Hungry for more Hungarian? Let’s make 2016 a good year!

As we start the new year here at Hungarian Language Solutions, we can’t help looking back at 2015 and think of the amazing people we worked with and the goals we helped achieve. We worked hard and completed several important translating projects, as well as having continued our usual translation work involving official documents and specialised texts. Because we can provide certified translations that are endorsed by the Embassy, we are able to offer this translation service to those of our clients who are studying on our language courses in preparation for the Hungarian Citizenship Interview. Feedback from our clients shows that they are impressed with the flexibility with which we work, and it is convenient to have the whole package available from one service provider.
Since Hungarian Language Solutions began in 2009, we have helped numerous individuals prepare for successful citizenship interviews, which are part of the naturalization procedure. Hungarian citizenship is very close to our hearts: both of us have dual, British-Hungarian citizenships.       Hungry for more Hungarian - architecture
During a Hungarian Citizenship Interview, the applicant is required to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the Hungarian language. Understandably, we are very proud of our clients when they clear this hurdle, for they have worked very hard at their language learning in order to be able to declare that they “understand and speak the Hungarian language”. For this reason, our Hungarian language courses are built on the communicative approach to language learning. Our aim is for our learners to be able to understand and respond to the questions or inquiries posed to them, and to be relaxed and confident enough to show that they are friendly, open individuals. All of them are excited about the possibility of gaining Hungarian citizenship, and of course very proud of their Hungarian origin and fond of the cultural ties. We want these things to be evident at the interview, and this is what we aim for as we work with our learners.    Hungry for more Hungarian - cakes
We have a number of learners who passed their Citizenship Interviews in 2015 and are now sitting tight waiting to be granted citizenship. 2016 started well: two of our lovely learners have just received invitations to attend their oath ceremonies and we couldn’t be more excited for them.

Hungry for more Hungarian - Christmas markets

 

Stepping into 2016, we are full of plans for developments, but one thing won’t change: we treat every single client as we would like to be treated ourselves. With translation projects we produce high-qualitiy translations that read like originals, always meet the agreed deadlines and it goes without saying that we adhere to strict confidentiality. When it comes to delivering Hungarian language lessons, we treat every learner as they were our only client and feel privileged to be able to join them on this very important, special journey. We carry on offering a first, free lesson to each new learner so that people can see what they get for their money before they commit themselves.
In 2016, we continue to build our bridge between cultures.

 

28th August – National Goulash Day

I’d like to say I had been familiar with the 28th of August being National Goulash Day, when Leanda posted about it in our Facebook group. I had not. But I guess you learn something new every day, so I have embraced the idea and thought we should put a recipe and pictures on the website.
But before I share my family recipe I can’t help but I must to tell you about the etymology of the word. Hungarians have been cooking this dish for centuries (perhaps even longer), since the time when we were horsepeople. The Hungarian word ‘gulyás’ means herdsman. Even today, when there is a family get-together, we cook this dish in a ‘bogrács’ on an open fire in the garden. I think this probably goes back to our ancestry, and it feels so nice to sit around the big pot knowing something delicious in being cooked. This dish is not the same if you try to cook it on the hob – the smoke certainly adds a good bit of flavour. Hungarian goulash cooked in my parents' garden
Interestingly, goulash is how this dish is known everywhere in the world. But in Hungary ‘gulyás’ is a soup: essentially the same dish, but with more water added. What we call goulash in English is ‘pörkölt’ in Hungarian.

So here comes my dad’s recipe –  he does not add any tomato as he says it will make it a bit sour – I prefer to add at least a couple, when I cook this dish. You can add more tomato, or other vegetables, but this is the basic recipe for a very simple, no fuss dish. Dad calculates 1 kg meat for 3 people – I guess this just shows how much we eat…
Ingredients:
1kg meat,
0.3 kg red onion (chopped into very small pieces, so that they don’t burn when you start cooking them)
2 cloves of garlic,
salt, pepper to taste,
2 green paprika,
some caraway to taste,
and most importantly, a heaped spoon of grained red paprika.
He also adds what we call ‘Vegeta’ in Hungary – a type of mixed seasoning. Other friends of mine add ‘gulyáskrém’ (paste you can buy in a tube), but I’m trying to avoid additives in my food, so I skip these.

