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The Good Life in Aggtelek National Park Part 112: The Raw Chef in Sajóivanka

raw chefKata has been studying Shiatsu and Do-In for a few years, and one of her classmates Gabriella recently converted to a completely raw food, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free diet. Gabriella invited István Varga, Hungary's foremost proponent and ambassador of raw food to her hometown for a cooking demonstration and three-course meal. We went along. No, it was not my idea, and I was very sceptical, but I tried to keep an open mind for Kata's sake. The seven interested guests gathered on Gabriella and kickboxing husband Attila's terrace around a couple small tables and a blender. Industrial blenders are essential for raw food recipes, as are food dehydrators. During the brief introduction to raw food I brought up a lot of questions. For example, I was not clear if fermentation was "allowed" or considered heat treatment (beer, wine, tofu, tempeh...) - yes. But like many systems, it is up to you and the only rules are those you set for yourself. For example, although I call myself a vegetarian, I eat eggs and dairy products. I also make the occasional exception for chicken and turkey.cukkini spaghetti

Many nuts, especially cashews are used to thicken sauces and provide protein. I was also concerned with the ecological footprint and higher cost of the imported food required for such a diet (cashew nuts, tropical fruit...), but the energy savings from not cooking, as well as cutting out meat may balance the bill. Doesn't the constant use of a blender and dehydrator jack up the electric bill? Balance this against energy consumption of a stovetop and oven.

Since a couple had to leave early, we started with the main course. Kata helped István make ribbons of zucchini with a hand-cranked machine. These ribbons became the raw "spaghetti" of the dish. The machine itself costs around 12000 HUF - so if this is the only thing you can do with it, I would skip the purchase. Then the industrial blender was put to use as Kata added tomatoes, onions, 2 jars of sun dried tomatoes with their oil, Brazil pepper corns and Kápia peppers. The result was a delicious raw sauce that tasted as if it came from an Indian kitchen. I do not particularly like zucchini, but I had seconds.

The cold soup consisted of blended carrots, celery, celery leaves, cashew nuts, scallions...

The dessert was likewise made in the blender, and included bananas, cashews, poppy seeds, dates and the water the dates were soaked in, and topped with raspberries and red currants.

Kata brought an edible bouquet of flowers and herbs from our garden: garlic flowers, marigold, sand leek, onion flowers, lovage, sage, tiger lily...

I am not a convert, but I think it certainly makes sense to integrate more raw food into our diet, especially in the summer. We have the basics in our own organic garden, and cooking food not only heats up the house, but also reduces the nutritional value of the food.

Vegetable Creme Soup

10-15 dkg celery root

10-15 dkg peeled, cubed zuccini

10-15 dkg carrot

2-3 celery sticks

1 kapia pepper

10 dkg cashews

a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, herbs (such as ground coriander, rose pepper, caraway seed, fresh taragon and dill)

mix in blender, while adding water until the desired consistency is reached

Zucchini Spaghetti with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce


1 jar of sun dried tomatoes, without the oil

1 lengthwise chopped kapia pepper

2-3 garlic cloves

a little olive oil


then add basil, oregano, a little salt, pepper

Add 1 small cubed cukkini, 1 small purple onion, and 1 cubed pepper to the sauce

Cut a cukkini and the spiraler, or if none, you could use a grater to form long strips

gluten-free makos gubaGluten-free Mákos Guba (Poppy-Seed Dough)

25 dkg ground poppy seed with water or the water from soaked dates, blend

Add 15 dkg cashews and blend together

Pour into bowl or form, slice and mix in a banana

Eat at once, or let stand for a couple hours so the flavours mix

Lemon peels on the top

For more information about Raw Food and the Raw Chef