Gluten Free Cinnamon & White Chocolate pappardelle with Creamy & Spicy Chicken Livers

Still on the Gluten Free path, this was another part of the a challenge I submitted as being GF. I have a LOVE / HATE relationship with chicken livers, I absolutely love chicken liver pate, however, I really battle with the texture of chunks of chicken liver.  It is purely mental, I know!  My family love chicken livers, so I often feature them in dishes.  The sauce was beautiful and velvet like and worked perfectly with the pappardelle. Best part – this is a really budget friendly dish.

Gluten Free Pasta Dough

2 cups gluten free flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp oil

Place the flour on your work surface.
Make a well in the middle; put the eggs, salt, baking powder and oil into the well.
Using your fingers, slowly combine the liquid and flour until a ball of dough is formed. If the dough is too wet add a tablespoon of flour. Because there is no gluten to work you do not need to knead this dough for too long, just until smooth.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface.
Cut the pasta ball into four.
Working gently, roll out the dough, using a rolling pin, until it is as thin as it will go. (This is tricky so be patient)
Cut the pasta into thick strips, about 3cm thick, place on a plate and cover.

To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Place the pasta in the boiling water for 4 -5 minutes, when the pasta rises to the surface, take a little piece and taste it. You should be able to bite into it without it falling apart. (With gluten-free pasta, it’s a fine line. One moment it’s al dente, and the next it’s one big ball of mush, so watch the pot.)

Creamy & Spicy Chicken Livers

250g PnP Chicken Livers
1 tsp Robertson Cayenne Pepper
100ml PnP Cream
½ cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
45ml lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Knorr chicken stock pot
½ cup water
½ tsp Robertson ground cinnamon
2 blocks white chocolate

Clean and rinse the chicken liver, fry in a really hot pan with a little oil. Fry for 5 – 7 minutes. Add the onions and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, sprinkle in the cayenne pepper, add the stock pot and water.  Stir gently and let reduce slightly. Add the cream and parsley, let reduce further until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.

Sprinkle the cinnamon over the cooked pasta, grate 1 block of the chocolate on the pasta.  Top with the chicken livers and sauce.  Garnish with more grated chocolate and a dash of fresh lemon juice.

gluten free pasta dough

Pasta Arrabbiata – Great Pasta, Great Times…

Often simplicity makes the tastiest dishes, and when it comes to pasta, in my house, I always opt for simple. What makes any good pasta a great pasta – in my opinion, is the base tomato sauce. Cooking it for a long period, cooking out the acidity of the tomatoes is the secret, infusing all the flavors of the herbs.

With the addition of chili – “Arrabbiata” literally means “angry” in Italian, and the name of the sauce is due to the bite from the chilies.  Make it as hot as you want, or mild, depending on your likes.  I like mine to have a little punch, but I add extra chili in in the end as not everyone likes the heat.

Pasta Arrabbiatta

1 can whole peeled tomatoes
4 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 pkt tomato paste
½ house Fresh garlic
Fresh oregano, finely chopped
Fresh chillie’s – to the heat you can handle, finely chopped
2 tsp Basil Pesto
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Knorr vegetable stock pot
1l boiling water
seasoning
Grated parmesaan cheese
olive oil

**Add a few strips of crispy bacon if you wish to skip the meat free option

Preheat the oven to 200°C, place the garlic on a roasting try, sprinkle with coarse salt and olive oil.  Roast for 25 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and set aside.

Over a medium heat, add a generous amount of olive oil and fry the onions off in a deep pot, sprinkle the sugar over the onions and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, chillies and tomato paste.  Fry for a few 5 – 7 minutes, followed by the whole peeled tomatoes, oregano and seasoning.
Add the stock pot and water; drop the heat to a gentle simmer and let cook out for 2 hours. Stir sporadically to ensure it doesn’t burn.

The tomatoes should break up and become a thick sauce, however if you want to use a stick blender at this point to blitz up the sauce, do so now.

Add the basil pesto and balsamic vinegar and crispy bacon if you are using.

Boil pasta according to packet instructions, or best use freshly made pasta – find out here.

Mix the sauce and pasta together, add some grated paramasaan and you have a delicious meal waiting!  Traditionally you would sprinkle with parsley.

Pasta Ariabata

Now you guys get to weigh in!  Share with me your Favorite Pasta Sauce!

 

Coffee Sabayon, served with Cinnamon & Nut Biscotti

My friend over at Lavender & Lime always has something exciting for bloggers to partake in, which I absolutely love.  For me, I am a seasonal blogger, I do not do it everyday, unfortunately time just doesn’t allow for it, I also go through these food slumps, to make something new and exciting EVERYDAY is exhausting.  I am trying to get better at blogging…it is my goal for this year.

