29 April, 2011

A little healthy snack

Flax Seeds Crackers
I have a bad habbit of snacking on cookies, chocolate and anything sweet, any time of the day. If things are sitting around on the kitchen counter, it is probable they won't last long.
Today however, I wanted to try making a healthier snack. I noticed this recipe in a book I bought recently, called Antioxidants on your plate (Antiossidanti nel piatto), and was just waiting for the right mood to make them.
To make them even healthier, I substituted part of white flour with whole wheat and rye flour, and halved the salt.
Surprisingly good, not so flaky as store bought crackers of course, but that's part of the game, you need to chew them longer and you eat less in the end ^__^
Today, I served them with some cottage cheese mixed with chive, a lovely combo, but I'm sure they'd be great with any dip, served as a finger food at a party, a snack or an appetizer.
Flax seeds add some omega-3 fatty acids, so I thought they'd be useful for my husband as well (I've read the flax seeds may help lower cholesterol levels). And, miracles happen every now and then, he liked them. Yes!!!

Flax Seeds Crackers
Flax Seeds Crackers

* 120 g white wheat flour
* 40 g whole wheat flour
* 40 g whole rye flour
* 10 g flax seeds
* 150 ml water
* 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 5 TBspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Boil the flax seeds with the 150 ml water for 5 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Put all three types of flour, the salt, the poppy seeds and the olive oil into the bowl of your food processor with blade attachment.
Add the flax seeds with the mucilage and mix well until all ingredients start coming together. If necessary add a little water (I needed about 15-20 ml).
Transfer the dough to a kneading board and knead just shortly to form smooth dough.
Roll it out very thin (about 2 mm). Using a pizza or pastry cutter cut the dough into rectangles (I made them 5x8 cm).
Transfer them to a baking sheet and punch with a fork.
Bake the crackers in an oven preheated to 200°C for about 15 minutes.
Let them cool before serving.
I got about 18 pieces.

Flax Seeds Crackers

Cracker ai semi di lino
(ricetta tratta e adattata dal libro Antiossidanti nel piatto)

* 120 g di farina "00"
* 40 g di farina integrale di grano
* 40 g di farina integrale di segale
* 10 g di semi di lino
* 150 ml di acqua
* 1 cucchiaino di semi di papavero
* 1 cucchiaino di sale
* 5 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d'oliva

Fate bollire i semi di lino in 150 ml d'acqua per 5 minuti.
Lasciateli raffreddare.
Mescolate nel robot da cucina le farine, il sale, i semi di papavero e l'olio EVO.
Aggiungete anche i semi di lino con la mucillagine e azionate il mixer fino a ottenere un impasto omogeneo.
Stendete la sfoglia molto sottile su un piano leggermente infarinato.
Ritagliate i rettangoli (i miei erano 5x8 cm) e trasferiteli su una placca da forno.
Punzecchiate i cracker con una forchetta e cuoceteli nel forno già riscaldato a 200°C per circa 15 minuti.
Lasciateli raffreddare prima di servirli.

Flax Seeds Crackers

Ovaj sam se mjesec prilično ulijenila, ali ipak u zadnji čas stižem sudjelovati u ovomjesečnom krugu igre Ajme koliko nas je, koju je pokrenula Monsoon, a čija je domaćica ovaj mjesec Jovana s bloga Jojini isprobani recepti, odabrala kao temu mak.
U ovim zdravim krekerima s lanenim sjemenkama, bogatim omega-3 masnim kiselinama, našao je svoje mjesto i mak.
Uživajte uz ovu izvrsnu grickalicu.

