30 September, 2011

Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

When it comes to food I'm probably more curious than in any other field.
Therefore, when I see a recipe like this, without a single ingredient of animal origin, even though I'm not vegan, curiousity pushes me to give it a try.
I'm not used to baking without eggs and the result, I must say, is different than in traditional baking. This cake has a totally different texture. It is dense and full of flavour coming from all the great ingredients put together. Being sweetened with malt, it is also not as sweet as it is case when using sugar.
Particular taste comes from using carrob powder, and I really like that taste. It reminds me of my childhood, when we used to eat carrob pods right off the tree. If you don't know anything about carob, check this article,  it's an interesting and healthy ingredient to introduce into your diet, occasionally or as a substitute for chocolate.
And then the addition of dried prunes and fresh blueberries, probably the best part. My only regret is not having fresh figs, to serve with this dessert as the original recipe suggested, but this year they were such a rare sight where I live.
If I decide to make this again, I think that adding one egg would move it one step up on my scale of liking.
However it was pretty good and it was nice to try something new.
I made this cake two weeks ago while my parent-in-law were visiting. After they left, my husband said his mother appreciated this cake a lot. Since I never saw her eating a single piece, I'm still trying to figure out wheter she ate it while I wasn't around or he's teasing me as he usually does when it comes to "the strange stuff I make". To be clear, for my husband, "strange stuff" is anything, from fresh herbs to really uncommon ingredients.

Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares
(recipe from Cucina naturale magazine, Sept. 2011)

* 100 g whole wheat flour
* 100 g AP flour
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 50 g carob powder
* 200 g rice malt syrup (or other cereals malt syrup)
* 140 ml vegetable oil
* 140 ml pineapple or orange juice
* 50 g fresh blueberries
* 50 g dried prunes

Sift the two flours, the carob powder and baking powder together and place in a mixing bowl.
Put the fruit juice, the oil and the malt syrup in another bowl and whisk until blended well.
Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Add the blueberries cut in half and the chopped dried prunes.
Prepare a 20x30 cm baking pan - brush it with oil and dust with flour, or simply line with a piece of baking paper.
Pour in the batter and bake the cake for about 20 minutes in the oven preheted to 180°C.
Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack.
Cut into 12 squares and serve.

Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

The original recipe suggests to serve these squares with fresh figs on top, dusted with cinnamon and roasted in a hot oven for 7-8 minutes. Unfortunately, I didn't have any, but I'm sure they would be a great addition.


Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

Dolce con carruba e mirtilli
(da Cucina naturale, sett. 2011)


* 100 g farina integrale
* 100 g farina bianca
* 1 bustina di lievito per dolci (o cremortartaro + un pizzico di bicarbonato)
* 50 g polvere di carruba
* 200 g malto di riso (o di altri cereali)
* 140 ml olio
* 140 ml suco di ananas o di arancia
* 50 g di mirtilli freschi
* 50 g prugne secche


Setacciate le due farine con il lievito e la polvere di carruba.
In un'altra ciotola mescolate il succo, l'olio e il malto usando una frusta.
Versate gli ingredienti umidi su quelli secchi e amalgamate bene i due composti.
Unite i mirtilli tagliati a metà e le prugne secche tagliate a pezzettini.
Versate il composto in una teglia da 20x30 cm,  oliata e infarinata, e infornate il dolce per circa 20 minuti a 180°C.
Lasciatelo raffreddare e poi tagliatelo in circa 12 quadrati.
La ricetta originale suggerisce di servire questo dolce con dei fichi freschi, spolverati con la cannella e infornati a 180°C per circa 8-10 minuti. Io, purtroppo, non sono riuscita a trovare neanche un fico quando mi serviva, però sono sicura che ci starebbe proprio bene.




Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

Osim rogača i borovnica u ovom su kolaču našle mjesto i suhe šljive, pa prilažem još jedan recept ovomjesečnom krugu igre Ajme koliko nas je, i šaljem ga našoj domaćici Snježani s bloga Vrtaljica koja je odabrala kao temu šljive.


Kolač s rogačem i borovnicama
(recept iz časopisa Cucina naturale)


* 100 g integralnog brašna
* 100 g bijelog brašna
* 1 vrećica praška za pecivo
* 50 g rogača u prahu (carob powder)
* 200 g rižinog slada (ili ječmenog i sl.)
* 140 ml ulja
* 140 ml soka od ananasa ili naranče
* 50 g svježih borovnica
* 50 g suhih šljiva


Prosijte skupa brašna, rogač i prašak za pecivo.
U drugu zdjelu stavite sok, ulje i slad. Dobro izmiješajte pjenjačom.
Sipajte smjesu mokrih sastojaka u zdjelu s brašnom i dobro izmiješajte da se sve sjedini.
Umiješajte nasjeckane suhe šljive i borovnice prerezane na pola.
Sipajte smjesu u nauljen i pobrašnjen pleh (ili obložen papirom za pečenje) promjera 20x30 cm.
Pecite kolač u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C oko 20 minuta.
Ohlađen kolač izrežite na kocke.


U originalnom receptu prijedlog je da se ovaj kolač posluži uz smokve posute cimetom i zapečene 8-10 minuta na 180°C (tj. da se na svaku kocku stavi jedna smokva), ali ja ih nisam imala.
Recept je iz časopisa Cucina naturale.

