Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Prague Stole Our Hearts

We spend New Year in Prague and I must say it was a wonderful trip. Besides the city being absolutely magnificent, we also ate some really delicious food. If you ever decide to visit Prague, here's a few good restaurant and food tips.


There are a few foods you should definitely try and can be found on most restaurant menus. In Prague there is a bar, café or restaurant in every street corner and most of them serve food. We found it best to avoid the Old Town and Josefov are, mainly due to the amount of other tourists and high prices. We found the Lonely Planet Pocket Prague guide very useful. It is small in size and in content, but all the restaurants and bars we were guided to by the book were very satisfactory.


One of the food worth trying is the classic Goulash soup or stew. I had mine as a soup for lunch at the Klášterní pivovar Strahov, which is the Strahov Monastery Brewery at Petrín Hill. They have been brewing their own beer for ages and it was delicious! They were very popular, but we were able to get a table during lunch time.


One of my absolute favourites is steak tartare - raw chopped beef fillet, seasoned with onion, caper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and black pepper. Steak tartare could be found on the menu in every other restaurant in Prague. Kolkovna Olympia was the closest restaurant to our hotel and had a nice traditional atmosphere. Although it is a chain of quite a few restaurant, it did not feel like it.


Besides traditional Czech food, Prague offers a lot of other cuisines. Our guide book suggested Klub Cestovatelu, which was a lovely "travelers' café" style restaurant. The clientele was a nice mixtures of students, families and old friends smoking shishas. The menu had all my favourites from tabbouleh to hummus to shish kebab. They also had quite a selection of Indian dishes, although majority of the food was Middle Eastern. We ended up ordering so much delicacies that we really could not finish all the food and we felt really guilty about it. Klub Cestovatelu is the perfect alternative for Czech cuisine and worth visiting because of the great atmosphere.


Once we had explored Malá Strana bars, we decided to experience the Vinohrady and Zizkov areas. Although quite a hike from our hotel, it was good to see "the real Prague." We ended up having a late dinner at Mozaika, which was boasted to serve "the best burger in town" by our guidebook. I must admit the burger was a very pleasant surprise. Nothing beats a homemade burger, which is well seasoned and dressed. My Kir Royale just made the burger better.


After the burger we wondered around Vinohrady and ended up in a cocktail bar called Hapu on Orlická, which has been listed as one of the best bars in the world. Hapu is a hipstery lounge style bar and the owner mixes cocktails behind the bar and even makes his own juices. I found my new favourite cocktail, which I am quite happy about, since I am not a big cocktail drinker (GT's all the way). High Society is a mixture of gin, Campari, peach schnapps and grapefruit juice.


Prague definitely stole our hearts and I can say with confidence that we will be back some day. Perhaps during summertime. I was dying to have a picnic on Petrín Hill, but it was too cold...


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Cheese is not supposed to be orange!

Happy New Year 2013! I know I have been very inactive recently, but since it is the new year I decided to get back on it again. Also, nothing beats exam revision better than procrastination.

Some of you may know that I have been slightly turophobic most of my life. Turophobia is the fear of cheese. So, to mark the new year I have decided that I will get rid of my last and worst bit of turophobia. I will start eating cheddar! Cheddar has always been on top of my cheese hate list, mainly due to the fact that it is quite often orange. Cheese is not supposed to be orange! You will only catch me eating a Quarter Pounder with cheese if I am drunk enough not to care. It is not even the taste of the cheese in the burger, it is purely the colour.

I have started my venturing with mild uncoloured cheddars. I think it is too soon to start experimenting with the colourful ones. I used to make "tea breads" as we called them with this recipe in my early teens. I think they look and taste like cheese scones. They are just easier to make and slightly flatter. No kneading involved. Feel free to use any type of cheese (even the orange type). Emmental or Gruyère would taste wonderful in it.


CHEESE "TEA BREADS"

200 g flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
80 g grated cheese
25 g melted butter
150 ml milk

Turn the oven on at 225 °C. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Melt the butter. Add the melted butter and the milk. Mix the dough and add small bits on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough balls and press flat with your hands. Prick with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter and a cup of tea or a glass of cold milk.