Boxnote 188 December 19 2017

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Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

Hrana naturala, locala de la satele din zona Huedinului

The last market of 2017 for us! It was a quite a whirl of kisses; hand shakes and good wishes.

I had the good fortune to run into Hayden (friend at OAR); then Diana … I gathered them both up and with Guirec and Douglas, we had a last coffee (American, Romanian, French, Scottish and English a truly international coffee) and chat in a corner at Jenica’s.

I managed to meet dear Csilla (Kalotaszegi Kincsei), get some pollen from her husband’s bees and discuss the work we’re coordinating for Christina (Little Hungarian Hearts). Lavender bags made from hemp, decorated with irasos (open chain stitch) are being made by the ladies in Kispetri; as are some divan parna (traditional patterned pillows decorated with the irasos) for Kath at Parna.

Back at base, Guirec and I puzzled over the chart (you’ll see from the photos, how many times we puzzle it out and how much we laugh!); and packed your biscuits; while Doulgas froze off his fingers, gathering the last of the kale and sprouts! You’ll see them in the photo alongside the savoy cabbage harvest only 2, but Douglas was very proud of them! Unfortunately he left your jerusalem artichokes in their unfreezing safe spot in Bagolyvar! All being well, they will wait for us and the first GK of the new year in February.

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Packing the veggies, Sisi Bondi ran into us. Bondi helped us repair the roof and protect casa 208, Valko against the snow! You’ll also see Bondi and Douglas in the photos(festive fun!)

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At the station, yet another encounter, our neighbour, Laci. We first knew Laci when he was a wee boy. He has always been exceptional. Now he’s studying Physical Education in Cluj and is a highly ranked judo expert. He helped us with your many packages. You can see him as well in the photos.

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Here is your box this week; who grew it/who collected it and where!

Dried tea and cooking herbs/verdeturi de ceai/teat varied. Collected by various members of GK gang in the TKDgardens and dried either on the tarnat or in the solar drier in Valcau by Erzsi neni.

garlic/ustoroi/fokhagyma Bozse neni, Bicalat and a big one from us! We managed to catch up with Bozse (86), her son, Istvan and the cats, Gyuri and Peti. Various known neighbours popped by(see photos). It is all a bit gloomy in Bicalat actually. Now the special market bus has been cut which makes it VERY difficult for the older ladies to get in to town. Many people are ill in the village and they are not so well off as other villages. Bicalat was once known as the flower of the Kalotaszeg, full of local grape varieties and fruits including the special osszi Barack (which grows in the vineyards).

Salad – an incredible variety of leaves – rucola garden, lambs lettuce, cress, chevril, sorrel, endive, chicory, corriander, red lettuce, parsley, dandelion..collected by Douglas, and Sara in TKD gardens (Valeni, Damos, Huedin) Yes, we had some luck and managed to collect in all gardens except Damos before the snow came down!!! But we still weren’t beaten; banging off the snow; truly foraging for the leaves!! See the photos!

kale/kel levelet/Varza furaje and swiss chard and perpetual spinach Douglas, and Agi neni, TKD gardens .. eat the stems .. cook these first for a few minutes before you throw in the leaves.
Spinach, Spenot, Spanac Gyongyi, Jakotelke/Horlacea. She grew the last spinach of 2017, so like us in the neighbouring village to Damos*, she was knocking of the snow and picking with gloves on Monday afternoon!!

* local saying, ‘Damos is the middle of the world, and Jakotelke the end’ .. from Jakotelke/Horlacea there is no road/nowhere to go!

Savoy cabbage, Grown in Damos by Douglas or Red Cabbage/Kapuszta/Varza – ,Hajni, Ketesd. She grows from saved seed.

Leek/praz/pori hagyma Grown in Huedin by Douglas or swede and black radish Agi, Huedin. I love boiled swede mashed with butter; it tastes of the earth! OR brussel sprouts/kel bimbo/varza bruxelles – Grown in Huedin and Damos by Douglas

Celeriac/Zeller, Celer – Piroska, Tetis, Grown from saved seed.
Parsnip/Pasturnak and Haikaido pumpkin – Kuratorne Kati and grown in Damos.
Onions/ceapa/hagyma – red, and white, Hajni from Bicalat and another Hajni from Tetis
Carrots, murok, morcov Agi, Huedin
Hamburg parsley/Petrinzsel radacine – Ibolya, Damos and farkas Eva Tetis grown from her own saved seed
Sovari apples, TKD garden, Valko Mogyoro, . And Batule apples, Viorica(one of the triplets) , Huedin.

