22 March, 2013

Hibiscus Flower Ice Cream


Pink Stracciatella - or Hibiscus Flower Ice cream bit chocolate bits

If my kids ever get tired of eating ice cream, it will be a sign there's something wrong.
And if they ever move from the classical flavours like chocolate and vanilla it will be kind of success
for me. So far I've been trying and trying, but enjoying new flavours on my own.
And yet, I thought that a pink coloured ice cream (naturally pink, of course) with tiny bits of crunchy chocolate would appeal to them. Wrong.
What matters is that spring seems to have arrived, not only according to the calendar. At least here.
Two days alredy with sun and more than pleasant 16°C. First flowers coming out fast all over the lawns. Kind of makes me feel better.
So, Hello spring!
Can I offer you a bowl of this delicious, pink ice cream? Don't tell me you're on diet  ^__^


Chocolate sauce


Hibiscus Flower Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits
(aka Pink Stracciatella)

* 4 dried hibiscus flowers
* 250 ml whole milk
* 250 ml heavy cream
* 100 g sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 50 g sweetened condensed milk
* 1 TBspoon Cointreaua
* 70 g semisweet chocolate

Mix the milk and the cream in a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the dried hibiscus flowers, let simmer fot 1 minute, then remove from heat, cover and let infuse for 30 minutes.
Filter the infusion to separate the flowers (squeeze the flowers well). Bring the milk/cream mixture to a boil again.
In the meantime whisk the egg yolks and the sugar in a bowl. Add the hot milk, slowly and carefully, whisking the yolks all the time to prevent them from curdling.
Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook on low heat stirring constantly until the custard starts coating the back of the spoon or reaches 80-82°C.
Remove from heat immediately and pour the custard into a clean bowl placed in a slightly bigger one filled with cold water and ice.
Let the custard cool down to room temperature stirring it every now and then.
When the custard's cold, stir in the liquor and the condensed milk.
*Condensed milk may be omitted but I've noticed it makes ice creams creamier and it gets less hard once you freeze it. However, if you'd like to add it but also want less sweet ice cream or with the more pronounced  note from hibiscus flowers, reduce the sugar in custard.
Transfer the custard into the fridge for at least 4 hours, still better ovenight.
When the custard is well chilled pour it into your ice cream maker and churn according to the instructions.
In the meantime, melt the chocolate. When the ice cream is ready, with the machine still on, add the melted chocolate pouring it in a thin streak. The chocolate will harden immediately in contact with ice cream and break into small crunchy pieces.
Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for a couple hours before serving.
Serve this ice cream plain or with chocolate sauce.



Pink Stracciatella - or Hibiscus Flower Ice cream bit chocolate bits


Gelato ai fiori di Karkadé (Ibisco)
(Stracciatella rosa)

* 4 cucchiai di fiori di karkadé secchi
* 250 ml latte intero
* 250 ml panna fresca
* 100 g zucchero
* 4 tuorli
* 50 g latte condensato zuccherato
* 1 cucchiaio di Cointreau o un'altro liquore all'arancia
* 70 g cioccolato fondente

Mettete la panna e il latte in un pentolino e portate a ebollizione. Aggiungete i fiori secchi di karkadé, abbassate il fuoco al minimo e lasciate sobbollire per  circa 1 minuto. Spegnete il fuoco e lasciate i fiori in infusione per 1/2 ora.
Filtrate il latte spremendo bene i fiori per far uscire più liquido possibile. Rimettete il latte sul fuoco e portatelo di nuovo a ebollizione.
Mescolate bene con una frusta a mano i tuorli con lo zucchero.
Quando il latte e di nuovo caldissimo aggiungetelo con molta attenzione ai tuorli versandolo a filo e mescolando i tuorli contemporaneamente.
Rimettete adesso tutto nel pentolino e sul fuoco. Cuocete la crema a fuoco dolce mescolando sempre finché non inizi a velare il cucchiaio o raggiunge la temperatura di 80-82°C.
Trasferitela subito in una ciotola pulita messa in una più grande contenente acqua fredda e ghiaccio.
Lasciate raffreddare la crema a temperatura ambiente, mescolandola ogni tanto.
Unite poi il liquore e il latte condensato, e trasferitela in frigo per almeno 4 ore, ancora meglio tutta la notte.
*Potete anche omettere il latte condensato, ma ho notato che rende il gelato più cremoso e successivamente meno duro quando congelato. Se volete il gelato meno dolce o vi piace sentire di più la nota acidula dei fiori di karkadé, ma volete aggiungere il latte condensato zuccherato, potete ridurre la quantità di zucchero nella crema.
Una volta ben raffreddata, versate la crema nella gelatiera e preparate il gelato secondo le istruzioni.
Nel frattempo spezzettate il cioccolato e fatelo sciogliere nel forno a microonde o a bagnomaria. 
Quando il gelato è pronto, senza spegnere la gelatiera, versate piano il cioccolato. Al contatto con il gelato freddo il cioccolato si indurisce subito e diventa croccantissimo. 
Trasferite il gelato in un contenitore adatto al freezer e congelatelo per un paio d'ore prima di servirlo.