Carob and Blueberry Vegan Squares

28 September, 2011

Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes

Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes

Thanks God, the car was repaired only last week and I was supposed to be "safe", seing that I'll have be alone for most of the week. The morning rush, dropping one kid at the elementary school, then running in the opposite direction to drop the other one at the kindergarten. The translation I still haven't finished has a deadline by 11 am, but I can make it, there's still two hours left and I'm almooooooooost done! Wait a minute!! Why's the steering wheel so hard to turn? No, no, no, it can't be!!! It can't be broken again!!!! And instead, it is. It's a miracle I managed to arrive home safe, managed to avoid a few cars turning left and right at the crossroads, but you have no idea what an effort. Those three crossroads were like a workout in the gym. The car is safely parked in the backyard now. The translation completed and sent on time. Damages still unknown, but our dear, old car is about to retire, definitely.
And the week's not over yet. Could the beginning of a new school year not be marked with a little fever, cold,  running noses. Of course not. My little patient at least isn't very demanding. A hug, a kiss, an opportunity to fall asleep over my knees, to feel loved and protected. Some things in life are so simple.
And simple is usually the best at the same time.
Just like these cute little tartelettes. A few simple ingredients in a delicious and delicate combination of cheese and vegetables. A delicate note of fresh basil, it just adds that fresh summery flavor and smell. And luckily, dreary autumn weather seems to be still far.
A fair pay for the trouble of the day? It might be  ^__^


Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes


Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes

* 1 sheet of paté brisée (230 g)
* 150 g ricotta
* 1 medium sized potato
* 1 leek
* 1 egg
* 150 g green beans
* 2 TBspoons grated parmigiano cheese
* a small bunch of fresh basil leaves
* extra virgin olive oil
* salt, pepper

Wash the green beans, cut off the edges, and cut them into small pieces. Boil them for 2-3 minutes in slightly salted water. Drain them and put into a bowl with ice and water so that they keep their nice green colour.
Wash the potato well and put it unpeeled in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes. Peel it and mash using a potato ricer.
In the meantime, while the potato is being cooked, clean and slice the leek. Put it in a skillet with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, and cook for about 15 minutes on low heat stirring often.
Put the ricotta cheese and the egg in a bowl. Whisk them together.
Stir in the mashed potatoes, well drained green beans and the leeks. Add the chopped basil leaves and if necessary a little more salt and pepper to your taste.
Cut the pastry sheet into four circles big enough to line four 12-centimeter tart pans and press them in to cover the bottom and the sides.
Divide the filling between the four shells.
Bake the tartelettes for about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C.
Remove them from the pans and serve warm.


Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes


Tartelette con fagiolini e ricotta


* 1 confezione di pasta brisée pronta (230 g)
* 150 g ricotta
* 1 patata media
* 1 porro
* 1 uovo
* 150 g fagiolini
* 2 cucchiai di parmigiano grattugiato
* una manciata di foglie di basilico fresco
* olio extra vergine d'oliva
* sale, pepe


Lavate e spuntate i fagiolini, tagliateli a rondelline e lessatele per 2-3 minuti in acqua bollente salata. Scolatele e disponetele in una ciotola con acqua e ghiaccio perché mantengano un colore vivace.
Lavate bene la patata senza sbucciarla e lessatela per circa 30 minuti dall'ebollizione. Scolatela, sbucciatela e passatela ancora calda allo schiacciapatate.
Pulite il porro, tagliatelo a rondelle sottili e soffriggetelo a fuoco basso in una padella con un filo d'olio e un pizzico di sale per circa 15 minuti. Se necessario, aggiungete qualche cucchiaio d'acqua bollente.
Mescolate in una ciotola l'uovo con la ricotta, parmigiano, sale e pepe. Unite i fagiolini, il puré di patata, il porro e il basilico fresco spezzettato con le mani.
Stendete la pasta e ritagliate quattro pezzi abbastanza grandi da rivestire stampini da tartelette da 12 cm. Punzecchiate il fondo con una forchetta.
Riempite i gusci con il composto e cuocete le tartelette in forno a 180°C per circa 20 minuti.
Sformatele e decoratele con il basilico fresco. Servitele calde o tiepide.



Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes


Tartelete s mahunama i ricottom


* 1 pakiranje paste brisée (230 g)
* 150 g ricotte
* 1 krumpir
* 1 poriluk
* 1 jaje
* 150 g zelenih mahuna
* 2 žlice naribanog parmezana
* svježi bosiljak
* maslinovo ulje
* sol, papar


Operite mahune, odrežite im vrhove, nasjeckajte ih sitnije i stavite ih kuhati 2-3 minute u posoljenu, ključalu vodu.
Ocijedite ih i odmah stavite u zdjelu s hladnom vodom i ledom da zadrže lijepu zelenu boju.
Krumpir (neoguljen) dobro operite. Stavite ga u posudu s hladnom vodom i stavite kuhati - 30 minuta od početka ključanja.
Ocijedite krumpir, ogulite ga i protisnite kroz tijesak za krumpir ili zgnječite gnječilicom za pire.
Dok se krumpir kuha, očistite poriluk, nasjeckajte ga na tanke kolutiće i pirjajte u tavi s malo maslinovog ulja i prstohvat soli, na tihoj vatri 15-ak minuta, dok ne omekša. Ako je potrebno, dodajte malo tople vode.
Izmiješajte u zdjeli ricottu s jajetom i parmezanom.
Umiješajte pire od krumpira, dobro ocijeđene mahune i poriluk, i rukama nakidane listiće bosiljka.
Pripremite 4 kalupića za tartelete.
Tanko razvaljano tijesto narežite na krugove i obložite kalupiće (dno i stranice). Izbodite dno vilicom.
Napunite tartelete nadjevom i stavite ih peći u pećnicu zagrijanu na 180°C oko 20 minuta.
Izvadite ih iz kalupa i ukrasite listićima bosiljka.


