Roast tomato and chicken liver penne

Roast tomato and chicken liver penne

Penne ala fantastica

Penne ala fantastica

I have been on a bit of a chicken livers recipe mission lately since I had these incredible chicken livers and Prego steak roll at Espresso in Parkhurst last week. Their sauce is incredible, creamy and so morish you need every last chip piece of bread on the plate to scrape it up and then when you are done you feel so good yet so deprived. Anyway, this is something a little different that makes for a really tasty meal. (for 4/5 people)

What you need

500g penne
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1kg tomatoes, try to get the tomatoes that are egg shaped
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons sugar
750g chicken livers
½ pack bacon (125g) chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
About 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

The process

Heat you oven to 220 Celius, cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Mix the oil and garlic together and drizzle over the tomatoes, pop in the oven, pour yourself a glass of wine and let them bake for about 45 minutes or so.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven, place them n a large bowl and mash them with a wooden spoon to form a rustic looking paste. Add the chicken stock and sugar and them give them a final mashing. You do want it to remain rustic looking so don’t get too carried away.

Now put your pasta on to cook in the largest pot you have with well salted water. The more water the better when cooking pasta.

While that’s boiling, rinse the chicken livers under running water and remove any fatty or sinewy bits. It’s easiest to use a pair of scissors, then cut then in half and set aside.

Cok the bacon in a pan until it is beginning to crisp up, add the onions and cook for about 1 minute, then add the livers and the rosemary cook, stirring every now and then until the livers are beginning to brown. Add the rustic tomatoes, stir it up and let it simmer for about 2 minutes or so or until the mixture is heated through.

By this time your pasta is done, drain, return to the pot and add the sauce. Toss it around to distribute your sauce and then into a serving dish.

Top off with fresh chopped parsley, a sprig of rosemary, a grind of black pepper and a few parmesan shavings.

Smoked haddock with a difference

Smoked haddock with a difference

Smoked haddock florentine

Smoked haddock florentine

I have always enjoyed smoked haddock and happily used it in kedgeree or with a really nice white sauce on toast for breakfast, but this really steps it up for smoked haddock. The crumbly topping makes a huge difference and it was a delicious fish meal. Most of us don’t eat enough fish so here is a really quick and easy fish recipe that tastes fantastic. (4 people)

What you need

600g smoked haddock thawed (1 box)
400g spinach leaves with white bits trimmed (use scissors)
1 cup cheddar grated cheese
1/3 cup chopped chives
2/3 cup fresh cream
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter

The process

Fill a large pan about 1/3 with cold water, toss in the fish fillets and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils remove from the heat and drain.

Roughly chop up the spinach leaves and repeat the exact same process above, then take the spinach leaves in your hands and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Lightly butter a casserole dish and make a layer with half of the fish, then use half of the spinach and make another layer, 1/2 of the chives, 1/2 of the cream then 1/3 of the cheese.

Repeat again and then top it off with the rest of the cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Melt the butter in the microwave and sprinkle over the top.

Bake in a 200 Celsius oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is browned.

You are gonna love this.

Apple passion crumble

Apple passion crumble

Apple passion crumble

Apple passion crumble

This is a really great recipe. Hot Apple crumble with whipped cream or ice cream is one of my real favorites but the passion fruit and pear flavour added to the apple is just fantastic. Don’t be shy with the whipped cream on this one, forget any diet your are on and just indulge yourself. Eat it straight from the oven, you are going to love it. If you don’t want to make your own pastry, use the supermarket short crust pastry. (serves 6-8 people)

What you need

3 cups flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
250g butter cubed
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 large eggs
2 tins apples slices (800g)
2 tins pears halves(800g)
4/5 passion friut (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

The process

Take a 23cm springform cake tin and butter it lightly. Even if you are using a non stick tin, butter it, it adds to the flavour.

In a large bowl add the flour, caster sugar, cinnamon and butter cubes. Rub together with your finger tips until crumbly or process in a food processor by pulsing until crumbly.

Now add the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. if processing, continue to pulse until it forms a ball.

Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes or so until smooth. Wrap in clingwrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take 2/3’s of the pastry and press into the base of the tin and up the sides about 7cm or so. Cover it with baking paper and fill with rice. Bake it at 180 Celsius for 15 minutes, then take out the paper and rice and bake for another 10 minutes, remove and set aside. Freeze the last 1/3.

Drain of the liquid from the apples and pears and then place them in a clean cloth to dry them off a bit.

Now add the apple pear and passion fruit pulp to a bowl with the brown sugar and toss it or stir lightly to combine.

Fill the crust with the apple mixture and use a grater to grate the remaining 1/3 of frozen pastry over the top, sprinkle a little extra cinnamon over the top and bake again at 180 celsius for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. This can take up to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool for about 15 if you can, the filling is seriously hot.

