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Home / News / Austrian Cookery Demonstration and Tasting Evening
Home / News / Austrian Cookery Demonstration and Tasting Evening

Austrian Cookery Demonstration and Tasting Evening

Published 16:45 on 4 Mar 2024

In the nineteenth-century game of thrones Austria-Hungary dominated central Europe. The empire left a rich cultural heritage. Helmut took us on a culinary journey through his native Austria, explaining and preparing dishes contributed by communities such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Italy.

We settled in with a glass of sweet white Austrian wine. Starters and side dishes laid out on the table included a cheesy dip with paprika and chives, sourdough bread and sourdough crackers, potato salad and cucumber salad. There was also a green salad dressed with pumpkin seed oil (available from Lidl, like the wine and some other less familiar ingredients).

Meanwhile, Helmut was wielding a classic Austrian weapon: a heavy tenderiser. He beat a tattoo on thin slices of pork which he seasoned, coated in flour on one side and fried. He then prepared Wiener Schnitzel, a more elaborate variation with the meat coated in flour, beaten egg and very fine breadcrumbs.

While the maestro performed in front of the guests, the supporting cast (Rosemary and Felix) were hard at work preparing future surprises. They cut the food into samples and distributed it to eager tasters.

An Italian-influenced dish followed. A special tool cut droplets of hand-made pasta into boiling water. The result was combined with a rich soft cheese sauce and topped with fried onions.

The third pork dish was a roast joint. Helmut explained the characteristics of cuts from different parts of the pig's back and produced a fine example from the oven.

With a very sharp knife he carved thin slices, which were served with a simple gravy made from the meat juices. This was accompanied by rice, cooked with an onion studded with cloves that gave it a subtle and distinctive flavour.

The final dish was a light savoury bun baked with live yeast, a specialty of Slovenia.

We all enjoyed an entertaining and instructive night, and we're grateful for the hard work put in by Helmut, Rosemary and Felix in the kitchen and Eabha at the bar. Thanks also to social secretary Fiona Cassidy for initiating and promoting this series of events.

Review by Simon Parker. Images by Fiona Cassidy, Philip O'Reilly and Simon Parker.

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Last updated 16:24 on 17 April 2024

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