Recipes • A Chronicle of Our Life
Written by Marie Stejskalová, housekeeper to Leoš Janáček and his family
"Our master insisted on good food. There were no elevenses or snacks, but at midday and in the evening he ate a lot and with gusto. He knew how to praise the cuisine as well as find fault with it."
What did the most frequently performed Czech opera composer like to eat? Find out by delving into the cookbook of Marie Stejskalová, the Janáčeks' housekeeper (in Czech language only).
Marie Stejskalová (1873-1968) was the Janáčeks' housekeeper for over forty years. One of the items preserved in the Leoš Janáček Archive of the Moravian Museum is her book of recipes, mostly for various desserts and sweet dishes. This in itself would not be of such interest had the observant Mářa (as the Janáčeks called her) not interspersed the recipes with notes concerning the life and work of the master, which she called A Chronicle of Our Life. As a result, the cookbook contains unique information about the genesis of some of Janáček's works and brief descriptions of events from the housekeeper's viewpoint, as well as that of Janáček's wife Zdenka, to whom Mářa was a constant source of support. The publication includes numerous editor's notes on the people and situations mentioned as well as illustrations by the artist Vendula Chalánková depicting scenes from the life of the Janáček family as recalled by Mářa.
Marie Stejskalová's recipe book is kept in the Leoš Janáček Archive of the Moravian Museum, which is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.
Publisher: TIC BRNO and the Moravian Museum.
Taste the recipes of the Janáčeks' housemaid
During the Janáček Brno festival, from 2
to 20 November, you will be able to try the Maestro's favourite recipes made by
his housemaid, Marie Stejskalová, in some of Brno's gastro spots. Janáček wrote
nine operas and you can look forward to nine different delicacies. If you try
them all and collect nine stickers, you can take part in a competition to win a
copy of Marie's Cookbook.
During the Janáček Brno festival, from 2 to 20 November, you will be able to try the Maestro's favourite recipes made by his housemaid, Marie Stejskalová, in some of Brno's gastro spots. Janáček wrote nine operas and you can look forward to nine different delicacies. If you try them all and collect nine stickers, you can take part in a competition to win a copy of Marie's Cookbook.
Cheesecake with Janáček's rosehip biscuits
"The master liked the rosehip biscuits best of all. He recommended them to all our guests and copied out the recipe for them himself."
Biscuits from rosehip jam
170g of sugar, 70g of blanched grated almonds, a little lemon rind and a tablespoon of the jam. Mix it all together, form it into one long, thin piece and then roll it out evenly to roughly the thickness of a finger, beat half an egg white with sugar to make icing and glaze the top nicely with it, then cut small pieces with a knife, immediately lift them with the knife, form them into shapes and place on a baking sheet. Then leave them on a low heat to dry out.
Café Placzek, Minoritská 4
The Janáčeks' housemaid's lentil burgers
Take ⅛ litre of lentils, dry them on the stove or in a warm oven and grind them in a coffee grinder (cleaned thoroughly of course) or crush them in a mortar. Then put the ground lentiles into a pot, cover them with water and then cook them for about 3/4 hour until they form a thick mash. However, you need to stir them regularly to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Then allow the mash to cool down, add pepper, marjoram, one grated onion, salt, one egg and about three teaspoons of goose fat or lard.[i] Mix well together and add enough breadcrumbs so that the batter is neither too thick or too thin. Then form burgers from the mixture, cover them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and bake them in lard or butter. Serve the burgers with cabbage and potatoes or salad. People think they are from meat if they don't know otherwise. Delicious, nutritious and most importantly - inexpensive food.
[i] The vegetarian version contains fried onion instead of animal fat
Soul Bistro, Jezuitská 7
Janáček's little butter tubes
Butter pastry fot the tubes
1/2 kg of butter, 1/2 kg of flour. Divide the flour into two parts, add 20g of butter and the juice of a lemon to the first part along with a little salt and knead together with an egg and a little water to form the dough. Chop the rest of the butter into the second part and work in with a rolling pin, then roll it out flat, add the first part to it, fold in and leave to rest till the next day. Then fold it over three times and make it into little tubes or turnovers.
