A year after we moved back to our newly renovated, almost 100 year-old house, slowly everything is finding its place. Homemaking is not a fast process. In the pantry room the shelves are packed with jams and compotes, soon we will need to build new shelves because we are running out of space. I collected all of my strengths and energy to clean and tidy our cellar, which finally can become at the storage room for wine, root vegetables and syrups. I carried up all the demijohns, which we inherited with the house, cleaned them, and we come up each day with a new creative idea how to use them in the future.
The old window of the wood shed becomes an unusual photo album, after some cleaning, polishing and waxing. I saw cushion covers from the 50 year old tablecloth and duvet which colour is in perfect harmony with the original green paint of the dining cabinet.
The original door of the summer kitchen is waiting for to be polished, it will become a coat rack in the hallway, one of the two enamelled pot will become a small coffee table or a storage bin- we haven’t decided yet.
In the meantime, every day I learn something new, thanks to the people from the village who are willing to share generously their knowledge, advices and recipes with me. Following the advice of the 93-year old Aunt Eszti, my tuberous begonia is in full bloom. The secret is to pour the water into the plate under the pot, not directly into the soil, so it can absorb it slowly. Our entrance stairs are full of plants, that she cultivated: geranium, houseleek, October stonecrop. She was good friend of my grandmother’s sister and her husband- former owners of our house. ‘I am glad to bring flowers to my dear old friend’s house’, she says.
Dill from our neighbours is drying in the kitchen pantry, and thanks to Hédi, I could decorate my kitchen with dried lavender bouquets. I have already baked Terike’s plum pie several times, which recipe will show up with her permission sometimes on the blog. Erika has surprised me with the recipe of her very special meatballs, carefully hand-written, dropped into our post box, so it has brighten up my day, when I have found it in the morning.
I got some courgette, which I use for soup, then a nice pattypan squash. Then, another one.
I have no doubt, what I am going to make with it.
When I was a child, pattypan squash came from my grandmother’s kitchen garden, near our hometown Veszprém, where she used to grow all kind of vegetables. I confess, we preferred fried cheese to pattypan squash that time, but she was very smart: she used to fry both of them at the same time, to make us like and eat more vegetables.
And she has succeeded, I must say. Although fried cheese has been our biggest passion in food for both my sister and I, slowly pattypan squash has become also a favourite.
I remember my granny, frying the cheese, getting angry, because it is leaking, and we are chewing happily the fried cheese, which was sometimes more breading than cheese. We loved how its chewiness, to dip it into mayonnaise sauce and the way it was a perfect with the rice seasoned with some parsley, and which was way more tasty, than a normal cooked rice.
Fried cheese and pattypan squash are really simple dishes, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to photograph the pattypan squash, to capture the beauty of its special star-shape and smooth white skin.
Of course I need to bread a few slices of cheese as well, and I decide to share my mother’s unbeatable steamed rice recipe, which she spices up with some parsley and sautéd onion.
Because still, the simplest things are the best things in the world.
Textiles I use for photography are hand-woven and botanical dyed, made by @textil_szakacsniki
Fried pattypan squash and cheese with rice
For the rice:
200 g white rice (take 30-40 g rice per person, but in case you have leftover, you can easily make a “lecsó” with it, it is its season anyway)
400 ml boiling water
1 small yellow onion
1 bunch of fresh parsley
sunflower oil or olive oil
Peal and dice onion. Wash rice with cold water, then rinse and drain. Heat some oil in a pot, add onion, season with salt and sauté, covered at medium heat, until it is tender and gets a light golden colour. Add rice and fry until it is glassy. Pour over the boiling water, add salt according to your taste and continue cooking covered, at medium heat. When the rice already absorbed the majority of the water, you can completely turn off the heat. In case you use ceramic cooktop, turn it on the lowest heat, or completely off. In case of a gas cooktop it is the best to use a cast iron hot plate, which was already heated during the cooking process. It will give enough heat to the rice until it gets completely tender. Chop fresh parsley and using a fork, carefully fold in the rice.
For the fried pattypan squash/cheese:
1 medium-sized pattypan squash/ cheese sticks cut into at least 1-1,5 cm thick pieces
1 pinch of salt to each egg
napraforgóolaj a sütéshez
Wash pattypan squash, cut into pieces, so it is easier to peel it. Remove the inside part with the seeds.
Prepare two soup plates for breading, one for the flour, one for the eggs, and one for the fine breadcrumbs. Beat eggs with 2 pinches of salt. Bread each piece of pattypan squash and cheese the usual way, but after putting the cheese into breadcrumbs, place them back once again into the eggs, and once again into breadcrumbs. Each time carefully press the breadcrumbs using your palms. This way you have a high probability that the cheese won’t leak out.
Heat up so much oil in a pan that the squash pieces and cheeses can float. Fry each piece in hot oil, folding them when one side is already golden brown. Place them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- By using a small pot for frying you can avoid using much oil.
- Don’t try to fold cheese until you are sure one side is already golden colour. I was sometimes impatient and I destroyed the breading.
- Carefully choose cheese, it took me several trial-error until I found the one which doesn’t start to melt and make a mess in the oil….