Krekeri s lanenim sjemenkama
(recept preuzet i prilagođen iz knjige Antiossidanti nel piatto)

* 120 g bijelog pšeničnog brašna
* 40 g integralnog pšeničnog brašna
* 40 g integralnog raženog brašna
* 10 g sjemenki lana
* 150 ml vode
* 1 žličica maka u zrnu
* 1 žličica soli
* 5 žlica ekstradjevičanskog maslinovog ulja

Stavite kuhati sjemenke lana u 150 ml vode, 5 minuta od početka vrenja. Ostavite da se sjemenke ohlade u sluzi.
Stavite sve tri vrste brašna, sol, mak i maslinovo ulje u zdjelu multipraktika.
Dodajte sjemenke lana zajedno sa sluzi i izmiksajte da dobijete ujednačenu smjesu.
Ako vam se čini presuha dodajte malo vode (ja sam dodala otprilike 15-20 ml), istresite na radnu površinu i kratko izmijesite.
Razvaljajte tijesto vrlo tanko na sasvim malo pobrašnjenoj površini (tijesto je masno od ulja i ne lijepi se jako).
Izrežite pravokutnike - moji su 5x8 cm - i premjestite ih na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje.
Izbodite ih malo vilicom i pecite oko 15 minuta u pećnici zagrijanoj na 200°C.

Flax Seeds Crackers

27 April, 2011

Three in a row

Pear and Chocolate crumble
I guess I'm having a pistachio kick of some kind. After the Pistachio Ice Cream and Arugula and Pistachio pesto, it came back today, hidden in a crunchy golden crumble. What a combo that was.
Chocolate and pears - well known, always working combo.
Add some pistachios - those green nuts seem to fit just perfectly.
And what about some spice to complete everything and let all senses enjoy - of course, a pinch of cardamom.
My favourite crumble topping is made without flour, oatmeal only, and that makes for a crunchy and just slightly chewy topping that I love.

Last of our guests went away today, and I'm starting to relax a bit. Actually I'm starting feeling a bit tired to say the truth. This crumble was just what I needed after a simple lunch, a real flavourful kick before heading on to things to do.

Pear and Chocolate crumble
Pear and Chocolate crumble

* 1 pear (Abate Fetel)
* 30 g quick cooking oats
* 20 g butter - softened
* 40 g dark chocolate - finely chopped
* 25 g powdered sugar
* 20 g pistachios
* 1 green cardamom pod

Put the oats, the powdered sugar, the chopped pistachios, the chopped chocolate and the finely ground cardamom seeds (crash the pod with a pestle and remove the green outside shell, crush finely the small black seeds you'll find inside) in a small mixing bowl. Add the butter and work all the ingredients with the tips of your fingers to form coarse crumbs.
Put the mixture in the fridge until use.
Peel and chop or slice the pear.
Place the chopped pear into buttered individual ramekins or one (two-serving) shallow dish.
Sprinkle the crumbly oats mixture on top and bake the crumble in an oven preheated to 180°C for about 25-30 minutes or until crunchy and golden on top.
Serve the crumble warm, simple or with a scoop of ice cream.

Pear and Chocolate crumble
Crumble di pere e cioccolato

* 1 pera Abate
* 30 g di fiocchi di avena, piccoli
* 20 g di burro - morbido
* 40 g di cioccolato fondente - tritato
* 25 g di zucchero a velo
* 20 g di pistacchi
* 1 bacca di cardamomo verde

Mescolate in una ciotola i fiocchi d'avena, lo zucchero a velo, i pistacchi tritati grossolanamente, il cioccolato trittato e il cardamomo pestato (schiacciate la bacca con il pestello e togliete la buccia verde, pestate i semini scuri contenuti al interno fino a ridurli in polvere).
Aggiungete il burro e lavorate il tutto con le punte delle dita per ottenere delle briciole piuttosto grossolane.
Ponete questo composto in frigo fino al momento di usarlo.
Sbuciate la pera e tagliatela a pezzi o fettine.
Distribuite i pezzi di pera nelle coccotine (o una pirofila più grande).
Cospargete il composto di briciole sopra e fate cuocere il crumble nel forno già caldo a 180°C per circa 25-30 minuti, o finché dorato in superficie.
Servitelo caldo o tiepido, magari accompagandolo con del gelato.

