31 May, 2013

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and fresh fruit

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and strawberries

I often hear people say they don't have breakfast either because they don't have time or because they can't force themselves to eat anything early in the morning.
For me neither time nor lack of appetite in the morning are a question. Five minutes can be sufficient to sit down, but if I have half an hour, I'll enjoy it from the first to the last minute, too. In fact, it is rather common thing to see me sitting at the kitchen table with my coffee and breakfast, on lazy weekend mornings, enjoying my breakfast slowly, starting much before my husband enters, swallows his latte macchiato and a couple cookies, and still sitting there long after he's moved on. I just love those moments. I enjoy breakfast more than other meals.
Lack of appetite? I don't even know what that is!!! Even if I get up at 5 am I can't do anything until I've had my breakfast first.

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and cherries

Now, what to eat for breakfast is such a diverse concept from country to country.
And it is probably the meal that has undergone major change since I moved to Italy.
My mother always prepared us savory breakfasts. Meat in some form was often a guest at our breakfast table. And it's actually the part I never really enjoyed. I always prefered all sorts of other things, from eggs, patès, vegetables, and God knows what else that used to sit on our breakfast table. And we used to have breakfast all together like at all other meals.
In Italy, the concept of breakfast as such, I've seen only in the TV commercials. At least it's how it works in my family. Everybody gets up at different moments, and have breakfast when and how they like, if having any. Nobody prepares really breakfast.  A pot of coffee and whatever you grab on the go, a cookie, a slice of bread, or a cake, or a crostata, cereals, a brioche or croissant.  Notice the difference? Only sweet stuff. Well that's Mediterranean breakfast style, as opposed to Continental one, as they call it here.
And it's also how things you eat are perceived. I remember when I just moved here, and prepared French toast once. Everybody was looking at me as if I were an alien. You eat such heavy, caloric stuff?!? Yea, and I enjoy them, too. But, is your croissant filled with pastry cream or Nutella really so much lighter than my French toast? And healthier?  I don't know...
But, fine, let's forget about philosofic matters and let's just grab something that I'm sure none of you would refuse neither at breakfast nor as a dessert at the end of a meal. Actually, I might have this for lunch as well...
It's good, it's healthy, it's light. Everyone satisfied?
Just grab your fork and be my guests. Strawberry season is almost over, but there's lots more juicy fruit coming in.

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and strawberries

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and fresh fruit
(from Cucina naturale magazine)

for pancakes:
* 2 eggs
* 2 TBspoons sugar
* 50 g wheat flour
* 75 g rye flour
* 250 ml milk
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* a little salt

* 250 g ricotta cheese
* 1/2 lemon (organic)
* 3 TBspoons powdered sugar
* 250 g fresh fruit (strawberries, cherries, peaches, etc.)

Put the eggs in a mixing bowl, add a little salt and whisk a little bit. Add both flours sifted together, and then sugar and cinnamon. Add the milk pouring it slowly while whisking to get smooth batter.
Let the batter rest for 1 hour.
Warm up a skillet that you lightly oiled first.
Stir the batter well and then pour a little at a time into a warm skillet forming 10 cm round pancakes. Cook them until golden underneath, flip and cook on the other side, too. Move them on a plate once they're done.
For the filling, wash the lemon and grate the zest first and sqeeze the juice next.
Wash, dry and cut the fruit into small pieces.
Whisk the ricotta cheese with sugar, lemon zest and juice until creamy. Mix in the chopped fruit.
Assemble little pancake cakes with three pancakes and ricotta fruit filling in between. Decorate with more fresh fruit or chocolate sauce ot whatever you like.

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and strawberries

Pancakes con farina di segale alla frutta e ricotta
(da Cucina naturale)

per i pancake:
* 2 uova
* 2 cucchiai di zucchero
* 50 g di farina di grano
* 75 g di farina di segale
* 250 ml di latte
* 1 cucchiaino di cannella in polvere
* un po' di sale

per il ripieno:
* 250 g di ricotta
* 1/2 limone non trattato
* 3 cucchiai di zucchero in polvere
* 250 g di frutta fresca (fragole, ciliegie, pesche, ecc.)

Mescolate le uova con il sale in una ciotola sbattendole leggermente con una frusta a mano. Aggiungete le due farine precedentemente mescolate e setacciate, e poi lo zuccher, la cannella e alla fine versateci piano il latte mescolando poi con la frusta per ottenere una pastella liscia senza grumi.
Lasciate riposare la pastella per 1 ora.
Scaldate una padella leggermente oleata.
Versateci un po' di impasto nella padella calda formando dei piccoli pancakes da 10 cm di diametro. Quando sono dorate sotto, giratele e cuocetele anche dal altro lato.Una volta cotte, trasferitele su un piatto.
Per il ripieno, lavate e asciugate il limone. Grattugiatene la scorza e poi spremete il succo.
Lavate e asciugate la frutta e poi tagliatela a pezzettini.
Mescolate bene la ricotta con lo zucchero, la scorza e succo di limone, fino a ottenere una crema.. Unite la frutta tagliata..
Formate piccole torrette con tre pancakes e aggiungete il ripieno tra due strati.
Decorate con la frutta fresca e a piacere servite con la salsa al cioccolato.

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and cherries

Ražene palačinke s ricottom i voćem
(iz časopisa Cucina naturale)

za palačinke:
* 2jaja
* 2 žlice šećera
* 50 g pšeničnog brašna (bijelog)
* 75 g raženog brašna
* 250 ml mlijeka
* 1 žličica cimeta
* malo soli
* ulje za pečenje

* 250 g sira ricotte
* 1/2limuna
* 3 žlice šećera u prahu
* 250 g voća (jagoda, trešanja, bresaka, itd.)