* Po želji možete dodati i kockice pancette u nadjev. Popržite je u tavi na malo ulja, a onda dodajte poriluk i dalje napravite kako je gore opisano.
**Moji kalupići su promjera 12 cm.

Green Beans and Ricotta Tartelettes

24 September, 2011

Plum and Mint Jam

xDSC_1412

The autumn has officially arrived and I haven't posted but one jam recipe I've made during the summer. So I thought I might add at least one more to the list. Plum jam.
It's never actually been my favourite one. I always preferred strawberry to any other, but tastes change and I've been trying to expand my views as well.
 I've been enjoying tasting new combinations all summer. From plain strawberry one, to Peach and raspbery jam (with rosemary scent), or you might remember Cherry and cinnamon jam I published a couple months ago, also Apricot and lavender and Fig and bay leaf combination.
As you can notice I like adding a spice or a fresh herb to give a kick to a particular fruit I choose.
Plums went into the jar with some fresh mint scent, but they'd also be great with ginger.
I pretty much stick to this method, using natural pectin present in lemon skins and seeds, and the result is always perfect. Fruit is cooked relatively shortly (15 minutes in all) so it maintains pretty much of its taste, and no artificial stuff is necessary.
Now I'm starting to enjoy the summer flavours I've imprisioned in these jars.
See you soon, I have some baking to do. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Plum and Mint Jam

Plum and Mint Jam

* 650 g plums (pulp)
* 300 g sugar
* 1 big lemon
* 1 twig of fresh mint (about 10 cm)
* 1/2 vanilla bean

Peel and stone the plums. Chop the pulp and place it in a bowl. Add the sugar, stir well, cover and refrigirate for 12 hours to macerate. Stir a couple times at regular intervals.
After 12 hours, strain the fruit through a sieve to separate the juice from the pulp.

Plum and Mint Jam

Put the juice alone in a pot, add the scraped vanilla seeds and cook for about 20 minutes or until it starts caramelizing (it should reach the consistency of a dense syrup).
In the meantime, prepare a piece of clean (new) cheesecloth.
Peel the outer yellow zest from the lemons (if your lemons are organic use them for other preparations, otherwise discard) and squeeze the juice.
Put the empty lemon halves, all the seeds you found inside, the mint twig and the empty vanilla bean on the cheesecloth. Bring the ends together and tie to form a little bundle.

Plum and Mint Jam

When the juice has turned into syrup, add the fruit pulp, the lemon juice and the aromatic bundle to the pot.
Cook everything together for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Plum and Mint Jam

Remove the bundle with lemon skins and mint. Squeeze it as well as you can (I suggest using the potato ricer, the easiest and best way).
Plum and Mint Jam

 Cook the jam for 5 more minutes and then pour it into warm, sterilized jars. If you prefer smoother jam, mix it shortly with an emersion blender before pouring into jars.

Plum and Mint Jam

You may also add a mint leaf in every jar before closing tightly with a lid. Turn the jars upside down and let them cool in this position before storing them in a cool and dry place.

To sterilize jars, I put carefully washed and dried jars into a cold oven and then turn it on to 110°C. Leave it at this temperature until the jam is ready. I always use new lids and sterilize them as well.


Plum and Mint Jam

Confettura di susine e menta


* 650 g di susine (polpa)
* 300 g di zucchero
* 1 limone grande
* 1 rametto di menta fresca (10 cm)
* 1/2 bacca di vaniglia


Sbucciate le susine e togliete i noccioli. Tagliate la polpa a pezzettini e mescolatela in un contenitore con lo zucchero. Coprite e lasciate macerare in frigorifero per 12 ore. Mescolate un paio di volte a intervalli regolari.
Passato questo tempo versate le susine in un colino per separare il succo dalla polpa.
Mettete il succo in una pentola. Aggiungete i semi di vaniglia e portate a ebollizione. Cuocetelo per circa 20 minuti, o finché inizia a caramellarsi.
Nel frattempo, togliete la buccia gialla del limone e spremete il succo conservando i semi.
Mettete le metà del limone vuote su un pezzo di garza pulita insieme ai semi, rametto di menta e la bacca di vaniglia svuotata dai semi.
Legate con un pezzo di spago per formare un fagottino.
Aggiungete la polpa di susine, il succo di limone e il fagottino con bucce di limone nella pentola. Cuocete per 10 minuti tutto insieme, mescolando ogni tanto.
Poi togliete il fagottino con i limoni e strizzatelo bene (il modo più facile per farlo è usare uno schiacciapatate).
Lasciate cuocere per altri 5 minuti. Se preferite la confettura liscia, senza pezzettini di frutta, prima di versarla nei vasetti frullatela un po' con un frullatore a immersione.
Versate la confettura nei vasetti caldi e sterilizzati. Chiudeteli bene e capovolgeteli. Lasciateli raffreddare in questa posizione prima di metterli via.


Per sterilizzare i vasetti, lavateli bene, asciugateli e metteteli nel forno freddo. Accendete poi il forno e portatelo a 110°C. Lasciate i vasetti nel forno acceso finché non siete pronti a versare la confettura. Non dimenticate di sterilizzare anche i coperchi.


