‘Oh, my God, if only we had some fresh bread, and a bit of mangalitza pork fat with roasted pork rind… I would take a slice of bread, spread with fat and sprinkle with paprika… and maybe a bit of sliced spring onion would make a good fit as well. And I would season it with salt from Parajd (a wonderful salt from a transylvanian salt mine) … ‘Even the thought makes my mouth water while I hardly get breath. ‘That would be nice!’, I continue.
‘This is self-torture’, laughs my friend Meli, while we are climbing up the narrow and steep path of the Tóti hill.
We celebrate Meli’s birthday, and she has her – let’s say- ‘strange’ habits, as extraordinary people do. For example, she used to climb a volcano every year on her birthday. This year I could convince her, that instead of travelling thousands of kilometres she could look around in the neighbourhood and find one, because actually we have several volcanos here in Hungary. They are not as high as the Etna – as her originally planned destination- but most probably they used to be… a few thousand years ago. They are small, they aren’t active any more, but we are proud of them because at least they are ours.
I have my reason why I am highlighting the beauty of the once active volcanoes in Hungary. We plan a surprise party for her in the evening, so it is important to have her close to us. I do my best to convince her, I even offer her to accompany her, even if I am not a big fan of hiking. I like walking in nature, especially if I can take pictures, or I can prepare some food and have a nice picnic in the middle of a forest. Meli assures me, that we will take cameras, and a winery close by will welcome us with open arms, so a nice picnic will be arranged as well.
We drive along on the curvy roads of the Balaton Upland, where we can already see Easter trees and almond trees blooming, while only 30 km away at home, in the Bakony mountains there is no sign of spring yet. Although the warm sunshines provide the promise of summer, because of cold wind we need to wear hats when we start the hike. As we arrive to the the foot of the mountain we realise that we can only receive that warm welcome from grey kettles and their calves, because the winery is closed and they keep away unexpected guests with a sign of vicious dogs. We have nothing in our bags except a bottle of water, we have eaten all snacks in the car, so the picture I had in my mind about the fresh bread slices slowly disappear and only my hunger remains. Every 15 minutes I come up with subject, as we are walking up the hill, maybe in order to collect my energy or to feed ourselves by imagine it. However, when we finally arrive to the top, I must admit, it was worth all the pain and suffering. We are the only ones on top to enjoy silence, the unrealistic blue of the Lake Balaton and the fresh almost crunchy green of the landscape that you can only see in early spring.
Meli didn’t get to see the Pasque flower, that she was looking forward, and I didn’t get my crunchy bread but we became rich by the experience, the view and that feeling that we will surely remember even when-as old ladies- we will be sitting in our to-be rose garden having a cup of coffee and a slice of sour cherry pie.
I get that slice of crunchy bread, a little bit later though. I take a slice of the potato bread that I baked in the last week’s blog post. I spread pork fat on top, sprinkle it with paprika and salt on even top it with roasted pork rind and enjoy heaven.
Then, when I find the recipe using the same dough for ‘lángos’ filled with cheese in the old cookbook, I already know that this potato dough deserves another post.
Because having a piece of bread with mangalitsa fat is really nice, but a piece of freshly fried ‘lángos’ with melted cheese inside can be nice too.
Or even nicer.
Textiles I use for photography are hand-woven and botanical dyed, made by @textil_szakacsniki
I am grateful for the photo of me on the top of the hill taken by my photographer friend, Melinda Egyed/ FRAME325
‘Lángos’ filled with cheese
500 g ’00’ flour
500 g cooked potatoes, crushed when still warm, then cooled down
5 g fresh yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 pinch of sugar
250 ml lukewarm milk
60 g melted butter
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
150 g semi-hard cheese (emmental, edam…)
sunflower oil for deep-frying
Dissolve sugar and yeast in 50 ml lukewarm milk and let it rise. Sift flour, add salt, caraway seeds then the yeasted milk, butter, crushed potatoes, and the rest of the milk. Knead it until you get a flexible and soft dough. Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rest for 1 hour. Knead it on a lightly floured wooden board, roll it out to a 1 cm thin rectangular then cut into 8×20 cm pieces. Place grated cheese on one side, sprinkle with paprika and salt if the cheese is not salty enough. Fold over the other side and push sides together with a fork. Heat up sunflower oil in a pot. The temperature of the oil will be the key, so don’t worry, if the first langos or two aren’t perfect. The oil shouldn’t be too hot, because then it will remain uncooked inside, best is if the oil is continuously bubbling and langos gets slowly a nice golden brown colour. Remove the langos with a slotted spoon, and let it cool down a little bit on a paper towel in order to remove any excess oil.
Serve with a soup or simply with a dash of sour cream.