Razmutite jaja s malo soli, u zdjeli pjenjačom, dodajte oba brašna prosijana skupa, a zatim šećer, cimet i polako dodajite mlijeko da se ne stvore grudice.
Ostavite tijesto da odmori 1 sat.
Zagrijte malo nauljenu tavu.
Promiješajte tijesto pa stavljajte žlicom ili manjom grabilicom na vruću tavu tako da dobijete deblje palačinkice promjera oko 10 cm. Okrenite ih i zapecite i s druge strane, a zatim vadite na tanjur.
Za nadjev, operite i posušite (neprskani) limun. Naribajte koricu 1/2 limuna i iscijedite sok.
Voće operite, posušite i narežite na kockice.
Pomiješajte dobro ricottu sa šećerom, koricom i sokom limuna da postane kremasta. Umiješajte nasjeckano voće.
Napravite tortice od 3 palačinkice - na svaku stavite dio pripremljene kreme od ricotte i voća.
Ukrasite komadićima voća.

Rye flour pancakes with ricotta and strawberries

20 May, 2013

Summer Style Pasta e Fagioli

Summer Pasta and Fagioli

Spring, summer, they both seem to be so far, unreachable... after all this rain, I'm thinking summer this year might have gone on a looooooooong vacation, somewhere else. No, no, no, I'm not complaining... at least not too much, because then it might hit again like last year and that wouldn't be nice either.
Summer is not only the hot weather, summer for me is, first of all, variety of colourful food on the table. Salads, light pasta dishes, quick and easy meat or fish dishes. And always, lots of veggies.
Therefore, a classical dish from Italian cousine, Pasta e fagioli, must lighten up as well.

Summer Pasta and Fagioli

Otherwise, just thinking of a heavy soup would put you off. Instead, this version (vegetarian) is perfect for summer as well.
I particularly like preparing it during late spring and throughout summer when fresh borlotti beans are available. They are more tender, and need less time to be cooked, don't need to be soaked overnight. And also because I can't resist the beautiful colour of their pods. And the beans as well, although they loose their colour when cooked.
So forget about pancetta, but enjoy every spoonful of this delicious soup.
You could also cut one step, that is to say, add the tomatoes directly to the pot with the beans and vegetables, but trust me, roasted tomatoes add much more flavour, so I never skip that part.
To be honest, I prepare Pasta e fagioli this way all year round, because once the fresh beans are not available any more, stores carry the frozen ones that are equally good. And sometimes I sub the beans with the chickpeas.
You might add some other summer veggies, too, like bell peppers, and to get most of the flavour, roast them in the oven first, just like the tomatoes, cut into smaller pieces, with herbs and olive oil.

                                  Fresh Borlotti Beans Fresh Borlotti Beans

Summer Pasta and Fagioli (Pasta with beans)

* 300 g fresh borlotti beans (or frozen)
* 1 potato
* 1 onion
* 1 carrot
* 1 stalk of cellery
* 1 clove of garlic
* 1 bay leaf
* extra virgin olive oil
* 150 g small size pasta (e.g. ditalini)
* about 15 cherry tomatoes

Remove the beans from the pods (if using frozen ones, no need to thaw them) and put them in a pot. Add the chopped potato, carrot, cellery and onion, as well as garlic clove and bay leaf. Add about 1,5 liters water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to meadium and cook covered for about 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Add salt and pepper to your taste, but only towards the end.
In the meantime, cut the tomatoes in half and put them on a baking tin, cut side up. Salt and sprinkle with herbs (thyme, basil, herbs of Provance, or whatever you prefer), drizzle with olive oil and roast them in the oven preheated to 200°C for about 20 minutes.
Take them out of the oven, and when they've cooled a little peel the skin and chop them. Add the tomatoes to the soup.
When the beans are cooked, remove the bay leaf, and pass about half  of the beans and vegetables through a food mill (no blender or food processor).  Put them back to the pot with the whole beans.
Add the pasta you cooked al dente in another pot, cook everything together shortly and it's ready to be served. This dish can be served hot, warm or cold. It can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, but add the pasta only when ready to serve.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to each plate.

Summer Pasta and Fagioli

Pasta e fagioli estiva

* 300 g fagioli borlotti freschi o surgelati
* 1 patata
* 1 cipolla
* 1 carota
* 1 gambo di sedano
* 1 spicchio d'aglio
* 1 foglia di alloro
* olio extra vergine d'oliva
* 150 g pasta corta (per esempio ditalini)
* circa 15 pomodorini 

Sgranate i fagioli e metteteli in una pentola, aggiungendo la carota, la patata, la cipolla e il sedano tagliati grossolanamente, l'aglio e l'alloro. Versate nella pentola circa 1,5 l di acqua e 2 cucchiai di olio EVO.
Portate a bollore, e continuate a cuocere coperto a fuoco medio per circa un'ora. Salate e pepate verso fine cottura.
Nel frattempo tagliate i pomodorini a metà e sistemateli su una placca da forno con il lato tagliato verso l'alto. Salateli e cospargete con delle erbe fresche o secche (timo, basilico, erbe di Provenza...), irrorate con un po' di olio e infornate per 20 minuti a 200°C. Toglietele dal forno, aspettate che si raffreddino un po' e poi pelatele e tagliate a pezzettini. 
Aggiungete i pomodori alla zuppa. 
Quando i fagioli sono cotti, prelevatene circa metà (insieme alle verdure), togliendo prima l'alloro, e passateli al passaverdure. Rimettete i fagioli passati nella pentola, aggiungete la pasta cotta a parte, lasciate insaporire tutto per un paio di minuti.
Potete servirla calda, tiepida o anche fredda. La zuppa da sola (senza pasta) può essere conservata in frigorifero.
Nel momento di servirla, aggiungere un filo d'olio direttamente nel piatto.

