Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Brief History of Budapest

After focussing on the history of the Gay Hussar in recent weeks, we thought it was about time we focussed on our beloved country, Hungary, specifically the capital city, Budapest.

Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary. In 2011, according to the census, Budapest had 1.74 million inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2.1 million due to suburbanisation.

The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Pannonia Inferior. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241–42. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after its unification in 1873. It also became the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Republic of Councils of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.

Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest's extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second-oldest metro line in the world. It has around 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 4.3 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world, and the 6th in Europe, according to Euromonitor.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas Party Menu

Christmas is fast approaching, make sure you book a table at the Gay Hussar! We have a special Christmas party menu which you can eat in the main restaurant. We also boast two private rooms, known to have held many a secret meeting, both of which can be hired out to make your Christmas party extra special!

Gay Hussar Christmas Party Menu @ £45.00


Smoked Salmon Trio – Cured Salmon, Salmon Tartare & Salmon Caviar

Traditional Beef Goulash Soup 

Seared Hungarian Foie Gras, Toasted Rye Bread and Tokaji Aszu Jelly

Goats Cheese Strudel with Truffled Honey

Main Course

Venison Goulash with Fragrant Wild Rice and Red Cabbage

Seasonal Spicy Hungarian Bouillabaisse

Grilled Breast of Duck, Celeriac Puree, Green Beans

Roast Partridge in a Potato Basket with Puy Lentils and Pancetta

Vegetarian Pancakes, Fresh Leaf Spinach, Truffled Tomato Sauce


Poppy Seed Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream (N)

Gundel Style Walnut Pancakes with Melted Chocolate (N)

Selection of Hungarian Cheeses

Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce (N)

Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino

Monday, 10 November 2014

History of Paprika

Paprika is a spice  made from air-dried fruits of the chilli pepper family of the species Capsicum annuum. Although paprika is often associated with Hungarian cuisine, the chilies from which it is made are native to the New World. Spain and Portugal introduced C. annuum to the Old World from the Americas. Spanish pimentón, as it is known there, is often smoked, giving it a unique, earthy flavour. The seasoning is also used to add colour and flavour to many types of dishes.

The use of paprika expanded from Iberia throughout Africa and Asia, and ultimately reached Central Europe through the Balkans, which were under Ottoman rule, explaining the Hungarian origin of the modern English term. In Spanish, paprika has been known as pimentón since the 1500s, when it became a typical ingredient of the western region of Extremadura. Despite its presence in Central Europe since the beginning of Ottoman conquests, it did not become popular in Hungary until the late 19th century.

Central European paprika was hot until the 1920s, when a Szeged breeder found one plant that produced sweet fruit. This was grafted onto other plants. Nowadays, paprika can range from mild to hot, and flavours also vary from country to country, but almost all the plants grown produce the sweet variety. The sweet paprika is mostly pericarp with more than half of the seeds removed, whereas hot paprika contains some seeds, placentas, calyces and stalks.

Paprika is produced in places including Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Macedonia, and some regions of the United States. It is used as an ingredient in a broad variety of dishes throughout the world. It is principally used to season and colour rices, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient mixed with meats and other spices. In the United States, paprika is frequently sprinkled on foods as a garnish, but the flavour is more effectively produced by heating it gently in oil.

Spanish paprika (pimentón) is available in three versions — mild (pimentón dulce), moderately spicy (pimentón agridulce), and very spicy (pimentón picante). Some Spanish paprika, including pimentón de la Vera has a distinct smoky flavour and aroma, as it is dried by smoking, typically using oakwood.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe

Last week we saw Carlos making Gay Hussar's famous veal goulash, and as great as it is to see the main man at work, boy is it difficult to keep track of quantities. Luckily, he was feeling kind and decided to share the exact recipe for veal goulash.

Now the nights are drawing in, there is nothing better than to warm your cockles with a heart portion of this. Alternatively, cook up a large pot and serve at a dinner party; we promise that your friends will be impressed!

Serves 4

700g veal, large cubes
30g plain flour
1 large onion, finely chopped,
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 green pepper, sliced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, slices
400ml water
large handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
150ml sour cream

1. In a large sauce pan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic and onion. Allow to sautee for 5 minutes, until the onion turns translucent.
2. Add the veal in batches, and cook off until it turns caramelised around the edges.
3. Add the chicken bouillon, water, salt and pepper and tomato puree. Add the all important paprika.
4. Reduce the heat, pop a lid and allow to simmer away for a couple of hours until the veal is very tender when poked. Make a paste by adding the flour to a small bowl together with a couple of tablespoons of water. Mix together and add to the pot.
5. Finish off by adding the pepper and tomatoes. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Check the seasoning.
6. Just before you serve, stir through the parsley and sour cream.
7. Ideally serve with gubluska. Alternatively serve with rice.