At New Year’s Eve I think if I could have a wish, I would ask for as many joyful moments in 2017 as many I could be grateful for in 2016. I think about the moments when I cooked and baked, photographed and tasted. The time spent in the garden that taught me something new every month and I know that this is only the beginning. The community we are living in which is an unlimited source of stories about the village, life and people. I am grateful to be able to get a brand new year, like a blank page which is waiting for to be filled with plans, things to do and dreams to fulfil. Time is the greatest present we can get especially if we don’t forget that moments are possibilities for us to make them unrepeatable. A day before New Year’s Eve we spend the afternoon by loading our firewood shed with three cubic meter wood. Symbolically it is like storing warmth for the coming year. This warmth can manifest in many ways not only in form of the fire in the tile stove.
For example in the enthusiasm my niece helps us to load wood . Her face gets red because of the cold but her eyes are shining while she explains that she really feels like a village girl by now.
There are so much warmth in the feedbacks regarding my recipes I get from all over the world. Dana bakes cresent cookies filled with poppy-seed cream, Bea’s sister tries the cocoa rolls. Edina and Erzsébet tell me how vanilla crescents turned out, Niki writes me about bejgli, Kati bakes and takes pictures of the Christmas linzer. Mariann bakes bejgli in Lyon, France as a present for a French chef.
Warmth come also in a bowl of steaming lentil stew which I am preparing right now. It is a New Year tradition in Hungary to cook lentils, but for me it is also the perfect dish for any winter days. It definitely needs some slices of fresh bread, roasted bacon while I need a warm knitted sweater that I can wrap myself in. But this story as all of them is completed by You, everyone: my family who is sitting around the table in this little house, and you living all around the world who is cooking and tasting with me. Tastes become memories and memories will produce more tastes. I really cannot wish any more.
500 g lentils
1 red onion
2 bay leaves
4 cm piece of sausage (Hungarian one, or similar like chorizo)
4 slices of bacon (optional)
1 bunch of parsley
4 tbsp oil
6 tsp flour
2 tsp paprika
sour cream for serving
Put the lentils into a bowl, cover it with water and let it soak overnight or at least for 30 minutes. Rinse lentils under running water, transfer them to a pot and add as much water that it is 2 cm over the level of lentils. Peel onion and cut it into quarter, cut tomato the same way. Add bay leaves, tomato, onion, 2 slices of peppers and sausage (cut into slices or in whole) to lentils, season it with salt according to your taste. Cover it and bring it to boil, than reduce heat and let it simmer until lentils are tender (approximately 30 minutes) If water evaporated completely add some more water. Heat the oil in a pan, add flour and stir it continuously for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, add paprika. This mixture called “rántás” will help to thicken our stew. Stirring continuously add it to the lentils and bring it to boil again. After it thickened, remove from heat, add a few drops of lemon juice and parsley. (Before serving remove tomatoes, peppers, onion, parsley and bay leaves if you want) Roast both sides of bacon in a pan. Serve lentil stew with fresh bread, sour cream and roasted bacon.