Effort Rewarded, or The Hungarian Violin

by arianambrand

The result of half-an-hour’s bus ride, twenty dollars a month, and nearly forty minutes’ fractured Hungarian:

I couldn’t be more pleased. It doesn’t sound as good as mine, of course, but it will be fine for now. And they wouldn’t rent me a shoulder rest, so I bought a nice one for myself–fine, since the one I have at home is a little uncomfortable. The total for three months and shoulder rest came to just under a hundred dollars.

Thank goodness the owner of the shop was feeling patient, as I flailed around with my suffixes, postpositions and direct objects. Hungarian is exhausting, and my vocabulary is just not that big. Honestly, most of what I know are food words.


I tried a legendary dessert after dinner tonight. It’s called Somlói galuska (Schomlau dumplings), and it’s ingredients list looks like this:

1 plain jelly roll cake base
1 chocolate jelly roll cake base
1 hazelnut jelly roll cake base

For the custard:
1 vanilla bean
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp flour
2 tsp gelatine

For the rum syrup:
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup rum

For the filling and topping:
2/3 cup raisins
3/4 cup walnuts
31/2 Tbsp apricot jam
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups heavy cream, whipped

For the chocolate sauce:
5 oz coverture chocolate
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup rum

Nothing quite like gilding the lily, and Hungarian cooks know how to do it. Basically, the cakes are layered with the filling, custard, and rum syrup, and ‘dumplings’ are cut out of the cake base and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. If it sounds like a royal mess, it is. But it’s basically like really extreme tiramisu, so I liked it a lot, and I think Owen would too. Maybe I should mail him some?