Pink Stracciatella - or Hibiscus Flower Ice cream bit chocolate bits


Sladoled s cvjetovima hibiskusa
(ili Ružičasta stracciatella)

* 4 žlice suhih cvjetova hibiskusa (za čaj)
* 250 ml punomasnog mlijeka
* 250 ml slatkog vrhnja
* 100 g šećera
* 4 žumanjka
* 50 g zaslađenog kondenziranog mlijeka
* 1 žlica Cointreaua
* 70 g tamne čokolade

Stavite zagrijavati vrhnje i mlijeko. Kad prokuhaju, dodajte cvjetove hibiskusa, smanjite vatru na najnižu i ostavite da lagano kuha oko 1 minutu. Maknite s vatre, poklopite i ostavite da stoji 1/2 sata (povremeno promiješajte).
Nakon pola sata procijedite kroz gusto mrežasto cjedilo i dobro pritisnite cvjetove da iscijedite što više tekućine iz njih. Dobit ćete mješavinu mlijeka i vrhnja prekrasne ružičaste boje.
Stavite je da se opet zagrije do vrenja.
U međuvremenu pomiješajte u zdjeli žumanjke sa šećerom - ja ih samo dobro izmiješam pjenjačom.
Kad je vrhnje vruće dodajte ga postepeno u zdjelu sa žumanjcima, prvo žlicu po žlicu, a zatim ostatak u tankom mlazu, istovremeno miješajući smjesu pjenjačom da vam se jaja ne bi zgrušala.
Vratite sve u lonac i stavite kuhati na laganoj vatri dok se krema sasvim lagano ne zgusne, tj. da lagano pokriva poleđinu žlice kojom miješate ili ako imate termometar za hranu dok ne dostigne 80-82°C. Miješajte kremu cijelo vrijeme jer se jaja za čas zgrušaju ostavite li ih da se sama kuhaju ili ako ih previše zagrijete.
Gotovu kremu odmah ulijte u čistu zdjelu koju ste stavili u ledenu kupelj (malo veću zdjelu koju ste napunili hladnom vodom i ledom.
Povremeno promiješajte i ostavite da se potpuno ohladi na sobnoj temperaturi.
U potpuno hladnu kremu dodajte Cointreau (može i neki drugi liker na bazi naranče) i kondenzirano mlijeko. * kondenzirano mlijeko možete i izostaviti, ali iz mog iskustva vidjela sam da čini sladolede puno kremastijim i manje se stvrdnu kad stoje u zamrzivaču. Ako volite manje slatko, ili želite da se više osjeti kiselkasta nota cvjetova hibiskusa, a želite ipak dodati kondenzirano mlijeko, smanjite količinu šećera u kremi.
Poklopite posudu s kremom i stavite u hladnjak da se dobro ohladi, 3-4 sata, a još bolje preko noći.
Nakon što je krema odstajala i dobro se ohladila sipajte je u stroj za sladoled i pripremite sladoled prema uputama.
Dok se sladoled priprema, nasjeckajte čokoladu i otopite je u mikrovalnoj ili na pari.
Kad je sladoled već gotov, tj. dosta je gust i hladan, sipajte polako otopljenu čokoladu u tankom mlazu dok je stroj još u pokretu. Čokolada će se u dodiru s ledenom smjesom odmah stisnuti i dobit ćete prekrasno krckave komadiće čokolade. Premjestite odmah sladoled u posudu pogodnu za zamrzavanje i stavite u zamrzivač na par sati da se potpuno stisne. Ako vam sladoled stoji duže vremena u zamrzivaču, prije posluživanja ostavite ga oko pola sata u hladnjaku ili 10-15 minuta na sobnoj temperaturi.
*Ako nemate stroj za sladoled, kremu premjestite izravno iz hladnjaka u zamrzivač. Promiješajte je svakih 1/2 sata do sat tijekom prva 2-3 sata. Kad se sladoled malo stisnuo, dodajte čokoladu kao što je opisano gore (zamolite nekoga da vam miješa sladoled dok sipate čokoladu i tako vam glumi stroj za sladoled :D ).
Uživajte u ledenoj slastici.