Pear and Chocolate crumble
Crumble od krušaka s čokoladom

* 1 kruška (Abate)
* 30 g sitnih zobenih pahuljica
* 20 g maslaca - omekšalog
* 40 g tamne čokolade
* 25 g šećera u prahu
* 20 g očišćenih pistacija
* 1 zelena sjemenka kardamoma

Pomiješajte u zdjeli zobene pahuljice, šećer u prahu, sitno nasjeckane pistacije, sitno nasjeckanu čokoladu. Dodajte smrvljene sjemenke kardamoma (samo unutarnje tamne sjemenke, zelenu opnu odvojite i bacite) i maslac.
Izmiješajte sve prstima da dobijete krupnije mrvice.
Ostavite ih u hladnjaku do pripreme.
Krušku očistite i narežite na krupnije kocke ili na kriške.
Rasporedite komadiće kruške u maslacem namazane ramekine (dva pojedinačna, ili jedan malo veći).
Preko krušaka rasporedite mrvičastu smjesu i stavite peći u pećnicu zagrijanu na 180°C, 25-30 minuta, odnosno dok mrvičasti dio lijepo ne porumeni.
Poslužite crumble topao ili mlačan, sam ili uz sladoled.

Pear and Chocolate crumble

25 April, 2011

Double green pesto

Arugula and Pistachio Pesto
Surpirse, surprise... I was supposed to be having fun today, enjoying some fresh air at the seaside as I told you in my previous post,  but nothing to do. If it is not kids that are not feeling well, then it's the big "kid", aka my husband. We spent a pleasant afternoon walking around the town after lunch yesterday, but after we got home, he started burning with fever. This morning I took him to the doctor, nothing serious, just very sore throat that requires antibiotics therapy, but considering that he was at home whole past week with the same stomach virus that the kids had, well, it's not fun, definitely. And considering that men suffer every illness more intensely, you'd rather think he was dying this morning.

I made this pesto last week, precisely while they were all ill and had to follow a rather simple and bland diet, in order to have something for myself that was quick to prepare, so I could season that same plain pasta they were eating.
And I really liked it, it had a little milder taste than basil pesto, but very tasty since I love both arugula and pistachios. I think that blanching helped the arugula lose  a little bit of it's bitterness.
So here it is, Arugula green and Pistachio green together.
I served it over some pasta, adding some fresh robiola cheese and cherry tomatoes, it's definitely going to be one of the frequent dishes this summer... and here I'm hoping that my arugula will grow happily on my balcony.

Penne with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto
Penne with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto

Arugula and pistachio pesto

* 100 g arugula
* 40 g pistachios
* 3-4 spoonfuls of grated Parmigiano cheese
* Extra virgin olive oil
* salt

Wash the arugula and blanche it in a small pot of boiling, slightly salted water - 40-45 seconds.
Drain it and let it cool a little bit. Then using a stick blender purée the arugula until creamy.
Set aside.
Put the pistachios in a mortar and using a pestle grind them as finely as you like.
Add the Parmigiano cheese and a little salt first, and then the oil (I didn't really measure the quantity of oil, but rather relied on my taste, however, 2 or 3 spoonfuls probably).
Mix in the arugula purée and blend everything together. Taste to see if you need more salt or oil. I don't like oil to prevail over  arugula and pistachios, so I added just enough to make a creamy emulsion.
If not using immediately, store it in a glass jar, add a little more oil on top and keep refrigerated for a couple days.

Arugula and Pistachio Pesto
Pesto di rucola e pistacchi

* 100 g di rucola
* 40 g di pistacchi sgusciati
* 3-4 cucchiai di Parmigiano grattugiato
* olio extra vergine d'oliva
* sale

Scottate la rucola nell'acqua bollente, leggermente salata per 40-45 secondi. Scolatela e lasciatela intiepidire. Frullatela usando un frullatore a immersione per ottenere una crema liscia.
Mettete i pistacchi nel mortaio e pestateli fino a ridurli in polvere.
Aggiungete il Parmigiano e un po' di sale, e in seguito anche l'olio (ho messo circa 2-3 cucchiai, ma vi consiglio di aggiungerlo gradualmente, secondo i vostri gusti).
Unite anche la crema di rucola e mescolate bene. Aggiustate se necessario di sale e olio.
Se non lo userete subito, conservatelo in un vasetto di vetro nel frigo, per un paio di giorni.

