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Culminary expeditions

Moringa (or drumstick) tree is supposed to be this miracle tree that cures everything, makes you look younger, and quite possibly grants you everlasting life.

(Seriously, though, it does seem like good plant.)

Anyhow, my dearest got about twenty seeds from somewhere, and the plant enthusiasts we are, I tried to germinate them. Three actually grew into plants which we potted, and now they are sitting in our window, growing happily.

We also drink all sorts of tea, and one of them is -surprisingly or not- moringa tea. Usually I empty the previous night’s teapot into the plant’s pots when I take it out for cleaning the next morning; why waste water, right? This had the side-effect of having a couple lemon seedlings growing, but more importantly it made me ask a very prudent question: does watering the moringa tree with moringa tea make it a cannibal?

We are a vindictive, spiteful species. Here’s a plant that puts capsaicin in its fruits so only birds would eat it… and here we go, extending a huge middle finger to the poor pepper. We even breed chilies that contain thousand-fold more of this substance -and we still eat it.

As a Hungarian I’m always faced with this issue: people associate goulash and goulash only with Hungary. (And it’s guly├ís, anyway.) Somehow bowmen, Neumann, Szilard, Semmelweis, Jedlik… and the others are not known as much. OK, Rubik and Puskas are, so there’s that. So after the “oh you’re a Hungarian? Are you hungry?” jokes, goulash usually comes up. Not to mention you can buy it in a lot of places all over the world. Or something that’s called goulash. So what is goulash? It is a meaty stew or soup (depending on how much stuff you put in) named after the herdsmen who were tending the grey cattle characteristics to the country since the Middle Ages. These hardy and quite majestic-looking cows were driven to all over Europe to the markets in their tens of thousands.

I guess there is a reason why this food became a symbol of the country for outsiders; after all, this is probably all they have seen of it. But anyhow. Back to business. You want to cook goulash.

You will need (exact measures and ingredients are up to everyone to decide for themselves):

1 cauldron 6-8 onions 30dkg of bacon (the mostly fatty type)

6-8 tablespoons of paprika 2.5 kg of meat (pork or beef -the best is the shins)

1.5 kg beef

Vegetables: carrots, turnips, one celery (save the greens), half kohlrabi tuber some chili paprika (elective) tomato and peppers (elective)

salt, pepper (to taste)

7-9 garlic coves

1dl red wine (elective)

1 fire (You can do it in a big pot on your stove, but open fire is the way to go)

The process:

1. You wait until the fire dies down a bit.

2. Start browning the diced bacon, until the fat comes out

Lots of fat…

3. Add onion and brown Onions

4. Remove from fire, mix in the paprika, add some water. (It’s crucial to remove the cauldron from the heat, because the paprika will become bitter if heated excessively. It also needs to be mixed at this stage so that it can dissolve in the fat.)

5. Put the cauldron back onto the fire and cook it a bit

6. Once boiling, add the meat (and wine should you want to) and cook it until the meat is mostly cooked (pork, and especially, beef take much longer to cook than vegetables)

7. Add vegetables, tomato, peppers, potato cut up, add water so it covers all, continue cooking

Veggies cleaned and cut

Mostly everything is in now

8. Once the vegetables are close to being cooked, taste and add salt and pepper

9. Add garlic and chili; add the green from the celery

10. Keep cooking. Once the vegetables are cooked, you’re done.

The finished product

11. Eat with bread. So that’s it. Nothing fancy, in fact.