Hibiscus flowers

18 March, 2013

Pork Medallions with balsamic vinegar

Pork Medalions with Balsamic Glaze


Two is a company, three is a crowd.
"Mom, could we spend some time together, but alone (ok, taking F. / the baby brother/ with us)? You know just to do things alone, you and me, like girls do - go shopping, go to the hairdresser's, have an ice cream or something like that?"
You'd think that the arrival of a new baby in a family would simply create a conflict towards the last one to arrive. Instead my two daughters seem to be both in love with their baby brother, but are rather jealous of each other.
The older one wants some time alone with me, without younger sister, the younger one doesn't want to go to preschool any more so she could be with her baby brother all the time.
I took them out for dinner yesterday, girls-alone, and we left our two boys at home watching football and drinking beer, free to make all the noises they wanted  ^__^ And, alone, they seemed to get along quite well. The girls I mean. The little guy was, of course, all thrilled to spend an evening with his father alone.
If I wanted I could apply the first sentence above to our dinners,  and I could not agree more. There are days when each and every member of my family expresses a different request for dinner. My answer is usually, OK, wait a second, guys, I'll just go out for a minute, open a restaurant and then come back to take your orders!!!
I can manage up to two different dinners, but more than that only if you want a sandwich (unless I forgot to make/buy bread ).
I thought that going with this tender and delicious cut of meat I could satisfy everyone's taste, but, hey! there's someone here who doesn't like their meat to be "so tender".
No matter what you do, you can never please everyone. But those of us who chose to enjoy their meal, got up with happy tummy after dinner.
It was also a week I enjoyed red radicchio a lot, in different dishes, like risotto, ravioli, etc. I just love it. That slightly bitter taste is simply great, especially when paired with Balsamic vinegar.

Now, for those of you who don't live in Modena or in Italy, anyway, you may not know the difference between the Balsamic vinegar of Modena and the Traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena. The first type is the so called "commercial type", industrially produced balsamic vinegar, more or less available everywhere, at quite reasonable price.  And if you check the label you'll discover it's made from wine vinegar, cooked must and coloured with caramel, plus you may find other things added, too.  The traditional balsamic vinegar is different. Really different. The production starts with the cooked must to which some old balsamic vinegar is added and that's how the whole fermentation process starts and ends. Nothing else is added. The consistency, colour and thickness will change with aging - the older it is, the darker and more dense it gets.  Pay attention, no wine, vinegar or caramel is added. That's what you have to read on a label if buying a bottle of real Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
For this dish I used some "normal", industrial vinegar for cooking, but added some aged, dense vinegar later for serving, adding some balsamic glaze (sauce) to the meat as well.


Grilled Red Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar

Pork Medallions with Balsamic Vinegar

Medallions:
* 500-600 g pork tenderloin
* 2 TBspoons butter (or 1 TBspoon butter and 1 TBspoon EVOO)
* 2 TBspoons balsamic vinegar
* salt and pepper
*  flour
* Balsamic glaze or traditional (aged) balsamic vinegar (for serving)

Grilled red radicchio:
* 2 heads of red radicchio 
* extra virgin olive oil
* salt
* balsamic vinegar
* a few slices of pancetta (optional)

Slice the pork loin into 1,5 - 2 cm thick slices.
Season them with a little salt and pepper e flour on both sides shaking off the excess flour.

           Pork Medalions with Balsamic Glaze  Pork Medalions with Balsamic Glaze

Warm up the butter (or butter and oil) in a large enough skillet to place all the meat in one layer and cook the meat on both sides until slightly golden.
Add the Balsamic vinegar and cook on low heat until the vinegar has evaporated.
Be careful not to overcook the meat or it will turn dry.
Just a few seconds before removing from heat add some finely chopped chive or parsley.
Serve immediately with a few drops of aged, traditional Balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze sauce and salad as a side,  or try some grilled red radicchio as I did.

Clean the red radicchio and cut it in half or four. Season with salt and a little olive oil.
Preaheat the grilling pan and grill the red radicchio on all sides on medium heat, until it's got the grilling marks and has softened a little bit.
Remove from the pan, slice and season with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
If you like, toast some pancetta in a dry skillet until crunchy. Chop it and add it over the sliced and seasoned red radicchio.


