Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Copyright Infringement at its Best

Pop rocks, featuring Thumper on acid... oh the fantastic things that can be found in Central Europe!

Friday, December 16, 2011

How beautiful is Budapest?

This is the famous Lanchid, the Chain bridge.  It's a ten minute walk from my flat, and I go through the square (that is actually a circle) twice everyday on my way out and in to my home. I snapped this one on my phone on the way home Wednesday, with the twilight all purple and the twinkling lights.  Love it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A late Thanksgiving...

... or an early Christmas.  Tonight I had Anna's family over for dinner.  I made free-range chicken breasts sauteed in organic goose fat, green bean casserole, stuffing, gravy, and sweet potato pie.  Anna made sweet potatoes with apples and cranberry sauce.  And we ate and ate and drank wine and it was lots of fun.  Anna's family has been so kind to me, both when I lived here before but especially now.  They have me over for meals all the time, bought me a chocolate Santa for St. Nick's day, look after me, and so on.  It was nice to make them something in return.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Butter Normal-Cookie-Shapes

Every Christmas my grandmother used to make butter balls.  Essentially the Polish version of Mexican wedding cookies, these little treasures involve tons of butter, walnuts, and powdered sugar.  And they are awesome.  I've made a batch once before, for Christmas two years ago, and they were a big hit.  I'm pretty short on time this year so I won't be able to spend hours and hours making and decorating sugar cookies, so I decided to just make butter balls.

When I told my mom this, she asked me to bring her some back for Christmas.  I guess it makes perfect sense now.  My sister had been helping Grandma the last several years, but she is in Arizona now.  Nobody can make the butter balls.  So I spent the last four hours mixing, rolling, baking, and powdering.  The tips of my fingers are bright pink and my hands are soft from all the butter.  The last batch is in the oven now.  I made about 140 butter balls.  Or, since they wound up not-so-round, 140 butter normal-cookie-shapes.

Some of them will make the journey with me across the Atlantic to Pennsylvania, as their forebears so often made the trip to wherever we were living from Pennsylvania.  I like how traditions change, but still continue on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scotland, the food!

Now, because my visit to Scotland was also a visit to Lyla, a lot of our time involved sitting around, drinking a pint, catching up, and eating.  And we ate SO MUCH delicious, really just amazing food.  I managed to take pictures of most of it.  Om nom nom.
tamarind-scented sweet curry pork with thai naan
spring rolls and chicken puffs
rhubarb pie with clotted cream and a cappucino
pitas with chili cheese dip, green pea and wasabi dip, and homemade pesto
burger with sweet potato fries and garlic mayo... perfect after the big night that was Halloween!
meat pies
seafood chowder, complete with fish, smoked fish, and clams
one half kilo of mussels in herbed butter, and easily the freshest and sweetest mussels I've ever had... plus they were only like 8 pounds (12 dollars) and still had bits of kelp sticking to them!
fish and chips (this was the second time we had fish and chips!)
mussel carnage
miso soup, edamame, and dumplings
sushi and stir-fried udon with veggies
manzanilla wine with lemonade
tapas sampler: honeyed eggplant, breaded cheese, paella, patatas bravas, setas al ajillo, pollo al ajillo, and salad
Not pictured: the first serving of fish and chips, the sausages we cooked at the hostel, the second awesome burger we ate before I had to leave on Friday, a big bowl of French onion soup, the couscous salad we made at the hostel another evening, an order of baked canelloni, ginger beers, ciders, ales, or any of our breakfasts (which were generally toast, to be fair).