The new Challenge – I Made It Challenge – Sabayon | Zabaione got me thinking.  I have made Sabayon a few times, for both sweet and savory dishes, served hot, cold and frozen, so I didn’t follow any recipe as such, I just went ahead and did my thing.  I was going to do two different types, however, those time fairies and all that…

The best part of this dessert is how you can adjust it to suit you.  If you like it a little sweeter, add more sugar, if you want to substitute different sugars, go ahead, and use whatever flavour alcohol you want, it’s all up to you!

Coffee Sabayon, served with Cinnamon & Nut Biscotti

6 egg yolks
80g sugar
1 cup Grundheim Coffee Liqueur (They also have a Rose Liqueur which will work just as well over fresh fruit)
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ box Biscotti, roughly crumbled

You will need a clear or stainless steel bowl which fit over a pot to create a double boiler.

Place all the ingredients into a clear bowl, whisk the ingredients until well combined, place bowl over simmering water and whisk continuously until your custard is at ribbon stage.

This process will take about 45 minutes to an hour.  You must cook it out properly otherwise you will have this egg like taste.

Roughly crush the Biscotti and layer between the Zabaione, place in fridge.

Zabaione

 

©-I-Made-It-150x150

Rosemary Marinated Olive, Feta & Sundried Tomatoes Bread

We all have those certain smells or songs that trigger of a great memory or a moment that just triggers of a smile that is unexplainable.  For me, the aromas that fill my house when bread is baking, perfectly exhibits one of those moments.  Fresh bread brings feelings of warmth, comfort, happiness and family…and most importantly simplicity.

I don’t often get the opportunity to bake bread at home, having some time off, I just had to grab the chance with both hands.  I have a few things in my pantry and fridge that I am trying to use in all weird and wonderful ways.  One of these said items are rosemary marinated olives & feta & sundried tomatoes.  Lovely to use for cheese platters or other anti pasti’s, but why not more!

Rosemary Marinated Olive, Feta & Sundried Tomatoes Bread

I have just a basic white bread loaf recipe that I use when baking.  This recipe makes 1 loaf.

500g stone ground white bread flour
1 pk dried yeast
1 tsp fine salt
375ml tepid water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Olive oil
2 eggs

Tepid water is basically water that is the heat of bath water.  You don’t want it to hot or it will kill the yeast, but if it’s too cold it wont activate.

Place the yeast and sugar into the tepid water, whisk and set aside for 10 –  15 minutes.  It will create a layer of foam on top.

Mix the flour, salt olive oil in a bowl.

Crake the eggs into the yeast and whisk lightly.  Pour yeast mixture into the flour, incorporate until you have a stiff dough.

Knead for about 15 – 20 minutes.  I do this by hand, but if you have a machine, use a dough hook, and you probably looking at about 10 minutes.

Set aside in a warm place, in a bowl that has been wiped with olive oil, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to double in size +- 45 minutes

Knock back down.  At this point you add the olives, feta, sundried tomatoes and rosemary.  Break it up and just place all over, fold the dough and place another layer.  This is all estimated, you can use a lot for a string flavour, or you can keep it subtle.  Roll into a ball and place under the tea towel again and let double in size again.

Knock back down one last time, and shape, you can either place in a baking tin or bread tin, I like to keep it a little more artisan style.  Score the top and set aside to rise, +- 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Place loaf into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

Now 2 tips on bread:

Never place bread in the fridge, it will go stale over night.

Eat bread in moderation.  Bread is not only a carbohydrate, but your body breaks up break into sugars, so for a diabetic, rye bread is your healthiest option.

Back to Basics – Pasta Dough…keeping it simple

My pasta machine has to be one of the best gifts I have ever received! It sits proudly on my counter, always ready to be used.  Often when we have people over, they play with the handle, or spend a few moments inspecting it, and it brings such a warm smile to my face.  It is a great conversational pieces.

Nothing beats homemade pasta, the love you feel when I make it overflows when you eat it.  To me, that is pure happiness! I understand the convenience of store bought, I get how much easier dried pasta is, but the whole process from start to finish just brings such satisfaction to me.

Basic Pasta Dough

500g stone ground flour
5 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1tbsp olive oil

I knead my dough by hand, you are welcome to place all ingredients into a Kitchenaid with the dough hook attachment until all the ingredients form a ball, continue to mix for 5 – 7 minutes.  I love the therapeutic process of kneading dough.