Serve with whipped cream…. Sublime I tell you. Here is another fantastic apple pie recipe

Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake

This tuna pasta bake recipe is really fantastic. Don’t be put off by the milk flavoring process, it takes a few minutes but makes a huge difference to the flavor. This is another one of those recipes that should be printed and kept, it will feature regularly, is inexpensive to make and a really great tasting dish. You can use tinned tuna or tinned salmon. ( for 4 hungry people)

What you need

200g dry shell pasta (shells, twirly ones or even penne)
4/5 sprigs of parsley
1 small onion roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
8 black pepper corns
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons white wine or chicken stock
1 tablespoon granular mustard
450g tinned tuna or salmon
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs

The process

Cook your pasta in a large pot until al dente, drain and set aside.

In a pot on a medium to high heat, add the milk, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and parsley and bring it to the boil. Remove from the stove and set aside with a lid on for about 5 minutes or so. Strain the milk into a bowl and toss out the onion and spices.

Now add the butter and flour to a large pot on a medium heat and whisk to make a roux, whick like crazy and don’t allow it to brown. Add the milk and onion mix you have just made gradually, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the flour is completely dissolved and the mixture begins to boil and thicken.

Now mix in the wine or chicken stock and the mustard and combine well. Remove from heat, add the tuna and the pasta and mix well.

Place the mixture into an oven dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese that have already been mixed together and bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is browned.

Herbed Pasta-Tuna Bake on FoodistaIt’s a really delicious meal this one, serve with a salad. if you like this type of recipe, your will also love the Chicken and broccoli bake recipe.

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

This is budget cooking at it’s best that tastes fantastic. The meatballs recipe and the ratatouille recipe can be used together or separately and you can use whatever starch you have available. It’s a great recipe to serve with creamy mashed potato, rice, potato bake or even just some nice warm ciabatta. (4 people)

What you need

Meatballs

1/2kg beef mince
1 small onion finely chopped or grated
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ cup breadcrumbs

For a little something special if you have a lemon in the fridge, finely grate about ½ teaspoon of lemon rind as well.

Ratatouille

1 large onion sliced thickly and halved
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 green pepper sliced
1/2 cup chopped eggplant
1 cup roughly chopped baby marrows
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup vegetable or chicken stock

The process

Mix all of the Meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Take dessert spoons of the mixture and roll them into small balls that you could easily pop whole into your mouth.

In a pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and fry the meatballs until they are nicely browned all over. Give the pan a shake to move them around every now and then. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Heat a little more oil in the pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft.

Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and cook them all until the green pepper is quite soft. Now add the tinned tomatoes with all the liquid, the stock and tomato paste, simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens up a bit.

Place the meatballs on top of the mixture and simmer for another few minutes to heat the meatballs.

That’s that, serve straight from the pot. Try the meatballs with onion gravy or the spaghetti meatballs while you are making meatballs.

Chicken sausage with creamy mashed potato

Chicken sausage with creamy mashed potato

Chicken sausage

Chicken sausage

I came across these chicken sausages that were herbed and looked fantastic uncooked and decided to do a straight forward sausage and mash with caramelized onions. It tasted really good and will be a regular week day meal for me. This is a simple recipe to adjust for 1 to many people. (4 people)

What you need

1kg chicken sausage sliced in half lengthwise

4 large onions sliced thinly
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar

Mashed potato

8 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
½ cup hot milk
Salt to taste

The process

In a pan on a medium to low heat, melt the butter, add the onions and allow to cook until soft. Stir them from time to time. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are sticky and brown with very liquid left.

Boil the potatoes in water until soft, drain, add back to the pot and mash with a potato masher. Add the hot milk and mash until smooth. Taste and season with salt, this can also be done in a microwave just as effectively. Place a lid on the mash to keep warm while you cook the sausage.

Now all that I left is to cook the chicken sausage, which take just 2 or 3 mintes. Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the halved sausage until nicely browned and cooked.

Pile a generous amount of the onions on the sausage and mash.

Serve with soft fried tomato seasoned with salt and pepper.

Caramelized onions can be kept for a few days in the fridge, so don’t be shy. This Mediterranean Chicken sausage recipe is another of my favorites.

Baked chicken liver pate

Baked chicken liver pate

Chicken liver pate

Chicken liver pate

This Chicken Liver pate recipe is a unbelievably good. It takes a lot of time and effort byt is so worth it. Baked chicken liver pate is great as a starter served as a slice with melba toast or as an all day snack for Christmas day. Give it a try, you will not regret it! You do need a food processor for this one.

What you need

500g frozen chicken livers
400 g butter
2 large onions finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
About 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
100 ml red muscatel
100 ml port
50 ml brandy
5 eggs
250g streaky bacon

The process

Thaw the chicken livers completely and then trim off any fatty bits, place in a bowl, cover and set aside.

In a pot on a high medium heat melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the onions until transparent, you don’t want them browning, then add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and all the alcohol, increase the heat to high and boil to reduce until you only have about 1/4 of the liquid remaining. This concentrates the flavors for this decadent chicken liver pate.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the rest of the butter in another pot, bring to the boil, remove from the heat, skim off the foam and set aside to cool.

Place the trimmed chicken livers in the food processor and blitz them for about 1 minute, then add the onion mixture and blitz again for 1 minute.

Add the eggs and blitz until completely combined and a fine texture. During this blitzing period with the machine still on, add the cooled butter.