Summer Pasta and Fagioli

Ljetna pasta fažol

* 300 g svježeg mladog graha (može i smrznuti)
* 1 krumpir
* 1 glavica crvenog luka
* 1 mrkva
* 1 stapka celera
* 1 češanj češnjaka
* 1 list lovora
* maslinovo ulje
* 150 g kratke tjestenine (npr. ditalini)
* 15-ak zrelih cherry rajčica

Očistite grah i stavite ga u lonac. Dodajte očišćene i krupno narezane luk, krumpir, mrkvu i celer, češnjak i lovor. Prelijte sve s oko 1, 5 l vode, dodajte 2 žlice maslinovog ulja.
Stavite kuhati, kad provrije, smanjite vatru na srednje jaku i kuhajte oko 1 sat, dok grah nije kuhan, povremeno miješajući. Pred kraj posolite i popaprite po ukusu. Ako ispari previše vode ili volite da je rjeđe, dodajte u kuhanju još vode.
U međuvremenu prerežite rajčice na pola (odstranite dio sjemenki), stavite ih na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje, pospite s malo maslinovog ulja i začinskim biljem po želji (mješavina provansalskog bilja, ili timijan, bosiljak i dr.). Stavite peći rajčice na 200°C oko 20-ak minuta. Pečenim rajčicama odstranite kožu i narežite ih sitno nožem ili ih kratko smrvite štapnim mikserom.
Kad je grah kuhan, izvadite otprilike polovicu, a ostatak propasirajte (odstranite lovor). Pomiješajte opet sve, dodajte rajčice i skuhanu tjesteninu. Kratko sve zajedno prokuhajte. Poslužite toplo, mlako ili hladno, i po želji dodajte još malo maslinovog ulja izravno u tanjur.

Grah možete pripremiti i dan ranije, samo nemojte odmah dodati tjesteninu.

Summer Pasta and Fagioli

13 May, 2013

Brie, strawberries and balsamic vinegar tartines

Brie, strawberries and balsamic vinegar tartines

Mother's Day. Staying in bed until late. Surprise breakfast served in bed, prepared by kids and husband.
I must have been dreaming!!!
In fact I was, because it never happened, not in this house.
As every other morning, I was the first one to get up yesterday. Do my back streching excercises in order to be able to start the day without that pain that blocks me. And prepare breakfast for everyone... And eat mine alone, because the others were too lazy to get up.
We had a busy day ahead, too. And we spent an afternoon in beautiful company, enjoying the first barbecue this season. Great food and company, children running around, screaming, laughing and crying.
I am a happy mother of three, after all... That's my reward every day.

However, my curiosity is: How do you feel about breakfast in bed?
Never had this experience, not even in hospital, and I only went to hospital three times in my whole life, to give birth to my kids.
Well, my husband, the most "romantic" soul on Earth, says he can't understand why would someone wish to have his breakfast served in bed, it would make him feel ill.
On the contrary, I think it would a beautiful gesture, a little attention that every woman, or at least most women, dream to receive every now and then. Don't you agree?

I don't think it's gonna happen soon. But never mind. I do offer myself a lazy treat every now and then.
Like these tartines.
It's not really a recipe, but rather an idea. They can be assembled in no time. They look beautiful and elegant enough to serve as an appetizer in any occasion. But wouldn't be bad for breakfast either.
I had some rye bread that I used here, but any similar, whole grain bread would do perfectly as well.
Besides, Brie cheese could be substituted with other types, like fresh goat cheese for example.
Grab a bite...

Brie, strawberries and balsamic vinegar tartines

Brie, strawberries and balsamic vinegar tartines

* rye or other whole grain bread, sliced thinly
* Brie cheese, sliced (or fresh goat cheese)
* fresh strawberries
* traditional balsamic vinegar 

Cut the bread into size and shape that you prefer: squares, rectangles, circles.
Cut the cheese to fit the size and shape of bread and place on top of bread.
Wash, hull, and dry the strawberries. Slice them and place on top of cheese.
Complete with a few drops of thick, traditional balsamic vinegar just before serving.
You may also add a little freshly ground pepper on top.

Brie, strawberries and balsamic vinegar tartines

Tartine con Brie, fragole e aceto balsamico

* fettine di pane alla segale (o altri tipi di pane integrale)
* formaggio Brie (oppure caprino fresco)
* fragole
* aceto balsamico tradizionale

Tagliate le fettine sottili di pane in forma desiderata e più adatta al occasione: quadretti, rettangoli, cerchietti.
Ritagliate il formaggio nello stesso modo e mettete una fettina su ogni pezzetto di pane.
Lavate e asciugate le fragole. Tagliatele a fettine abbastanza spesse e mettetele sopra il formaggio.
Completate con qualche goccia di aceto balsamico, quello tradizionale, denso, un momento prima di servire le tartine.
A piacere aggiungete anche un po' di pepe macinato al momento.

Brie, strawberries and balsamic vinegar tartines

Vrti mi se po glavi gomila recepata s kruhom. Pitate se zašto. Osim što kruh volim i peći i jesti, u ovomjesečnom krugu igrice Ajme koliko nas je, igramo se s kruhom po želji domaćice, Nevene s bloga Hleb i lale.
Kao po narudžbi kamo god se okrenem vidim neki recept u kojem je kruh protagonist. Ali oni će tek doći na red.
Za početak, brzinska, trenutna inspiracija za jedan lijeni ručak, ili bolje rečeno predjelo, pripremila sam sebi ove tartine sa sirom i jagodama, u kojima je jedan od protagonista bio i raženi kruh. Pauzica dok sam pripremala pekmez od jagoda, ali svakako je zgodna ideja za hladno predjelo, ukusno i elegantno u svakoj prilici.

