Monday, December 3, 2012



It’s one of my favorite cakes in the whole wide world.  My Mom only had to ask once, what kind of cake should she bake for me.  The answer was always “Kofal Torta”.  Coming home from college for vacations I already knew that my favorite cake will be waiting for me.  It does bring back wonderful memories of my childhood and I hope it will become a favorite of yours as well.
  1. 8 Eggs – whites and yolks separated. Egg white beaten with a mixer into thick foam.  Yolks are used for the cream.
  2. 1and ½ cups of walnuts – coarsely chopped and roasted in the oven
  3. 8 Tbs. of sugar
  4. 2 Tbs. of flour

  1. 8 Egg yolks
  2. ¼ cup of milk
  3. 7 oz. of sugar
  4. 5 oz. of cocoa
  5. 10 oz. butter, about 2 and ½ sticks (unsalted) – add only when chocolate cream is taken off the steam pot.

Heat the oven to 350 F.  On a long tray place chopped walnuts on a cooking sheet or foil and roast them for about 10 minutes, stirring them occasionally.  Let it cool.

Beat eggs into a thick foam, add the sugar and flour 1 Tbs. at a time and add the roasted walnuts into the mixture last.

Coat your baking trays with butter and flour.  Equal 2 portions are poured into two identical baking trays, which will become 4 layers after sliced in half.  Bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry from the middle, when poked.   Let it cool before you slice them.  Now you have your 4 layers.  Let’s get to the cream now.  If you wish, you can make the cream ahead of time, because it needs time to cool before you apply it to the layers.


The mixing of all the ingredients happens over steam. Choose a deep pot and boil a bit of water in it. Choose another that totally covers it, preferably a round shaped bottom pot.  Add the egg yolks, the sugar, cocoa and milk and stirring it constantly over steam you will get the chocolate cream.  When the mixture is nice and smooth, take it off steam and start adding the butter in small chunks while stirring continuously.  Let it cool and when ready, cover it, and refrigerate it for another 30-40 minutes.  You can make this ahead of time or even a day before.

Now you’re ready to build your stone wall cake.  One layer spongy, one layer chocolate cream and so on… Cover it with cream all around and sprinkle it with your favorite sprinkles or coconut shreds, as seen on the photo. 
When I want to be creative, for Easter for instance I add colorful jelly beans to the decorating.
It’s an easy and super delicious cake.  Serve it with fresh whipped cream or just by itself and let me know if Stone Wall actually melted your heart.

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                                           BON APPETITE!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


MARINATE, MARINATE, MARINATE! One of the most important elements in a tasty, delicious meal is the prep work that goes into your meats.  ALWAYS buy fresh meats from your local butcher, clean it, cut it in cubes, slice it or grind it when you get it home and use the 3 most important spices for the Hungarian cuisine:


After you spiced up your meats you can freeze or refrigerate until used.  It will make a huge difference in the end flavor of all your meals.

VEGETA – AN ALL SPICE, Delicious seasoning for your soups, sauces, meatballs or meatloaf….in just about everything.

 GOULASH PASTE” (GULYAS KREM),” RED GOLD” (PIROS ARANY) PAPRIKA PASTE AND “STRONG STEVE” (EROS PISTA) HOT PAPRIKA PASTEAre the other frequently used spicy additions to our sauces.  You can have mild or hot, depending on your taste buds.

“CIMBRU” (CSOMBORD) AND LEUSTEAN” (LESTYAN)- respectively THYME OR SAVORY AND LOVAGE -are two of those more unusual leaf spices that some Hungarian recipes call for.

The usual starting ingredients for many meals include the same 3-4 ingredients:
  • Red/white onion
  • Green/Red pepper
  • Garlic


Talk about the ultimate comfort soup. It’s a meal by itself.  I personally developed a method to make this soup easier to tolerate because of it’s gaseous effects :) Soak your beans in cold water overnight and with a couple of bay leafs and some salt cook it the next day for 10 minutes.  Throw away the water, drain your beans and start boiling them, again for another 10 minutes. Throw away that water, and repeat one more time for another 10 minutes of boiling time.  Drain your beans and only after these 3 boiling actions you should ad them to your soup.  It really reduces the unpleasant side effects. 


  1. 1 Lb. of beans – soaked overnight and boiling it the next day 3 times with a couple of bay leaves and salt. Throwing away the water all three times.
  2. 4 Tbs. of olive oil
  3. 1 red onion – chopped
  4. 1-1 ½ Lbs. of smoked loin of pork – chopped in tiny cubes
  5. ½ Lb. of smoked sausage (Hungarian)
  6. 3 bay leaves
  7. ½ Jalapeno pepper – chopped
  8. 4 Qts. Of water
  9. 1 Tbs. of Hungarian or any sweet paprika
  10. 2 Tbs. of Vegeta or salt
  11. 5-6 Tbs. of balsamic or apple cider vinegar
  12. 1 handful of parsley – chopped
  13. Sour cream to serve it with (optional)


  1. 3 Tbs. of olive oil
  2. 3 Tbs. of all purpose flour
  3. ½ red onion –chopped

In a non stick pan heat up the olive oil, add the flour, stirring constantly until the color will become light brown. Now you can add the chopped onion, mixing everything and cooking it for another 2 minutes together, stirring often.  You can set it aside until the soup is half way done when you introduce it to the soup, stirring until all lumps are dissolved and you will see the texture of the liquid changing into a creamier consistency.