Arugula and Pistachio Pesto
Pesto od rikule e pistacija

* 100 g rikule
* 40 g očišćenih pistacija
* 3-4 žlice naribanog parmezana
* maslinovo ulje
* sol

Rikulu operite i ubacite u posudu s ključalom, malo posoljenom vodom. Kuhajte ne više od 40-45 sekundi.
Ocijedite je i ostavite da se prohladi.
Prohlađenu rikulu smrvite štapnim mikserom u glatku kremu.
Stavite pistacije u mužar (avan) i smrvite ih što sitnije.
Dodajte mrvicu morske sole i naribani parmezan, nastavite miješati i dodajite pomalo maslinovo ulje dok ne dobjete glatku kremicu. Nisam točno mjerila koliko sam ulja dodala, išla sam po osjećaju, ali otprilike 2-3 žlice.
Umiješajte sad i kremu od rikule.
Dotjerajte okus i gustoću po želji - ako je potrebno još soli, ili ako je pregusto dodajte još ulja ili malo vode u kojoj se kuhala rikula.
Želite li pesto malo "jačeg" okusa dodajte i pola češnja češnjaka - smrvite ga zajedno s pistacijama i parmezanom.

Penne with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto
Penne s pestom od rikule i pistacija, s robiolom i rajčicama

Greetings from Modena ^__^

from Parco Ducale Estense in Modena

23 April, 2011

Happy Easter everyone

Orange and Almond Cake
I hope all of you are spending a relaxing and peacefull Easter, with family or friends, at home or travelling or visiting.
We're having my husband's family over, but except today, I won't be actually cooking a lot. We decided we'd spend some time out, visit some neighbouring town in Emilia Romagna or maybe even spend a day at a seaside, although it's still far from bathing season. After some really beautiful summery weather during the past few weeks, we had rain last night and it's a bit fresh outside.
So I can't really say I'll be cooking or baking following either Italian or my home country (Bosnia and Croatia) traditions, even though I'd love to.
Kids are so happy to be spending some time with their grandparents, and they are looking forward to chocolate eggs hunting tomorrow morning.

This Orange and Almond Cake, also called Middle Eastern Orange and Almond Cake has origins in Sephardic tradition of Morocco, Mediterranean and the Middle East. It is a classic Passover dessert. Although most recipes I've seen around the net have neither vanilla extract or Cointreau among ingredients, I think they fit in just fine (I'd easily put vanilla extract everywhere, literally).
I made this cake way back, in January, but as you can see, the recipe stayed put until today. Perfect timing, right?

I can heartily recommend everyone to try it. It's so delicious. And it is flourless so even if you suffer from celiac desease you can eat it and enjoy happily.
Delicate taste, moist and delicious, that's all I can say and remember.

My personal note about it is just this: if your oranges are particularly bitter (sometimes they are), you may need more sugar (I did). Or one more trick when boiling oranges in order to get rid of bitter taste - once the water starts boiling, drain the oranges, add fresh water and then boil them as per recipe, until soft.

Happy Easter!

Orange and Almond Cake
Orange and Almond Cake

2 oranges (absolutely organic)
280 g blanched almonds, finely ground
250 g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Cointreau
6 eggs
for serving: powdered sugar, whipped cream and fruit of your choice

Brush the oranges carefully under running water to remove all the impurities.
Put the whole (unpeeled) oranges into a pot with enough water for oranges to be completely covered. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook the oranges for about 40 minutes or until completely soft.
Drain them, cut in half, remove the seeds and let them cool down.
Turn the oven on to 180°C.
Put the oranges into a food processor with blade attachment and mix until you have a smooth mixture.
Add the finely ground almonds, the baking powder, the liquour and the vanilla extract. Pulse until homogeneous.
Add the eggs, lightly beaten and mix everything shortly.
Pour the batter into a 24-26 cm round spring pan, buttered and lined with the baking paper. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer inserted in the middle, the cake will stay quite moist, however.
Let it cool completely in the pan.
Before serving dust generously with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit (berries, mango, etc.)

Orange and Almond Cake
Felice Pasqua a tutti!