Tartine s Briejem, jagodama i balsamicom

* tanke kriške raženog ili drugog integralnog kruha
* sir Brie ili svježi (mazivi) kozji sir
* svježe jagode
* tradicionalni (gusti) balzamični ocat

Izrežite kriške kruha na željeni oblik: kvadratiće, pravokutnike, krugove...
Izrežite kriške sira na isti oblik i stavite preko kruha (ako koristite svježi sir samo ga namažite po kruhu)
Oprane i posušene jagode izrežite na deblje kriške i složite preko sira.
Neposredno prije posluživanja, preko jagoda stavite par kapi balzamičnog octa.
Po želji dodajte preko svega malo svježe mljevenog papra.

09 May, 2013

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

Hello Kitty - Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

So, how did the birthday party go? I'd say GREAT!
Kids had so much fun, they loved the cake... they loved the fact they could run around the garden... My daughter was really thrilled about everything.
And the most important thing, now that it's over, I can get some well deserved rest  ^_^

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

As usual, I took another bite bigger than my mouth. I was overwhelmed with everything, kids, and lots of things to do besides the birthday party. But it was fun and although lots of ideas were not realized in the end, like macarons, and some other cute stuff etc. and despite the fact that my printer decided to go on strike just the day before the party, so some of the decorations never got to be printed, I'm glad I tried at least. I've learned from my mistakes, and I know that the next party will be one step closer to perfect.

This time I'm leaving you the recipe for the cake I made, too. I told you I wasn't 100% satisfied with the first one, so I improved it, changed it, made it prettier.  It took me almost three days to write it, much longer than to make it. That's one of the reasons why I don't share recipes for cakes often.
But I have to say that the cake hit the spot. It looked great, it tasted heavenly, and for the first time in a very long time, I had a hard time saving at least one slice to take a photo.
I got tu run now, lots of things to do today, but I'm leaving you in sweet company.

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

* 245 g TPT (sugar and almonds 50:50)*
* 100 g whole eggs
* 50 g egg yolks
*  70 g all purpose flour
* 30 g unsweetened cocoa
* 225 g egg whites
* 80 g sugar

Milk chocolate cream:
* 150 g good quality milk chocolate
* 150 g sweetened condensed milk
* 90 g butter
* 90 g cream cheese (Philadelphia classic)

White chocolate cream:
* 150 g good quality white chocolate
* 150 g sweetened condensed milk
* 90 g butter
* 90 g cream cheese (Philadelphia classic)

Dulce de leche cream:
* 175 g dulce de leche
* 250 g heavy cream with 35% m.f.
* 4 g powdered agar agar
* 50 g butter

*TPT (Fr. tant pour tant)  is a mixture of blanched almonds and sugar, you can prepare it by grinding the same quantity of almonds and sugar in a food processor, or mix almond meal with fine caster sugar (or powdered sugar).
**Before you start, prepare four sheets of baking paper. Draw 22-24 cm circles on each and cut out little wider than that, so that you have 3-4 cm margines.
Turn your oven on to 200°C.

Put the whole eggs, the egg yolks and the TPT into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick and pale.
Contemporarily with another mixer whip the egg whites with sugar until stiff.
Mix and sift together the flour and the cocoa.
Add the flour mixture to the batter alternating it with the egg whites. Mix them in using a hand whisk, delicately and slowly, with up and down movements, scraping the bottom.
Divide the batter into 4 equal parts - it may seem complicated, but I made it easier by weighing the mixing bowl before I started, and then in the end with the batter in it to calculate the batter weight and then simply divided it in 4 by weight.
Spread 1/4 of the batter onto a prepared sheet of baking paper placed on a baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it slide on the table. After one minute remove the cake from the baking paper and place it on a cooling rack to cool.
Proceed baking the remaining three cake layers.

For the chocolate cream, place the chopped chocolate, the condensed milk and the butter in a saucepan. Melt everything over low heat, until just creamy and homogeneous. Remove from heat and let cool.
Once it's cold, whisk in the cream cheese at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least couple hours or overnight.
The procedure is the same for milk and white chocolate.

For the dulce de leche cream, first thing, prepare the dulce the leche: place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot with enough water to cover the can and cook for 3 hours. Let it cool completely, then open, transfer into a glass jar and keep in the fridge.
Add the agar agar powder into the cream in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil stirring. Remove from heat and add the butter and the dulce the leche. Stir well and then shortly mix using an immersion blender to make sure there are no lumps. Let it cool and then refrigerate.

To assemble the cake: place one cake sheet on a plate. Place a metal ring around it. Spread the milk chocolate cream over the cake, proceed with the dulce the leche cream, another cake sheet, the white chocolate cream and the last cake sheet.
Put in the fridge for at least couple hours, and then proceed with decorating.

I decorated the cake with Marshmallow fondant, so I just used a couple spoonfulls of the filling to coat the cake on top and sides. Otherwise you can decorate the cake as you like: a little of the creams used for filling, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, buttercream, whatever pleases you.

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

Torta alle mandorle, cioccolato e dulce de leche

per il biscotto (per 4 strati):
* 245 g TPT (zucchero e mandorle in proporzione 50:50)*
* 100 g uova intere
* 50 g tuorli
*  70 g farina
* 30 g cacao amaro
* 225 g albumi
* 80 g zucchero

Crema al cioccolato al latte:

* 150 g cioccolato al latte di buona qualità
* 150 g latte condensato zuccherato
* 90 g burro
* 90 g formaggio Philadelphia

Crema al cioccolato bianco:

* 150 g cioccolato bianco di buona qualità
* 150 g latte condensato zuccherato
* 90 g burro
* 90 g formaggio Philadelphia

Crema al dulce de leche:

* 175 g dulce de leche
* 250 g panna fresca con 35% di grassi.
* 4 g agar agara in polvere
* 50 g burro

* per il TPT (Fr. tant pour tant) tritate le mandorle e zucchero insieme nel mixer oppure (come ho fatto io) mescolate la farina di mandorle e lo zucchero semolato fine (tipo Zefiro) - rapporto tra mandorle e zucchero è 50:50.