Cukrářství Martinák, Veveří 14
Alfa Pasáž Poštovská 4
Kohoutovice - Libušina třída 19
Janáček's poppy-seed dessert
150g of ground poppy seeds, 150g of sugar, 150g of flour, one egg, 1/4 litre of cold milk, about 50g of chopped nuts, 50g of butter, some lemon zest, mix together and then add baking powder, grease a cake tin then pour the mixture into the tin and bake slowly. When it is baked put the cream on top. For the cream: 1 stiff egg white, 30g of sugar, 30g of jam, mix for a short while, spread it on the top and then take to the table.
Cafe Buchta B, Štefánikova 16
"He took great pride in our doughnuts. If he wanted to push the boat out, he would order us to make doughnuts."
Jewish doughnuts (Vanilla balls)
In a bowl cream 100g fat, 4 egg yolks, lemon rind. Dissolve 30g yeast in ¼ litre of lukewarm milk, 90g of blanched sliced almonds, 40g of sugar, a pinch of salt and enough flour to make a dough as with ordinary doughnuts. Knead together well and leave to rise. Once they have risen, form them into small pieces (about 15g in weight), leave them to rise again and then fry them. After they have been fried, cover them in vanilla sugar and serve. The individual pieces must weigh 15g, then they turn out nicely.
Cukrárna Mlsná holka, Poštovská 1
Janáček's good lemonade
1/4 litre of wine vinegar, 1/2 kg of white sugar, 2 sliced lemons, 1 with the peel, 1 without, 5 litres of water to boil. When it has cooled we pour the water into bottles and leave it to stand for 10 days and then strain it into 1/2-litre bottles. The bottle is wrapped with paper and pierced. It is very good.
justWINE bar & shop, Kotlářská 26
Janáček's hazelnut cake
Whip four egg whites to form stiff peaks, 125g of sugar, 125g of grated hazelnuts, a little vanilla, mix it all together and divide into two parts. Grease a cake tin, place half the mixture in the tin, get it nice and flat, bake for about ¼ of an hour, immediately turn out onto the worktop, let the tin cool, grease it again, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, add the second half and bake, once it has cooled completely, fill it with buttercream: 60g of butter, 50g of sifted sugar, a little bit of vanilla, one egg yolk and two tablespoons of good coffee added slowly while stirring continuously until the buttercream is nice and thick. Then spread it over one half and place the other on top.
V melounovém cukru, Františkánská 17
Janáček's saddle of venison
140g of butter blended to a foam, stir in 6 yolks and then three more. When it thickens add 140g of lemon-flavoured sugar. 140g of finely sliced almonds, 6 snowed egg whites, heat 2 bars of chocolate blended with a piece of butter, and 70g of bread moistened with rum. Grease a tin with butter, dust with flour, put in the batter and bake. Place preserved apricots into the groove, pour all of the chocolate glaze over the whole of the saddle and partly across the white ice to look like it's covered in cream. Garnish the whole saddle, as though it was covered with bacon, with sliced almonds boiled a little with sugar.
Based on the recipe for hazelnut cake.
Whip four egg whites to form stiff peaks, 125g of sugar, 125g of grated hazelnuts, a little vanilla, mix it all together and divide into two parts. Grease a cake tin, place half the mixture in the tin, get it nice and flat, bake for about ¼ of an hour, immediately turn out onto the worktop, let the tin cool, grease it again, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, add the second half and bake, once it has cooled completely, fill it with buttercream: 60g butter, 50g sifted sugar, a little bit of vanilla, one egg yolk and two tablespoons of good coffee added slowly while stirring continuously until the buttercream is nice and thick. Then spread it over one half and place the other on top.
Cupcakekárna, Náměstí Svobody 21