Torta all'arancia e mandorle (senza farina)
(dal libro Muffin e dolcetti)

2 arancie (assolutamente non tratate)
280 g di mandorle pelate
250 g di zucchero
1 cucchiaino di lievito in polvere
1 cucchiaino di estratto puro di vaniglia
1 cucchiaino di Cointreau
6 uova
per servire: zucchero a velo, panna montata e frutta a piacere

Lavate bene le arancie sotto l'acqua corrente per rimuovere qualsiasi impurità. Mettetele intere in una casseruola larga, aggiungete acqua sufficiente per ricoprirle. Portate lentamente l'acqua a ebollizione, quindi abbassate il fuoco e cuocetele per circa 40 minuti o finché non deventano molto morbide.
Tagliate le arancie a metà, togliete i semi e lasciatele raffreddare.
Accendete il forno a 180°C.
Rivestite una teglia da 24-26 cm di diametro con la carta da forno, imburatela e infarinatela.
Mettete le arancie nel contenitore del mixer e lavoratele fino a ottenere una polpa omogenea e liscia.
Aggiungete le mandorle tritate, lo zucchero, il lievito in polvere, l'estratto di vaniglia e il Cointreau. Lavorate utilizzando il tasto "pulse" fino a ottenere un impasto amalgamato..
Unite le uova e mescolate ancora per amalgamare il tutto, ma non lavorare l'impasto ecessivamente.
Versate l'impasto nella tortiera preparata e cuocete la torta nel forno già caldo per circa 50 minuti.
Lasciatela raffreddare completamente nello stampo
Prima di servirla cospargetela di zucchero a velo, e accompagnatela con la panna montata e frutta fresca.

Orange and Almond Cake
Sretan Uskrs

Torta od naranče i badema

2 naranče (obavezno neprskane)
280 g mljevenih oguljenih badema
250 g šećera
1 žličica praška za pecivo
1 žličica ekstrakta vanilije
1 žličica Cointreaua (ili drugog likera od naranče)
6 jaja
za posluživanje:
šećer u prahu
tučeno slatko vrhnje
voće po želji

Naranče dobro operite četkicom da odstranite prljavštinu.
Stavite ih u širu posudu i dodajte toliko vode da naranče budu skroz prekrivene. Stavite mali tanjur preko njih da ih drži potopljenima.
Zagrijavajte polako vodu dok ne prokuha, a onda smanjite vatru i ostavite da se kuhaju otprilike 40 minuta dok potpuno ne omekšaju.
Prerežite kuhane naranče i izvadite sjemenke. Ostavite ih da se ohlade.
Uključite pećnicu na 180°C.
Kalup za tortu (klasični s prstenom, promjera 24-26 cm) namažite maslacem i obložite papirom za pečenje.
Stavite ohlađene naranče u mikser (multipraktik) i izmiksajte da dobijete glatku smjesu.
Dodajte mljevene bademe, šećer, prašak za pecivo, liker i ekstrakt vanilije. Izmiksajte u kratkim intervalima (pulse) da se sastojci povežu.
Dodajte malo razmućena jaja i opet kratko izmiješajte u kratkim intervalima (ne miješajte dugo, tek toliko koliko je potrebno da se sve poveže.
Sipajte smjesu u pripremljeni kalup i pecite oko 50 minuta - provjerite drvenim štapićem ubodenim u sredinu. Ostavite tortu da se ohladi u kalupu.
Prije posluživanja pospite je šećerom u prahu i poslužite uz tučeno slatko vrhnje i voće po želji (maline, šumsko voće, mango itd.).

Orange and Almond Cake

21 April, 2011

Need a chocolate treat, as usual

Chocolate pie
I should stop... I should stop... no, she should stop... waking me up early when I could stay in bed until noon. And me? Yes I should stop making chocolate treats on days like this.
She did it again, my daughter, the little one (who's about to turn four, by the way). She so stubborn, and when she wakes up in the morning there's no force that can hold her quiet and still. She's not asking, she's demanding for her breakfast to be served immediately. Else, she'll continue calling me, crying and screaming. And after one request is satisfied she'll find another one, and one more, just in case I decided to go back to bed. But she's the sweetest little puppy at the same time. And since I can't win, I need to find the best way to stay awake for the rest of the day.
Officially, both kids are home for Easter holidays, which means long days without rest.
And my consolation is as usually baking something scrumptious, possibly with chocolate.
And this pie or crostata, whatever, was a hit.
The dough is wonderfully soft and crunchy at the same time, with that creamy and soft chocolate filling.
Mmmmmmmmmmm, sweet dreams... I may even be motivated to get up early tomorrow.