Other .
Cheese/sajt/cascaval maturat – from cow milk – Szilard, Alunis.
Honey from Nelu and Olimpia,
Paine cu maia, Kovasz kenyer, sour dough bread, with rye flour (from Damos, Torok Erzsi), and wheat flour (Both kiraly Kati). Kati bakes bread for three shepherds in the village daily.

Beans/Fasole/Paszuly, Agi, Huedin; Buske neni, Bicalat; Etelka, Tetis;
Eggs – the red ones, Maria, Huedin. She has red hens who produce red eggs!! Erzsi Ketesd’s hens produced the others!
Apple Juice; suc de mere; almale, from Marianna Ciuleni local variety apples grown in her orchard pressed in Nearsova
Catina/homoktovis/seabuckthorn, collected fresh by Marta in Nadas area. Marta knows the areas where these little gems haven’t frozen! Marta also made the Christmas wreaths in the photos. She is our local woman of the forest.
Lavender sacks; zsak – naturally grown Valcau, Tihan variety and made into these cute bags by Budai Levente and family.
Healthy biscuits, sweet or salty– Both Kati, Valcau. Kati uses adapted Cranks (pioneer veggie restaurant in the 1960s in UK) recipe (adapted to be rich in Kalotaszeg ingredients!). They are made of Kati’s flour and bran; her sheep milk butter; her nuts; honey from Mori in Valcau, herbs or flavourings from her and TKD Valcau gardens (see photo).

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Boxnote 187 December 12 2017,

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Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

Hrana naturala, locala de la satele din zona Huedinului

The week off GK meant time to have a chat with all our friends at HPM. I asked Viorica, Fildu de sus, how she was spending Christmas and she told me that her son will be home and singing in the Fildu de mijloc church so they’ll be there. I asked EVERYONE (Eva, Agi, Kati K, Anna, Olimpia, two Marioaras) what they will be preparing; and unsuprisingly everyone is going to eat the same!! Sarmale/toltott Kapuszta; hus leves/supa de carne; hus/carne ‘in continua’; someone mentioned a galuska and another devilled eggs.

Gyongy told me that everyone eats the same because other food, like food served at weddings, is too weird to digest and nobody really likes that sort of food! Piroska will be with her 93 year old mother and

Erzsi from Tetis is worried about her daughter, an only child with no children; she said how it saddens her that she can’t buy presents for a little kid. We had a pretty good chat about how everything works out in the end, and how she shouldn’t worry. The only child with no children is exactly the same situation my mother is in; but frankly the gift giving thing, especially for kids, often supports all the wrong stuff – exploiting workers to make low quality produce from materials that will never return to the earth they originally came from.

Next week, Olimpia is going to check out our historic turta dulce/mezespogacsa recipe and see if we can locate the problem as to why they went so hard, so fast.

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Surprise visitors to the market were Joachim Cotaru from Hosman Durabil who brought two friends from a Swiss farming collectiv who were visiting Romania to find out what was going on. Joachim noticed that there were a lot of small producers in the old market. Such small producers have disappeare from the Sibiu market where the Hosman Moara Veche sells its products. The visitors rushed off rather early in order to catch the 12:00pm protest outside the PSD headquarters in Cluj organised by de-Clic

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And finally the contrast between a typical Romanian garden in December and the Gustare garden in Huedin.  With no really cold periods this winter – so far – lots of edible plants are still growing.  Just look at that bowl of salad we had this week.  Ground with something growing on it is natural, bare earth is not.

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Winter Gathering!

Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

 

Yes, we had a wonderful time last week, hosted at Dana and Ade’s place! It was fabulous having a bit of a chat about delicious foods and trying Agi’s preserved capers and olives; flapjacks, biscuits,baked pumpkin, bread, french quiche, vargabeles, kale chips, all washed down with vin fiert, ooo a vermouth, otherwise known as Lala in a bottle and a cavalcade of fermented goodies!