First, you make a stew base using some oil and the chopped onion. Every time I cook this dish and tell my dad about it his first question is: have you used enough onion? You haven’t burnt the onion, have you? And it’s true I guess: the more onion you use the more sauce you will have and also, you need to sweat the onions to a golden colour, not fry them on a high heat. My dad cooking his 'signature dish' - it seems like there is not much in the pot, but it's a big one!
At this point, you can add the diced meat and fry it until the liquid evaporates. Now you can put the grained red paprika on it and stir it quickly. Make sure you don’t burn the paprika, otherwise the dish will have a bitter taste. Add some water, and then the salt, pepper, caraway and garlic. Add the chopped green peppers and whatever other vegetable you are using.
From here on, you just need to boil it – add some more water, depending on how thick a sauce you would like.

Traditionally, we eat this dish with ‘nokedli’ (Hungarian noodles) or potato, but rice, or any other side dish is fine, of course.

Jó étvágyat! (Enjoy your meal!)

PS: Please do let us know if you have cooked this and how it turned out! Thank you!

 

 

Planning a holiday in Hungary? Stay at the Hadváris’ Hungarian Holiday Let!

In the past few years we have been asked many times to recommend a taxi driver, who doesn’t overcharge, a good restaurant, or a place to stay. A couple of our learners have commented: ‘When I was in Hungary together with my Hungarian girlfriend / wife everything seemed to be cheaper compared to when I was on my own.’ At this point we were ashamed for all those people who should have been ashamed for themselves and wished to show the real Hungary and Hungarian hospitality.
Now we’ve got someone we can wholeheartedly recommend: a friend of mine, Gábor Hadvári is now offering an apartment for tourists to stay in the 2nd district of Budapest.
I could mention many good things about Gábor and his wife as hosts, but probably the most important is that they are the kind of decent, sharing people who take care of their guests in that old-fashioned, nice Hungarian way, making sure their guests have everything they need for a memorable time.

The Hadváris' Hungarian Holiday Let_bedroomThe apartment is 65 square meters large, and great for 2 – 4 people to share. Gábor has put two packages together, and offers a 3+1 bonus night, or a one week stay. But there is a possibility to have the apartment for a longer period also, and if you are moving to Hungary and planning to find a long-term place to rent, this would be a cheaper option for the interim than a hotel. Gábor and his wife Ica were born and bred in The Hadváris' Hungarian Holiday Let_swimming poolBudapest so they will help you with a huge amount of insider’s knowledge on the city.
We think it’s great that as well as providing accommodation, Gábor has put a full package together, which includes transfers from/to the airport, a welcome drink, a lovely Hungarian dinner, a full day tour of Budapest, use of the pool, barbecue and garden, Wi-Fi, and lots of local info on where to go shoppinThe Hadváris' Hungarian Holiday Let_bathroomg, eat out, etc.

The short-stay package costs 54,000 HUF per person (at the time of writing this article around GBP 154, or USD 240, or EUR 180) and for this amount you get 3 nights plus an extra night free, plus all the above extras.
The one-week package costs 80,500 HUF per person (at the time of writing this is around GBP 229, or USD 355, or EUR 268) and for this amount you get one week stay plus all the above mentioned extras.
You can find more info and pictures on the Hadváris’ website: http://travel-tobudapest.webnode.hu

As a small, specialist business the most important things we have are happy customers, the knowledge and experience we have accumulated over the years and our great reputation. So of course, it’s a big responsibility for us to recommend someone, but we know that the Hadváris’ are genuinely decent people, so we decided to work with them on this project as their UK contact people. If you are interested in staying in their apartment, or would like more details, please contact us and we are more than happy to tell you more.