Chocolate pie
Chocolate pie

for the dough:
* 250 g flour
* 150 g sugar
* 150 g butter
* 1 egg
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 lemon (organic)
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  Chocolate filling:
* 130 g dark chocolate (55% cocoa)
* 100 g sugar
* 1 egg
* 50 ml heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Take the butter out of the fridge half an hour before you start preparing the dough. Chop it and let it soften at room temperature.
Sift together the flour and the baking powder, and then mix it with the sugar and the finely grated lemon zest.
Rub in the butter to get coarse crumbs.
Lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg yolk and the vanilla extract, add them to the flour and butter mixture and quickly bring everything together to form a soft, smooth dough.
Wrap it in a piece of plastic wrap and let it rest at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
In the meantime prepare the filling. Chop and melt the chocolate in the microwave oven or in a double boiler. Let it cool.
Using a hand mixer, beat the egg with the sugar until foamy. Add the heavy cream and the vanilla extract.
Add the cooled melted chocolate and stir well.
Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll out about 2/3. Press it into a 24-26 cm round pie or crostata dish covering the bottom and the sides.
Pour in the chocolate cream and level with a spoon.

Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the dough and cut it into stripes. Use them to create a grid over the chocolate filling.
Bake the pie in the oven preheated to 160-170°C for about 30 minutes or until golden.

Let it cool completely before cutting it (I couldn't :)))
You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar before serving.

Crostata al cioccolato

per la pasta:
* 250 g di farina "00"
* 150 g di zucchero
* 150 g di burro
* 1 uovo
* 1 tuorlo
* 1 limone non trattato
* 1 cucchiaino di lievito per dolci
* 1 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia

per la crema al cioccolato:
*130  g di cioccolato fondente (55% di cacao)
* 100 g di zucchero
*  1 uovo
* 50 ml di panna fresca
* 1 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia

Togliete il burro dal frigo mezz'ora prima, tagliatelo a cubetti e lasciatelo ammorbidire un po'.
Setacciate la farina con il lievito e mescolatela allo zucchero e la scorza grattugiata di limone.
Aggiungete il burro e strofinate con le punte delle dita per ottenere delle briciole piuttosto grossolane.
Sbattete leggermente l'uovo intero con il tuorlo e l'estratto di vaniglia e impastate il tutto per creare una pasta liscia e morbida.
Avvolgetela nella pellicola e lasciate riposare in frigo per almeno 30 minuti.
Nel frattempo preparate la crema. Spezzettate il cioccolato e fatelo sciogliere a bagnomaria o nel forno a microonde e lasciatelo intiepidire.
Montate l'uovo con lo zucchero fino a ottenere un composto spumoso e soffice. Unite la panna e l'estratto di vaniglia. Unite il cioccolato alla crema e mescolate fino a ottenere un composto omogeneo.
Stendete 2/3 della pasta in una sfoglia non troppo sottile e foderate uno stampo da crostata di 24-26 cm di diametro.
Versatevi la crema.
Stendete il resto della pasta e ricavate delle strisce con le quali create la griglia sopra la crema di cioccolato.
Cuocete la torta nel forno già caldo a 160-170°C
Lasciatela raffreddare prima di tagliarla, e servite, a piacere, spolverata con zucchero a velo.

