25 June, 2010
I smell summer, and you?
My daughter's teacher reminded me yesterday, that on Wednesday, the last day of school for kindergartens, we had to pick up kids by 12:30. The words that rang in my head were "the last day of school". It means June is over as well. The summer's here. When did it happen?
My thoughts instantly flew back in time (should I say how many years back? never mind), when I had the same age as my daughter now. She'll be starting elementary school in September and she's excited about it.
I always spent summers at my grandparent's (on my mom's side). It was fun. Since my mom's family is numerous (9 children, so I have 4 uncles and 4 aunts), and my youngest uncles are only 4 and 6 years older than me, so for me it was lots of fun in many ways. Two of my aunts were young girls at the time, not married, so they'd paint my nails, make me clothes, take me for a walk or when they went to visit friends - I was curious to peep into the world of grown ups.
They also taught me letters and numbers.
But most fun was making some mess in the kitchen as soon as my grandma went somewhere. She was the queen in the kitchen, but the one who didn't like the mess, everything had to be perfectly in order and perfectly clean. When she was out, the mice danced. But every trace of cooking adventure was carefully removed before she came back.
All this brings me to the main point. My grandmother always baked bread by herself. And her bread weren't tiny loaves. Nooooooooo! Her bread was size of a wheel. Huge. It would last whole week. Of course, tasted on the day it was baked it was gorgeous. By the end of the week, a bit less but still the best bread I've ever had.
And another thing she always made was apricot jam. There was, and there still is a big apricot tree in their garden. I'm not even able to tell the quantity of this jam she made every year. And, you're guessing, it was THE BEST apricot jam ever.
That was the afternoon snack I often had during the summer at my grandparents'. A HUUUUUUGE slice of homemade bread with a thick layer of homemade apricot jam. And when you bit into such a huge slice your face always got covered with jam.
Now you probably think I made some apricot jam, but NO :))), although the colour is very similar.
The point is that I still like the taste of homemade jam, and whenever I can, I make a jar or two. I also like to try new tastes and new combinations. I like to keep it simple: fruit and sugar, nothing else maybe some natural vanilla extract, cinnamon, etc, but no jellying stuff or anything.
Years back, when I starting making my own jams, I'd put some of that jellying stuff because I thought the jam looked prettier and it cooked quicker and I wanted to be sure it would thicken. I realised after some time I didn't need it at all. Even reducing the quantity of sugar (as I always do compared to the original recipe) I always get a good tasting, thick jam.
The proof is that when I use my jams as a filling for pastries or crostatas, it never leaks out, and it doesn't become a tiny jelly layer once it's baked.
Since I had some homemade whole wheat rhye bread, I couldn't resist but spread my new jam on it and taste, as soon as it was cold enough. So, that's my melon jam you see in the pictures, and soon I'll show you some more that I've made.
1 kg melon (cleaned and chopped)
400 g sugar
Clean the melon removing the skin and the seeds.
Chop it and place the flesh in a bowl, add the sugar, stir well, cover and let it rest over night.
The following morning pureé the melon flesh in a blender or food processor (or use a vegetable mill). Bring to boil, and then cook on medium heat, stiring often with a wooden spoon ( until you reach desired thickness. You can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract at the end if you wish.
In the meantime put the clean jar(s) in the oven and turn it on to 70°C.
Pour the jam into warm glass jars, close them carefully.
That's all I do. When they're completely cold, I store them in the pantry. Once I open the jar, I keep it in the fridge.
La ricetta tricolore di ieri non è servita a nulla.
E per spalmare un po' l'amarezza e delusione passo subito a una cosa dolce e di stagione. Si cominciano a vedere le marmellate e confetture in giro, così volevo proporvi una che ho fatto la settimana scorsa. Di melone. L'avete mai assaggiata? V’incuriosisce il suo colore? profumo? sapore? Provetela allora. Io ho fatto solo un vasetto, e, almeno che passate di qui per fare la merenda con una fetta di pane (solo una ^_^), purtroppo non posso mandarvi degli assaggini.
Confettura di melone
1 kg di melone (polpa pulita)
400 g di zucchero
Pulite il melone, tagliatelo a pezzetti e mescolate con lo zucchero in una ciotola. Lasciate riposare coperto tutta la notte. Il giorno dopo passatelo nel mixer o con il passaverdure Trasferite la purea in una pentola e portatela a ebollizione, poi abbassate un po' la temperatura e lasciate cuocere fino a raggiungere la densità desiderata, mescolando spesso (usate un mestolo di legno, meglio se nuovo).
Mettete i vasetti puliti a riscaldare nel forno a 70°C.
Quando la confettura è pronta, versatela nei vasetti caldi, chiudeteli bene e lasciateli raffreddare completamente.
Uzalud sam ja juče svojim trobojnim receptom navijala za Italiju (kad se već Hrvatska i Bosna nisu ni plasirale ^_^), nestadoše sa scene baš kao i moje tortice od ricotte.
Ja se opet mogu samo smijati svemu tome, ali netko je drugi u kući ostao jako, jako razočaran.
Danas ćemo zato malo zasladiti ovim mirisnim pekmezom.
Ako ne volite dinje, onda ćete se sigurno namrštiti i uvrnuti nosom, ali ja je obožavam pa nisam mogla odoljeti i ne isprobati i ovaj pekmez. Nastojala sam smanjiti količinu šećera u odnosu na originalni recept (iz jednog pradavnog broja Mile) sa 750 na 400 g, i nije bilo nikakvih problema, čak naprotiv, moglo bi po meni i manje.
A kasnije sam napravila i još jednu varijantu, ali o tom drugom prilikom.
Pekmez od dinje
1 kg očišćenog mesa dinje
400 g šećera
Očistite dinju od sjemenki i kore i narežite na komadiće.
Dodajte šećer dinji, promiješajte, poklopite i ostavite preko noći.
Sutradan dinju ispasirajte i stavite kuhati dok se pekmez ne zgusne (stavite malo pekmeza na hladan tanjurić, ako se ne razlije pekmez je gotov).
Ulijte ga u zagrijane staklenke i zatvorite, ostavite da se potpuno ohlade.