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Fighting off the Central European winter... with goulash #projectBrno - Liam's write-only LJ
November 3rd, 2015
08:45 pm

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Fighting off the Central European winter... with goulash #projectBrno
Goulash, or guláš as it's called around here, is a popular local dish. But the "real thing" is made with beef, so I can't eat it.

Now, I cook quite a bit -- I normally prepare at least 1 big dish a week from fresh ingredients then eat it for a few days -- but I tend to cheat & use pre-made sauces or concentrates as a base. I've yet to find a vegetarian goulash sauce, so I Googled 4 or 5 recipes and them improvised something from all of them put together. I avoided any fake meat or meat substitutes, but I did use a sachet of guláš spice mix. I think it was mainly paprika, to be honest.

I used:
* 2 tins of tomatoes
* 2 tins of red kidney beans
* 4 red sweet peppers (AKA bell peppers)
* 2 pointy Central European red peppers ("paprika" they're called here)
* 2 white (i.e. green) pointy peppers
* 1 large courgette (zucchini)
* 1 medium aubergine (eggplant)
* 2 medium white onions
* about half a head of celery
* 1 box of supermarket mushrooms (circa 250g)
* 1 bulb garlic
* 8 mild red chilli peppers
* 2 teaspoonsful of vegetarian "universal seasoning" - 2 stock cubes would also do
* 1 sachet goulash spice -- if you can't get this, use more paprika powder
* about 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
* about 3 tablespoons of paprika powder (smoked is good)
* about 2 cupfuls of cheap red wine

Take a big cooking pot. This will need to simmer for a while.

Chop onions, garlic, chilli, courgette, aubergine, celery. Pile them all up in a big bowl for now.

Put a generous slurp of olive oil in the pan, heat it 'til a bit of onion tossed in sizzles.

Toss in all the chopped veg so far. Stir 'em around a bit.

Now, wash a whole box of mushrooms. Stir the veg again.

I used small mushrooms & quartered them. Toss them in the now-vacant bowl. Stir the veg again.

Wash all the sweet peppers. Stir the veg again.

Chop the sweet peppers. Stir the veg again.

After 5min, or when the veg are visibly starting to cook, toss in the mushrooms & peppers.

Stir.

Now, mix the powdered/ground spices with the wine. Stir the veg.

When they're visibly cooking a bit, shake the tins of tomatoes, open them and toss 'em in the pot. Stir.

Next, toss in the wine/spice mix. Stir.

Add the beans -- liquid and all -- and any other spices you fancy or are knocking around. I added about half a dozen bayleaves, because they were there, and a teaspoonful of Bhut Jolokia honey. Caraway seeds and thyme are also recommended, but I didn't have any.

Mix the veg seasoning with a cupful of hot water. Pour into the pan, stir.

You should now have a simmering panful of veg, with just enough liquid to be visible.

Simmer until the veg cook down a bit and the liquid covers them.

Add smoked paprika and black or white ground pepper -- or both -- to taste.

At the end I tossed in about a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, which was overdoing it, sadly.

I cooked the lot for about 30min, 45min including the initial frying stage.

I served with Czech potato dumplings, because I happen to really like them, but you probably can't get them anywhere else. White rice also works.

To do it the Hungarian way, season to taste with red chillies at time of serving.

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[User Picture]
From:coth
Date:November 3rd, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
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I'd love to try that. Unfprtunately I'm the only one here who wpud eat it. :-(

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From:lproven
Date:November 3rd, 2015 11:01 pm (UTC)
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What has happened to your spelling, or at least typing?!

Apart from the final chilli kick, it was totally inoffensive. No meat-eater could object. I used mushrooms instead of soya meat, but I think I'll try a simpler version next time, with fewer types of veg, maybe some potatoes in there instead, and possibly some soya mince or something.
[User Picture]
From:coth
Date:November 8th, 2015 12:23 pm (UTC)
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Phone keyboard for LJ - app does not integrate to the phone's predictive/corrective text.