Chocolate pie
Čokoladna pita

za tijesto:
* 250 g brašna
* 150 g šećera
* 150 g maslaca
* 1 jaje
* 1 žumanjak
* 1 neprskani limun
* 1 žličica praška za pecivo
* 1 žličica ekstrakta vanilije

za čokoladnu kremu:
* 130 g tamne čokolade (55% kakaa)
* 100 g šećera
* 1 jaje
* 50 ml svježeg slatkog vrhnja
* 1 žličica ekstrakta vanilije

Izvadite maslac iz hladnjaka barem 1/2 sata ranije, narežite ga na kockice i ostavite da malo odmekne.
Prosijte brašno s praškom za pecivo i pomiješajte zatim sa šećerom i sitno naribanom koricom limuna.
Dodajte maslac i trljajte vršcima prstiju da dobijete krupnije mrvice.
Razmutite malo vilicom jaje sa žumanjkom i ekstraktom vanilije. Dodajte smjesi od brašna i maslaca i brzo zamijesite glatko i mekano tijesto. Omotajte ga prozirnom folijom i ostavite u hladnjaku najmanje 30 minuta.
U međuvremenu pripremite kremu. Nakidajte čokoladu i otopite je na pari ili u mikrovalnoj. Ostavite je da se prohladi.
Umutite mikserom pjenasto jaje sa šećerom. Dodajte vrhnje i ekstrakt vanilije, a zatim i ohlađenu čokoladu. Izmiješajte dobro da dobijete ujednačenu smjesu.
Razvaljajte ne previše tanko 2/3 tijesta i obložite njime kalup promjera 24-26 cm.
Ulijte kremu na tijesto.
Razvaljajte preostalo tijesto i izrežite ga na trake od kojih složite mrežu preko kreme.
Pecite pitu u pećnici zagrijanoj na 160-170°C oko 30 minuta.
Ostavite je da se ohladi i po želji pospite šećerom u prahu prije posluživanja.

Chocolate pie

18 April, 2011

Ice cream season kick off

When I first saw it, I just knew I couldn't go home without it. I grabbed the tiny little jar with the precious green cream inside. My treasure...
So precious I thought I really needed a special occasion to open it, to taste it, to enjoy it.
It's food, of course, I'm talking about. And the green souvenir in question is Pistachio cream that I bought in Sicily last summer.

It took me quite a while though, seven months or so, to decide about the best way to use it and I almost began fearing it would get wasted in the end.
Carefully checked the expiery date... it's near, but there's still time.
Looking through some old copies of Cucina naturale magazine I noticed this Pistachio ice cream, they suggested serving it with fresh cherries, but I couldn't wait for cherries to be in season, so I thought some amarena cherries would be just fine for this time of the year.
Althogh the rest of my family begs for chocolate ice cream every time I take the ice cream maker out (and I have made it several times since I published the recipe here), I decided that the official beginning of the ice cream season should be green-ish.
Now, the sad thing about this whole story is that I don't have any pistachio cream left, and the ice cream is almost gone as well. And if you've never tasted that creamy green goodness, you don't know what you're missing. Apart from everything else that is beautiful about Sicily, I have one more reason to go back, as soon as possible.

I have to say I really liked this recipe as well. Using ricotta cheese instead of heavy cream you get somewhat lighter taste, but still creamy and delicious. It can be used as a base for other flavours as well.  Mind just one thing, it's a rather small quantity, you may want to double it right from the start.

Pistachio ice cream

(for approx. 500 ml)
* 250 ml milk
* 125 g ricotta cheese
* 100 g sugar
* 2 egg yolks
* 1 whole egg
* 1/4 vanilla bean
* 75 g pistachio cream (paste)

Whisk the ricotta until creamy or strain through a fine mash strainer.
Mix it with the milk and put in a medium saucepan, with the vanilla bean cut in half (scrape the seeds first and add them, too).
Stirring continuously on low heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
Whisk together the egg yolks, the whole egg and the sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the pistachio cream as well. Stir in a couple spoonfuls of hot milk, and then pour in the rest in a thin streak whisking the eggs all the time.
Put everything back into the saucepan and cook on low heat, stirring until the custard starts coating the back of the spoon and starts boiling.
Strain the custard through a fine mash sieve (removing thus the vanilla bean as well), and let it cool at room temperature first, and then in the fridge.
Prepare the ice cream in your ice cream machine or simply pour it into an airtight container and freeze until firm.
** Now that I've used up all the Sicilian pistachio cream I'll try making my own pistachio paste. The procedure should be as follows:
Blanch the pistachios in boiling water, drain and remove the skins. Let them dry well and then pure in a food processor or with a stick blender. This way you should get a more intensly tasting pistachio paste than the one I used in this recipe (which was only 50% pistachios)