Plum and Mint Jam

Mislim da sam preskočila već nekoliko krugova blogerske igrice Ajme koliko nas je. Uvijek kaskam i svađam se s vremenom, pa mi se dogodi da ili pripremim nešto sa zadanom namirnicom a ne uspijem to napisati i objaviti, ili uopće ne stignem pripremiti. I tako propustim vlak. Ovaj put sam unaprijed kupila kartu. Pekmez pripremljen od ružičastih stolnih šljiva prije par mjeseci. Kao da sam znala da će prije ili kasnije tema igrice postati šljive, i jesu, po želji rujanske domaćice Snježane s blog Vrtaljica


Pekmez od šljiva s mentom


* 650 g šljiva (oguljene, bez koštica)
* 300 g šećera
* 1 veliki limun
* 1 grančica mente (10 cm)
* 1/2 mahune vanilije


Šljive nakon što ste ih ogulili i izvadili im koštice, narežite na komadiće i stavite u zdjelu.
Dodajte šećer, promiješajte, poklopite i ostavite u hladnjaku 12 sati.
Promiješajte barem 2-3 puta tijekom tog vremena.
Uz pomoć cjedila odvojite komadiće voća od soka.
Stavite kuhati sok zajedno za sastruganim sjemenkama mahune vanilije, otprilike 20 minuta - sok će se polako zgusnuti i pretvoriti u sirup.
Dok se sok kuha, ogulite limun (odstranite mu žutu koricu) i iscijedite sok.
U čisti komad gaze stavite iscijeđene polovice limuna i njegove sjemenke, grančicu mente i praznu mahunu vanilije. Zavežite komadićem kuhinjske špage da dobijete zavežljajčić.
Dodajte komadiće voća, sok limuna i mirisni zavežljajčić u posudu s pomalo karameliziranim sirupom.
Kuhajte 10 minuta, povremeno miješajući.
Izvadite zavežljajčić s koricama limuna i dobro ga ocijedite (stavite ga u cjedilo i snažno pritisnite ili koristite tijesak za krumpir).
Kuhajte pekmez još pet minuta pa maknite s vatre.
Ako volite da je pekmez bez komadića voća, izmiksajte ga štapnim mikserom, a zatim sipajte u zagrijane, sterilizirane staklenke.
Po želji dodajte listić mente u svaku staklenku, a zatim ih zatvorite, okrenite na poklopac i ostavite da se ohlade.


Steriliziranje staklenki: dobro oprane i posušene staklenke stavite u hladnu pećnicu. Uključite pećnicu na 110°C i držite ih u tim uvjetima dok pekmez nije kuhan.
Poklopce steriliziram tako da ih potopim u rakiju ili alkohol.

Plum and Mint Jam

19 September, 2011

Caramel Madeleines

Caramel Madeleines

No, I'm definitely not in search of lost time, but in search of a nice simple dessert, always.
And that's what madeleines are for me. A perfect little piece of sweetness, soft and with that slight, slight hint of chewiness. Me and my daughter almost had a fight for the last one. And had to make another batch almost immediately.
Moreover, we both love caramel flavour, and making caramel for madeleins was almost a cheap excuse to make a batch of caramel ice cream, too.
And time, even if it's not lost, is flying. School started today (and it was about time, I'd say), and kids are so excited, but it evokes a kind of melancholic feeling to see them grow so quickly.


Caramel Madeleines



Caramel Madeleines

* 1 egg
* 50 g sugar
* 1 honey
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 TBspoons caramel sauce
* 55 g melted butter
* 60 g flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Beat well the egg, sugar, honey and the vanilla extract, using an electric mixer.
Add the caramel sauce.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and add it one spoon at a time mixing at low speed.
Add the melted and cooled butter pouring it slowly into the batter.
Cover the mixing bowl and put it in the fridge for the batter to cool for 1 hour (you may even prepare it ahead and leave in the fridge overnight). The passage from the fridge to the hot oven will cause a shock and the formation of the hump characteristic in madeleines.
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 220°C. Grease and flour the 12-madeleine pan (or 15-mini madeleine pan).
Spoon the batter into the pan (it will level on its own, just don't overfill the holes).

Caramel Madeleines

Bake them for about 7 minutes. Take the pans out of the oven and gently remove the madeleines from the pan.
Serve them with a cup of your favourite tea.

Caramel Madeleines

I have to admit that the silicon madeleine pans I have are not so perfect, and it is absolutely necessary to grease and flour them well or everything sticks inside, but they're the only ones I've managed to find so far.


Caramel Madeleines


Madeleines al caramello


* 1 uovo
* 50 g zucchero
* 1 cucchiaio di miele
* 1/2 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia
* 2 cucchiai di salsa al caramello
* 55 g burro fuso
* 60 g farina
* 1/2 cucchiaino di lievito in polvere (per dolci)


Sbattete l'uovo con lo zucchero, il miele e l'estratto di vaniglia.
Unite il caramello.
Setacciate la farina con il lievito e aggiungetela un cucchiaio alla volta continuando a sbattere a velocità bassa.
Fate sciogliere e raffreddare il burro poi versatelo a filo nel composto.
Coprite il composto e lasciatelo in frigo per 1 ora (o anche tutta la notte).
Quando siete pronti per cuocere le madeleines, accendete il forno a 220°C.
Imburrate e infarinate lo stampo per madeleines (il mio è in silicone ma bisogna imburrarlo e infarinarlo bene lo stesso, altrimenti rimane tutto attaccato dentro).
Cuocetele per circa 7 minuti. Sfornate e togliete dallo stampo. 
Questi dolcetti sono migliori appena fatti, serviti con una tazza di tè.