Pork Medalions with Balsamic Glaze


Medaglioni di filetto di maiale con aceto balsamico


Medaglioni:
* 500-600 g di filetto di maiale
* 2 cucchiai di burro (o 1 di burro e 1 di olio EVO)
* 2 cucchiai di aceto balsamico
* sale e pepe
*  un po di farina per infarinare
* glassa al aceto balsamico o aceto balsamico tradizionale (per servire)

Radicchio rosso grigliato
* 2 radicchi rossi (tondi o lunghi)
* olio extra vergine d'oliva
* sale
* aceto balsamico
* un po' di pancetta 

Tagliate il filetto a fettine larghe 1,5-2 cm.
Condite le fettine con sale e pepe e infarinatele bene, scuotendo la farina in eccesso.
Scaldate il burro (o burro e olio) in una padella abbastanza larga per contenere tutte le fettine di carne e rosolatevi la carne su tutti e due lati.
Aggiungete l'aceto e cuocete sul fuoco dolce finché non sarà evaporato. Non cuocete troppo la carne per non farla diventare secca. 
Poco prima di togliere la carne dalla padella aggiungete un po' di erba cipollina o prezzemolo tritati.
Servite i medaglioni subito, con un filo di aceto balsamico tradizionale o la glassa al balsamico pronta.
Servite con un insalatina oppure con il radicchio grigliato.

Per il radicchio grigliato:
Pulite il radicchio dalle foglie brutte esterne e tagliatelo a metà o in quattro. Condite dal lato tagliato con sale e olio.
Grigliatelo su una piastra ben calda su tutti i lati.
Trasferitelo sul piatto, affettatelo e condite con l'olio e aceto balsamico.
Se vi piace, tostate qualche fettina di pancetta in una padella senza aggiungere grassi, fino a farla diventare croccante. Sbriciolatela sul radicchio affettato e condito.


Pork Medalions with Balsamic Glaze


Svinjski medaljoni s balzamičnim octom

Medaljoni
* 500-600 g lungića
* 2 žlice maslaca (ili 1 žlica maslaca i 1 žlica ulja)
* 2 žlice balzamičnog octa
* sol i papar
*  brašno
* umak od balzamika ili tradicionalni balzamični ocat za posluživanje

Crveni radič s grila
* 2 glavice crvenog radiča (okruglog ili duguljastog)
* maslinovo ulje
* sol
* balzamični ocat
* (dodatak) pancetta

Lungić narežite na komade debljine 1,5 do 2 cm.
Malo ih posolite i popaprite, pa uvaljajte u brašno.
Zagrijte maslac u tavi i popržite kratko medaljone s obje strane.
Dodajte balzamični ocat i pričekajte da ispari.
Nemojte prepeći meso jer će postati suho. U svakom slučaju stupanj pečenosti prilagodite svojem ukusu.
Par trenutaka prije nego ćete meso izvaditi iz tave dodajte sitno nasjeckan vlasac ili peršin.
Poslužite medaljone odmah dok su topli uz par kapi gustog, tradicionalnog balzamičnog octa ili glazuru od balzamika (gotovi umak na bazi balzamičnog octa).

Radič očistite od vanjskih listova. Operite ga, posušite i narežite na pola ili na četiri dijela (ovisno koliko su velike glavice.
Malo nauljite i ostavite da odstoji par minuta.
Zagrijte gril tavu i stavite peći polovice/četvrtine radiča, prvo stavite prerezanu stranu na tavu.
Potpecite tako sa svih strana. Premjestite na tanjur, posolite, polijte s malo maslinovog ulja i balzamičnog octa.
Ovako pripremljenom radiču možete dodati i hrskavo prepečenu pancettu - stavite tanke kriške na suhu tavu bez dodavanja masnoće i pecite s obje strane dok nije hrskava, krokantna, a zatim nakidajte na komadiće i dodajte narezanom i začinjenom radiču.

Pork Medalions with Balsamic Glaze

07 March, 2013

Gift box cookies


Gift cookies

These cookies are so cute and festive, that I wanted to make the minute I saw them. For Christmas, that is to say. But didn't think my oven would be so disobedient to break during the Christmas baking week.
Postponed but not forgotten.
My older daughter's birthday party was just the right occasion and finally, here they are.
Hope you give them a try, don't wait for a big occasion, every day we live is a gift. And sometimes it's better to leave it unwrapped.



Gift box cookies
(original recipe here)

White dough:
* 100 g butter
 * 100 g sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 260 g flour
Dark dough:
* 100 g butter
* 100 g sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 245 g flour
* 15 g unsweetened cocoa

Prepare the two doughs separately.
Mix the butter and sugar with the vanilla extract until creamy.
Add the egg, and in the end the sifted flour (flour + cocoa for the dark dough).
Bring everything together to form smooth and soft dough.
Wrap each dough separately in a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Roll the chilled white dough out with a rolling pin to 1 cm thick.
Cut it into 2 cm large strips.
Roll the dark dough out to 5 mm thick and cut it into 2 cm large strips.
Sandwich 2 white strips with a dark one in the middle.
Cut the thus obtained sandwich in half lenghtwise and insert another dark strip horizontaly in between joining the two halfs again.