Mix the flour & salt, place on your work surface and make a well. Break the eggs into the middle of the well with the olive oil, slowly, using your fingers, mix the eggs, gently bringing in a little flour at a time.  Bring all together and knead until you have a smooth ball.  This will take you about 10 minutes, don’t stress of your dough is not coming together.  Just add a little more oil, but not to much.  Practice makes perfect!

Let rest for at least an hour, bring to room temperature before you start rolling it out.

Make sure you pasta is well floured before you put it through the pasta machine, you don’t want it sticking to the machine.

Bring water to a rapid boil, salt and toss the pasta in.  Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, remove from water and add to desired sauce.

You can try my pasta al vodka, or keep it simple, toss with a little olive oil, chilli, fresh parsley and parmasaan, or toss with a pesto you have in your fridge with a little crumbed Danish feta.  Go wild!

Enjoy!

Now the whole debate of salt and oil in the water when you cook your pasta.  My opinion…salt the water as it starts to boil, do not use oil, the only reason your pasta sticks together is if the pot is to small and you toss in too much pasta.

Stuffed Chicken Breast served on a bed of Pasta

The weather is all over the place, just as we get a taste for the Spring that is promised, we are reminded that Mother Nature is still in charge and when she is ready, we may bask in the Spring weather and that Summer time we all ling for.

With Spring comes the start of many new things, I am organizing at the moment, want to do a Spring clean, toss out the old, start with the new…and I will be starting on my closet.  But more about that in another post…

I love pasta…so versatile.  Pasta often find place on our dinner table.

Stuffed Chicken Breast

Serves 4

4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
½ packet of lean bacon
½ cup of cut mushrooms
1 cup of spinach
½ onion, diced
5 tbsp crumbed feta
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
¼ tsp nutmeg
seasoning to taste

For the Sauce
½ onion, roughly chopped
½ tsp sugar
1 time whole peeled tomatoes
1 sprig of rosemary chopped finely
½ cup white wine

1 Packet of your favourite pasta, or 500g of freshly made pasta.

For the Sauce
Fry off the onions, with a little sugar, add the whole peeled tomatoes, white wine, rosemary, season to taste and let simmer on a low heat.

Preheat oven to 180°C

Fry off your onions, bacon, mushrooms and spinach, rosemary, in a dash of olive oil.  Set aside to cool and add the feta and nutmeg, and season to taste.

Using a sharp knife, create a pocket from the top of the chicken breast, do not slit the whole breast open. Fill the pocket of the chicken breast with your spinach filling, and close opening with a toothpick.

Place on a baking tray and into the oven for 23 – 35 minutes.

Cook your pasta according to instructions on the packet.

Remove chicken from the oven and let rest for 2 – 4 minutes.

Slice chicken and place on a bed of pasta, and cover with your homemade tomato sauce.

Simple dinner that sounds complicated but is so easy

Oxtail, the perfect winter comfort food

My Comfort Food…I love stew type dishes, I love slow roasted, long cooking stews that takes hours and hours, with full flavoured sauces, but yet have very little work to them…that warmth and hearty feeling of a good winter meal.

I have often wondered what the fascination with oxtail is, in my opinion it wouldn’t be the best cut on the market, however, it is a delicious cut none the less.  As a child, I remember we use to eat a fair amount of oxtail, my older brother and I always referred to it as the “airplane bones” my dad would make, we would spend so much time licking the bones and giggling over the shapes.

With the really cold windy weather we are currently experiencing here in the country, I wanted something that would give me that hearty feeling I crave, my mind went all over, but settled on oxtail, I had the time, so after going to hunt for oxtail, I got into the kitchen and began the dish that brought back such fond childhood memories.

Wintery Oxtail

1.5kg oxtail
about 300g flour
2 tbsp Robertsons bbq spice
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
oil for frying
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
5 carrots, in large cubes
1 pk tomato paste
2 onions, cut roughly
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 can butter beans
1 ½ star anise
seasoning

Mix the flour, bbq seasoning and dried herbs in a container.  Coat the oxtail in the flour mixture and brown in a pan.
Remove from pan and place into a deep oven proof casserole dish.
Add the onions, carrots, tomato paste, tomatoes, beef stock and red wine to the casserole dish, you want to ensued the meat is well covered.
Season, toss in the star anise and cover.
You want to cook the oxtail at 160°C for 6 – 7 hours, and then turn your oven up to 220° C for an hour, the higher heat will thicken your sauce a little more.
Remove from heat, drain the butter beans and add to the oxtail.
Let heat through and serve with light fluffy mashed potatoes.

And that, for me, is my perfect comfort food, with no mess and no fuss!