Freshly ground sea salt and pepper feature throughout my cooking. A dish can be ruined if you season it with
bitter-tasting salt or harsh ground pepper.
Oils need to be chosen carefully, to ensure their depth and flavor is appropriate for any given recipe. The flavor of an
oil must not overpower a dish, which is why I use peanut oil to soften the flavor of extra virgin olive oil in my vinaigrette.
I like to keep a selection of oils for different purposes, including sunflower and peanut oil, truffle oil. I use cold pressed
extra virgin olive oil for dressings and a light olive oil for sautéing. Hazelnut and sesame oils lend special flavors to
dressings, while a drizzle of truffle oil will elevate a sauce or soup.
Vinegars are used to deglaze pans, as well as to flavor vinaigrettes, dressings, and sauces. We use sherry vinegar,
balsamic vinegar (a good aged Italian variety), white wine vinegar, and Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar—a red wine
variety with a good, robust flavor.
Rice is an indispensable ingredient and I always have several types in stock—for different purposes. For risotto, my
preference is Canaroli. I also like aromatic Thai Jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice. For the occasional rice pudding,
there’s short-grained rice.
Chocolate for desserts should always be of a very good quality—Valhrona is my favorite brand for “Gundel
Palacsinta”. When you are buying semisweet chocolate, look for a minimum of 70% cocoa solids. We also use milk and
white chocolate, but to a lesser extent.
Spirits and liqueurs are used to enhance the flavors of my sauces and desserts and I would advocate keeping a
good brandy or Cognac, Madeira, Sherry, Noilly Prat, and kirsch in the kitchen. Of course, I also use red and white
wine for cooking, but I’m assuming you will have some freshly opened to hand. Don’t use wine that’s been left in a
cupboard for days—it is liable to ruin the flavor of a dish.
free-range & organic
I recommend you always buy free-range organic chicken—the
flavor is far superior to that of intensively reared birds fed on a
limited diet with minimal exercise. Smart chicken would be an other
choice, flavor is just so wonderful.
The flavor of beef organically raised on good grazing pastures is
amazing. How an animal lives, eats, and is slaughtered is as
important as the breed of the animal to the taste of the meat.
Look for traditionally cured bacon, which has been dry-cured
using salt rather than brine. Mass-produced bacon contains
chemicals and water, shrinks to nothing, and is quite tasteless.
Whenever you buy carrots, always choose organic. Not only is
the flavor far superior, it is the only way you can be sure that they
are free from pesticides.
As for fish, it is most important to know how to choose it, given that there are so many varieties and that they are not
universally interchangeable. The first thing to know is that availability is still party governed by the season, and it is best
to concentrate on varieties that are in season and therefore fresh and cheap. Red gills, firm flesh, and bright eyes that
show no signs of being sunken are the visible indications of freshness, which is the essential condition of fish for
Fish should never on any account be kept in the refrigerator for more than eight hours; if it is necessary to
keep them for a longer period, they should be sprinkled with coarse salt, wrapped in foil and frozen.... more.
As a lad growing up in Hungary, I loved fishing in the Lake Balaton and learned to respect the industry. I still get a thrill
from catching my own fish and cooking it.
|© 2009-2012 All rights reserved !
m y p a n t r y
|"We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience,
and live without heart;
We may live without friends;
we may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks."
Owen Meredith, 'Lucile’