The lack of meat isn't the issue. Our household cooking is not using peppers or onions at the moment because Brian sometimes gets an allergic reaction, and mushrooms are not welcome in mandatory dishes because daughter will not eat them willingly. Which leaves us rather limited for vege cooking.

Happy birthday!
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From:zotz
Date:November 4th, 2015 12:22 am (UTC)
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Thanks. I'll give that a go.
[User Picture]
From:timill
Date:November 4th, 2015 01:45 am (UTC)
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Needs more bacon ;-)

Such are the stresses of being American. But otherwise it looks fine.
[User Picture]
From:coth
Date:December 7th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
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Cooked it for the party, thinking you might be along and we could compare notes. Got smoked paprika at M&S, goulash spices and potato-and-cheese pirogi at the Polish shop, veg from the African shop, mostly - lovely stripy aubergine and he let me try the chiles to make sure they were mild. It fed several happy vegetarians otherwise rather overwhelmed by sausage rolls and other pork variations. Now that everyone else is out of the house it has been "enhanced" with chicken and sausage and is feeding Brian and myself, although Emjay is still passing on it. I think it is very nice and will keep the recipe by me for another occasion.
[User Picture]
From:coth
Date:December 7th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and thank you.
[User Picture]
From:lproven
Date:December 7th, 2015 05:47 pm (UTC)
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Oh, excellent! Very glad to hear it.

I'd love to have come, but I can't afford the frequent trips any more. I am considering dropping the number of UK cons, too. It's a major part of my budget and for the cost of a weekend at a UK con, I could probably go visit another /continent/ for a few weeks. Brits mostly don't realise how extortionate Britain is. The cost of the Novacon hotel & the trains to/from the airport blew about a 2-3 month hole in my budget; that money would have paid for a full foreign holiday. That's sharing a room & buying next to no hotel beer, too.

If I hadn't gone to Eastercon and Novacon, I could probably have afforded to go off to India for all of Jan/Feb as a friend is doing. Yes really!

So, yes, I'd love to have come, but it would have cost me about £200, I estimate. As I live on about a fiver a day here, it's just not affordable. :(

[Blast - posted from wrong account.]
[User Picture]
From:coth
Date:December 7th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
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Sad not to see you - first you have missed for a while. But no actual worries.

The money thing is always the problem with moving downstream to lower-pay areas, and I don't think you'll solve it. I'm back in the City on good money because I got tired of feeling that I ought to be living on £5 a day, so to speak, and because I want to be able to afford Eastercons and Worldcons. But I am surprised I have been able to do this. I hope you'll stay in touch one way or another.
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From:lproven
Date:December 8th, 2015 03:16 pm (UTC)
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I wasn't there last year, either, sadly.

TBH if I start skipping cons, I could afford more visits that /don't/ involve hotel stays. But intercontinental travel backons more...

Glad to hear you've been able to scramble back on the gravy train. Well done and may your ride last as long as you wish it to. I tried repeatedly to get back aboard and failed, but I am not sorry -- life is much better here.

Currently I am on the horns of a dilemma, though:

[1] Stay in Brno, get a new job.
[2] Stay in Brno, start my own company.
[3] Stay in Czechia, find a job in Prague. New challenge, new environment. Moravians don't like Prague much, but foreigners do.
[4] Move to a new country (possibly continent), go looking for new adventures, possibly with a slightly less intimidating language.
[5] Get my stuff over here, store it cheaply, fettle the recumbent & go travelling. Write and talk about it.

All but #1 appeal somewhat.

Saying that, favouring the low-numbered options is the fact that I have a 2nd date tomorrow night... :-)
[User Picture]
From:coth
Date:December 12th, 2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Hope the date went well.
I think you should make your own choices and enjoy your own life. We're not likely to lose touch on-line until one or the other of us wants to, and we have several more decades of activity to go, with luck and a following wind.
I'll let you know if/when we come your way. Plans for next February went out the window - school moved daughter's trip to October, and although I have an extention of contract to Easter it probably won't be a permanent job, and I won't be spending extravagantly this Xmas.
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