Julia’s early impressions of Hungary

I arrived in Hungary on a dazzling, boiling-hot day in August. The year was 1981, and as I stepped out of the plane’s exit door onto the movable stairway leading down onto the concrete of the aerodrome, I was confronted by the first of many of the differences I was to experience, differences that contrasted Hungary and England. The heat! It literally hit me as I stepped out of the air-conditioned plane. When I had taken off from London a couple of hours earlier it had been about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, but as we were preparing to land, the captain had spoken of a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius in Budapest!
Walking across the concrete to the terminal building (as I remember, theJulia's early impressions of Hungaryre was no airport bus to transport us those several hundred yards) I had mixed feelings when I saw the armed soldiers positioned at various points over the area. They did not look very threatening, they seemed to feel quite at home, but they were armed, they were holding machine guns, and there was a reason for that. I was reminded that this was communist Hungary, it was a country occupied by Soviet Russia. I tried to shrug off recollections of calls from family members to be wary, of supplications to think twice before making any decision to leave England and come to live in this Eastern Bloc country. But then I thought of my fiancé, who was waiting for me at Arrivals, who I would be seeing as soon as I was through passport control and for me, Julia's early impressions of Hungary_the small town she arrived in 1981that was all that mattered, the cloud of apprehension was lifted.
Thus began a process of adapting that went relatively smoothly for me because I was young and wanted to learn. I knew it was vital that I settled in as soon as possible, and not consciously, but instinctively, I knew that the first step to this was to gain the acceptance and approval of my immediate environment – who cared about the communist government?!
When learning a foreign language we soon experience that the way native speakers communicate in everyday life can be very different to how we learnt the language in a non-native environment. Although I am half English – half Hungarian I still had to learn how people in Hungary communicate. But I quickly got a hold of the “real” Hungarian language.   I worked really hard to learn, and I said to myself that when I could read, understand, enjoy and appreciate a work of fine literature (that is how I translated the term “szépirodalom”) then I would be able to say that I was beginning to know Hungarian. The first book I read in such a way was Az arany ember by Jókai Mór. What individual, characteristic ideas the author had! I realised that because the Hungarians were still reading the works of great writers like Jókai and Petőfi, because they had preserved the old customs and folklore of their nation, because of these things the Hungarian people were able to take Communism in their stride. In some ways, I feel that Hungary has lost more since the change in political system that came about after 1989 than it lost during the years under the Communist Regime.
There are many contrasts I could mention while describing the way of life I experienced when I came to Hungary in 1981. I had grown up in London and now I was living in a “község” that to me was like a village.  True, it had a shoe factory that provided work for thousands of people (4494 in 1988), but everyone kept pigs and chickens in their backyard, and they grew grapes and vegetables in their gardens – not just flowers – and there were even fruit trees by the roadside. At that time the side roads were non-asphalted, and after a lot of rain you were lucky if you could drive the car up to the house without getting stuck in the mud…it was dangerous on a bicycle, too! Speaking of cars, there was not a western car in sight, but I soon learned to identify the Moszkvics, Warburg, Volga and Trabant – all collector’s items these days!
Reminiscing over those early days, I could talk of food, humour, “pop” music; of television (no broadcast on a Monday), working hours (only every other Saturday was free), the 1st of May (parades in the streets), pálinka (you distilled it at home), policemen (they carried guns), queuing at the bus stop (nobody did or does it), weddings (so traditional), pig-killings (a ritual, really) – and I could go on…
Today Hungary has moved closer to the West. These days there are many more similarities between the British and Hungarian way of life than there were 30 years ago. What has not changed is that Hungary is still a beautiful country, it has customs and traditions that can still be kept alive, and more and more people from other nations are showing an interest in, and an appreciation of Hungary. Hungary is a wonderful place to visit – and, really and truly, not a bad place to live!