Who said that only perfect is good enough? Not me, but the truth is that I am a really enthusiastic fan of perfectionism. I MUST do perfect work, I must be a perfect couple, daughter, sister, friend and my house must (hm..or should) look well-organised and neat, so must the garden. Obviously anything that comes out of my kitchen must be perfect. My father told me once that “either you do something well, or you better don’t do it” and apparently it really deeply ingrained into my attitude.
I had to partly give up my attachment to perfectionism first, when we moved into a house which is almost 90 years old. If something, an old house is far from perfect, especially if it wasn’t looked after for a while. Plaster is peeling off in the cellar, the wooden stairs going down there are completely rotten by time. The attic is full with odds and ends waiting for organising, the old wooden floor in the living room is is creeping and moving on some spots, in the garden lawn is full with dandelions and nettles and mole-hills pop up in surprising spots. Thousands and thousands of things to do. Of course I could fight tooth and nail to make imperfect perfect- immediately, if possible- but it would be similar to the effort to run a marathon with an always moving finish line. Or, I can decide to embrace imperfections. Easier said than done. Sometimes I succeed. For instance when I bake the ‘burgonyás kalács’ (a kind of brioche made with a dough with potato) from Ica’s grandmother’s recipe book (story here) and when I take it out of the oven, I realise that the top is broken. Obviously it pops into my mind that I will be tricky and only use the unbroken part but what about honesty then…? Or should I bake another one? As I look at it, I find that the caramelised crunchy filling that poured out is quite inviting…So it happened that I took photos of this imperfect ‘burgonyás kalács’ which remains soft for long time, as Ica’s grandmother describes in the recipe. I must say she was right even if it is broken on top and filling partly poured out and slightly caramelised. Or it is even more delicious.
I leave nettles growing wherever they want, I will use them for organic spraying or make a stew from it. We will level ground where mole has been working, this summer finally renovate the cellar and organise attic where we might find hidden treasures as well.
In any case, during works it will feel so good to have a slice of ‘burgonyás kalács’, no matter if it is broken or not.
Because imperfect is good enough too.
300 g flour
260 g potatoes, cooked
2+2 tbsp melted butter or pork fat
20 g fresh yeast
1 +4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
Cook potatoes in salted water, peel them and crush them. Add flour, one tablespoon sugar, grate fresh yeast and add to potatoes alongside with 2 tablespoon of melted butter and eggs. Knead it well, cover it and let it rest for 45 minutes. Mix 4 tablespoon sugar with cocoa powder. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with the cocoa-sugar mixture. Roll it up tightly, like a strudel. Place it on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Brush the top again with melted butter. Preheat the oven to 200 °C and bake until it gets golden brown.