Short report from the heart of the Bakony mountain, northwestern Hungary. May has started with a quite changeable whether: rain, wind and sun are changing hour by hour. Plants needed this rain so much, the soil absorbs water gratefully, while people take out the warm clothes and rubber boots from the cupboard. On my way home I see that an old couple is trying to get home, the lady with a head kerchief, her husband with a hat, fighting with the wind. Weather gives a good opportunity for neighbors to talk about. It is raining a lot or it is not raining enough- there is always a reason to complain. In our kitchen garden radish and the green peas are not only leaves they look like plants already and soon we will be able to eat our very own first onions which I just planted a couple of weeks ago. My grandmother recommended to do so because it gives you the sense of quick success. Last week we had frost until the height of 2 meters. Tibor, our neighbor’s nut tree low branches froze. We are really lucky because it seems our fruit trees survived the cold wave. I can recognize already the little green cherries and tiny apricots which gives me the hope of delicious preserves and marmalades.
Áron builds a new door for the cellar using pallets to replace the aged broken one. While he is working with it, the wooden stairs going down to the cellar also breaks under his weight. (just don’t misunderstand me- he is not so heavy…the stairs are so old! ) So he has already the next task to do: building new stairs. As a break he hangs a hammock between two sour cherry trees and has his first outdoor siesta there on Saturday afternoon.
We try to be present in every single moment as if it were unique and unrepeatable. Actually it is.
It starts raining again heavily, then sun shines suddenly, while the sky is covered with dark, thick clouds and starts raining again. I desire something sweet, actually my mother’s rice pudding soufflé which is light and fluffy and my mother is so good at it. I go over to my neighbor, Ani, to buy some farm milk and eggs but she doesn’t allow me to pay. She wants to thank the kugelhopf that I baked for them the week before, what was my thank-you gift for the jug she gave me to prepare buttermilk. “One good turn deserves another”- she winds up the debate.
A rich, hot soup and after a piece of rice pudding soufflé with thick chocolate sauce…it even makes the sun shining. I open the door to let inside the after-rain fresh breeze.
Rice pudding soufflé according to my mother’s recipe
200 g rice
750 ml milk
50 ml water
5 tbsp. sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 lemon zest
30 g butter
1/2 vanilla bean
1 package of vanilla sugar
butter and fine breadcrumbs for the baking pan
+ 1 egg white which remains from the chocolate sauce
500 ml milk
2 egg yolks
50 g sugar
1 tsp flour
1 package of vanilla sugar
10 g butter
80 g dark chocolate
1 heaped tsp. Dutch cocoa powder
Wash the rice and put it into a pan with the milk, water,vanilla bean and the salt. Bring it to boil, cover it and cook it slowly, stirring sometimes until it absorbed the majority of the milk. Remove it from the heat and let it rest covered. In the meantime prepare the chocolate sauce. Mix 100 ml milk with the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and the egg yolks. Bring the rest of the milk to boil and add it to the egg mixture while stirring continuously. Put it back to the heat, add the chocolate and cook it stirring continuously until it thickens. Remove it from the heat and mix in the vanilla sugar and the butter. Cover it with a piece of plastic foil. Brush a baking pan with butter and sprinkle it with fine bread crumbs. (I used two ceramic dish each 14×20 cm big) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. When the rice cooled down a bit, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, butter, the vanilla sugar and the lemon zest. Beat the 3 egg whites and the extra one left from the chocolate sauce until it is stiff. Add the egg yolk mixture to the rice first then carefully fold in the egg whites. Pour it into the baking dish and bake it until it is golden brown. (app. 40 minutes)