Monday, August 31, 2015

fig-raspberry jam

It is and it's not a homemade jam. Yes I made it at home which makes it a home made, but I cheated in a way. I used gelling powder. Although I prefer preserves without adding any kind of commercial stuff, this time I made an exception. Pectin is a gelling agent that makes jam set. Fruits have varying amount of pectin. Amount of natural pectin and acid vary in fruits. Figs and raspberries both have low amount of pectin, plus figs were quite ripe which means the content of pectin was even lower.
Anyway this jam is a positive side of negatives.
Even though there are many artisan jam makers and probably millions of fruit combinations I still like making my own. Adriatic figs and raspberries have found each other in this mild but rather lively fruit combination. Not too sweet and fairly acidic makes this jam a perfect match with cheese.
I really love it, hopefully you will too!

Fig-raspberry jam
Adriatic figs, about 750g
Raspberries, 300g
1 and ½ lemons, juice
Sugar, 320g
Gelling powder, 25g (content of one sachet)
Quarter figs and place them in a heavy saucepan. Add raspberries, sugar and gelling powder. Bring everything to the boil stirring once in a while. Once it boils add lemon juice and continue cooking and stirring for about another 5-7 minutes.
Pour the jam into sterilized glass jars, close lids and turn over and leave to stand like that for about 5 minutes.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

grilled beet baba ghanoush

Grilled beet baba ghanoush / Sweet and earthy vegetable dip
(recipe adopted from bon app├ętit)
Roast beets (900g red beets) in the oven (200oC) for about 50-60 minutes (until flesh is fork-tender). Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Peel the skin. Pulse flesh in a food processor with 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. tahini and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add ½ garlic clove, finely grated, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

(crushed) super fresh salad for extremely hot days

I accidentally crushed avocado. Or, mix all the greens from a fridge. 
These are so called instructions for today's recipe.
It was intensely hot in July. Then we had another heat wave at the beginning of August. Apparent temperature is 32 Celsius with the humidity of 34%. If you need me I'll be in the fridge!
Mint, cucumbers and other greens, just keep bringing it..
Wash, peel, cut and mix. That's the only activity expected for this super sunny afternoon. But please, once you add the avocado, toss everything very gently. Don’t crush the avocado!

Fresh salad for extremely hot days
watercress (90g)
fresh mint (1 bunch, thick stems trimmed)
cucumber (1 cold cucumber, peeled and seeded)
avocado (1 avocado, cut into wedges)

1 tsp runny honey (sage honey)
1 tsp aceto balsamico
1/2 lemon (juice)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
In a small bowl, whisk together aceto, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil. 

Peel the avocado and remove the pit. Dice the flesh and cut the cucumber into similar sized cubes.
Put watercress, mint and cucumber into a serving dish. Pour the dressing over and toss everything to combine.  Add avocado, season with salt and pepper and toss again but very gently. 
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice and olive oil, if desired.  
Grated Grana Padano or Parmesan on top, optional.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

summer cake

We are all cooks, each in our own fashion.
Cooking is learned in the same way as we learn to speak, write, act, dance. We observe, then we copy, then we interpret. As in learning a common language, we begin by imitating, then gradually develop our own way with words, our own style. Our interpretations differ even when we are using identical ingredients. Your version of these menus, your variation and adaptation, will make them your own. 
- David Tanis -

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake 
(Adapted from Belle, cakelets and doilies 

120 grams unsalted butter, softened
200 grams caster sugar
1tsp vanilla paste
zest of 5 large lemons
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
240 grams almond meal (ground almonds)
300 grams ricotta
flaked almonds, to decorated
icing sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 160 degree Celsius. Line the base and sides of a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.
Place the butter, 150 grams caster sugar, vanilla paste and lemon zest in an electric mixer and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy. Scrap down the sides of the bowl, then gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until fully combined. Add ground almonds and beat to combine. Fold ricotta through the almond mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl  until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture. Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the tops with a palette knife, decorate the cake with almond flakes, and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and firm to touch. Allow to cool completely in the cake tin. Dust with icing sugar to serve. 

This is one of my favorite lemon cake recipes. I also call it a summer cake but honestly this is a "star" cake suitable for all seasons. It's moist and lemony, and the amount of lemon peel actually dictates the taste which is addictive and asks for another bite. 
Handful of berries (berries in season) on a side is an option for serving.