** Preparate 4 fogli di carta da forno sui quali disegnate dei cerchi di diametro 22 - 24 cm e ritagliateli un po' più larghi, 3-4 cm in più.
Accendete il forno a 200°C.

Mettete in una ciotola le uova intere e i tuorli con il TPT. Montate il tutto con il mixer.
Contemporaneamente (se avete due sbattitori) montate a neve ferma gli albumi con lo zucchero. Se non avete due sbattitori elettrici, montate prima il composto di uova e mandorle e poi gli albumi che non posso aspettare molto una volta montati.
Mescolate e setacciate insieme la farina e il cacao.
Unite gli albumi montati al composto di uova e mandorle alternandoli con la farina e mescolate bene con una frusta a mano.
Dividete la massa in 4 parti uguali e cuocete 4 strati di biscotto per la torta - ho pesato la ciotola prima di iniziare e dopo quando era piena calcolando poi il peso della massa totale e dividendola in parti di peso uguale per avere 4 strati di torta di altezza uniforme.
Stendete con una spatola il composto su uno dei fogli di carta forno, preparata prima e messo su una placca da forno, riempendo il cerchio disegnato (girate il lato su cui avete disegnato sotto).
Cuocete il biscotto per 5-7 minuti nel forno ben caldo.
Trasferite il biscotto cotto sul tavolo, dopo 1 minuto staccatelo dalla carta e lasciatelo raffreddare su una griglia.
Preparate nello stesso modo gli altri tre strati (mentre uno è nel forno preparate quello successivo). La procedura è abbastanza veloce. Lasciateli raffreddare tutti, poi metteteli uno sopra altro e ritagliate i bordi in modo che siano tutti uguali.

Per le creme al cioccolato, mettete il cioccolato spezzettato, il latte condensato e il burro in un pentolino e scaldate a fuoco basso, mescolando finché tutti gli ingredienti non si siano sciolti e la crema diventi omogenea.
Trasferite la crema in una ciotola e lasciatela raffreddare a temperatura ambiente.
Una volta fredda, unite il formaggio Philadelphia a temperatura ambiente, mescolate bene con una frusta a mano e trasferite in frigo a rassodare per qualche ora.
La procedura e la stessa per il cioccolato al latte e per quello bianco.
Per convenienza, potete preparare la crema qualche ora prima di iniziare a preparare il biscotto, o anche la sera prima. Si conserva bene in frigo.

Per la crema al dulce de leche, come  prima cosa preparate il dulce de leche: mettete un baratolo di latte condensato zuccherato chiuso in una pentola e ricopritelo con l'acqua. Portate a ebollizione e lasciate cuocere per 3 ore facendo attenzione che il baratolo sia sempre immerso nel acqua. Lasciate raffreddare il baratolo completamente prima di aprirlo. Trasferite il caramello così ottenuto in un baratolo di vetro e conservatelo in frigo. Si conserva benissimo per tanto tempo, quindi preparatelo tranquillamente con largo anticipo.
Per preparare la crema, portate a ebollizione la panna mescolata con l'agar agar.
Togliete dal fuoco e aggiungete il burro e il dulce de leche, mescolate bene e poi frullate con un frullatore a immersione per ottenere una crema perfettamente liscia.
Lasciate raffreddare, prima a temperatura ambiente e poi in frigo.

Per assemblare la torta, mettete uno strato di biscotto sul piatto per la torta e mettete un anello in acciaio intorno.
Distribuite la crema al cioccolato al latte in maniera uniforme e coprite con un'altro strato di biscotto. Per distribuire la crema perfettamente, mettetela prima in un sacchetto per pasticceria (anche quelli usa e getta) e distribuite la crema in cerchi concentrici, poi lisciatela con una spatola.
Distribuite nello stesso modo la crema al dulce de leche, coprite con un altro strato di biscotto, la crema al cioccolato bianco e infine coprite con l'ultimo strato di biscotto.
Lasciate rassodare la torta in frigo per almeno 2-3 ore.
Togliete con attenzione l'anello d'acciaio e decorate la torta a piacere.

Sapendo che l'avrei decorata con la pasta di zucchero, ho conservato soltanto qualche cucchiaiata di creme usate per la torta e le ho spalmato sopra e sui lati.
Potete decorare la torta fuori con le stesse creme (lasciando da parte un po' di più di ogni crema) oppure con una ganache al cioccolato o solo panna montata e mandorle a filetti.

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

Torta s bademima, čokoladom i dulce de leche

Biskvit (za 4 kore):
* 245 g TPT (šećer i bademi u omjeru 50:50)*
* 100 g cijelih jaja
* 50 g žumanjaka
*  70 g brašna
* 30 g nezaslađenog kakaa
* 225 g bjeljanjaka
* 80 g šećera

Krema od mliječne čokolade:

* 150 g kvalitetne mliječne čokolade
* 150 g zaslađenog kondenziranog mlijeka
* 90 g maslaca
* 90 g krem sira (Philadelphia)

Krema od bijele čokolade:

* 150 g kvalitetne bijele čokolade
* 150 g zaslađenog kondenziranog mlijeka
* 90 g maslaca
* 90 g krem sira (Philadelphia)

Krema s dulce de leche:

* 175 g dulce de leche
* 250 g svježeg (mliječnog) slatkog vrhnja za šlag s 35% m.m.
* 4 g agar agara u prahu
* 50 g maslaca

*TPT (Fr. tant pour tant) je smjesa badema i šećera u omjeru 50:50 - možete bademe samljeti u mikseru zajedno sa šećerom ili posebno mljevene bademe pomiješati sa sitnim kristal šećerom ili šećerom u prahu.

