Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hungarican Chicken Paprikash

Naturally, living in a Hungarican household influenced by 18 years in Belgium, our menu repertoire is pretty broad and international.  One of the family staples, and one of my childhood favourites was Chicken Paprikash, a Hungarian dish that is both delicious and comforting.  It has now become one of my husband's favourites.

Everyone makes it a little bit differently, but it is ultimately a very simple dish and can be tweaked here and there to suit individual tastes. Here's how we Hungaricans make it:

Start with a very simple group of ingredients. You will need:

1 plump whole chicken
2 large yellow onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 HEAPING tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika (or more)
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups water or chicken stock

Rice, egg noodles or spaetzle 

Shall we begin?

You should always add salt an pepper in 'layers'
while you are cooking. S & P each 'stage' and your
meal will be well-seasoned.  Anyway, I digress....

It is a bit cheaper to buy a whole chicken and to
quarter it yourself. It's not too hard. I will post a
video someday of how to do it simply.

...or more.

Just toss the flour in dry and stir it in.

Chicken stock makes the sauce all the richer, but
water works just fine and it's what I use on the most

By the time you add the water, the bottom of the pot
will be crusted in a flavourful 'sediment'. Adding liquid
will deglaze it and add the distintive flavour to the sauce
(much like the Borg assimilating a species).

Tend to fussy baby

My mom always left it in, and it's not tragic if you do,
but if you are trying to minimize calories, taking it out
is a good idea. It will however take some of your
I had to take from 2 containers.
This thickens the sauce.

Some people remove the skin and debone the chicken, shredding the meat into the sauce. I don't do that very often. I also have a brother who adds green pepper to the sauce, sliced mushrooms can also be good.  I serve it pretty often over rice, but egg noodles work and the real dish in Hungary is often served over spaetzle. I like rice because it really sorbs up the sauce, which I would drink from the pot if I could get away with it.  


Sunday, January 6, 2013


 My life is changing.  Every bit of it. From the sudden absence of an environment that has been the norm for seven years; my old job, to the stream of creative energy, which has been dampened (but not dead) since I got pregnant.  It's okay, change is good. Change is inevitable, and I will adapt. The things I love are not vanished but they are ... paused.

I'm home. Almost always, and that's okay. With a new(ish) baby (7 weeks old yesterday), you retrench, and you are beholden to him.  I am where he needs me to be. Prepared to feed him when he cries out in hunger, prepared to change him when he protests his state of being, and always there to cuddle and love on this precious little life form that came from us.

Christmas is come and gone. We had a sprinkling of snow just to make it whimsical. But it didn't stay long. Today there were only a few blobs of snow here and there, and there were none on our little promenade. We took a walk around our 'block', and explored a dead-end street where this path led into a vacant property that was overgrown with mossy, drapey, lush and green life.  We had to turn back when the path was blocked by not just one, but two fallen trees.  Since we were pushing Baby J in the stroller, we could not go on.

We never get tired of filling up our phone galleries with pictures like this.  Baby J is always quite disposed to providing us with pose after pose, baby versions of the Blue Steel and Magnum. Teehee.  His sweetness comes with a thousand faces. Now that he's started smiling, now it's a race to capture that. It is beyond adorable.

Like I said before, even the bluster and sourness of the great Satan herself has been cowed by his charms.  She spends most of the time showing the baby off to every senior in residence; and she won't let anyone hold him. Hell, she barely even allows great Grandma Georgia to hold him.  When she does, she hovers, like a fussy nursemaid, worrying that Grandma might not be holding him correctly. She takes every chance she can to snatch the child out of her arms. The selfishness is still there, but at least she isn't a bloody monster. She is actually tolerable to be around.

My husband took this picture today.  His desk is on the other side of the sofa bend, so I propped the little one up there so he could spy on his father who was at his computer.  I'm sitting there behind him with my hand on his bum, holding him there.  The boy was curious about the phone as my husband snapped this picture.  Mr. Crankypants has good days and bad days. Today was a good day. Good mood, lots of cooing and smiling and kicking of the legs.

One of my favourite images. Dan is cuddling Baby J.  I do love these boys with all of my soul.

Some sleepy-cuddly peaceful cuteness.

Incidentally, I am choosing to actually participate in a Month of Letters this year. Last year, I just wasn't able to. I am home now, I am in possession of quills, ink, wax seals and paper, so why not.  I encourage you to participate. I decided to do this the old school way, but there are no rules, really.  Click the image to the main page and sign up. You can find pen pals from all over the world to write to and receive correspondence from.  Keep the art of real letter-writing alive and join in. :)

[Update: Woops! Forgot to put link on the image. Shame on me!]

I am determined to do something creative this week. I will keep you all apprised if I do, since everything has slowed down to accommodate the new arrival.  I'm hoping there will be some slip back to normality at some point.  Every day he coalesces more and more into a whole person. His behaviour is less instinctive and more social.  Alexander is the center of my universe. Hopefully in time, he'd be willing to share. Reading Alicia Paulson's blog, I have no idea how she finds time to do anything.

I had to bid goodbye to someone very dear to me today, but do so quietly from a distance. My sweet horse, who my sister was caring for up until recently, has been sent to a new home.  My sister offered to take him when I discovered I was pregnant. Rather than have to lose him, it was a chance for us to retrench and figure things out. But circumstances changed, and my sister informed me that she couldn't keep him anymore, and that she needed to get rid of him and of her own horses, leaving me little opportunity to come up with options. So she re-homed him.  I can't say I'm not broken hearted, because I am. I am devastated, but I don't have time to wallow in self-pity.  The whole thing is something I dreaded but something I kind of expected.  But I am also relieved.  When the time comes when we are solvent enough to afford it and when my time isn't consumed by this little baby of ours, I will find another horse to love--and hopefully a better situation to keep him/her in.  But I will miss Tag.  Dearly.

Farewell big boy.


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