First, if you think you are having a hard time shopping in Prague, think of me here in the countryside, so much sparser in stores, but I do manage it.When you are still very unfamiliar with the Czech language, take your dictionary along shopping with you! Forgot your dictionary? Buy only foods you recognize until next trip! I once bought “hard flour” thinking it was the gluten-free I needed. A daughter bought a bag of kitty litter – here for the Zámek, where we are replete with sawdust! She thought it was dry cat food. Early on, I bought a slepice, when what I needed was a kuøe. I cooked that old hen for two days.
I do bring a few things from the States or England, but most things can be managed by substituting or making your own – cream sauce cooked in a pot, rather than the can of soup the recipe calls for; baking cocoa + butter, rather than baking chocolate; chocolate bars chopped in the food processor, rather than chocolate chips. It's good to have a list of pound/kilogram equivalents, although more stateside recipes now give both. I taped a card with centigrade-fahrenheit equivalents above the oven.
DISH FOR A DESPERATE DAY
Make the number of hamburger patties you want, or wash the number of chicken legs.
Lay in a shallow baking dish which has a cover.
Add whatever veggies you want -
Chopped onion, carrots sticks, zucchini sticks, celery OR grated celer [celeric root]
Cut up potatoes
Add whatever herbs you want -
Garlic, summer savory, thyme, marjoram, salt, pepper
Put the lid on and bake at 350 for about an hour. If the lid is loose, you might put foil around the edge.
Play a game with the children, make a phone call, take a nap.
EGGLESS, MILKLESS, BUTTERLESS CAKE
Made by my grandmother, Dora Markham Clark, during WWI. I have the recipe in her handwriting.
Mix in a saucepan:
1 cup brown sugar. [This can now be purchased in more shops, and health food stores have it.]
1 ¼ cup water
1/3 cup lard or margarine
2 cup raisins
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves or less
[You may need to look these words up in your trusty dictionary!]
Bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Let cool.
Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 teaspoon water.
Blend in 2 cup flour mixed with 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Pour into greased and floured or crumbed baking pan.
Bake about 50 minutes in a 325 oven.
from "Women's Day", Sept '39
The Czech word boruvky can be translated into English as either bilberry or blueberry. What grows wild here, on the forest floor, is the soft-stemmed bilberry. A few people have blueberry bushes in their gardens; blueberries may sometimes be purchased fresh in the markets, or from the frozen food counter. Use either in this dish.
Line a greased pan with 2 cups blueberries or bilberries, sprinkling with juice of ½ a lemon.
Canned fruits may be used – peaches are quite good.
Mix the batter:
Cream ¾ cup sugar with 3 tablespoons butter.
Mix 1 cup sifted flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with ½ cup milk.
Pour the batter over the berries.
1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon salt.
Sprinkle over the top of the cake batter.
¾ cup to 1 cup boiling water over the cake!! Do not stir!
For canned fruits, use their own juice brought to a boil.
Bake in moderate oven (375) one hour.
You may put this in the oven during dinner preparations and thus have a hot cake.
Leftover is OK, but fresh is fantastic. Great with ice cream, of course.