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

Karoo Potjie served with Sadza

Food culture fascinates me. My father, who plays a large role in my food knowledge and inspiration, grew up in Zimbabwe, he influenced me with many African inspired dishes, thus creating my love for African cuisine. The Potjie being as South African as can be, was right on top of my list of dishes I wanted to showcase on Freshly Blogged, I was just waiting for the right ingredients.

The combination of ingredients for this challenge had me in a state of nostalgia about the time spent working in a Karoo kitchen.  There is just something magical about the Karoo that is so difficult to explain, you have to experience it for yourself, a place of relaxation, replenishment and inner peace.

Karoo Potjie served with Sadza
serves 4

Karoo Potjie with Sadza - proof on coals1 ½ cups Drostdy-Hof Pinotage
500g Ostrich Sausage
2 ½ cups Mealie Meal
1 punnet green beans
½ cup PnP Chutney – Original
250g PnP Dried Fruit
2 tsp Five spice
1 tsp BBQ spice
1 packet PnP Baby Carrots
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 tbsp butter
500ml water
1 tbsp flour mixed with 1 tbsp oil
Salt
Black Pepper

Remove stones from the prunes.  Place all the dried fruit in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of red wine.  Set aside for about an hour.

Light a fire, you want to cook over medium coals

Cut the ostrich sausage into 4cm long pieces – set aside.
Cut the green beans into 3 – set aside.
Mix the chutney, left over wine, five spice, BBQ spice and salt and pepper together – set aside.

Once the coals are ready, move the coals aside, place the potjie pot in the middle, you do not want direct heat from under, creating a slow cooking process.

Using the butter, fry the onions until translucent. Now layer the sausage and vegetables alternatively, add the soaked dried fruit on top, including the liquid.
Pour the chutney mixture over.
Cover with potjie lid and leave for an hour and a half.

Over high heat, bring the 500ml water to a boil, salt the water; add the mealie meal, stirring continuously.  Drop the heat to a low heat and let cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Using a fork, mix the mealie meal sporadically.

Once the potjie is about to come off, use a soup ladel, dish out some of the sauce.  Mix with the flour & oil mixture and gently stir back into the potjie, letting the flour cook out for a few minutes. Be careful not to break up the vegetables and sausage, but thickening the sauce slightly.

Remove and serve.

Karoo Potjie with Sadza If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

The second challenge for Freshly Blogged is out.  I love seeing the creativity from everyone, such different ideas; I am definitely going to be trying some of my fellow bloggers recipes.

This challenge was sponsored by Knorr – a brand that is a staple in my pantry.

I love comfort food – a slow-cooked meal which sends beautiful aromas through the house, enticing your senses and making you salivate in anticipation. Different cultures consider different dishes to be comfort food. To me these ingredients lend themselves to just that typical meal. Best of all, it’s the kind of dish you can eat family-style with people you love. To me, this is what food is all about… Comfort and family.

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

125ml PnP White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 punnet PnP Soup Pack (carrot, leek, tomato, celery, potato, turnip)
Zest of 1 lemon
5 Salticrax, crushed to breadcrumb consistency
500g beef shin
Olive oil for frying
4 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot
1 whole PnP star anise
1 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.

Mix white wine vinegar and sugar in a bowl, julienne half the carrot and half the leek. Add to bowl. Set aside to marinate.

Roughly dice the remainder of the carrot and leek, as well as tomato and celery. Set aside.

Mix lemon zest and Salticrax together and set aside.

Dice potatoes and turnips. Set aside.

Cut meat off the bone. Roast bones in oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 150 degrees.

Using a very sharp knife, cut beef shin into 6 large chunks. Slice each chunk 3 quarters - way through the middle to make a thin fillet. Place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently, creating a wafer-thin slice of meat. Repeat with each chunk. Set aside.

Place sliced meat on a flat surface and season. Put a little of the lemon zest and cracker mix in the middle. Do the same with the pickled carrots and leeks. Roll tightly and secure with one or two toothpicks. Repeat until you have stuffed all the beef slices.

Note: Julienne is a culinary knife cut in which the food item is cut into long thin strips, similar to matchsticks. Sometimes called “shoe string”.

Cooking method

Use an oven-friendly dish that can be used on the hob. Heat over medium to high heat.
Brown beef roulades in a little olive oil. Set aside.
In the same pot, fry roughly diced vegetables until soft, add oregano and 3 tbsp of pickling liquid.
Add beef stock pot and 1l of boiling water. Add roasted bones and star anise and simmer. Season. Add beef rolls gently, cover pot and place in oven for 2 hours.
To make the dumplings, cook potatoes and turnips in a pot of salted boiling water until soft enough to mash. Drain water and mash until smooth. Add flour and mix through. Add egg and mix until all is well incorporated. Season to your liking. Set aside.
After 2 hours, place a heaped tbsp of dumpling mixture into pot with meat. Repeat until you have used up all the mixture. Place back into the oven at 180 degrees and cook for 1 hour. Turn off oven.
Remove pot from oven. Take out dumplings and meat and keep in the warm oven. Blitz sauce and place on medium heat to reduce slightly until thick.

Plate up and enjoy. Perfect wintery night comfort.

Note: The sauce is so versatile, you can use it as stock for your next dish or make it into a soup.

