Category Archives: Meals in minutes

Quick and easy duck liver pâté

Quick and easy duck liver pâté recipe

Duck liver pâté ingredients

For some odd reason I’ve been craving a chicken on duck liver pâté for the last few weeks. Perhaps this might be an underlying iron, vitamin A or B deficiency, or simply just a longing for a rich and hearty feel-good treat.

Either way, on my recent trip to the shops to stock up on some essentials for the weekend, I happened on some free range duck livers from Woolworths. They’re less than R20 for 250g so this turns out to be an inexpensive dish.

Of course, if you don’t like duck liver, you can always use chicken livers.

Ingredients

  • 250g free range duck livers
  • 50g butter
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 red onion
  • 25ml brandy or port
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g butter to seal

Method

  1. Trim the livers of any fat and sinew, this means all the white or green bits. It’s not as scary as it seems – trust me.
  2. Add olive oil and butter in a frying pan on a medium high heat.
  3. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook for a few minutes till soft.
  4. Add the livers and cook gently for about five minutes total, turning so they brown on all sides. It’s quite important to get a good sear on the livers as the caramelisation definitely adds to the final flavour profile of your pâté.
  5. Add the garlic to the pan after 4 minutes and fry.
  6. Add the brandy and thyme. Watch out though, the brandy makes everything bubble and splatter. Bubble for a minute to allow the alcohol to burn off.
  7. Transfer to a liquidiser and puree until your desired consistency. Once smooth, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a ramekin.
  8. If you want a smoother, more silky texture you could always pass the mixture through a sieve, but I like it a bit more rustic.
  9. Melt the extra 50g of butter and pour on top of the pâté to seal.
  10. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge to cool down.

When you’re ready to serve the pâté, take it out of the fridge a bit before you’re ready to serve it with some toast. You can certainly play around by adding a couple of capers, cracked sea salt and pepper and dressing it up with a few sprigs of micro-greens.

Best served at room temperature.

Duck liver pâté serving suggestion

Duck liver pâté serving suggestion


Note
Once the butter seal has broken the pâté must be eaten within a couple of days, but can remain in the fridge for a week or more with the seal intact.

This is such a versatile recipe that you could also add any other favour profile you like. Play around with classic sage instead of thyme, add some porchini mushrooms, cream, mustard, raisins, cranberries…etc.

Moroccan style mince with couscous

image

After visiting Morocco earlier this year and receiving a tagine as a Christmas gift, we felt like something Moroccan inspired for our post gammon and turkey hangover. This dish is extremely simple to make and ready in about 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t ground turmeric
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • knob of butter
  • 4 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 50g unsalted cashews, toasted

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan, add onions and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Stir in the spices, coating the onions, then add the mince and fry till brown.
  3. Add the apricots and stock and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook gently for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add couscous into a bowl and cover with just boiled water. Once it has absorbed all the water, fork through a knob of butter, lemon zest and mint to give it a nice fluffy texture. Season to taste.
  5. To assemble, spoon couscous onto serving plate, pile the mince mixture on top and scatter with the cashews.

Note
We have some Ras-el-hanout spice from Morocco which gives the dish a bit more complex flavours where up to 30 or more different spices could be in the mix, so you could use that instead of the cumin, cinnamon and turmeric suggested in the recipe. Ras-el-hanout can now be found at most good Pick-n-Pay stores.

South Africans may also have noticed some slight similarities in flavour between this Moroccan dish from North Africa and the traditional South African bobotie recipe. The kids therefore asked that we add some slices of banana and sprinkle some coconut on their portions. Nothing wrong with adding a dollop of chutney too while you’re at it.

Traditionally, Moroccans serve their couscous with seven vegetables, so if you want to bulk up the dish with some oven grilled veggies such as courgettes, red peppers, aubergines, red onions, butternut, carrots, parsnips and leeks then just chop them up, drizzle some olive oil, coat with harissa (chili kick), salt and pepper and pop them into an oven at 180 C for 30 mins or until cooked and caramelised.

South African crumpets recipe

south african crumpets recipe

Crumpets are essentially similar to small pancakes or what the Americans call flapjacks. While it was a British invention, we all grew up having crumpets for a special weekend or holiday breakfast here in South Africa.

South African crumpets generally don’t contain yeast like the British or American flapjacks, which makes this less “bread-like”.

It is generally served with butter and syrup for breakfast, or with ice cream and chocolate sauce as a dessert.

Ingredients:
2 cups cake flour
4 t baking powder
½ t salt
2 eggs
4 T sugar
2 ½ cups milk
1 T melted butter

Method
Melt butter
Beat the eggs and sugar together. Add the melted butter and 1 cup of milk.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the egg mixture.
Whisk together and add the remaining milk to form a smooth batter.
Drop 30 ml of sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat on medium (I generally regulate the stove between mark 3 and 4 out of 6)
Once the pan is hot drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan.
You don’t want to make them too big as they take longer to cook through. About 2 tablespoonfuls at a time should be perfect.
Cook on one side and when air bubbles appear, turn and cook on the other side until golden brown.

The recipe makes about 25 to 30 crumpets.

We served ours with slices of melon and banana. The kids also liked it a bit of grated cheese and golden syrup. Some berry compote and a dollop of fresh cream would also be amazing.

Balsamic caramelised onion and blue cheese tart

Balsamic caramelised onion and blue cheese tart

A quick recipe for caramelised onion and blue cheese tarts. We normally make this on a Friday for our weekly pizza night, but this time I wanted to use light and crispy puff pastry. I served this as an accompaniment to the beetroot gazpacho. The sweetness of the balsamic caramelised onion and the creaminess of the blue cheese was a great contrast to the vinegary gazpacho.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 6 large red onions, sliced
  • 30ml thyme
  • 4 tbs brown sugar
  • 4 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 packet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • wedge of blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup roasted cashew nuts

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large frypan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook slowly for 20 minutes. The onions cook down quite a bit, therefore the amount of onions required.
  2. When onions are softened, add sugar and balsamic. Cook over low heat for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sticky and caramelised. Set aside.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and roll out the puff pastry to fit a baking tray. Fold over the edges to make a wall and brush with beaten egg. Pierce the base of the pastry with a fork.
  4. Spread the onions, crumbed blue cheese and cashews evenly to cover the base of the pastry.
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden.

As mentioned, this complimented the beetroot gazpacho, but you can serve this with a rocket and tomato salad.

Crispy chicken goujons

You’ve watched the Food Network a number of times and heard some of the chefs mentioning goujons? What are goujons? These are basically small strips of fish or chicken, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried – a cheffy way of saying nuggets, but much tastier and healthier. The kids love them.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/2 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into fingers or chunks, not too thick.
  2. Mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, zest, coriander, garlic and mustard together.
  3. In a separate dish mix the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.
  4. Mix the chicken into the yoghurt mixture and let stand in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you can’t wait, don’t worry.
  5. Take out the chicken pieces, allowing the excess to drip off, then coat in breadcrumbs, pressing them on lightly with your fingers. Put on a plate. Repeat until all the pieces are coated.
  6. Pour a few teaspoons of oil into a non-stick frying pan and place over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pieces to the pan (you’ll may need to do this in batches).
  7. Fry for about four minutes each side until golden.
  8. Drain on kitchen paper.

I served these with a fresh garden salad and a selection of dips, aioli for the adults, All-gold tomato sauce for the kiddies or even some mustard or sweet chilli sauce goes down a treat.