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

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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

 

Oven Baked Biltong, Citrus & Thyme Chicken Schnitzel

I saw a post on Facebook a few weeks ago which asked…what is healthy eating…there were so many different answers, and all great ones…then I stood back and thought to myself, what is healthy to me…and I remind myself of my motto for healthy eating…choose right

I chose right when I made this healthy alternative to a deep-fried chicken schnitzel.  This is an easy, healthy and quick light dinner for the beautiful summer evenings we have been experiencing…let’s hope it lasts (touch wood)

Oven Baked Biltong, Citrus & Thyme Chicken Schnitzel
Makes 2

2 chicken breasts, about 130g each
135g bread crumbs
3 tbsp biltong powder
zest of one orange
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
seasoning
2 eggs
1/8 cup water
1 cup flour
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Butterfly the chicken breasts.  See end of post for tips

In a bowl mix the bread crumbs, biltong powder, orange zest, thyme and seasoning

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and water together (this is the egg wash)

Place the chicken breast in the flour, then into the egg wash, then into the bread crumb mixture.  Make sure the chicken breast is well coated in the flour and egg to ensure the bread crumbs stick to the chicken breast.

Place on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, place in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes, until cooked and has a good gold colour to it.

Serve with sides of choice, I enjoyed this with rosemary and garlic baby potatoes and a Greek salad.

** Store the left over bread crumbs in an air tight container for next time.

How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast
Lay the boneless & skinless chicken breast on the surface of your cutting board.  You can remove the tenderloin or work around it.  With the edge of your knife parallel to the cutting board, begin cutting down the length of the side of the breast. Carefully slice the breast in half, almost to the other edge. Open the chicken breast like a book.  If you have ticker parts of the breast, repeat the process until you have a nice thin chicken breast.

Chicken Stir Fry with a quick Sweet & Sour Sauce

I have a confession…I am a preserve addict.  When I walk into any shop that sells a “homemade” preserve, I have to purchase it.  I have things like Cherry & Guava Jelly, Pickled Habaneros, Pineapple Marmalade and something that is the star of this post…Pineapple & Gooseberry Jam.

So what do we do with jam…put it on toast?  I am a little bored with that idea…I use jams to make sauces.  One of these sauces is a quick sweet & sour sauce for my chicken stir fry.  It goes a little something like this…

Pineapple & Gooseberry Sweet & Sour Sauce
makes 4 portions

2 tbsp Pineapple & Gooseberry jam (you can substitute  this with Apricot jam)
½ cup spirit vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
¼ cup boiling water

Place all ingredients into a pot over medium heat.  Let cook out and the ginger will infuse beautifully.

With a stick blender, blitz up to a pourable consistency.  This can stay in the fridge, so  make a whole batch for later use.

With my sweet & sour sauce, I made a quick Stir Fry.

2 chicken Breasts (optional or substitute with Tofu)
400g stir fry of choice
2 pks Two minute noodles (toss out the spice that comes with it!) – cooked according to packet
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
seasoning
olive oil
3 tbsp sweet & sour sauce from above
fresh chilies, chopped (optional)

Heat a wok until scorching hot.  Fry off the chicken in a little olive oil, add vegetables, thyme and seasoning. Fry off for about 5 minutes, you want your vegetables to still be crunchy.  Add the sweet & sour sauce, ensure the chicken and vegetables are coated in sauce.  Add cooked noodles, toss and serve.

This dish can be served hot, or as a summery salad.

Enjoy!

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

Pasta al Vodka

I have posted this recipe before, long ago but took it down when I deleted my old blog. However, watching Masterchef on Tuesday, and the food memory topic really got me thinking. There are so many great food memories, and I will still do the post of my childhood food memory, but this one not only brings back great memories, but my husband loves this dish!

When I lived in Chicago, I worked for a Jewish orthodox family, the mom was of Italian decent and wow could she cook. I use to watch her when she made the Shabbats dinners and learnt many way of cooking Kosher, however, when she made Pasta al Vodka, it soon became my favourite pasta sauce. I have tweaked it slightly.

The best part of this sauce is that you can make it vegetarian or you can add meat, I do the latter as my husband does tolerate my meatless moods, however he leans towards having his protein as meat, not legumes or beans that I try and feed him.

I am going to try and be as exact as possible, however, for those who are loyal followers of my blog knows that as a chef, I cook by feeling, so go with what you are in the mood for. In this dish, I like to have strong flavours that all marry together.

Pasta al Vodka
serves 3 – 4

350g chicken breasts
300ml cream
100g bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
garlic to taste
1 tin tomato puree
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup vodka
seasoning
½ tsp sugar
Parmesan cheese, grated

Fry off your onions in olive oil until transparent, add the sugar to the onions and let the natural juices release. Add the garlic and fry off a little more, the extra moisture will prevent your garlic from burning and bringing a bitterness to the dish. Add the tomato paste and fry off until the oils release, add ¼ cup of the vodka to deglaze the pot. Add the bacon, fry off and add another ¼ cup of vodka. Add the chicken, and fry until the chicken changes colour, add the whole peeled tomatoes, rosemary, left over of the vodka, season and let simmer on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the cream, and let simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with your favourit pasta, topped with parmesan cheese and enjoy.