Cooking, a refuge in uncertain times: crêpes filled with spinach

‘You should start writing’, says Áron not for the first time this month, without giving me the sense of pressure, but with his typical, meaningful look. 

‘But what should I write about in this current situation?’, I ask in despair, ‘everything would sound so unnatural and insincere….

‘Write from your heart honey’, he answers and winks at me. ‘From your heart.’

We write our memories from today’s stories, and the dishes will create the tastes that we remember in the future. The question is: what story would we like to write today? 

After days and weeks of hopeless scrolling of news, worries and fear I decided that even if I can’t do a lot, but I can do at least something. 

I can’t be at the hospitals, because I am neither a doctor, a nurse nor a paramedic. I can’t go to work instead of those who must work: those who continue to feed the animals, go to the fields and take care of sowing, prune the fruit trees, stand at production lines, or are on the way the complete day so that recipients get their products or serve people in shops. 

They do it for all of us. 

However, in the meantime I can do my job. I can tell stories. I can cook. I can inspire you to grab wooden spoon and baking tin. 

It is not the time for trying recipes with special ingredients, but it is time for cooking with family without any hurry, for simple, tasty dishes which warm up our heart and body. We need to recall the almost forgotten knowledge of our grandmothers: they knew very well, how to survive difficult times. They were able to preserve their faith in hopelessness, did their job, fed their family and created miracles from little. 

They created memories from nothing. 

Our world today is not about bombs, air–raid shelters, and fights and we have to be grateful that we “only” need to handle with this. 

If our grandmothers were able to cope with their hardships, we are able to do it with ours. Together, by taking care of each other, helping and encouraging each other we will get over it. 

It is the time for being reasonable, creative and sobriety. Not only in the kitchen, but in life in general. 

For the coming period I experiment with new ideas and will pick from the archives in order to give you tips for what to cook. This recipe has been waiting to be published for a long time. You only need basic ingredients and spinach can be replaced by anything else, blanched root vegetables, mushrooms, or even chicken or turkey breast if you have some at home. 

And if you feel like, just send me a message, let’s have a chat. 

What are you cooking today? 


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Crêpes filled with spinach

For the crêpes

250 g all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

350 ml soda water or sparkling water

100 ml milk

For the béchamel sauce

45 g all-purpose flour

45 g butter

1/2 yellow onion

1 bay leaf

500 ml milk

grated nutmeg

salt

For the filling

100 g ham (cooked, smoked, or dry-cured, as you wish)

100 g fresh spinach

80 g grated cheese (any kind)

bit of butter for greasing the ovenproof dish

  1. Grease an ovenproof disc with butter. Wash spinach, remove thick stems and blanch in boiling, salty water. Remove with a sieve, put into iced water so it keeps its fresh green colour, then let it cool down in the sieve. 
  2. For the béchamel sauce put milk into a saucepan alongside with the onion and bay leaf. Bring it to boil, then set aside to infuse. 
  3. Beat the egg lightly, add milk and water. Mix flour with sugar and salt, and make a well in the centre. Add the egg mixture gradually while stirring continuously to avoid crumbles. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. 
  5. Sieve milk. In a saucepan melt butter, add flour then gradually add milk, while stirring continuously with a whisk. Season with grated nutmeg and salt. 
  6. Slice ham and roughly chop spinach. Grate cheese. 
  7. Make crêpes as usual. Smear some béchamel sauce on each crépe, top with spinach, ham and roll it up. Place them next to each other in the ovenproof dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. 
  8. Bake for 10 minutes at 180 ºC.


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Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer is a food photographer, chef and writer living in a small village in Northwestern Hungary. Her bilingual blog, Taste of Memories is about life in the Hungarian countryside. While she is bringing new life into the 90 year-old house and orchard of 18 fruit trees she cooks and bakes her family’s old recipes and tries to preserve traditions and old knowledge about how to live in rhythm and harmony with nature.

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2 hozzászólás

  1. Avatar
    Válasz

    Katerina

    2020-03-21

    Dear Judit, thank you for another beautiful recipe and post. I always enjoy reading what you have to say – there’s such lovely nostalgia in your posts – perhaps because they remind me so much of my childhood and the food that my grandmother used to make. We are going through some extraordinary times right now, aren’t we? Stay well.

    • Judit Neubauer
      Válasz

      Judit Neubauer

      2020-03-21

      Dear Katerina, thank you so much for your kind comment? You’re right, these times are a real challenge for all of us. I am thinking about a lot how we can support each other the best way, and how to start with ourselves. I am sure the key will be to return to our real selves, to our core values, and the sense of nostalgia is helping us- at least I hope it does :)- to remember. Sending you virtual hugs, stay safe and take care!

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