In a 6 Qt. soup dish add the olive oil, chopped onions, smoked meat and sausage and cook them together until tender. (About 15 minutes).  Add the water, bay leaves and seasonings and cook them together until the smoked meats are cooked and soft.  Now you can add the precooked beans. In about 30 minutes your soup should be ready. While still cooking, lower the heat to minimum and add the vinegar, check for seasoning and sprinkle it with freshly chopped parsley.
You can let the soup rest a bit and serve it with 1 Tbs. of sour cream in each individual plate or you can omit that if you wish. Sliced red onions and a slice of your freshly baked bread will go along great with this magnificent comfort soup.
This soup is another one of those that settle and thicken overnight so it will taste even better the next day.

My family used a thickening agent called a roux towards the end of the cooking process to give that ultimate creamy texture to the soup. If you are curve conscious you can omit this because it contains flour but if you’re one of the daring ones you can add the separately prepared roux to the soup when the beans are cooked, stirring often until the consistency becomes thick and creamy.

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                             BON APPETITE!


My sweet Mommy’s creation.  An easy sponge cake soaked in rum and filled with a delicious butter-walnut cream…and the best part: tiny ants chocolate sprinkles to cover the ant hill.
It’s easy to make, adorable and simply delicious!


  1. 8 Eggs- yolk and white separated
  2. 8 Tablespoons of sugar
  3. 8 Tablespoons of flour
  4. 1 teaspoon of salt

To soak the sponge cake:
1.     I cup of warm water
2.     ½ cup of sugar
3.     ¼ cup of dark rum or 1 rum essence

1.     3 Sticks of butter
2.     1 ½ cups of sugar
3.     1 cup of walnuts - chopped
4.     1 cup of water
5.     1 rum essence or ¼ cup of the real deal (use dark rum if using alcohol)
6.     chocolate sprinkles- little ants:)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Separate the yolks from the egg whites.  Mix the sugar with the yolks and beat them until creamy.  Beat the whites with the salt until a strong foam forms.  Slowly pour in the egg yolks/sugar mix and start adding the flour, one tablespoon at a time. When mixture is all blended pour it into a non stick pan or grease, flour a baking round pan, place it in the oven and don’t open the door for about 30 minutes.
When you want to check if it’s done, insert a toothpick in the middle.  If you take it out clean without any residue, your sponge cake is done.

Let it cool.

Make the cream filling in the mean time.
Boil 1 cup of water with the sugar until dissolved, add the chopped walnuts and cook it for a few minutes.  Slowly add the butter in small pieces and take it off the stove, mix it until the mixture cools off.  When creamy and cold, add the rum.

Cut up your sponge cake in small cubes. In a deep bowl mix the warm water/sugar/rum and soak all your sponge cake cubes in it.  Take your large strainer and place your soaked cake cubes layered with the cream.  One layer sponge cake cubes, one layer cream.  Make sure the last layer is sponge cake.  Cover it and place it in another bowl in the fridge overnight.

ATTENTION! Don’t use up all your cream while layering the sponge cake.  The next day you will need a decent amount to cover the cake.

The next day you can take out your sponge cake creamy strainer and turn it upside down on your serving plate.  Now it’s a hill!  MAGIC!  Cover it with the left over cream and sprinkle it with chocolate sprinkles.  Voila!
Have fun and enjoy!

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                                  BON APPETITE!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



There’s no Christmas Eve in my house without the delightful aroma of the stuffed cabbage cooking for hours and hours, filling up the house with that all familiar smell of Christmases long gone back in Transylvania.  My usual portion is 70-90 cabbages in this household but I will give you the smaller version here.  We love to have them even for breakfast during the Holidays.  I can reassure you, your day is set on a positive note after this meal.


  1. 1 head of SOUR CABBAGE ( it must be sour cabbage!!!!!! You can find heads of already soured cabbage in ethnic Eastern European stores)
  2. 3 Lbs. of ground pork
  3. 1 egg
  4. ½ chopped onion
  5. ¾ cup of rice
  6. 3 Tbs. of thyme or the more authentic spice: “CIMBRU” in Romanian or “CSOMBORD” in Hungarian.
  7. Vegeta, black pepper and paprika to season
  8. 1 smoked pork knuckle – cut in pieces, but leave the bone in during cooking
  9. 1 pair of smoked sausage – cut in slices
  10. 1 Lb. of smoked bacon, Keiser – sliced in larger chunks
  11. 1 huge lobster pot for cooking
  12. water
  13. 1 tomato – sliced
  14. 1 red onion- round sliced
  15. 3 Tbs. of thyme on top

Clean your kitchen sink thoroughly and fill it up with cold water.  Take apart the sour cabbage one leaflet at a time and place them in the water to take out the extra salt.

