungarian Goulash in Cast Iron Kettle
    4. Dice the tomatoes into 1 cm cubes.a2014-09-06-22.24
    5. Clean and dice the potatoes into 2 cm cubes.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 14
    6. Heat the rendered lard/oil into the cast iron kettle.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 07
    7. Add to the kettle the chopped garlic and onion and fry, stirring them about 5 minutes until golden and fragrant.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 08
    8. Add the diced meat Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 09and the hot and sweet paprikaGulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 11
    9. Fry them stirring from time to time for about 15 minutes until the meat has taken a brownish darker color.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 12
    10. Add water to cover and the salt and cumin to taste. Don’t use black pepper, all the hotness of this dish is from the cumin and hot paprika.
    11. Bring to boil and cook over medium fire for about 2-3 hours until the meat is 2/3 done. It depends on the kind of meat you use and don’t’ forget to stir now and then. Because this step is a lengthy one, you can relax and sing a bit as we did with our recent friend Robin Madier.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 13
    12. When the meat is about 2/3 done add the cubed potatoes, replenish with some more water to cover and cook for another circa 20 minutes.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 15
    13. When the potatoes are almost done add the diced bell peppers and tomatoes, add if needed some more salt and sweet/hot paprika to taste.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 18
    14. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes and peppers mostly melted in the pot of soup.
    15. Serve the soup while hot.Gulyasleves - Hungarian Goulash 19



  3. Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

    September 25, 2014 by Varga László

    Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

     Ingredients ( 8 servings):

    • 400-500 g ground beefMain ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    • 1 l beef stock
    • 2 medium onions
    • 3 medium carrots
    • 2 medium parsley roots
    • 8 cloves garlic
    • about 10 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 eggs
    • Red pepper flakes
    • 3 Romaine lettuce (you can use escarole or spinach too)Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseItalian Wedding Soup Recipe
    • 3 stale/dry bread slices
    • 100 ml yogurt
    • 100 g orzo pastaItalian Wedding Soup Recipe


    Preparation method:

    1. Wash the greens, remove the white, harder parts of the leaves and cut them into bigger pieces.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    2. Grate the carrots.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    3. Chop the parsley roots, Italian Wedding Soup Recipegarlic and 1 onion Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    4. In a soup pot, heat about 6 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.
    5. Add the onion, carrots and parsley root and half of the chopped garlic and saute about 5 minutes.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    6. Add the stock, bring to a boil and cook for about half an hour until the meatballs are prepared:
    7. Soak the bread slices in the yogurt for about 10 minutes, squeeze out the excessive yogurt.
    8. Grate the other onion.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    9. Combine the ground meat, soaked bread, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated onion, remaining chopped garlic,  salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    10. Mix thoroughly, then form the mixture into 3-4 cm balls, about the size of a walnut.
    11. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. and line up the meatballs in it.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    12. Roast int the preheated oven at 150 C for about 10-15 minutes until they get a bit of darkish red color.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    13. Add the meatballs and orzo pasta to the soup pot and cook 5 minutes.
    14. Add the greens, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
    15. Serve while still hot and grate some extra Parmesan cheese atop.

    Italian Wedding Soup RecipeItalian Wedding Soup Recipe