We had a bit of a chat about the benefits of splitting time between city and country and the difficulties and joys of being in the countryside. We spoke about the impact and knock on effect of GK in villages and also touched upon the other work Douglas and I and others in our group have been involved with mainly in the village of Valeni/Valko, repairing houses/trying to save others that the association does not own; and researching the local great women who kept traditional sewing alive between the wars and during the Ceaucescu period.

Boxnote 186 December 5 2017

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Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

Hrana naturala, locala de la satele din zona Huedinului

Guirec burst into the market greeting us in Hungarian. He was SO good! You can imagine how the nenis chuckled as he and I, two Transilvanian foreigners, chose their, one of the hardest languages in the world, to have a chat in! Levente (lavender) arrived with Deni’s cushion and Hajni’s csokor, (little bouquet) and it felt very fine to introduce Guirec who had been in Levente’s home village, recreating with natural materials Bagolyvar house step. It means something all of this.

Great thanks to Guirec for washing plastic bags; for being so patient with me; with the many types of herbs … welcome back to Kalotaszeg!

While packing herbs together, I had an idea. I run it by you; in fact, this is a kind of job advert. We have a lot of herbs, dried fruits etc. still available for supporters; divided between here and Bagolyvar (so if you’d like some on 18th, let me know (see product list for what we have). In total approx 4 large bags in volume for this year (but we could dry more in the future).

It would be very good if somebody wanted to receive all the herbs in Cluj; organise the packages and sell to you, or others in the same way Szilard does with his cheese. In effect, we would be the not for profit middle man; the only problem is, for example the price you pay at the moment for the herbs is the price we pay; so in order to make it financially viable for another (and for this idea I think there must be financial motivation; it cannot be done out of kindness; otherwise I cannot see it’s futurity), the price must be higher or secondary products must be made.

The person doing this must also have/want to develop a real interest in herbs etc. They have to know/have a space, time and feel that they want to/can sell things. If you think this describes you and is where you are at right now; or you know another who matches the description, pass on the contact.

Next week, hopefully we will meet our oldest market friend (at home) Bozse neni. See photo! We double checked today that the market bus transport time had not changed only to discover that the market bus no longer runs!!! It means that the older ladies/those without cars can no longer make it to market.

And Newsflashes ..

Kati has made the ultimate in cheese biscuits. It was Zsolt, that got me started thinking about biscuits to accompany cheese and frankly her biscuits, neither kind, are too sweet to do the job. We’ve been eating with a bit of Szilard’s cheese on top and they are divine!!

Szilard has had a good cheese year, as have we had a good eating cheese year! BUT his supplies are running short. If you would like to reserve some cheese for 18th Dec (the next GK delivery), please complete chart now and I will mail ahead tomorrow, and next week again, so hopefully none of us are disappointed. ..

open gustare order form

and see updated product list on that chart for more goodies …

and a warning. Beware of buying secondary products at markets. I am always cautious but when I noticed Sandor had asked for a szilvaiz/magiun, I tasted Zsebe Kati’s and asked for more info. It was the only one at market today. It tasted okay but she told me she added sugar, making it much more like a jam and it wasn’t made traditionally. I also wasn’t certain of the hygiene either, so I didn’t buy it. Immediately I was asked to try an apricot jam made by another, which had gone off!

Here is your box this week; who grew it/who collected it and where!

Dried tea and cooking herbs/verdeturi de ceai/teat varied. Collected by various members of GK gang in the TKDgardens and dried either on the tarnat or in the solar drier in Valcau by Erzsi neni.

garlic/ustoroi/fokhagyma Bozse neni, Bicalat

chevril/hasmatiu us, damos or parsley/petrinzselym/patrunjel us, Damos

kale/kel levelet/Varza furaje and swiss chard and perpetual spinach Douglas, and Agi neni, TKD gardens .. eat the stems .. cook these first for a few minutes before you throw in the leaves

Jerusalem artichokes/Topinambur/Csicsoka – TKD garden, Mogyoro, . Agi neni organised

Cabbage/Kapuszta/Varza – Istvan, Ketesd. Istvan told me that he was growing from saved seed and on ground feritilised with cow manure. He said he only recently got rid of his cow (unfortaunatly for the world!)

