As a cook I cannot imagine a more fabulous thing than going over to the neighbour and coming back with a jar of fresh farm sour cream and a half kilo cottage cheese. Since Ani, my neighbour makes cottage cheese again- since they have enough milk to do it now- I cannot stop myself to cook with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese dumplings. Fresh home-made noodles with cottage cheese and fried bacon cubes made from mangalitsa pork. Or körözött, cottage cheese cream with paprika which recently became my Nr.1. favourite especially because the little chive plant that I moved last year to a new place in the garden, has grown to a large bush. I only need to cut a handful of it, add sour cream to the cottage cheese and season it with chives, paprika and salt. It is so simple and soooo good. And this is only the beginning. You can add some chopped yellow peppers when it has season, as my mother does, or finely sliced green onion. You can season it with caraway seeds. You can replace sour cream with yoghurt or you can use them half and half. You can serve it with bread, vegetable sticks or with jacket potatoes as Kata my friend does.
The weather this time of the year is quite changeable but I feel an irresistible desire to prepare and shoot körözött outside. Our lilac bushes seem to be a good background as well the jasmine bushes which will bring us joy with its flowers later in spring. If I was a child, this place under the bushes would be my favourite secret hideout to read and play. Instead, I set up a little pop-up kitchen there and not even the changing weather can discourage me. At the moment I carry out the table, wind starts blowing much stronger and rushing clouds cover the sun or let it shine on the beautiful landscape changing the light conditions every second. My companion is a blue bumble bee and my dog, Beeper who observes my activity with interest… or uncomprehending.
The word körözött comes from the word “kör” which means circle in Hungarian because originally and traditionally it was served surrounded by vegetables and herbs, like a circle, as I get to know it from the Hungarian Etymological Dictionary. So we can be quite authentic, on top of it i can serve it surrounded also by lilac bushes. And as long as we have körözött and we can smell the scent of lilac as the wind blows it towards us, we don’t mind the foolish April weather with its dark, rushing clouds and blasts of wind.
Körözött/ Cottage cheese cream with paprika
250 g cottage cheese
2 tbsp sour cream or yoghurt
paprika according to your taste
chives, green onion, pepper, caraway seeds…
Crush the cottage cheese with a fork, add sour cream and season with paprika, salt and herbs. Farm cottage cheese and sour cream can be much softer in texture than the ones you get in a supermarket, so maybe you need to add more sour cream to the cottage cheese or if sour cream is too thick you might need to add yoghurt to get the creamy consistency you want.
Serve it with bread, vegetable sticks or jacket potatoes.