Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lunch on Krk Island & Alessandra's almond tart recipe



Sorry, blog readers and fellow bloggers if I've been incommunicado for a while. Some of you know I was recently married and have been away on a three-week honeymoon. I thought I'd get back to posting immediately after my return, but a bike accident two days after we got back has slowed me down. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, typing with one hand takes a little longer.
As the saying goes however, "Where there's a will, there's a way."
And there was no way I would be thwarted from showing you some of the gorgeous places and wonderful foods we ate in Vienna, Austria; Ljubljana, Slovenia and throughout the beautiful country of Croatia.
I'll start with this post featuring delicious Croatian food from Princeton friends who treated us to lunch at their summer home on the island of Krk, Croatia. It ends with a recipe for an easy-to-make and scrumptious almond tart from our mutual dear friend, Alessandra, who died in 2011. 
The above photo is the backyard of our friends Connie and Vladimir, overlooking the Adriatic sea. We ate lunch at this table overlooking the sea. 
While the sun shone nearby, we were sheltered by the shade of this arched patio.
 Here's another view of the house, taken from near the water's edge. An outdoor oven on the left is put to use for pizzas, roasts and other grilled foods. The stones were all cut by hand by different local artisans, and Connie noted that each artisan had a different pattern for arranging the stones. It's all superbly crafted, as you can see from the tight and perfect spacing of the stones.
Even in July, there were very few people swimming nearby. Like most beaches in Croatia, this one was rocky, but it doesn't phase people here, who don flexible swimming "shoes" to help navigate the stones and pebbles. Once you're in the warm, azure sea, who needs sand anyway? One benefit we found to rocky beaches was the lack of sand that normally gets stuck inside bathing suits and dragged inside the house or hotel. Clean-up is a lot easier.
 It was hard to tear ourselves away from the view, but the food competed with the panorama for our attention. Connie and Vladimir wanted to give us a taste of sea and land, starting with this absolutely delectable platter of anchovies that had been caught only a few hours earlier.
 Vladimir prepared the fish, which he said cost the equivalent of $1.75 at the market in Rijeka. There were a few sardines tucked in with the anchovies, only adding to the appeal. We had never tasted anchovies or sardines so delicious in our lives, and had to stop ourselves from hogging the whole platter. 
It's impossible to get these where I live, but if you find yourself with fresh anchovies or sardines this small, do as Vladimir did: simmer the fish for one minute in sea water, and drain. Then clean them (the head and bones come out practically in one fell swoop), and dress them with good extra virgin olive oil, salt, scallions, parsley and lemon.
 From the sea, we moved to land dishes, including a platter of cured meat similar to Italian prosciutto,  called prsut, air cured at a nearby village named Vhr (meaning the highest point). It was served alongside a Croatian cheese tinged with herbs. I especially loved the spicy cured meat called kulen, that tasted like Italy's soppressata, served with pickled peppers and something similar to pork chittlins'. A soft spreadable local cheese, olives, figs and a salad completed the meal.
 Everything was served with Croatian wines, and we drove by dozens of vineyards during our travels throughout the country.
Connie prepared a fruit salad, using the tiny but flavorful local blueberries, and little red currants. I so wish I could find those where I live,
The finishing touch was a simple-to-prepare, but addictively delicious recipe from a dear, mutual friend Alessandra, who died in 2011. We both thought she'd be happy to know we were together in Croatia, thinking of her and enjoying her almond tart recipe. And now you can too.

Alessandra's "torta di cinque minuti" or  almond tart

Mix for five minutes -- 1 stick sweet butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup ground almonds (either blanched or unblanched), 1.25 teaspoons almond extract or a shot glass of cognac, 1 scant cup of flour.
Place mixture in a buttered and floured cake tin (or glass pan), sprinkle the top with slivered almonds and bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees until nicely brown. Cool completely before unmolding or cutting the cake.

Two other things: this cake is good using only ground almonds and is a gluten free alternative.
Also-- Alessandra often prepared her torta without almonds on top. Rather, she baked it and cooled it and dusted the top with powdered sugar.

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15 comments:

Chiara Giglio said...

cara Linda, mi dispiace tanto per il tuo incidente in bicicletta, guarisci presto !Le foto di questo incontro con i tuoi amici all'isola di Veglia (Krk) sono bellissime, un grande abbraccio a te e Ron !

Janet M said...

Congratulations! And thanks for the recipes.

Paola said...

Wonderful Linda - I had no idea that you were on a honeymoon Tantissimi Auguri! Wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery. This is a marvelous recipe, ground almonds are always the basis for something special.

Faith Bahadurian said...

I am so sorry to hear of your injury, but glad you were back home at least! This meal and setting are beautiful and I want that tablecloth too. I always have grilled sardines at Blue Point Grill so think you can buy them at Nassau Street Seafood, or order them. Alessandra has been on my mind lately, so it's lovely to see her tart here in your beautiful photos. Grazie Linda!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Welcome home and congratulations again! So happy for you both!

So sorry to hear about your bike accident--hope it was nothing serious!

Krk Island looks so beautifully rustic and peaceful and your meal there looked so scrumptious! The almond tart looks like the perfect ending for such a meal.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful place and fabulous food!

Congratulations. I'm so happy for you.

Cheers,

Rosa

Stacey Snacks said...

Your entire trip looked wonderful! I loved all of your photos!

Welcome home!

Can I make this almond tart w/ almond meal?

S.

Frank Fariello said...

No, I didn't know. Congrats!

Claudia said...

I am sucker for anything almond - especially in desserts. But what really interests me is that antipasti spread right now. Recreating it! Welcome home and I hope the arm heals quickly.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

My friend says yes but it is moister using fresh almonds and grinding them, instead of using almond meal.

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

Welcome home and you certainly are glowing in all of your photos!! The photographs are breathtaking. I can see why my folks always talked with such love about their home. The dishes all look scrumptious especially the dessert. I hope you'll be 100% soon. Abbracci!

janie said...

So happy for you! I've always wanted to go to Croatia and your photos make me want to go sooner rather than later.

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Congratulations to the bride and groom! I am so thrilled for both of you! Such a lovely honeymoon in so many beautiful places! I have not tried to type with one hand, but I know it must be time-consuming. Take good care of your arm! I have enjoyed following your honeymoon stops in Europe on Facebook too! So memorable for a honeymoon!
Welcome home!
Ciao,
Roz

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Congratulations and best wishes to you both. Your honeymoon sounds delightful, so many memories. Thank you so for sharing your friends almond tart.

AdriBarr said...

I have heard that Croatia is gorgeous, but I honestly had no idea i was THIS glorious. I love hearing that you two lovebirds are having such a great time. BUT, NO! NOT ANOTHER BIKE WRECK! GEEZ LOUISE, we must have a talk about bike safety. This is serious. I hope you are recovering speedily, and I urge you to take care!