Thursday 22 October 2015


The next day I woke up with a hangover. The best cure for a hangover? Pickles!

We had a simple breakfast of pickles, cured meat, cheese, tomatoes and bread. The day went by slower. We helped with the cleaning, which was a bigger task than we expected. We had a break, and Matush, a professional archer showed us how to use a bow and arrow. We killed a fair bit of time doing this. It was extremely addictive.

Shooting Rainbows

By the end of the day the cottage was looking cleaner, and the outside area had nearly returned to normal.

Patrick's cottage

In the evening we went for a walk up one of the surrounding mountains where there was a large white cross. Although no-one really knew why it was there. The view from the top was outstanding. The walk down in the dark really wasn’t!

View from the white cross

That evening we had Kapusta left over from the festival. It was especially delicious a few days after. To top of an already very tasty soup, Matush sliced up some raw garlic very finely and garnished the hot soup with it. It added a very subtle acidity to the dish, without being overly garlicky. The Slovakian really like their garlic, but unlike the pungent stuff we get in our supermarkets, Slovakian garlic has a far more modest flavour. We played dice outside by the fire and had a reasonably early night. The next day we would be going sightseeing around the mountain towns.

Warming up by the fire

Patrick's Kapusta

Patrick's Kapusta
This is a simple stew that is thickened using skin and bones. Patrick used lamb that had been reared, and and smoked, on Vlado’s farm. The sauerkraut was also homemade.

Game/red meat of choice with skin and bones
Bay leaf
Whole onion
Good quality sauerkraut
Potatoes chopped
Dried mushrooms, soaked in water overnight, drained than sliced
Sweet paprika
Garlic, thinly sliced
Sour cream to serve

1. Boil the meat with the skin and bones in water with a few bay leaves on a slow fire for a couple of hours
2. Skim the impurities and remove the skin and bones
3. Add the sauerkraut, potato and mushrooms to the soup
4. Add the smoked paprika and season
5. Leave a couple of days if possible
6. Serve with the garlic and sour cream

Every family has their own recipe for sauerkraut. It’s eaten a great deal in Central and Eastern Europe that there are bound to be many variations. Although I have eaten my fair share of sauerkraut, I have never made it. This is Patrick's recipe which is tried and tested.

White Cabbage
Caraway seeds
Bay Leaf

1. Thinly slice the cabbage
2. Place in a large bowl and salt. Allow to sit for 15-30 mins till it starts to release water.
3. Add the caraway seeds and bay leaf
4. Take the cabbage and place it in a jar, packing it down so that the liquid rises to the top
5. Continue to do this so that all the cabbage is submerged in the liquid. It may take a couple of days
6. Leave to ferment for a few months, or until bubbles stop forming

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