Category Archives: sauces

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
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


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
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.


Walsh Rarebit with a twist – Blushing Hot Walsh Buck Rarebit

I was laying in bed reading this morning, wind howling outside, I just new that the sun is still hiding, not yet ready to come out for the Spring to officially begin.  I wanted something nice, I didn’t know what, so I carried on reading my love story of the 3rd brother finally finding love when it just hit me…Walsh Rarebit.  I had a slight debate with myself…get out of bed or make Walsh Rarebit, tough one, nice, warm and cozy in bed, or being in my kitchen…I jumped out of bed and got ready to fill my need of this classic.

Walsh Rarebit is actually a supper, or a pub grub kind of meal, however I remember I use to have a boss who enjoyed it for breakfast…so why not meet in the middle…brunch!

So what is Walsh Rarebit you ask…well to keep it simple, it’s cheese sauce on toast with a cheese crust…now add bacon or turkey and you have a Hot Brown, add a poached egg and you have a Buck Rarebit. Then we have the Blushing Rarebit which brings tomato soup into the mix.  There are so many different variants of this dish, so why not explore the possibilities.

I call it…Blushing Hot Walsh Buck Rarebit

First off, you need to make a cheese sauce.  I kept it simple

250ml milk
2 cardamom pods
1 clove
black pepper
50g grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp English mustard
a few drops worcestershire sauce
dash of white wine
1 tsp paprika
25g flour
olive oil

In a pot, place milk, cardamom & clove over a medium heat.  Bring to a simmer. Remove cardamom & clove.

Make a paste from the flour and olive oil.  You are looking for a glue like consistency, pour into milk and whisk.  Do not stop whisking until you have thickened the milk.

Add mustard, paprika, wine, worcestershire sauce and cheddar cheese. Set aside.

Now you will need:

2 slices Bacon, fried off
2 large eggs
2 slices of bread (I would suggest baguette or ciabatta –  I used left over from the bread I baked, see recipe here)
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to grill, you want a nice hot oven that can give you a great cheese crust

Toast your bread, spread a layer of the cheese sauce over the surface
Layer with sliced tomatoes, season with salt & pepper
Layer of bacon, and a nice dollop of your cheese sauce again.  Add grated cheddar over and place in oven until nice and crisp.

Poach your eggs while you wait for your cheese to melt.
Heat some of the cheese sauce to a pouring consistency
Remove your toast from the oven, place your poached eggs on top and drizzle with cheese sauce.

Place a little mixed greens and serve nice and hot.


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
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.

Rawlicious Challenge – Mung Bean & Goji Berry Sweet Potato and Day 31 of March Food Photo Challenge

I rolled both Tandy’s challenge as well as the final day of March Food Photo Challenge into one today. My recipe is for Mung Bean & Goji berry Sweet Potato, topped with Roasted Beetroot Yogurt Dressing.

The whole Raw Food concept really does intrigue me, however, I do find it really difficult to to go complete raw, hence why my recipe is not 100% Raw, but again, you can just make the salad part and that would be classified as Raw.
I did a lot of research for this challenge, and chose certain ingredients for reasons.

The sweet potato, I admit freely that it has to be my top 5 ingredients to work with. I have to try and stick to low GI due to the insulin resistance I have in my body, so the sweet potato is my replacement for potatoes. The sweet potato stabilizes blood sugar & improves response to insulin; it is high in vitamin A & beta carotene, which therefore results as a great superfood for the skin.

I used Mung Beans, instead of cooking, I just sprouted them, when you do this, you release Vitamin C in them, to add to the other packed vitamins A, K and B6, mung beans are high in fibre and slow down the release of calories into the blood stream, as well as slow down of digestion which also stabilizes blood sugar. Although a bean, it has a low content of protein so you can’t use it as a complete meal.

Goji Berries are recently acquired goodness. I have to admit, I do enjoy them. Also known as one of the superfoods, Goji berried are great for stamina, weight loss and maintain blood glucose levels. These little berries are a great immune system booster and enhance the body to fight off diseases, lowers blood cholesterol, as well as great for the skin.

Beetroot, being not only on my list of top 5, is also a great antioxidants. Beetroot is a rich source of carbohydrates, a good source of protein, and has high levels of important vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. It is a good source of dietary fibre, has practically no fat, and no cholesterol. This makes beetroot relatively low in calories

Mung Bean & Goji Berry Sweet Potato with Roasted Beetroot Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4 – 6

4 medum size sweet potato
½ cup mung beans
40g yellow & 40g red peppers
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp goji berries
½ cup spinach
½ yellow cling peach
1 small fresh chilli
2 button mushrooms
1 large beetroot
½ cup plain low fat yogurt
fresh rosemary
balsamic vinegar
fete cheese
Chia seeds

Wrap the sweet potato and beetroot (with a splash of balsamic vinegar) individually with tin foil and roast off in the oven for 60 minutes at 200 C. ( Now this part is not part of a normal Raw Diet, so you can either omit this part and have this as a salad, or you can cook your sweet potato at 47 C for I am going to guess a good 5 – 6 hours, and you can use raw beetroot.)

Dice up the yellow pepper, ginger, peach, mushrooms, and chilli, add to the mung beans. You want it all more or less the same size. Crumb the feta cheese into the mixture and add goji berries.

Once the beetroot is ready, cut up and place into a food processor with the yogurt, and some chopped rosemary. Season. You want a smooth consistency.

Cut open the sweet potato and scoop some out so you have a hollowing which you can fill. Shred the spinach and add to the mung bean salad. I like to add a little of the dressing in the pocket, and then add the mixture on top, drizzled with a little more dressing. Of course you have to finish it off with some chia seeds sprinkled on top, just because they are so good for you!

Lavender Infused Honey and wonderful friends

I am very blessed to have some wonderful friends, people who have been a part of my life, whether for a short period of time or for lengthy periods, some I speak to daily, others I speak to once a week, some, only once every month or two, but the best part about these people are the fact that even though we are so far apart, when we do communicate, it is as if there was never a gab in time.

Four of these people played a large part in the wedding, and both myself and Justin are so grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives. Our bridesmaids and groomsman. Justin had met my bridesmaids before, but it was a first time I met him groomsman, and most of his friends from Pietermaritzburg. But immediately they felt like family, like people I know will be a part of our lives forever.

For the wedding, as gift favours, I did lavender infused honey, and let me tell you, what a mission. Firstly, to obtain 8kgs of honey is a rather pricy affair, as well as logistically a mission. There is a local place here in SFB which sells honey, however, often they do not have stock, or only a certain amount, finally we got out 8kgs, of honey, a citrus flavoured honey which was delicious on its own. I however wanted to infused the lavender with it, to tie up the theme of the wedding.

I took about 2 handfuls of lavender, which I got from my lovely friend Shelley’s garden, and dried it out a little in the oven, I then let it cool and just gently crushed it between my fingers, just to release some of the oils.

I took my 8kgs of honey, and brought it up to a simmer (at this point I was on the phone with my mom and didn’t control the heat properly so I have a good lot of honey all over my kitchen floor and all over my kitchen counters) make sure you control your heat properly.

Added my dried lavender to the honey, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, turned off the heat and left it over night to cool completely. Then proceeded to put the honey through a sieve to strain out all the lavender, and pour into the bottles. My wonderful MIL did this for me as I was running out of time!

I still have some left, and use it over my muesli in the morning, or in my rooibos tea, I love it. The beautiful scent of lavender flows through your sense every time you open the little jar, it is just absolutely wonderful!