Gift cookies  Gift cookies  Gift cookies  Gift cookies
Gift cookies  Gift cookies

You may do the same thing inverting the dark and the white dough to get the opposite contrast.
Save some dark and/or white dough to make bows on top.
Wrap the logs in a piece of plastic wrap and chill well in the fridge.
Slice the logs into 1 cm thick pieces and place them on a baking tray just slightly apart.
Cut some of the leftover dough into little squares and then cut each diagonally into triangles. Put two triangles on top of each cookie to form a bow on your gift box.
Bake the cookies in an oven preheated to 180°C for about 15 minutes or until the edges are just lightly golden.


Gift cookies


Biscottini regalo

Pasta chiara;
* 100 g burro
 * 100 g zucchero
* 1 uovo
* 1/2 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia
* 260 g farina
Pasta scura:
* 100 g burro
 * 100 g zucchero
* 1 uovo
* 1/2 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia
* 245 g farina
* 15 g di cacao amaro

Preparate i due impasti separatamente procedendo nello stesso modo:
Lavora il burro a temperatura ambiente con lo zucchero e l'estratto di vaniglia.
Unite prima l'uovo e poi la farina setacciata (la farina + il cacao per l'impasto scuro).
Avvolgete i due impasto con un po' di pellicola alimentare e lasciate riposare in frigo per 1 oretta.
Stendete l'impasto chiara ad uno spessore di 1 cm e tagliatelo in strisce larghe 2 cm.
Stendete l'impasto scuro ad uno spessore di 5 mm e tagliatelo in strisce larghe 2 cm.
Posate una striscia scura su una chiara e coprite con un'altra striscia chiara creando un sandwich.
Tagliate a metà nel senso di lunghezza e inserite in mezzo, orizzontalmente, un'altra striscia di pasta scura ricomponendo i due lati tagliati.
Avvolgete questi "tronchetti" nella pellicola e lasciateli raffreddare bene in frigo, un ora circa.
Con un coltello tagliate i tronchetti a fettine spesse 1 cm e sistematele su una placca da forno.

Gift cookies


Keksići poklončići

Svijetlo tijesto:
* 100 g maslaca
 * 100 g šećera
* 1 jaje
* 1/2 žličice ekstrakta vanilije
* 260 g brašna
Tamno tijesto:
* 100 g maslaca
* 100 g šećera
* 1 jaje
* 1/2 žličice ekstrakta vanilije
* 245 g brašna
* 15 g gorkog kakaa

Pripremite odvojeno svijetlo i tamno tijesto:
Izradite omekšali maslac sa šećerom i vanilijom da bude kremast (mikserom ili drvenom kuhačom).
Umiješajte jaje, i na kraju brašno (brašno i kakao za tamno tijesto).
Omotajte oba tijesta prozirnom folijom i ostavite oko 1 sat u hladnjaku.
Razvaljajte svijetlo tijesto na 1 cm debljine.
Izrežite ga na trake širine 2 cm.
Razvaljajte tamno tijesto na 5 mm. Izrežite trake iste širine kao svijetlo tijesto.
Napravite sendviče svijetlo tijesto-tamno tijesto-svijetlo tijesto
Dobivenu troslojnu traku prerežite na pola po dužini.
Umetnite vertikalno još jednu tamnu traku i spojite sa strana prerezano tijesto.
Omotajte prozirnom folijom svaku tako dobivenu traku i stavite u hladnjak na sat vremena.
* Možete slagati i obrnuto tijesta ako želite na primjer tamne "paketiće" sa svijetlom trakom.

Ohlađeno tijesto narežite na ploškice debljine oko 1 cm i složite ih na pleh (ne morate ih previše razmicati jer neće posebno narasti ni širiti se).
Od viška tijesta (tamnog za svijetle kekse, svijetlog za tamne kekse) izrežite kockice koje prerežite dijagonalno na trokutiće i stavite po dva na svaki keks tako da izgleda kao mašnica.
Pecite kekse na 180°C 15-ak minuta ili dok rubovi samo lagano ne porumene.
napomena: dok tijesto valjate nemojte ga previše brašniti (najbolje je razvaljati ga između dva komada papira za pečenje) jer vam onda slojevi neće htjeti prioniti jedan za drugi. Ako eventualno imate problema, premažite tijesto malo navlaženim kistom da se bolje zalijepi.