,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Liquorice ice cream (Bianca)

Liquorice candies are very popular in Northern Europe, specially in Scandinavia. When I visited Norway few months ago, I saw liquorice ice cream in a shop. What caught my eyes was the color. It was black! You know it's an unusual ice cream just by the color :) But being just the beginning of spring, still cold outside, I didn't try it.
We have to be careful how much we eat, as excessive consumption of liquorice or liquorice candy is known to be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular system, and may produce hypertension and edema. You can read more about this here (wikipedia).
I forgot to say ... I love liquorice! :) Nico hates it, so since he's not here, that's a good reason for me now to make it home :)
I guess the really dark liquorice ice creams sold in the shops are dyed with black food coloring, but I didn't use any. My ice cream has a sort of greenish-gray color. Because of the color, it might be a straight NO for some people :) But, for liquorice lovers, I think it's not such a big problem, although just one ball of ice cream might be enough. Even for me! :) To temper a bit the color, I added some gold paste glaze, used in bakery. My ice cream is a bit shinny  :)

- 600 ml cream
- 300 ml milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 25 g sugar (double, if you skip the glaze)
- 200 g chopped liquorice candies ( bought a pack of All Sorts, and picked out the plain ones)
- 100-150 g Liquorice All Sorts, chopped in small pieces (all the colors)
- 80 g gold paste glaze (optional)

In a bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Set aside! In a pot, over low heat, put cream, milk, plain chopped liquorice and vanilla bean. Mix continuously, without letting it boil, until the liquorice candies are melted, about 15-20 mins. Take the vanilla bean out, split it half and scrape the seeds in the egg mixture. Take the cream off the heat and little by little, pour it over the eggs, mixing it. Transfer the whole mixture back in the pot and put it again on low heat, mixing continuously until thickens, about 10 mins. Have ready a some ice-cold water bath. Take it off the heat, strain it through a fine sieve into a bowl. Now, put the bowl into the water bath, to cool down the mixture. When it's cold enough to be placed in the fridge, cover with cling film (the whole surface) to prevent a skin from forming. Place the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hs.

After that, if you have an ice cream machine, put the cream in the machine and let it do its job :) Before you put the ice cream in the freezer, mix in the chopped Liquorice All Sorts.
If you don't have a machine, just put the cream in the freezer for at least 3 hs. But every 30 mins-1 h (depending on your freezer power) take it out and beat it with the hand mixer, to prevent ice crystal from forming. After the last beating, mix in the chopped Liquorice All Sorts.

Enjoy! ... if you like liquorice! :) Pin It Now!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Banana-Peanut butter and Blackberries Smoothie (Bianca)

It's summer, it's warm and we need to keep us cool somehow. What's better then a cold drink? And why not a smoothie? The one I had today is packed with goodies.
Peanut butter is full in monounsaturated fats, provides vitamin B3 and E, protein, magnesium.
Blackberries provide vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin K and antioxidants. Blackberries seeds also contain omega-3 and omega 6 fats, but not everybody like them. Same here, I don't prefer them :)

For banana-peanut butter smoothie
- 200 ml milk
- 2 medium bananas (sliced and frozen in advance)
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tsp spruce shoot syrup (or agave syrup,or honey)

For blackberries smoothie
- 200 ml milk
- 100 g frozen blackberries
- 3 tsp spruce shoot syrup (or agave syrup, or honey)

Place all ingredients for the peanut butter smoothie into a blender and give it a good mix. Transfer into a bowl and keep it in freezer until you finish the other one.
Clean your blender and place in it all the ingredients for blackberries smoothie and mix well. Because I don't like the seeds, I strain it though a sieve.
Take the peanut butter smoothie out from the freezer. Into a glass, alternatively pour each smoothie to create layers.
This smoothie, being full of all those goodies, can be drunk in the morning for breakfast. But today I replaced my lunch with one glass :)   Enjoy! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rhubarb and Limoncello creamy tart (Bianca)

Rhubarb is one of the first garden products in Estonia to be harvested in the spring, but this is my first time using it this year. I decided to make a rhubarb tart, not just simple, but in combination with Limoncello, resulting in a creamy and a bit lemony tart. We've got this Limoncello bottle as a present, straight from the source, when a fellow chef from Italy visited Nico few months ago in Norway.
Although I know that Limoncello can be made at home too, I haven't try to make it, yet :)

- 250 g flour
- 30 g brown sugar
- 120 g butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 5-6 tbsp cold water

- 250 g rhubarb thinly sliced ( optional-slice few thin sticks that go on the top, around 18-20 pieces / 10 cm long)
- 200 g fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed)
- 50 g flour
- 120 g brown sugar

- 300 ml heavy cream
- 3 egg yolks
- vanilla extract
- 50 ml Limoncello
- 20 g brown sugar

Preheat the over at 180 degrees C. Butter a 25 cm round springform pan, lining it after with baking paper (bottom and sides)
Mix butter, sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl, then add the water and mix it until the dough it's formed. It can be rolled with the rolling pin, then transferred into the pan or it can be pressed by hand straight into the spring form. I did it by hand, going up on the sides too, about 4 cm high. Refrigerate until needed.
Into a  bowl easily mix rhubarb, raspberries, flour and sugar. In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks with sugar,  add the cream and vanilla extract, mixing until combined, then add Limoncello.
Place the fruits mixture in the pan, spreading it evenly on the bottom and then pour the cream mixture on top.
Now, arrange the rhubarb sticks on top like a flower :) Some of them will sink, but they'll come up again in the oven :)

Bake for 40-45 min, or until the top is starting to get a brownish color.
Let it cool completely before you slice it. It can be sprinkled with icing sugar.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Watermelon, berries and Prosecco - It's summer o'clock (Bianca)

I had a bottle of Prosecco sitting in my fridge for some time now. I guess I was waiting for the summer. With so many fruits around now, it was a good reason to open the bottle for a refreshment mix :)

I usually don't like sweet drinks, so this one is no exception. But anyone that likes it sweet, can add to the drink some simple or flavored syrup.

- watermelon - about half of a medium size one
- fresh mint leaves
- fresh or frozen berries (I used frozen ones, instead of ice)
- 1 lime
- Prosecco (chilled)

Get all the seeds out from watermelon, then place the pulp into a blender. Give it a good mix. Strain through a fine sieve, so the juice it's separated from the pulp.

I ended up with a bit more then half a liter of juice.
In a glass goblet put some fresh mint leaves, 1 lime (very thin sliced) and some berries.

Pour over the watermelon juice, until you reach about half full (here you can add syrup, if you like) and top up with chilled Prosecco.
Enjoy the summer! Pin It Now!

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