Caramel Madeleines


Madeleines s karamelom


* 1 jaje
* 50 g šećera
* 1 žlica meda
* 1/2 žličice ekstrakta vanilije
* 2 žlice karamel umaka
* 55 g otopljenog maslaca
* 60 g brašna
* 1/2 žličice praška za pecivo


Umutite mikserom jaje sa šećerom, medom i ekstraktom vanilije.
Umiješajte karamel umak.
I dalje muteći dodajte žlicu po žlicu brašno prosijano s praškom za pecivo.
Dodajte maslac, koji ste prethodno otopili i malo prohladili, sipajući ga u tankom mlazu ili žlicu po žlicu, i dalje muteći mikserom na srednjoj brzini.
Pokrijte zdjelu s tijestom i ostavite u hladnjaku 1 sat.
Zagrijte pećnicu na 220°C.
Kalup za madeleines namažite maslacem i pobrašnite.
Stavljajte tijesto žličicom u kalup (nemojte kalupe prepuniti i nije potrebno tijesto poravnavati).
Pecite ih 7 minuta u zagrijanoj pećnici.

Caramel Madeleines

09 September, 2011

Jamie's Homemade Ketchup

Homemade ketchup

When life gives you tomatoes, make some tomato ketchup...  even if you are not crazy about it... you might change your opinion.
That's what happened to me. Apart from peppers, I also had tons of tomatoes this summer and had to (still have to) use them in some way. I grew my own cherry tomatoes, and my father had me bring back from Bosnia lots of those big juicy ones that you can see in the picture bellow.
Looking through Jamie Oliver's book, Jamie at home, I came upon the recipe for homemade ketchup, and it didn't take me long to start making it.
It really isn't that much work, and the result is excellent. Nothing to do with store bought ketchup, neither in terms of taste or consistency. The colour will also depend a lot on the type of tomatoes used.
Definitely recommend to try making it yourself. I only made very slight changes (you can see my note below).

Homemade ketchup


Homemade Ketchup
by Jamie Oliver (from Jamie at home)

ingredients for approx. 500 ml of ketchup:
* 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
* 1/2 bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
* 1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
* Olive oil
* thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
* 1/2 a fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
* bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
* 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
* 2 cloves
* sea salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound (1/2 kg) amazing cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 1 pound (1/2 kg) canned plum tomatoes, chopped or 2 pounds yellow, orange or green tomatoes, chopped
* 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup soft brown sugar

* I used combination of fresh and canned  tomatoes
** I also halved the quantity of vinegar and sugar

Place all the vegetables in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a big splash of olive oil and the ginger, garlic, chili, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.

Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.

Add the basil leaves, then whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice, to make it smooth and shiny. Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.

Spoon the ketchup through a sterilized funnel into sterilized bottles, then seal tightly and place in a cool dark place or the refrigerator until needed - it should keep for 6 months.



Homemade ketchup


Ketchup fatto in casa
(di Jamie Oliver, La mia cucina naturale)

Per circa 500 ml di salsa:
* 1 cipolla rossa, tritata grossolanamente
* 1/2 finocchio, mondato e tritato grossolanamente
* 1 costa di sedano, tritata grossolanamente
* olio extra vergine d'oliva
* 1 pezzo di zenzero fresco grande come un pollice, pelato e tritato grossolanamente
* 2 spicchi d'aglio, pelati e affettati
* 1/2 peperoncino rosso fresco, senza semi, tritato finemente
* 1 mazzetto di basilico fresco
* 1 cucchiaio di semi di coriandolo
* 2 chiodi di garofano
* 1 cucchiaino di pepe nero appena macinato
* sale marino
* 1 kg di pomodori *
* 200 ml di aceto di vino rosso **
* 70 g di zucchero di canna  **

* Potete usare 1/2 kg di ottimi pomodorini o pomodori san marzano (tagliati a metà) + 500 g di pelati
oppure 1 kg di pomodori gialli, arancioni o verdi, tritati
** Ho dimezzato la quantità sia d'aceto che di zucchero.

Mettete la cipolla, il finocchio e il sedano in una pentola dal fondo spesso, con un bel po' di olio (io messo circa 3-4 cucchiai), lo zenzero, l'aglio, peperoncino, i gambi del basilico  (mettete le foglie da parte), i semi di coriandolo  e i chiodi di garofano. Condite con il pepe (io ho messo molto meno di un cucchiaino) e sale.
Cuocete a fuoco dolce per 10-15 minuti finché le verdure si saranno ammorbidite, mescolando di tanto in tanto.
Aggiungete tutti i pomodori e 350 ml d'acqua fredda. Portate a ebollizione e fate andare la salsa pian pianino finché si sarà ridotta  della metà.
Aggiungete le foglie di basilico, poi frullate il tutto e filtratelo due volte in modo da ottenere una salsa liscia e vellutata.
Versatela nella pentola pulita e aggiungete l'aceto e lo zucchero. Rimetetela sul fuoco e fatela sobbollire dolcemente finché avrà la consistenza del ketchup. A questo punto aggiustate di sale e pepe secondo i vostri gusti.
Servendovi di un imbuto sterilizzato, versate il ketchup in bottiglie sterilizzate, sigilatele e conservatele in luogo fresco e buio, oppure in frigorifero, fino al momento di utilizzarlo. Dovrebbe durare sei mesi.

