Photo: Marton Kallai
My name is Zita Nagy, I’m Hungarian. I live in Budapest with my husband and our beautiful sons, Adam and Akos. My love for cookbooks and delicious food started at the age of 9. Whenever I came home from school my little brother and I would wait for Mom to make dinner for us. Until the dinner was ready, I was turning the pages back and forth and was staring at photographs of amazingly looking dishes in Mom’s cookbooks to kill my appetite somehow. I couldn’t have known then, that I would be collecting cookbooks after reaching adulthood and would still be, just like in my childhood, staring at awesome photos of delicious dishes. The only difference is that I do the cooking now. Thinking back, I still remember every favorite shot in those old books. Like my favourite peach-jam filled sweet dumplings from a very traditional Hungarian cookbook from Lajos Mari & Hemző Károly. Boy, time flies!
After having graduated from high school I pursued studies in the College of Food Technology (of the University of Szeged in South Hungary) and got my BA in 1999. Even in college my favorite subjects were food chemistry, microbiology, food technology. These were practical pieces of info for me, not like calculus and some of the economy classes. 🙂 I had no idea then that one day these studies would become quite useful in my life…
I took interest in healthy eating in 2005, when a visit by a natural therapist conviced me about the benefits of vegetarianism. I purchased many books, browsed the internet and step by step gained knowledge in a field that was quite unlike the Hungarian Cuisine. Due to my obsession I quickly changed my diet, started cooking and baking plant based food. Or at least cut back on the animal related ingredients. I dwelved into the topic extensively and ended up taking an alternative healing therapies course in the top Hungarian Institute in this field.
As cheesy as it sounds, ever since the beginning, I felt responsibily for the environment so besides the health benefits of being on veggie diet I also believed it is an ethical choice to stop eating meat to an extent. (If you do a slight research, you’ll see that we, humans kill way too much of this planet to feed all the animals we breed so we can eat meat.) I am not completely againts the meat though, I just feel like my life is much better without it. As a vegetarian I make lots of vegan dishes and I intend to use as little animal related ingredients as I can. Not to mention that I just love trying new stuff from all over the Earth, like millet, amarant, coconut oil, oatmilk cream, etc. Isn’t this just great? How can meat eaters say that the vegetarians have so little to choose from… (At least, that’s what they tell me here in Hungary…)
My purpose with this blog is to show my readers that the vegetarian diet is very rich and there’s a vast array of natural ingredients we can all use to make food from. In my home country, most of the vegetarian dishes consist of mushrooms in breadcrumbs, fried cheese and steamed broccoli (maybe a small mixed green salad, but that is it). Fortunately, more and more restaurants put healthy, real vegetarian meals on their menues so the trend is definitely bullish. 🙂 My conviction and personal experience is that the living and plant based meals have brought such amazing tastes and colors into my life that I never thought existed before. Not to mention its beneficial consequences upon my health. My recipes are wholesome, simple and easy to make. As much as I can I buy seasonal, local and organic vegetables, fruits, cheese and breads because good food is environmentally friendly and grown with care by the farmers I get to know at the market. First and foremost this is what I’d love to share thru my blog and other social media channels with the readers who’re willing to experiment a bit in their kitchens.
I created this blog in November 2008. To be honest I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it, the first post ever was of a James Blunt concert I went to see with my boyfriend. (That post has been removed ever since for it had nothing to do with the current articles.) But since I found it exciting to start writing about what I have in my heart, about 8 months later I decided that I would have to share my culinary adventures to see if it was possible to give inspiration to others about vegetarian dishes. So that was the “adventure” part in the name. (The original name – which is still the Hungarian version @ www.zizikalandjai.com – was Zizi Kalandjai in which “kalandjai” stands for “adventures” in Hungarian. As for the name “Zizi” (pron: Zee-Zee), here’s a short story for you: When I was a little a girl a few of my friends used to call me Zizi (it was a name of a popular candy in my childhood years and it somehow resemled to my first name), my real name is Zita (pron: Zee-ta). (Which was also the name of the last Habsburg Queen by the way.) As the years went by I sort of became more of Zitus (pron: Zee-tush, which is also a nickname for Zita), but for the same childhood friends I remained Zizi. And I kinda think it’s a cute name, so I decided to stick with it.
Photo: Marton Kallai
About my kitchen
At the moment I have a tiny kitchen that is getting smaller by the day, but it still gives me a chance to experiment. However, my dream is to move into a big house with a large rustic kitchen equipped with some very powerful kitchen appliances including a KitchenAid. (Just in case you’re a generous sponsor of KitchenAid wanting to support a very enthusiastic Hungarian girl in her quest for bringing culinary pleasures to her readers, please don’t hold yourself back! :))) As a proud Hungarian, I always buy the ingredients in the organic market or other farmer’s markets in the city supporting the local farmers and the local community. As much as possible I always use fresh ingredients, so the food I prepare is full of healthy stuff. Everything I make and write about is either vegan or vegetarian.
Besides my blog I enjoy sharing my stories on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and tools like Flickr, Picasa, LinkedIn, Pinterest and my new favorite: Instagram on the iPhone. Sharing photos is just fabulous! It is sometimes strenouous to write in Hungarian and English at the same time, but the feedback I get is so rewarding that the hard work is worth every moment. It’s what you give to others and the positive effect you’ll have in other people’s lives that counts anyway.
I currently reside in Budapest, Hungary and as time passes it seems like I’ll be more and more engaged in the Hungarian Veggie Scene, that I quite enjoy. I’m also open to write, photograph and share food and travel related articles for more popular online and offline publications, so if you’d like to work with me, feel free to send me an email.
All content and photographs on this blog © Copyright Zizi’s Adventures 2009-2017, unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Please ask first before republishing or distributing any of my work! If you are interested in using my texts or photographs please contact me.
Thank you for your time that you spend on browsing my site. I really appreciate your kind attention!