daily adventures

besides the fact that i’m in this incredible city, the best part about my time in budapest is that i have nothing to do but wander around with my camera, watch people, and cook.

the city is so alive, and has such a different feeling than boston, new york, los angeles, san diego. these people fascinate me – they’re kind but not friendly, which means i can walk the city for hours and not make eye contact with a single person, but can get help as soon as i need it from a warm cafe server. this delights me for reasons i can’t explain. i love the feeling of strength and independence these people exude, but i’m relieved to know that if i ask, i can always get helpful directions or advice from a native. i’m not sure i’ve felt this way anywhere else before.

i’m fascinated by the blending of old and new, both in architecture and in business. brand new, modernly designed hotels sit amongst old, broken down buildings, and brightly colored american fast food chains compete with local restaurants.

steve and i have been trying to explore local restaurants, both hungarian and otherwise, which meant that we went out all weekend, and that yesterday i met him for lunch at his office and we tried out this absolutely delicious burger bar. my bleu-cheese filled, pepper crusted burger on ciabatta bread was delightful, but after we were finished eating and i asked steve what he might like for dinner, he simply said “vegetables.”

i can work with that.

the following recipe is so loose, it hardly counts as a recipe. use whatever vegetables you like and can find – this soup should be rich, flavorful, and full of comfort. i wanted to use celery and turnips but the lady at the market wouldn’t sell them to me for reasons she thoroughly explained…in hungarian. i imagine most of my readers won’t have this problem.

warming winter soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
4 scallions, finely sliced
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium can cannelloni beans
1-2 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

in a large stock pot over medium heat, warm the oil and saute the onions for several minutes. when they start to develop color, add the garlic and cook for another minute. add butter and flour and mix well until mixture thickens, then add white wine, tomatoes, carrots, parsnip, and scallions. allow to come to a simmer.

in a separate pot, boil potatoes in water for several minutes until tender, then add potatoes to stock pot with cannelloni beans. add enough water or stock to completely cover vegetables, then add bacon, oregano, basil, bay leaf, and a bit of salt and pepper. allow mixture to come to a boil, stirring regularly, than turn heat down to low and cover, cooking for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. you’ll probably need to add more seasonings but i like to start low and add as i go, so taste regularly to adjust. serve with crusty bread, a glass of wine, and (ideally) a crackling fire.

next up: chicken paprikas.


4 thoughts on “daily adventures

  1. oh meg, i’m so glad you’re loving it there. i know what you mean about the independence of hungarians and how they are helpful, but not friendly. they won’t strike up a conversation with a stranger, but they will help someone who is lost. they won’t chat with people in the grocery line, but if you make a friend there they will be your friend for life. hungarians are very loyal and strong people.

    i also love how much you’re loving the city. which side do you like better – buda or pest? isn’t the chain bridge amazing? go at night – it makes for some great photos. (but it does during the day too). also check out the lion’s tongues – or lack there of. according to my hungarian friends the architect who designed the bridge killed himself over this mistake. i’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it’s what i’ve been told.

    i love you and miss you lady. i wish i could have hung out with you more before you left. i can’t wait to keep up with your blog though and get together when you come back and hear all of your stories. if you get a chance – go to romania. they are a very different people too. a bit warmer than hungarians and somewhat more gregarious, but a similar stoic nature in public.

    ps- i’m gonna try your soup today or tomorrow. (depending on when i have time) :)


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