Cauliflower – Domnul pandale< huedin
Sfecla, celka,beetroots Viorica, Huedin Grown from saved seed.
Haikaido Kati’s pumpkin – Grown in Damos.
Onions/ceapa/hagyma – red, and white, Ibolya from Damos and Hajni from Bicalat
Carrots, murok, morcov Ibolya, Damos. .
Hamburg parsley/Petrinzsel radacine – Farkas Eva grown from her own saved seed and Curatorne Kati.
Batul apples, TKD garden, Mogyoro, . Agi neni organised.

Other

Cheese/sajt/cascaval maturat – from cow milk – Szilard, Alunis. Szilard has sadly run out of sheep cheese and smoked cheese for this year, but he has simple and many good flavours (see product list);
Pasta/taietei/laskas – was made by Annas neni;

Honey from Nelu and Olimpia, and poliflora and thin pasta (with shop bought flour).
Csipkeiz/Gem de magiun/rose hip jam – Szilard made in the traditional way in a copper cauldron using sugar but no preservative. Rose hips collected by Erzsi neni, in Alunis. Paul’s verdict, delicious, low on the sugar (which is a plus) and not too runny.

Paine cu maia, Kovasz kenyer, sour dough bread, with rye flour (from Damos, Torok Erzsi), and wheat flour (Both kiraly Kati). Kati bakes bread for three shepherds in the village daily, so she is totally unfazed by making an extra three for our gang!

Healthy biscuits, sweet or salty– Both Kati, Valcau. Both Kati uses adapted Cranks (pioneer veggie restaurant in the 1960s in UK) recipe (adapted to be rich in Kalotaszeg ingredients!) .. they are made of Kati’s flour and bran; her sheep milk butter; her nuts; honey from Mori in Valcau, herbs or flavourings from her and TKD Valcau gardens.

We hang the cheese (wrapped in paper) in net bag on the tarnat,

Boxnote 185, November 28 2017

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Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

Hrana naturala, locala de la satele din zona Huedinului

These holidays from GK that Douglas and I have been taking, really put us back in touch with the nuances of the market. Today kicked off with meeting three our neighbours en route. One, I learned had very recently lost her husband. We were all concerned about her. She is pretty old and small, and went into great detail of how she gets a hot meal delivered which she can make last for 2 days. She was so delighted with her terribly smart and new fur hat. Neighbours and the way we touch each others lives.

I reached the Hala, and such an interesting chat with Livia that I forgot to pay for the cream! Livia from Hodis confirmed that the Muruna (traditional halo like crown) was a fashion not only in Morlaca but also in Hodis. However, the tradition gets weaker as the Muruna-making lady has died.

Also in the Hala/csarnok (such a lovely ancient name for such a plastic nasty structure!), I spoke to the other bee keeper from Mesteaca that Nelu recommended us for pollen and it turns out he also has beeswax. I don’t know if anyone is interested in either .. but I ordered some raw pollen for D+I (it’s the same price as dried); wax is 30-35lei/kg. If we want these from him, I have to phone ahead before next Tuesday and he will bring to town specially for us.

We headed for the old market passing the bicycle parts man who promised Douglas second hand brakes of foreign quality next week. Once in the old market, Agi beckoned us over and gave us two amazing gifts; so timely too! Capers (her daughter lives in Italy and together they found the most amazing flowering bush and pickled the buds); and olives preserved. She grew these on her own olive tree in the Huedin courtyard which she planted when her grandaughter, Jennifer was born. We told her that we would take them to Cluj for supporters to taste!

Alongside was Marta who unfortunately has been ill for most of the summer . She is a local forager and was around Capusul Mare gathering catina/homoktovis/seabuckthorn as the berries are still not frozen there! She’s selling at 20lei/kg if anyone is interested. We ¾ fill a big jar with them and then top up with Nelu’s honey. Ooo! this week, I peaked a honey comb in Nelu’s salcam/akacfa honey; it’s between 25-30lei a big jar. If you’d like this next week, let us know

And the Piata ‘wow effect’ just went on .. Curatorne Kati had brought her haikado harvest which she was very embarrassed about .. small, (according to her) tasteless, weird pumpkins. I told her, I’d pay the same price as for normal pumpkins which really cheered her up!