Za biskvit ispecite posebno četiri kore promjera 22-24 cm. Na četiri komada papira za pečenje nacrtajte krug željenog promjera (oko 22 cm) a zatim ga izrežite za 3-4 cm šireg.
Pećnicu zagrijte na 200°C.

Stavite u zdjelu za mućenje cijela jaja, žumanjke i TPT smjesu i dobro umutite mikserom. Ako imate dva miksera onda istovremeno umutite bjeljanjke sa šećerom (u suprotnom umutite ih nakon što ste umutili smjesu od cijelih jaja i badema, jer bjeljanjci nije dobro da stoje dugo umućeni).
Pomiješajte i prosijte skupa brašno i kakao.
Dodajte naizmjenično umućene bjeljanjke i brašno u smjesu od jaja i badema od tri ili četiri puta. Miješajte ručnom pjenjačom, polako, nježnim pokretima od gore prema dolje dok ne dobijete ujednačenu smjesu.
Podijelite smjesu na 4 jednaka dijela (ja sam prije početka izvagala zdjelu, i onda opet na kraju zdjelu s cijelom smjesom tako da sam znala kolika je ukupna količina smjese koju sam podijelila na 4 dijela - kod mene 190 g za svaku koru).
Istresite 1/4 smjese za biskvit na pripremljeni krug od papira (okrenite prema dolje stranu na kojoj je nacrtan krug) koji ste položili na ravan pleh i ravnomjerno rasporedite spatulom.
Stavite peći u dobro zagrijanu pećnicu 5-7 minuta.
Ispečenu koru izvadite iz pećnice i premjestite na stol, a odmah stavite peći sljedeću (dok se jedna peče, pripremite sljedeću koru za pečenje).
Ispečenu koru nakon 1 minute okrenite prema dolje i odlijepite papir na kojem se pekla. Premjestite na rešetku da se ohladi do kraja. Ponovite postupak s preostale 3 kore i ostavite ih sve da se ohlade.
Stavite ohlađene kore jednu na drugu i malo ih obrežite ako je potrebno tako da su potpuno jednake.

Za kremu od čokolade, pomiješajte iskidanu ili nasjeckanu čokoladu, kondenzirano mlijeko i maslac narezan na komadiće i zagrijavajte na sasvim laganoj vatri miješajući neprestano dok se svi sastojci ne otope i spoje u homogenu smjesu. Maknite s vatre, prespite u zdjelu i ostavite da se potpuno ohladi na sobnoj temperaturi. Kad se krema ohladi umiješajte krem sir sobne temperature. Pokrijte i stavite u hladnjak da se dobro ohladi i stisne.
Postupak je isti za kremu od mliječne i bijele čokolade.

Za kremu s dulce de leche najprije pripremite dulce de leche tako što ćete neotvorenu limenku zaslađenog kondenziranog mlijeka staviti u lonac s vodom i kuhati 3 sata na laganoj vatri pazeći da je limenka uvijek u potpunosti uronjena u vodu. Ostavite da se potpuno ohladi pa tek onda otvorite i dobiveni dulce de leche (karamel) premjestite u staklenku. Možete ga pripremiti i danima unaprijed. Ovaj karamel može jako dugo stajati u hladnjaku.
Za kremu pomiješajte slatko vrhnje i agar agar. Zagrijavajte na laganoj vatri miješajući dok ne provrije.
Maknite s vatre i dodajte maslac i dulce de leche. Izmiješajte pjenjačom, a zatim i štapnim mikserom da dobijete glatku kremu. Ostavite je da se ohladi na sobnoj temperaturi, a  zatim u hladnjaku.

Slaganje torte:
Na tanjur položite jednu koru biskvita. Stavite oko nje metalni obruč. Po kori rasporedite kremu s mliječnom čokoladom. Da biste kremu rasporedili ravnomjernije stavite je u vrećicu za ukrašavanje (sa širokim okruglim nastavkom ili bez ikakvog nastavka, ili jednostavno u prozirnu vrećicu kojoj odrežite kut tako da imate otvor promjera 1 cm) i istisnite kremu u koncentričnim krugovima iste debljine (oko 1 cm), a zatim izravnajte i zagladite spatulom.
Preko kreme stavite drugi sloj biskvita i kremu s dulce de leche.
Zatim treći sloj biskvita, kremu s bijelom čokoladom i pokrijte sve zadnjim slojem biskvita.
Stavite tortu u hladnjak na 2-3 sata da se kreme dobro stisnu.

Ukrašavanje: budući da sam znala da ću kremu prekrivati fondantom samo sam je premazala s malo kreme izvana (odvojila sam par žlica od punjenja). U suprotnom, možete odvojiti po malo od svake kreme za ukras, ili pripremiti veću količinu jedne od tri kreme pa njome ukrasiti tortu izvana ili je premazati umućenim šlagom, ganache kremom i posuti listićima badema.

Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

birthday party

birthday party

birthday party

Strawberry Marshmallow skewers

Hello Kitty - Chocolate, Almond, Dulce de Leche Cake

Hello Kitty cake topper

02 May, 2013

Sweet Six Berrilicious Party

Chocolate and Almond Cake

My little pumpkin turned six last Friday and to my surprise asked for a Hello Kitty birthday cake.
She actually wants Hello Kitty to star all her birthday cakes forever... I'll ask her again in a couple years.


 I'm a last minute person, and although the cake design was ready in my head for weeks, the cake was done
in a very short time, and in a hurry. But I think the smile on her face says it all.