Io sterilizzo sempre i vasetti e i coperchi nel forno scaldandoli a 110°C.



Homemade ketchup


Domaći ketchup
(recept Jamieja Olivera, iz knjige Jamie at home)

za otprilike 500 ml salse:
* 1 glavica crvenog luka
* 1/2 komorača
* 1 stapka celera
* ekstra djevičansko maslinovo ulje
* komadić svježeg đumbira (veličine palca)
* 2 češnjabijelog luka 1/2 svježe crvene ljute papričice (bez sjemenki) svežnjić bosiljka
* 1 žlica sjemenki korijandera
* 2 klinčića
* 1 žličica svježe mljevenog crnog papra
* 1 kg rajčica *
* 200 ml crvenog vinskog octa **
* 70 g smeđeg šećera **

* Možete koristiti 500 g kvalitetnih cherry ili San Marzano rajčica (prerežite ih na pola) + 500 g pelata iz konzerve
ili
1 kg žutih, zelenih ili narančastih rajčica
** Ja sam upolovila količinu octa (nisam imala crveni nego bijeli vinski ocat), kao i šećera.

Povrće (luk, komorač i celer) očistite i krupno nasjeckajte.
Stavite u veću posudu s debelim dnom, dodajte podosta ulja (ja sam stavila oko 3-4 žlice), dodajte usitnjeni češnjak, nasjeckani đumbir, sitno nasjeckanu ljutu papričicu, stapke bosiljka (odvojite listove, njih ćete dodati kasnije), sjemenke korijandera i klinčiće.
Posolite i popaprite (ja nisam dodala baš žličicu papra, dozirajte prema svom ukusu).
Kuhajte na laganoj vatri 10-15 minuta da povrće odmekne. S vremena na vrijeme promiješajte.
Dodajte sve rajčice (ako koristite pelate, nasjeckajte ih, svježe samo prerežite na pola) i 350 ml hladne vode.
Pustite da provrije, a zatim kuhajte na laganoj vatri dok se smjesa ne upolovi.
Na samom kraju dodajte listove bosiljka.
Izmiksajte sve u blenderu ili multipraktiku.
Propasirajte salsu dva puta da bi na kraju bila glatka i baršunasta (ja sam procijedila kroz mrežasto cjedilo - prvi put s malo većim rupicama, a drugi put kroz skroz gusto).
Uspite salsu u čisti lonac, dodajte šećer i ocat i kuhajte na laganoj vatri opet dok salsa ne dobije gustoću ketchupa.
Kušajte i po potrebi i ukusu dosolite i popaprite.
Uz pomoć lijevka sipajte vruć ketchup u tople, sterilizirane flaše ili teglice.
Dobro zatvorite i čuvajte na hladnom i tamnom mjestu ili u hladnjaku. Rok trajanja mu je oko 6 mjeseci.
Flaše i/ili teglice steriliziram uvijek tako što ih pažljivo oprane i osušene stavim u hladnu pećnicu koju zatim uključim na 110°C i održavam ih na toj temperaturi dok ketchup (ili što god drugo pripremam) nije gotov.

Homemade ketchup

07 September, 2011

Peach Ice Cream

Grilled Peaches Ice Cream

My youngest daughter said today she doesn't want to grow up. She wants to stay 4 forever.
Trying to make her picture her birthday cake next year with five candles instead of four didn't help.
She said she refuses to grow up.
I asked her why, I wanted to know what is it about being four that she likes so much. And she said, "Because girls who are four are good and do what their moms say."
Cute... but knowing that she said this only because she had every intention of leaving her lunch half eaten.
However, there's at least one thing this little 4-year-old monkey will never leave on her plate, or shall I rather say bowl. Ice cream, of course.
And if you didn't know, "4-year-old girls can drive cars, finally". So much about not wanting to grow up.
Whether you'd like to be four forever or there's no way back, you might still enjoy some ice cream with some of the last peaches this year, delicately scented with vanilla and rosemary.


Grilled Peaches Ice Cream


Peach Ice Cream

* 3 peaches or nectarines (or mixed)
* 2 TBspoons sugar
* 1/2 vanilla bean
* 1 rosemary twig
* 2 TBspoons honey  - I used rosemary honey from Sardinia
* 250 ml heavy cream
* 200 g sweetened condensed milk
*100 g thick yogurt
* 1 lemon (juice only)


Turn your oven on with the broiler function on.
Wash and dry the peaches. Cut them in half and remove stones.
Place the peaches on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cut side up.
Mix the sugar with the scraped vanilla seeds and sprinkle the peaches.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves over them, place the empty vanilla bean halves among the peaches, and put them in the hot oven, 10 minutes.
Let them cool a little bit and then remove the skins, discard the rosemary leaves and the vanilla bean (*). Pureé or just mash 4 peach halves and dice the remaining two.
Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sweetened condensed milk, the yogurt and the lemon juice. Mix well and then stir in the peaches both the pureéd and the chopped ones.
Cover and chill in the fridge for a couple hours.
Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker and then freeze to the end in the freezer, or just pour into a container adapt for freezing and freeze, stirring it a couple times during the first two hours to avoid large ice crystals.


