Rump Roast

Unfortunately I don’t have pictures for your viewing pleasure, but I feel it necessary to share this recipe with you. The biggest mistake I made, was simply starting to cook after work. This is the kind of meal that you start on a Sunday afternoon- not Tuesday night. However, I had gotten the meat on sale, and if I didn’t cook it today, it would have gone bad. Regardless, it tasted really good! (or we were just really hungry :))

Ingredients:

Rump Roast (Mine was about 180 g, I think)

3-4 cloves garlic – minced

(about) 1 tbs chili pepper – finely chopped

2 (small-medium) onions – julienned

2 stalks celery – finely chopped

2 (small) tomatoes – chopped

1.5 cups water/1 beef bouillon cube (or 1.5 cups beef stock)

1 cup frozen peas

salt, pepper, parsley, fresh chopped rosemary

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 140 C/275 F

2. Flour all sides of meat and brown in saute pan over med-high heat, remove and place in casserole dish

3. In the same pan, add some olive oil, and lightly brown the onion, chili pepper, garlic, celery, and lastly the tomato, add salt and pepper

4. Pour the vegetables and stock over the meat in the casserole dish and deglaze the sauce pan with either the beef stock or some red wine, and pour over mixture in the dish.

5. Cover dish, and leave in oven for 4-5 hours (depends on the size), or until the meat breaks apart with a fork

*About 30 minutes before it’s done, add the frozen peas and fresh rosemary

6. Serve with rice/potatoes/egg noodles/etc.  I served it over couscous and it was delish!

*Please note- all amounts/directions/etc. are very general.. this is intended as more of a guideline than ‘step by step’ directions!

Let me know if you try it, and if you made any adjustments!

Vienna

Image

I had really been interested in seeing Vienna ever since a former student mentioned it was her favorite European city to travel to. So, after several hints of wanting to go, Mila surprised me with a planned trip to this much talked about city for my birthday 🙂 Before going, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, however, it certainly ended up being one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to.

Image

Vienna is the only city I’ve ever traveled to that reminded me of so many other European cities at the same time. Instead of having it’s own specific feel, it equally felt like many other places all at once. Which, in a sense, is what makes it unique. The baroque, neo-classical architecture is what you see in Prague – although Prague is quite colorful, whereas Vienna is all white. Literally, all white. Maybe there was one off-white building. On the other hand, as a whole, the feel of the city is very German. Not only is that their native language, but the streets are wide, and the ratio of people on bikes to pedestrians is much higher. Also, I can’t recall the name of the street, but walking through the center was somewhat reminiscent of Madrid for me. I can’t put my finger on why, but it was just a feeling I got. There was even a street that took me back to Athens. On Saturday, probably due to the 150 degree heat, I even felt like I was in a beach town somewhere in Italy. These are just my own personal experiences though, and obviously everyone will have different impressions of the same city. A lot of Czechs say Vienna is just like Prague, but aside from the architecture, I couldn’t disagree more.  Image

We arrived early on Friday and mostly just explored the city on foot. One of my favorite aspects of traveling is truly experiencing the local/national cuisine. So, we ate schnitzel and potato salad and washed it down with some Austrian beer. Though I shouldn’t compare, this dish didn’t stand a chance to Mila’s grandmother’s řízek (breaded pork or chicken – same thing/different name). Then we walked more. We probably ended up walking 20 some km by the end of the day.

On Saturday, we rented bicycles and traveled around the city like true Austrians.

Image

First stop was Naschmrkt.

Image

I absolutely loved this market. It’s approximately 1,5 km long and has been around since the 16th century when only milk bottles were sold. Now, it’s lined with fruit stands, fish and meat stands, and a lot of Balkan specialty shops. Although we got severely ripped off on the food, I really enjoyed this meal.

Image

We asked for one stuffed artichoke, the guy gave us three extra tomatoes “for free”, then charged us for them- like 6 Euro a piece! (ok sometimes, maybe I exaggerate) But, at the end of the day, I admire how hard these people work- probably making close to nothing for money, unless of course they rip off stupid tourists all the time 🙂 I was proud of myself though, for getting a skirt from 20 Euro down to 5 at the flea market. I’m not even crazy about the skirt, I just liked the negotiating. After this, we rode to Schönbrunn Palace and explored the giant garden.

Image

The heat was unbearable.

Image

Later we went to Belvedere Palace.

Image

We then finished the day with a dinner of sausage, tafelspitz, sauerkraut and potatoes. Austrian food has a heavy German, Bohemian, and Hungarian influence. Of all of these, I’m unsurprisingly partial to Czech food.

Sunday, we went to Hundertwasserhaus, which is an apartment building designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Image

This was such a cool place. On the inside, there are uneven floors, as quoted “an uneven floor is a divine melody to the feet”, a roof covered with grass, and trees growing from the inside that extend through the windows. He actually insisted on not getting paid for this work, saying it was worth it to not have an ugly building in its place.

Image

Image

We then walked around Prater before we had to leave. Prater is a large park consisting of many shaded paths and even an amusement park. Due to my phobia of vomit (I don’t even like typing the word) I’m not particularly fond of being near anything that someone could potentially get sick on, resulting in me being sprayed by any bodily excretions. (How gross does that sound?)

Image

(This picture seemed fitting for that last thought)

Well, that pretty much wraps up our long Viennese weekend. If we ever return to Austria, I’d really be interested in spending time in one of the smaller wine villages. They looked really pretty on the bus ride in. Either way, I’m glad I’ve finally added Austria to my travel experiences!