And what was hiding beneath the marshmallow fondant?
Check it out for yourself...

Chocolate and Almond Cake

A Chocolate almond cake with Dark chocolate pastry cream.
A creamy goodness that can please only real chocolate lovers... and my little Hello Kitty fan usually is...
but this time she ate only the MMF decorations. It was a bit sad to see the poor Kitty lose her head.

Chocolate and Almond Cake

The birthday party will actually take place this weekend and I'm considering it just a trial cake.
Some improvements will be necessary... I don't know why, but I'm rarely 100% satisfied with my cakes.

Chocolate and Almond Cake

The choice of colours wasn't random. Here's the rest of decorations I'm preparing. You can see the whole Sweet Berrilicious collection HERE (free download)
And I'll be (hopefully) back with more pictures in a few days... if I survive...

Sweet Berrilicious Collection

Happy Birthday, Momy's Sweet Little Berry

01 May, 2013

Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

When it comes to potato gnocchi, I'm a minority at my home (like with so many other things). To say the truth, the industrial ones are not on my LIKE list either.  But the home made ones are whole another story.
It takes a little time, but it's worth the effort.
Especially because they freeze well and in my case make an excellent solution for those days when I'm alone at home at lunch time and don't want to slave over the stove for a one person meal.
Just pull the bag out of freezer and throw a necessary quantity into boiling water, time to cook them and the seasoning is ready as well.
This version with chickpeas flour is so delicious and nutricious, healthy, glutten free and with lower glicemic impact than the classical gnocchi recipe.  I particularly loved the sweet flavour of chickpeas flour in gnocchi. And they fit so well with the Swiss chard and pine nuts that I didn't even consider seasoning them in any other way. The original recipe suggests spinach, but I had Swiss chard in my garden and I was able to use very fresh, young and delicate leaves, so I thought they were much better than the store-bought, ugly and hard spinach leaves. And I have, honestly, learned to like Swiss chard much better then spinach over the last years.
My garden patch is all green again as my Swiss chard plants not only survived last winter but also spread all over. So I'm looking forward really to make these gnocchi again.
And you, would you give them a try?

Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

* 1/2 kg of potatoes
*  about 180-200 g chickpeas flour
* 1 egg
* salt
To season:
* 250 g of spinach or baby swiss chard
* 1 spoonful of pine nuts
* 1 clove of garlic
* Extra virgin olive oil
* salt

Wash the potatoes carefully and put them in a pot with cold water. Cook them for approx. 40 minutes or until done (depends on the type and size of your potatoes).
Peel the potatoes while still warm and mash them using a potato ricer.
Let the potatoes cool a little, and then add the egg, a pinch of salt and the flour.
Start mixing with a wooden spoon and then continue with your hands.
Add the flour as necessary because it will depend a lot on the type of poatoes used - if they are watery they will absorb more flour. However, the dough shoudn's be either too soft and sticky, nor too hard. But you should be able to work with it and shape gnocchi without it sticking too much. Do not knead the dough more than necessary or your gnocchi will have gummy texture.

                            Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour       Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour     

Take a small piece of dough, roll it into approx. 1 cm thick sausages.
Cut them into 1,5 cm long pieces.
While working with this dough, keep both the kneading board and the dough well floured.
To shape gnocchi, take one piece of the dough, press it with your thumb against the gnocchi board (or a fork if you don't have one) and roll, you'll get an indentation on one, and striped pattern on the other side.
Once shaped, place the gnocchi on a floured, cardboard tray.
You may cook them immediately or freeze for later use (freeze them on a tray and then transfer into a zip lock freezer bag).
When cooking frozen gnocchi, there's no need to thaw them first - throw them still frozen into boiling water, one portion at a time.
  Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour  Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

To season the gnochi, put oil, the whole, just slightly crashed, clove of garlic and the pine nuts into a skillet and warm up over a medium heat. Add the spinach or swiss chard (I used young and soft swiss chard leaves), salt and cook on high for 2-3 minutes until the greens are soft.
In the meantime bring a large enough pot of water to a boil, add salt and throw in the gnocchi.
The gnocchi are done when they float up to the surface.
Take them out with a slotted spoon and add directly to the skillet with the spinach/swiss chard and pine nuts, adding a little cooking water as well. Stir and heat everything together.
Serve immediately while still warm.

Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

Gnocchi di patate industriali non mi piacciono per niente. Ma, fatti in casa sono tutta un'altra storia. Se in più vi piace il sapore dolciastro della farina di ceci, ve li consiglio vivamente.
Sono deliziosi, sono senza glutine, e con l'impatto glicemico più basso rispetto i classici gnocchi di patate.
Il condimento, spinaci o nel mio caso erbette insieme ai pinoli, si sposa perfettamente con questi gnocchi. Da provare assolutamente.
La ricetta, come spesso avviene su questo blog, viene dalla rivista Cucina naturale.