Then, Ibolya who owns the house next to 208 in Valeni appeared alongside Kati with her promised family photos. I’m scanning her family photos and they are jewels. It is something that gives me and a lot of the women involved in this local research a lot of pleasure.

We finally collapsed with Hayden in Jenica’s bar, warming our hands on her coffee cups and stuffing our bellies with placinta while discussing the posibilities of cleaning a sheepskin with snow and whipping it up into a sleeping bag!

And now we collapse again, reserving our energies for serious fun at Dana and Adi’s pad on our little Gustare get together!

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Boxnote 184 November 21 2017

 Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

Hrana naturala, locala de la satele din zona Huedinului

This day started with Douglas jumping on the green bike and collecting Kati’s delicious baking from Levente, the Valcau school bus driver; but maybe it didn’t; maybe it began last Sunday when we met our great friend, Agi neni and together rejoiced that we had foiled the mice by giving them their own apple portion, rotting on the earth floor of the cellar in Association house in Alunis; while our batule jewel of apples lay on rigged up shelves suspended above, untouched.

 

Our Huedin friend Agi and little Kati from Ketesd gave me some good advice when I confided by sore ulcered tongue .. lick the wall! Yes, the lime wash is the cure; I’ve given it a go and am already feeling the benefit!

Thanks to them for healing me; thanks to Deni for these lovely photos and  surviving  and thanks to all friends, there and here. Remember change starts with small things, like GK, like a biscuit, like a bite of a biscuit!

Here is your box this week; who grew it/who collected it and where!

Fresh tea herbs/verdeturi de ceai/teat pepper mint looking tired from Maria, Huedin odd lemon balm leaves, and a bit of clary sage.

cooking herbs, spring onion and parsley – Maria, Huedin

Salad – an incredible variety of leaves – rucola garden, lambs lettuce, dill, borage (the hairy little leaf with a taste of cucumber), cress, chevril, sorrel,usturoita, endive, chicory, bean top, corriander, red lettuce, parsley,..collected by Douglas, Agi, me in TKD gardens (Damos, Huedin and Alunis)

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garlic/ustoroi/fokhagyma Bozse neni, Bicalat

kale/kel levelet/Varza furaje and swiss chard and perpetual spinach Douglas, and Agi neni, TKD gardens .. eat the stems .. cook these first for a few minutes before you throw in the leaves

Big bags = Turnips – Agi, Huedin, OR Parnips/pasturnak – Curatorne Kati, Damos
Jerusalem artichokes/Topinambur/Csicsoka – TKD garden, Mogyoro, . Agi neni organised

Cabbage/Kapuszta/Varza – Istvan, Ketesd. Istvan told me that he was growing from saved seed and on ground feritilised with cow manure. He said he only recently gt rid of his cow (unfortunately!)

Sfecla, celka,beetroots Zsofi neni and Agi neni, Huedin Grown from saved seed.

Marrow and a bit of Zsebe Kati’s pumpkin – Grown in Damos TKD garden. WelWe used all our marrow in a soup with mangold, separating the stem from the leaf and frying the onion, spices as you like and then add the stems of the leaves and the marrow. Cook a little. Add any spices you like!

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Onions/ceapa/hagyma – red, and white, Vekony Eva and Hajni from Bicalat

Carrots, murok, morcov – little Kati, Tetis and Ibolya, Damos. .

Hamburg parsley/Petrinzsel radacine – Farkas Eva grown from her own saved seed.

Winter pears – TKD garden, Damos

Batul apples, TKD garden, Mogyoro, . Agi neni organised.