(*) Don't throw away the used vanilla bean - add it to a container with caster or powdered sugar and you'll have yourself wonderful homemade vanilla sugar, or add it to the bottle of vanilla extract to continue feeding it


Grilled Peaches Ice Cream



Gelato alle pesche


* 3 pesche o pesche noci
* 2 cucchiai di zucchero
* 1/2 baccello di vaniglia
* 1 rametto di rosmarino
* 2 cucchiai di miele  *  - ho usato il miele al rosmarino
* 250 ml panna fresca
* 200 g latte condensato zuccherato
*100 g yogurt denso (tipo greco)
* succo di 1 limone


Lavate e asciugate le pesche. Tagliatele a metà e togliete i noccioli. 
Mettete le pesche in una teglia ricoperta con carta da forno, con il lato tagliato verso l'alto.
Mescolate lo zucchero con i semi di vaniglia e cospargete le pesche. Aggiungete le foglioline di rosmarino e il baccello vuoto di vaniglia.
Infornate nel forno caldo sotto il grill per circa 10 minuti.
Lasciatele intiepidire un po' e poi togliete le bucce, togliete anche il rosmarino e il baccello di vaniglia. Frullate o schiacciate 4 metà, e tagliate a dadini le due rimaste. Aggiungete il miele alle pesche.
Montate leggermente la panna. Aggiungete il latte condensato, lo yogurt e il succo di limone. Mescolate bene e poi unite anche tutte le pesche.
Lasciate la crema preparata in frigo per un paio d'ore e poi versatela nella gelatiera oppure congelatela direttamente nel freezer.


(*) Non buttate il baccello vuoto. Aggiungetelo al contenitore con lo zucchero e avrete dopo una settimana lo zucchero vanigliato fatto in casa, oppure unitelo agli altri nella botiglia con l'estratto di vaniglia.
Grilled Peaches Ice Cream


Sladoled od bresaka


* 3 breskve ili nektarine
* 2 žlicešećera
* 1/2 mahune vanilije
* 1 grančica ružmarina
* 2 žlice meda (koristila sam med od ružmarina)
* 250 ml slatkog vrhnja (svježeg, nezaslađenog)
* 200 g zaslađenog kondenziranog mlijeka
*100 g čvrstog jogurta
* 1 limun (iscijeđeni sok)


Breskve operite, posušite i prerežite na pola.
Izvadite im koštice i stavite ih na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje, s prerezanom stranom prema gore.
Razrežite 1/2 mahune vanilije na pola po dužini pa tupom stranom noža sastružite sjemenke i pomiješajte ih sa šećerom.
Pospite polovice bresaka šećerom.
Stavite uz breskve prazne polovice mahune vanilije i grančicu ružmarina pa ih stavite u zagrijanu pećnicu pod gril 10 minuta.
Ostavite breskve da se malo ohlade. Skinite im kožicu. Uklonite listiće ružmarina i mahunu vanilije (*).
Dvije cijele breskve (tj. 4 polovice) izmiksajte štapnim mikserom ili ih dobro izgnječite vilicom. Dodajte im med i dobro izmiješajte.
Treću breskvu (tj. preostale 2 polovice) samo nasjeckajte na kockice.
Umutite dobro ohlađeno slatko vrhnje u mekani šlag.
Dodajte kondenzirano mlijeko, jogurt i sok limuna.
Umiješajte breskve (pire i kockice) i ostavite nekoliko sati u hladnjaku.
Ohlađenu smjesu sipajte u stroj sladoled ili izravno u posudu pogodnu za zamrzavanje.
Prije posluživanja sladoled ostavite 10-ak minuta na sobnoj temperaturi, ili u hladnjaku.


(*) Praznu mahunu vanilije nikad ne bacajte. Stavite li je u kutiju s kristal šećerom ili šećerom u prahu dobit ćete domaći (prirodni) vanilin šećer. Ili ako ste se odvažili na pripremu domaćeg ekstrakta vanilije, dodajte mahunu u bocu s ekstraktom.

05 September, 2011

Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa

Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa

"The Incas, who held it to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or 'mother of all grains', and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using 'golden implements'...
In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source, unusual among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest." (source, Wikipedia)

Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa

Apart from these nutricional facts, I've really began to like it's taste. Light and fluffy, with slightly nutty taste.
In this recipe it is shaped into cute croquettes with cheese in the center and combined with a delicious salsa I prepared with peppers I brought from Bosnia, the last stop during this summer's vacation. Those peppers smell and taste totally differently from the ones usually available at the market. Travelling back 800 km with this strong smell in the car was fun and I joked that we would arrive home drugged (luckily no one stopped us when crossing the borders.
I try to avoid fried food, but this recipe was well worth breaking this rule. Once in a while, rules have to broken, don't they?



Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa
(from Cucina Naturale magazine)

(4 servings)
* 2 big red bell peppers
* 1 ripe tomato
* 1/2 onion
* 1/2 fresh hot peperoncino
* 10 fresh basil leaves
* 150 g quinoa
* 3 slices of day-old bread
* 2 eggs
* 80 g Provolone cheese
* 2 TBspoons grated Parmigiano cheese
* parsley
* 2-3 marjoram twigs
* a little milk
* salt, pepper, nutmeg
* flour and breadcrumbs
* extra virgin olive oil