Mix the ground pork with the spices, egg and rice and put it aside.

Take your big pot and start layering: smoked pork knuckle, sausage and Kaiser (smoked bacon) pieces to cover the bottom of the pan. Use only half of the smoked meats.  You will need the rest for the top layer.

Now, you’re ready to fill those babies.
You must cut off the very hard middle part core section of the cabbage leaves and try to keep them intact so the filling will not burst out during cooking.
Get a handful of pork filling and start rolling it up from the harder part of the leaf towards the softer top of the leave, making sure you closed the sides also.
Now place them very close next to each other and fill up your pot only up to ¾, because during cooking the little cabbage people like to rise and overflow.
When you’re done and you might still have some leaflets unused, chop them up and sprinkle them on top.
 Now you can use the rest of the smoked meats and sprinkle them on top with the onion and tomato slices and the extra thyme or “CIMBRU”. Add water to cover it and some Vegeta and a pinch of paprika and start cooking it on medium flame. Depending on the size of the cabbage of course, it could take 3-4 hours until it’s done.
Occasionally you should check the water level and add some more so the cabbage heads are always covered.
You might want to cut one up and test the doneness of the cabbage.  It should be soft and not crunchy. Don’t worry about overcooking the meat; after all it’s covered by the cabbage pillow. 

Enjoy it with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh bread and wait for the gates of Heaven to open up with an angelic “Alleluia!”

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                            BON APPETITE!



Who said you can only eat turkey around the Holidays? This fabulous recipe is for you to use all year around, especially in the summer months because it’s fast and won’t heat up your kitchen, unless you really want to :)
The only accessory you will need is a PRESSURE COOKER!
Any parts of a turkey you desire to make will become the tenderest and juiciest meat you’ve ever tasted in your life. Women in menopause or peri- menopause are in desperate need of Triptophan the so called calming amino acid found in turkey.  Believe me, I should know :) I’m a turkey addict, and proud of it. :)


  1. Pressure cooker
  2. 3-4 turkey legs, thighs, wings or breast, whichever parts you desire
  3. 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  4. ½ green Italian pepper – sliced lengthwise
  5. ½ red Bell pepper – sliced lengthwise
  6. 8-9 cloves of garlic – sliced
  7. 1 Tbs. of Vegeta or Garlic salt
  8. 1 pinch of paprika
  9. 3 cups of water
  10. 3 Tbs. of olive oil

Clean and spice up your turkey legs with garlic salt, black pepper and paprika. 
Slice up your onions, garlic, green and red peppers and put them in the pressure cooker, fill it up with the water and olive oil, add the Vegeta and paprika and place the pre seasoned turkey legs inside.  Cover it with the lid and put it on high flame until you hear the steam sounds coming out.
Lower the flame to medium and start reading your favorite book. In about 1 hour you can stop cooking it.
Place the pressure cooker under the cold water faucet in the kitchen sink and release the knob/s. When the cooker cooled off and the inside steam is gone, the lid will fall in by itself.  Do NOT handle it yourself. Now you can take out your turkey in a ceramic or any oven proof serving dish and pour half of the cooking juices over the bird parts.
Prepare your oven at 375 degrees and place the turkey inside the oven to roast for 20 minutes. 

If you are like my hubby and prefer anything meaty without the bones in it, be a good housewife and before putting your birdie in the oven to roast, take out the bones.
I know, he’s spoiled rotten :):)

You can serve this with any garnish you desire and a nice side salad. I made it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes with fried apple and onion garnish on top and a red onion, baby tomato and arugula salad with honey Dijon home made dressing and a dollop of cranberry sauce.

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                           BON APPETITE!



This is really a Romanian specialty but we embraced it immediately in Transylvania.  It’s one of the favorites in any Romanian restaurant, a quick and easy, delicious appetizer and I’m sure a kid’s favorite. But you must use a cheese called Cascaval (hard and tangy cheese) to make it authentic.  The finished product will melt in your mouth.  A great filler up or quick lunch idea.


  1. 6-8 , ½ inch slices of cascaval or similar hard cheese
  2. Salt, black pepper to season
  3. For the breading: 3 separate containers: 1 with all purpose flour
                                                                      1 with 2-3 eggs, beaten
                                                                            1 with bread crumbs
4.   Olive oil for cooking

Slice your cheese and season it on both sides. Coat it with the flour first, then in the eggs and last in the bread crumbs. If you desire a fluffier coat, dip it back into the egg mixture and in the bread crumbs.
Heat up your olive oil and when hot, place your breaded cheese slices in the pan, turning it only once until golden brown. And you’re done!

You must eat this immediately or the cheese will harden if cold.

Serve it with lemon wedges or a side salad with some vinaigrette dressing.

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                       BON APPETITE!