Other .
Cheese/sajt/cascaval maturat – from cow milk – Szilard, Alunis. Szilard has sadly run out of sheep cheese for this year, but hot news, he has a new flavour. He first discovered the mix which in hungarian he calls korozot (written wiith dots over the o’s for which i’m tooooo lazy to find the key!), caraway, chilli, onion and garlic, so if you fancy this korozot is the description (with or without the dots!!)
Buffalo Cream/smantana/tejfol – Viorica Cline, Hodis – TOPS .. I don’t know how she does it, but her cream really knocks us out!

Fresh Tuesday Buffalo milk from the morning from Viorica Cline
Pasta/taietei/laskas – was made by Annas neni; Farkas Eva kindly transported flour back to Mihaly csudom Annas neni to make some more for us!
Honey from Nelu and Olimpia, salcam and poliflora
Nodaj/comfrey/tataneasa dug by Agi neni, Mogyoro.

Csipkeiz/Gem de magiun/rose hip jam – Szilard made in the traditional way in a copper cauldron using sugar but no preservative. Rose hips collected by Erzsi neni, in Alunis. Paul’s verdict, delicious, low on the sugar (which is a plus) and not too runny.
Paine cu maia, Kovasz kenyer, sour dough bread, with rye flour (from Damos, Torok Erzsi), and wheat flour (Both kiraly Kati). Kati bakes bread for three shepherds in the village daily, so she is totally unfazed by making an extra three for our gang!
Healthy biscuits, sweet or salty– Both Kati, Valcau. Both Kati uses adapted Cranks (pioneer veggie restaurant in the 1960s in UK) recipe (adapted to be rich in Kalotaszeg ingredients!) .. they are made of Kati’s flour; her sheep milk butter; bran from Kadar Kati in Damos, Honey from Mori in Valcau, herbs from her and our Valcau gardens.

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We hang the cheese (wrapped in paper) in net bag on the tarnat,

Boxnote 183: November 14, 2017

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Gustare/Kalotaszeg Kostoloi

Hrana naturala, locala de la satele din zona Huedinului

A holiday market one might say as there was no Cluj delivery. Unfortunately there was no holiday weather, rather grey, cold and damp to greet us and the hardy soles who had made it to the market early. Everyone was keen to sell what they had as they looked at how thin the ‘crowds’ were compared to last week.

Apart from the long tables covered in huge bundles of second-hand clothes and other items (always the most popular except maybe when the strawberries from Satu Mare arrive) brushes seemed to be the most sought after item. Cecilia arrived from Mesteaca with a horse and cart loaded with brushes made from birch branches. When we bought our brush at 11:00am it was already more than half empty.

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Jenica in the bar ordered three. They seem to be rather good for removing snow and with the weather the way it is, everyone felt it couldn’t be far away. Checking on the weather forecast, which I do regularly, it seems to be the same distance away as last week ie last week the weather forecast was snow for Monday and Tuesday (yesterday and today!) and today it is still for Monday and Tuesday (next week!). They know it is coming so they are keeping their options open.

We also bought two brushes with long handles (he didn’t have any short!) and learned that the bristles are made of sorburi/cirok. When I looked at them I realised we had some of this growing in the garden this year. Not knowing what it was I pulled it out after tasting the seeds (horrible! unfortunately). As there are still some seeds attached to the bristles of the brushes we may try again.  According to the man from Mures, who sells the brushes, chickens love the seeds and will reward you with lots of eggs if you feed them some.

Some of those seeds are desperately needed here as the dearth of eggs continues. Apparently the price in the supermarkets is 1lei an egg, so the few who have them at the market can charge 1.50lei. It’s good to know that there are local buyers who realise that home produced is better than factory produced. Annus neni has stopped making pasta until there are more eggs around and the price has dropped. The bags we got from her today could be the last for a while.

We also got some apple juice today for some of you lucky people next week. The apples were grown in Rasca, unsprayed, and juiced in Marcesti. Three types of traditional apples are in the mix ‘berchan’ (sp?) , ponic and bot de iepuri; if it isn’t too cold next week, she’ll bring more of this juice and her carrot/beetroot/apple mix. Both varieties are 10lei for 2 liters.

Another new goody on offer comes from Viorica Cline who has about 3x2liter bottles of fresh buffalo milk (eg. She milked at approx 3am on Tuesday morning). One bottle is always mine, but if anyone wants to join me it is 10lei for 2 liters.