Salsa:
Chop the peppers and cook them in a skillet with 2 TBspoons of olive il and finely chopped hot pepper on medium-high heat.
Cut the tomato in half and grate it into the skillet with the peppers removing the skin (use the graters with big holes).
Salt to your taste and add the basil leaves. Cover, lower the heat and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Puree the vegetables using a food mill. If the salsa is too liquid, put it back to heat until it reaches a desired thickness.
Croquettes:
Cut off the crust from the bread slices and chop them roughly. Put them in a bowl and add a little milk, enough to moisten the bread evenly.
While the bread is soaking, cook the quinoa - rinse it well and cook in 350 ml lightly salted water for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the bread well with your hands and crumble finely. Add the cooked quinoa, the grated Parmigiano, the finely chopped parsley and marjoram leaves, a pinch of grated nutmeg, 1 egg, salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well and, if necessary add a little breadcrumbs to get a compact mixture you can shape into balls (I didn't need any, however).
Cut the cheese into cubes (the recipe calls for Provola cheese, but you can use any semi hard cheese if Provola is not available).
Shape the quinoa mixture into balls and put a cheese cube in the middle of each one.
Flour each ball first, then dip into a lightly beaten egg, and finally roll into breadcrumbs.
Fry the croquettes in deep hot oil, and leave on several layers of kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil (I normally use olive oil for frying, or eventually peanut oil).
Serve the warm croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa.




Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa

Crocchette di quinoa con salsa di pepperoni rossi
(da Cucina naturale, luglio-agosto 2011)

(per 4 persone):
* 2 peperoni rossi grandi
* 1 pomodoro maturo
* 1/2 cipolla rossa
* 1/2 pepperoncino fresco
* 10 foglioline di basilico
* 150 g quinoa
* 3 fette di pane raffermo
* 2 uova
* 80 g Provola
* 2 cucchiai di parmigiano grattugiato
* 1 mazzetto di prezzemolo
* 2-3 rametti di maggiorana fresca
* un po' di latte
* sale, pepe, noce moscata
* farina e pangrattato (per impanare)
* olio extra vergine d'oliva

Tagliate a striscioline i peperoni e meteteli a cuocere  a fiamma vivace in padella con la cipolla finemente affettata, il peperoncino e 2 cucchiai d'olio.
Tagliate a metà il pomodoro e grattugiatelo sui peperoni con una grattugia a fori larghi, scartando le bucce.
Salate, aggiungete le foglie di basilico e proseguite la cottura con coperchio per 8-10 minuti.
Passate il tutto al passaverdura. Se la salsa è troppo fluida, fatela restringere su fuoco per pochi minuti.
Alla fine controllate il sale e pepate.

Eliminate la crosta dalle fette di pane, spezzetatelo grossolanamente e in una ciotola copritelo col latte.
Lessate la quinoa con 350 ml d'acqua poco salata per almeno 10 minuti.
Strizzate bene il pane e sbricciolatelo finemente. Unitevi la quinoa cotta, il parmigiano, il prezzemolo e la maggiorana tritati, una presa di noce moscata, un uovo, sale e pepe.
Se necessario, aggiungete un po' di pangrattato per avere una consistenza compatta.
Formate delle crocchette tonde e inserite al centro i cubetti di provola.
Passatele prima nella farina, poi nel uovo battuto e infine nel pangrattato.
Friggetele nel olio ben caldo finché non risulteranno croccanti e dorate.
Scolatele su carta assorbente.
Servite insieme alla salsa di peperoni.



Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa


Kroketi od quinoe uz salsu od paprika
(iz časopisa Cucina naturale)

(za 4 osobe):
* 2 velike crvene paprike
* 1 zrela rajčica
* 1/2 glavice crvenog luka
* 1/2 svježe ljute papričice
* 10-ak listića bosiljka
* 150 gquinoe
* 3 kriške starog kruha
* 2 jaja
* 80 g Provole (ili sličnog, polutvrdog sira)
* 2 žlice naribanog parmezana
* svežnjić peršina
* 2-3 grančice svježeg mažurana
* malo mlijeka
* sol, papar, muškatni oraščić
* brašno i mrvice (za paniranje)
* djevičansko maslinovo ulje

 Paprike narežite na prutiće i pirjajte ih na jačoj vatri s 2 žlice maslinovog ulja, sitno nasjeckanim crvenim lukom i ljutom papričicom (ako ne volite pikantno, možete je i izostaviti).
Prerežite rajčicu na pola pa je naribajte u tavu s paprikama (koristite ribež za jabuke, onaj s velikim rupicama), odstranite kožicu. Posolite, dodajte listiće bosiljka, poklopite pa dalje kuhajte na tihoj vatri oko 7-8 minuta. Propasirajte salsu na pasirku za povrće, ako je previše rijetka vratite na vatru da se zgusne. Dosolite ako je potrebno i popaprite po ukusu.
Kriškama kruha odrežite koricu, a sredinu nakidajte i prelijte s malo mlijeka.
Skuhajte quinou u 350 ml malo posoljene vode, 10-ak minuta. Pazite pred kraj jer će quinoa upiti svu tekućinu. Dobro ocijedite kruh i sitno ga izmrvite. Dodajte quinou, parmezan, sitno nasjeckane listiće peršina i mažurana, malo naribanog muškatnog oraščića, 1 jaje, posolite i popaprite.
Sve dobro izmiješajte i ako je neophodno dodajte krušnih mrvica toliko da smjesa bude kompaktna.
Provolu (sir) narežite na kockice. Od smjese od quinoe oblikujte loptice i u sredinu svake utisnite kockicu sira. Kuglice prvo uvaljajte u brašno, zatim u jaje i na kraju u mrvice. Pržite ih u dobro zagrijanom ulju dok nisu zlatne boje i krokantne. Izvadite ih na nekoliko slojeva kuhinjskog papira da se ocijedi višak masnoće. Poslužite krokete uz salsu od paprike.

Quinoa Croquettes with Red Peppers Salsa