If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

Tomato and Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank

During my 3 year stay in the USA, lamb made very few and far between appearances, I always asked why and got the same answer…it smells when cooking. Now I have always been confused by this statement, personally I cannot ask for a better aroma to flood through my house than when cooking lamb, whether it is in a stew or a roasting in the oven.

Slow cooked, family style food which brings comfort and warmth when you indulge, in my opinion, is my signature style.  This can be anything from my favourite lamb shank (or Springbok shank if you can find), to a melody of curries, the cooked to perfection oxtail, unhurried roasts or home baked breads , studded with olives, rosemary and coarse salt served with freshly made pâtés and preserves. Definitely not waistline friendly…however, I try to keep that balance of healthy vs. pure food bliss. During winter time, the later has the upper hand.

With us being in the midst of winter, there is nothing more comforting than sharing slow cooked lamb shanks, and a wonderful bottle of wine with family to shoo off the cold.

Tomato & Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank
serves 4

lamb shank plated

4 lamb shanks
300g flour
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Olive Oil for frying
1 tsp white sugar
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely diced
1 pkt celery, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 pkt carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 whole star anise
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 Knorr beef stock pot
¾ bottle of red wine (I used a Fairview La Capra Merlot)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 pkt tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
seasoning to taste

Preheat the oven to 150°C

In a plastic packet, mix the flour, paprika, salt and black pepper, place the shanks in – one at a time – and shake.  You want to coat the entire shank well with the flour mixture. Set aside.

In a deep, cast iron pot, heat olive oil over a medium to high heat, brown the lamb shanks.  Set aside.

Without cleaning the pot, fry the onions, carrots, celery and sugar until soft.  Add the tomato paste and garlic and fry further until you see the oil starts splitting from the tomato paste.

Add the star anise, cloves cinnamon stick and stock pot.  Stir before placing the lamb shanks in the pot.  Cover with wine and whole peeled tomatoes and add rosemary sprigs.  You want to just cover the shanks, if the wine doesn’t cover the lamb shanks, add some boiling water.

Cover the rim of the pot with flour & water glue (See Chef Note at the bottom of the page).  Place the lid on top and squash, you want to have a completely sealed pot which won’t let steam escape.

Place in the oven for 4 to 5 hours. This time may vary based on your oven, so use this only as a guide.  You want the shank to be so soft that you can just pull the bone out without breaking the meat apart.

Turn the oven to grill, take shanks out of the sauce and set under the grill.  Careful not to burn, you just want some colour on the meat.

Using a handheld blender, blitz the sauce, if it is not thick, place it in a pot and reduce, or to cheat, thicken with corn flour.

Serve with parsley & garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables.

 lamb shanks in pot

Flour & Water Paste:
This is a paste made from water and flour which create a type of glue which you can seal pots with to ensure that no steam escapes.  Use about 1 ½ cups flour, to about 3/4 cup  water, for the paste. You are looking for play dough type consistency.
Working on a floured surface, shape the dough into a long sausage shape, then press the sausage onto the rim of the casserole.

 

Healthy, Aromatic Chicken Curry. My Ultimate Comfort Food

The seasons are changing, the mornings are dark when we wake up, the sun sets earlier and we are slowly turning to comfort food.  For me…my ultimate comfort food is curry.  I love aromatic curries with that slight tingle on your tongue which brings a hint of a blush to my cheeks.

One of the earliest dishes I remember cooking is curry, I use to help my dad, get things ready for him, and slowly learnt how to manipulate the spices to achieve certain flavours.

Curries I make per feeling, I do not have a fool proof recipe, I don’t have a secret, there is no magical answer to the best curry…it is a feeling, it is a mood thing, and most importantly it’s your spice combinations.

Now the rule of thumb for a good curry is fresh ginger & garlic and onions.  This is how I would start a good 90% of the curries I make, unless I am doing a Korma, in which you fry your spices first to release the oils in the spices. Along with your ginger and garlic, you need fresh spices.  Keep your spices closed in an air tight container, the older your spices, the less potent they are.

Many people have mentioned that they are scared of spices, they don’t know how to use them right, unfortunately I can’t tell you how to use spices “right”, but I can tell you that you don’t need to be afraid. You can always fix it…that I can tell you how to do…easily.

Healthy, Aromatic Chicken Curry
Serves  4

4 skinless chicken breasts , cut into chunks
(if you are not healthy conscious, use thighs – gives absolutely wonderful flavours – in my opinion you should always use bone in chicken for that something extra in your curry)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large clove of garlic, diced
1 thumb of fresh ginger, diced
2 large potatoes, skin on, cut into chunks
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2.5 tbsp turmeric
2.5 tbsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp whole cardamom pod
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Please note that these spice measurements are as close as I can guess, I cook by feeling and cannot give accurate measurements as the flavours change and I adjust as it goes)

Preheat your oven to 150°C

Mix all the spices together and set aside

In an oven proof dish, layer the onions, garlic and ginger over the bottom of the dish.
Layer the chicken on top, sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken, pour in the can of whole peeled tomatoes.
Fill the can quarter of the way with water and pour that into the dish.

Place in oven and let slowly cook for 3 hours.  Remove from oven and add the potatoes, put back into the oven for another hour, crank up your heat to 200°C and finish off for 30 minutes.

The meat will be soft and juicy, without being shredded, the flavours will have developed nicely over the long slow cooking period.

Healthy, Aromatic Chicken Curry