Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Hungarian: The Language of Love?

Do the words “tizennégy” and “február” mean anything to you? No? Well they probably wouldn’t at this stage, but hopefully they will at the end of this post!

If I now tell you that “tizennégy” is the Hungarian word for “fourteen”, then everything ought to become a little clearer...yes! I am indeed talking about Valentine’s Day! If your beloved is a Hungarian native, hungarophile, or simple a lover of languages, or if you have your sights set on wooing an inhabitant of ‘Magyarország’, we’ve got a few useful phrases for you. 

“Love” - "Szerelem"

“I love you” - "Szeretlek"

“I like you” - "Kedvellek"

“Do you love me?” - "Ugye szeress?"

“Do you like me?” - "Szereted én?"

“I need you” - "Szükségem van rád."

(To a woman) “You look beautiful” - "Gyönyörű vagy!"

“You are handsome” - "Ön jóvágású."

“You’re very special” - "Nagyon különleges vagy"

“Are you free tomorrow evening?” - "Szabad vagy holnap este?"

“I would like to invite you to dinner” - "Szeretnélek meghívni vacsorázn"

“Would you like to dance with me?” - "Akarsz velem tancolni?"

“I’m falling in love with you” - "Én esés szerelemben vele ön"

“You’re my soulmate” - "Ugy erzem, hogy a lelki testverem vagy."

“Will you marry me?” - “Akarat ön házasodik én?"

“Kiss me” - "Csókolj meg"

“One language is never enough” - "Egy nyselv sosem elég"

“My heart speaks the language of love” - “A szívem a szerelem nyelvét beszéli

“Kiss me, I speak Hungarian” - "Csokolj meg, en beszelek magyarul"

And if you're not sure what to get your love this Valentine's Day, here's a little suggestion for you...

12 - "tizenkettő"

"Red" - "piros"/"vörös

"Roses" - "rózsák"

"Well that's all well and good", I hear you say "But how on Earth am I meant to pronounce these exotic-looking words?" Never fear, just go and check out this handy link for a comprehensive Hungarian pronunciation guide!

Hungarian may not be the traditional language of love, but it may well still prove useful this V-day. Why, who knows when you might meet a babe from Budapest, or a dude from Debrecen, and really need to have some of these expressions on the tip of your tongue? Boldog Valentin Napot!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Tokaji (pronounced Tok-eye) is the name given to wines from the Tokaj wine region in Hungary.

Tokaji is characterised by its sweet flavour and this sweetness is all down to the the thickness of the Furmint grapes. They're traditionally grown on a small plateau, 1500ft above sea level.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Spiced Biscuits

We love these spiced biscuits which are prefect for hanging on the Christmas tree or to be nibbled at any time! Get the kids involved, too. They're ridiculously easy to make and fun to ice!

175g dark muscovado sugar
85g golden syrup
100g butter
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
To finish
100g white chocolate
edible silver balls

  1. Heat the sugar, golden syrup and butter until melted. Mix the spices and flour in a large bowl. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 1 tsp cold water. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the melted sugar mix, egg and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well. At this stage the mix will be soft but will firm up on cooling.
  2. Cover the surface of the biscuit mix with cling film and leave to cool, then put in the fridge for at least 1 hr to become firm enough to roll out.
  3. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. (At this stage the dough can be put into a food bag and kept in the fridge for up to a week.) Cut the dough in half. Thinly roll out one half on a lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes with cutters, such as gifts, trees and hearts, then transfer to baking sheets, leaving a little room for them to spread. If you plan to hang the biscuits up, make a small hole in the top of each one using a skewer. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Bake for 12-15 mins until they darken slightly. If the holes you have made have closed up, remake them while the biscuits are warm and soft using a skewer. Cool for a few mins on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool and harden up completely.
  5. Break up the chocolate and melt in the microwave on Medium for 1-2 mins, or in a small heatproof bowl over simmering water. Drizzle the chocolate over the biscuits, or pipe on shapes or names, then stick a few silver balls into the chocolate. If hung up on the tree, the biscuits will be edible for about a week, but will last a lot longer as decorations.

A Hungarian Christmas

Christmas in Hungary is celebrated with traditions similar to those found in other Central European countries  as well customs unique to the region.

The Christmas and gift-giving season starts relatively early compared to other cultures, with the Santa-like figure, or Hungarian version of Saint Nicholas, traditionally visiting the homes of Hungarian children on the 5th December, on the eve of Saint Nicholas Feast Day, 6 December.

Although the role of gift-giver on Christmas Day itself is assigned to the Christ Child, on the night before St Nicholas Day Hungarian children traditionally place a boot on their windowsill waiting for Mikulás to come by and fill it with treats.

There is no Mrs. Mikulas in Hungary. In Hungary, Mikulás often comes with an assistant: a "Krampusz", a Devil, who punishes bad children. In the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia, Miklavž has another assistant, a good Angel, who gives out presents to good children.

In the traditional Nicholas-walk, on 6 December, St. Nicholas comes clothed in a bishop’s attire, a long red coat and a red cap on his head, holding a shepherd’s crook in one hand, and carrying a sack full of gifts on his back. He cannot be seen because he arrives in the middle of the night when good little children are already fast asleep, so you'd better not try to stay up so late, otherwise he won't give you any presents, only a birch stick (virgács).

Before 24 December, people decorate their houses and start to cook and bake. At Christmas, the family members come together and celebrate. On 24 December, people decorate the tree with ornaments and put the wrapped presents under it. On Christmas Eve, which is the day before Christmas Day, young children are waiting for the arrival of Jesus and especially for the presents. Gift-giving is done after the meal, and after singing carols around the tree.

On Holy Night, Hungarians listen to holiday songs such as Silent Night and sing or attend Christmas mass. They also burn candles on the Advent Wreath during the four weeks before Christmas.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Best Ever Red Cabbage Recipe

A must have accompaniment to any Christmas meal, this red cabbage recipe borrowed from BBC Good Food is a sure fire hit!

1½ kg red cabbages
2 onions, chopped
4 Granny Smiths apples, peeled and cored and chopped
zest 1 orange or 2 clementines
2 tsp ground mixed spice
100g light soft brown sugar
3 tbsp cider vinegar
300ml dry cider
25g butter

  1. Peel off the outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. Quarter the cabbage, removing the tough stem, then thinly slice. Arrange a layer of the cabbage on the bottom of a large saucepan, followed by some of the onions, apples, zest, mixed spice, sugar and seasoning. Continue to create layers until you have used up the ingredients.
  2. Pour over the vinegar and cider and dot the butter on top. Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on over low heat for 1½ hrs, until tender. The cabbage will keep for 2 days, covered, in the fridge or freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat in either a pan or in the microwave.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Mulled Wine Recipe

Now Christmas is less than a month away it is time to well and truly embrace Christmas food and drink, starting with this fabulous winter warmer - mulled wine. Contrary to popular opinion, it's super easy to make and taste exactly like Christmas in a glass. The beautiful warmth comes from the use of festive spices: cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix together all the ingredients over a very low heat to help all those Christmas flavours infuse.


To make this festive warmer, you will need:

2 clementines
1 lemon
1 lime
200 grams of caster sugar
6 whole cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
3 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
2 star anise
2 bottles of red wine


Peel large section of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler.
Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Add in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you've got a beautiful thick syrup.
When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it's warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.