Gnocchi di patate con farina di ceci

* 1/2 kg di patate
*  circa 180-200 g di farina di ceci
* 1 uovo
* sale
 per condire:
* 250 g di spinaci o erbette (puliti)
* 1 cucchiaio di pinoli
* 1 spicchio d'aglio
* Olio extra vergine d'oliva
* sale

Lavate bene le patate senza sbucciarle e mettetele a cuocere in una pentola partendo dall'acqua fredda (ci vorranno più o meno 40 minuti).
Una volta cotte, sbucciate le patate e schiacciatele con lo schiacciapatate.
Lasciatele raffreddare un po', poi aggiungete l'uovo, un pizzico di sale e la farina. La quantità di farina dipende molto dal tipo di patate, se sono molto acquose ci vorrà un po' di più, partite con 180 g e poi vedete se serve altra. L'impasto comunque non deve risultare ne troppo molliccio ne troppo duro, ma abbastanza sodo da poter formare i gnocchi senza che si attacchino al tavolo o alla tavoletta per i gnocchi.
Impastate la pasta prima con un cucchiaio di legno e poi procedendo con le mani. Evitate di impastare troppo a lungo, perché i gnocchi risulteranno  gommosi.
Staccate pezzetti di pasta e formate dei rotolini di diametro circa 1 cm.
Tagliateli a pezzettini lunghi 1,5 cm.
Tenete il piano di lavoro e la pasta sempre ben infarinati per evitare che la pasta si attacchi.
Formate i gnocchi mettendo un pezzetto di pasta sulla tavoletta per i gnocchi, premetelo con il pollice e  poi rotolatelo un po' formando cosi un incavo al interno e le classiche righe dall'altro lato.
Al posto della tavoletta si può usare semplicemente una forchetta.
Una volta formati, sistemate i gnocchi su un vassoio di carta infarinato.
Potete cuocerli subito oppure congelarli - congelateli prima sul vassoio e poi trasferiteli nelle bustine da freezer. Non occorre scongelarli prima di cuocerli, ma buttarli direttamente nell'acqua bollente, non tutti insieme, ma una parte alla volta.

Scaldate l'olio in una padella con lo spicchio d'aglio intero, soltanto un po' schiacciato, e i pinoli per un 1 minuto circa.
Aggiungete i spinaci/erbette, salate e cuocete a fuoco vivace per 2-3 minute.
Mettete a cuocere i gnocchi nel abbondante acqua salata. Sono pronti quando si alzano in superficie.
Prendeteli con un mestolo forato e aggiungete direttamente nella padella con il condimento insieme a un po' di acqua di cottura.
Saltate brevemente tutto insieme e servite i gnocchi caldi.

Potato Gnocchi with Chickpeas Flour

Nitko osim mene u obitelji ne voli njoke/valjuške od krumpira. Nosić frkću i na sam spomen. Ali to nije razlog da ih sebi ne spremim s vremena na vrijeme. Ni ja nisam bila nešto posebno oduševljena onim industrijskim, ali od kad mi je moja susjeda donijela domaće promijenila sam mišljenje. To je sasvim druga priča.
Posebno su mi se svidjeli u ovom receptu s brašnom od slanutka. Slatkasti okus slanutka me je oduševio zbilja. Da i ne govorim koliko mi se svidjela kombinacija s blitvom i pinjolima. Savršeno. Recept je zapravo predviđao špinat, ali kako sam ja u vrtu cijelo prošlo ljeto imala blitvu, mogla sam odabrati zbilja mlade, mekane listove i sigurno su bili ukusniji od špinata koji bih morala kupiti.
Isprobajte ih svakako - ukusni su, bez glutena, i imaju niži glikemijski indeks of klasičnih njoka s pšeničnim brašnom.

Iako je već prvi dan svibnja, i sigurno ćemo uskoro saznati i novu temu za igricu Ajme koliko nas je, htjela sam dodati još i ovaj recept Tanji s bloga Kuhinja zaposlene žene (ako me prihvaća ;) za travanjski krug u kojem je tema bila Slanutak/leblebija.

Njoki od krumpira sa slanutkovim brašnom

* 1/2 kg krumpira
*  oko 180-200 g brašna od slanutka (plus dodatno za mijesiti)
* 1 jaje
* sol
 za posluživanje:
* 250 g špinata ili mlade blitve (očišćeno)
* 1 žlica pinjola
* 1 češanj bijelog luka
* ekstra djevičansko maslinovo ulje
* sol

Krumpir dobro operite i skuhajte u ljusci (ovisno o veličini trebat će vam oko 40 minuta).
Ogulite kuhan krumpir i propasirajte ga.
U prohlađen krumpir dodajte jaje, brašno i malo soli.
Zamijesite tijesto (prvo kuhačom, a zatim rukama).
Dodajte po potrebi brašna (ovisi dosta o vrsti krumpira koliko će brašna upiti), tako da je tijesto mekano, ali se ne lijepi i dopušta vam oblikovanje njoka.
Kidajte komadiće tijesta, oblikujte ih u rolnice debljine oko 1 cm.
Izrežite rolnice na komadiće od otprilike 1,5 cm.
Neka vam daska i tijesto budu uvijek dobro pobrašnjeni da se tijesto ne lijepi.
Oblikujte njoke tako što ćete svaki komadić palcem pritisnuti na daščicu i onda lagano zarolajte, formirajući udubljenje s jedne strane i tipične ureze s druge.
Ako nemate daščicu za njoke poslužit će na isti način vilica.
Oblikovane njoke slažite na dobro pobrašnjen pladanj.

Zagrijte u tavi maslinovo ulje s cijelim, malo zgnječenim češnjem bijelog luka i pinjolima otprilike 1 minutu.
Dodajte nasjeckan špinat/blitvu, posolite i propirjajte na jačoj vatri miješajući, 2-3 minute.
Skuhajte njoke u ključaloj posoljenoj vodi.
Kad isplivaju na površinu, gotovi su.
Vadite ih šupljikavom žlicom i dodajite izravnu u tavu sa špinatom/blitvom, tako da s njokima dodate i malo vode u kojoj su se kuhali.
Zagrijte sve skupa kratko, miješajući pažljivo i poslužite toplo.

* njoki dobro podnose i zamrzavanje. Zamrznite ih posložene na pladanj, a zatim premjestite u vrećice.
Kuhajte kao i svježe, s tim da ih stavite kuhati neodmrznute i ne stavite kuhati odmah sve, već po manju količinu da se temperatura vode ne bi previše snizila, time biste dobili ljepljive njoke.