Line a bread tin with the bacon slices and then fill with the chicken liver mixture. Fold over any bacon pieces and cover the top with the remaining strips of bacon.

Place a roasting tray in a 150 Celsius oven with a little water in the base and then place the bread tin into the water and cook for 2 hours. It is really important that your oven temp is 150 or slightly less, not higher or it will turn a grey colour. Still tastes good but does not look the best.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then cover with clingwrap and place in the fridge overnight. Leave it for 24 hours to allow it to set properly.

Turn it out and serve slices with melba toast.

This is seriously good folks and the effort will come out in the flavor and the presentation.

Date balls

Date balls

Date balls

Date balls

Date balls recipes have pretty much stayed the same for years. They are great to have around the house for healthier little snacks, taste great and are as simple as pie to make. With Christmas coming up make sure you have a large jar of date balls for people to snack on.

What you need

2 packets Bakers Marie biscuits
250g dates chopped
450g margarine
250g sugar
2 eggs
desiccated coconut

The process

Break up the Marie biscuits and give them a bit of a pounding with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle. You want a combination of fine and small pieces, this gives them a nice little crunch. Make sure you get Bakers Maries, they are crisper biscuits and make a huge difference.

In a pot over a medium heat, add the margarine and sugar. Melt it and simmer slowly until the sugar is dissolved. Add the dates and let it simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes.

While the mixture is simmering, beat the eggs and add them along with the broken up Marie biscuits.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Place a generous amount of the coconut onto a plate and once the mixture is cool enough to handle, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and then drop into the coconut to coat.

That’s that, you have anytime snacks in about 20 minutes.

Place them into a large jar with a lid when completely cooled to store.

Try the peanut brittle recipe for a real treat.

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cakes or Victoria sponge cakes are really quite simple to make. They are very light and can be filled with all sorts of great fillings. This one uses strawberries and whipped cream for a decadent and very impressive cake which is perfect as both a dessert or a tea cake. If you havn’t baked much, this is a great one to start with. You will need a scale for this recipe and 2 x 23cm cake tins.

What you need

The cake
225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g corn flour
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 x 21cm sandwich tins, buttered

For the filling
4 tablespoons of strawberry jam
1 punnet of strawberries, cleaned and halved
125ml double cream whipped

For the topping
2 tablespoons or so of caster sugar

The process

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius and line the cake tins with grease proof paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar with a spatula until white and very easy to mix, add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time with a spoon of flour in between each egg addition and mix well with an electric beater until well combined.

Add the rest of the flour and maizena and fold it in.

Add the milk, mix with the spatula until combined and pour the mixture equally into your cake tins.

Bake for about 25 minutes. You will know they are done when the cake is beginning to come away at the edges of the tin.

Leave the them in their tins for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then turn the out onto a wire rack to cool.

Now for the fun part.. Place one layer onto a plate and spread the jam generously over the top. Scatter a layer of strawberries over the jam and finally spoon over a nice thick layer of whipped cream.

Place the second layer on top of the cream and sprinkle generously with the caster sugar or pile more strawberries and cream on top like this one.

Impressive and seriously delicious.

You can really go to town with the fillings, I have used caramel before which is very sweet but for me it’s best with berries and cream. Most other recipes I come across don’t use jam and berries but it really make a great addition.

Paella

Paella

Paella

Paella

There are loads of Paella recipes around and this one is a fairly traditional Paella recipe which uses spicy sausage, chicken and prawns but you can add other ingredients to it to suit your own taste. Some like to add mussels, some like more chicken and less sausage. Personally I sometimes add more sausage, I just love the strong flavor of chorico. It’s really not difficult to make, just be sure to pay attention the last 10 minutes. Paella is a perfect dish to make over the weekend, put the pan straight onto the table, make a salad and let everyone send it. (Good for 6 hungry people)

What you need

250g spicy sausage like chorizo sliced
250g boneless skinless chicken breasts in cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 cup white rice (uncooked)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes 440g in juice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch salt
Pinch turmeric
500g peled and deveined prawns
1 red pepper sliced thin
1 green green pepper sliced thin
1/2 cup frozen peas

The process

Heat a large wok or heavy based frying pan (a big one with sides at least 7cm or so high) and add a little oil. Cook the chicken cubes and sausage until the chicken is lightly browned.

Now add the onion and garlic and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes stirring constantly. Now toss in the rice and allow it to begin to brown on the edges, you must stir it every minute or so.

Once you can smell the rice browning, it has quite a distinctive smell, add the chicken stock, tomatoes and all of the spices. Mix it up a bit to distribute the tomatoes evenly, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer it for 15 minutes with a lid or covering on.

Remove the lid, add the prawns, peppers and the peas, give it a little mix to incorporate them and allow to simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes uncovered. It is important to keep an eye on it during this period and to test the rice for tenderness. As soon as the rice is done and there is no liquid left, it is done. If you have some parsley, chop it up to finish it off but not required.

Serve it straight from the wok or pan with a salad and some crisp bread.

Here is a Mexican chicken and rice recipe which you will really love if you like this type of food.