Gelato ai pistacchi

(per circa 500 ml di gelato)
* 250 ml di latte
* 125 g di ricotta cremosa
* 100 g di zucchero
* 2 tuorli d'uovo
* 1 uovo intero
* 1/4 di bacca di vaniglia
* 75 g di crema di pistacchi

Setacciate o mescolate bene con una frusta la ricotta. Unitela al latte, aggiungete anche la bacca di vaniglia tagliata a metà orizzontalmente e portate lentamente a bollore mescolando.
In una ciotola mescolate i tuorli, l'uovo e lo zucchero. Unite la crema di pistacchi e poi versateci piano il latte caldo, mescolando contemporaneamente con la frusta.
Rimettete il tutto sul fuoco e scaldate mescolando finché la crema avrà raggiunto il bollore e comincia a velare il cucchiaio.
Versate la crema in una ciotola filtrandola attraverso un colino a maglie fitte rimuovendo anche la bacca di vaniglia.
Lasciatela raffreddare prima a temperatura ambiente, e poi in frigo.
Versate la crema fredda nella macchina per il gelato seguendo le istruzioni per il vostro apparecchio.
Se non avete la macchina per il gelato, versatela in un contenitore con coperchio e mettete subito nel freezer, senza il passaggio nel frigo.

Sladoled od pistacija

(za otprilike 500 ml sladoleda)
* 250 ml mlijeka
* 125 g sira ricotte
* 100 g šećera
* 2 žumanjka
* 1 cijelo jaje
* 1/4 mahune vanilije
* 75 g kreme od pistacija

Ispasirajte dobro ocijeđenu ricottu i pomiješajte je s mlijekom. Dodajte uzdužno prerezanu mahunu vanilije.
Stavite na vatru i uz stalno miješanje, na srednjoj do slaboj vatri, pustite da prokuha.
Pomiješajte u zdjeli žumanjke, jaje i šećer, dodajte kremu od pistacija**, a zatim prvo par žlica vrućeg mlijeka, a potom i ostatak sipajući ga u tankom mlazu i polako, i stalno miješajući, da se jaja ne bi zgrušala.
Vratite sve na vatru i kuhajte na laganoj vatri, miješajući dok krema ne prokuha.
Maknite s vatri i prespite u zdjelu, kroz gusto mrežasto cjedilo, i ostavite da se ohladi.
Ako ćete sladolet raditi u stroju za sladoled ostavite ga da se prvo dobro ohladi u hladnjaku par sati a zatim radite po uputama za vaš stroj.
Ako nemate stroj, stavite smjesu u posudu pogodnu za zamrzavanje, s poklopcem, i hladite u zamrzivaču dok se smjesa ne stisne. Promiješajte vilicom svaka dva sata da spriječite nastanak velikih kristala leda.

**Ja sam ovaj put imala gotovu kremu od pistacija pa sam nju koristila. Ako je ne možete nabaviti onda pistacije (očišćene, neposoljene, blanširane) sameljite, a zatim štapnim mikserom ili električnim mlinom za kavu miksajte dok ne dobijete glatku kremu.


13 April, 2011

You can get a pair of pink glasses or make some macarons

Time and I are just not good friends.
If I find time to cook or bake and plus enough time to take a picture or two, then I'm sure I won't have enough time to update my blog as well.
I have so many recipes half written that I can't decide anymore where to start from.
And the change of season has "enriched" us with a handful of some stomach virus, so both my girls fell ill, and getting up at night to clean the mess is not the most pleasant job in the world.

Yellow macarons with White chocolate and citrus ganache

Well, instead of buying a pair pink glasses to see the world in brighter colours, I decided to bake a batch of colourful macarons to cheer them and myself up.
Forgive me for not bringing the recipe today, hopefully I will when the emergency has calmed down, I just wanted to share a few photos today.

Macarons with Dark chocolate ganache

Considering this is my first time ever making macarons, I can say I'm beyond happy and satisfied. Can't wait to explore new possibilities and varieties.

Orange macarons with Caramel sauce

Pink macarons with White chocolate and strawberry ganache

Have a nice day  ^__^