Sweet, smoked or hot – paprika spice comes in different flavours and colours but one thing is sure we love it.
I mentioned before that I’m pretty partial to smoked paprika and as a result many of my dishes tend to include a liberal sprinkling of this heavenly spice.
Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried fruits of bell pepper or chilli pepper varieties or mixtures thereof. It is often used for flavour and colour, and turns out to be the fourth most consumed spice in the world.
Until recently I had some Spanish smoked paprika which is rather mild in heat but has a distinctive oak flavour. I’ve yet to find smoked paprika around Johannesburg and I’m always on the look out for this spice on my overseas travels. On my last trip to Austria, I finally managed to find Rigler’s, a shop in Salzburg that stocked smoked paprika – but as my luck would have it the shop was closed when we arrived on the Saturday and many shops were closed on Sunday.
On the last night before we left Vienna, an expat South African and I went out for dinner at the Vienna Naschmarkt. Lo and behold! A spice merchant with tonnes of paprika of every flavour and colour. To say I was beside myself was perhaps a bit of an understatement. I stocked up on both the sweet and smoked varieties.
I left Austria a very happy camper and very much looking forward to try out some new recipes with my new spice find. Unintended but quite interestingly, my hand luggage smelled like smoked paprika for days after returning back to South Africa.
For inspiration, paprika can be used in a variety of dishes adding just the right amount of smoky flavour and colour. Try using paprika in some of these lamb, pork, chicken, fish, vegetable or sauce recipes:
Nico is travelling – Paris! – and the children and I are developing colds / coughs back at home. Added to that the fact that Winter is fast approaching, with a definite chill in the air, we needed something warm and healthy for dinner. Instead of heading to Woolies for a packet of pre-prepared soup I decided to up the anti and try my hand at a homemade broth. It was fun to make, Arnan was keen to help out quite a bit and it turned out to be delicious. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender when it came out of the pot. My two helpers just about gorged themselves on juicy pieces of chicken before I could even get it back into the broth! A winner all round.
I used our electric pressure cooker for this recipe, if you want to use a stove top pressure cooker you can get directions from the original recipe here.
The original recipe called for egg noodles. Since we are following a Banting (LCHF) diet I simply omitted them.
This recipe is adapted from Democrat & Chronicle.
1 Tbsp unflavoured coconut oil or any other vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2 of those giant cloves Pick n Pay sell)
1 whole chicken, 1.4 kg – 2.3 kg, giblets discarded
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Set the pressure cooker to the “Sauté” setting and heat the oil until shimmering
Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes
Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
Stir in the water, carrots, celery and soy sauce
Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and place, breast side up, in the pot
Put the lid on and lock into place, making sure the valve is set to “Pressure”
Set the pressure cooker to the “High Pressure” setting for 20 minutes. If your chicken is larger than 1.8 kg then you will need to add about 10 minutes to the cooking time
When the timer signals the end of the cooking time switch the pressure cooker off, ensuring it doesn’t switch to the “Warm” setting or your chicken may overcook, and use the quick release valve to relase the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones – two forks work well for separating the meat, it came out so tender the meat literally just fell off the bones.
Stir in the shredded chicken and parsley
Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like you could add a little soy sauce and some fresh chopped chillies
The children requested chicken soup for breakfast this morning. If that’s not a testimony to how good it is then I don’t know what is!
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.
250g free range duck livers
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
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.
Add olive oil and butter in a frying pan on a medium high heat.
Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook for a few minutes till soft.
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.
Add the garlic to the pan after 4 minutes and fry.
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.
Transfer to a liquidiser and puree until your desired consistency. Once smooth, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a ramekin.
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.
Melt the extra 50g of butter and pour on top of the pâté to seal.
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.
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.
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.
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
Cut the chicken into fingers or chunks, not too thick.
Mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, zest, coriander, garlic and mustard together.
In a separate dish mix the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.
Mix the chicken into the yoghurt mixture and let stand in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you can’t wait, don’t worry.
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.
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).
Fry for about four minutes each side until golden.
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.
Sundays are for family. There’s nothing better than having the entire family around the lunch table. In South Africa this tradition normally involves a braai (barbeque), roast leg of lamb or as our family often does, a stuffed roast chicken with all the trimmings (think potatoes roasted in garlic and rosemary or candied thyme carrots).
1 whole chicken
5 rashers of bacon, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can chickpeas
8 sun dried tomatoes in oil
2 tablespoons mixed herbs
salt & pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Fry the bacon in a little olive oil till brown. Add the onion, garlic, herbs, sun dried tomato and chickpeas till hot.
Drizzle the chicken with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
Stuff the chicken with the chickpea mix.
Pour the wine and water in a roasting pot, add the chicken and cover with the lid.
Cook at 200 for 1 hour.
Uncover and transfer the chicken to grill for a further 25-30 minutes, until the juices run clear.
Make a gravy out of the pan juices.
Rest the chicken for 15 minutes.
Cut the chicken up and pour over some of the gravy.
Serve with the stuffing, some garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, candied carrots or a tomato, leafy green salad.
I used a rose wine instead of white wine which made the gravy a tad too vinegary. If the wine is not cooked off enough to your taste, add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and cook the gravy a little longer. The longer it cooks, the more the wine will cook off. The sugar definitely balances out the wine/vinegar taste.
A few weeks ago we visited the Fourways Farmers market, curious to see and sample some fresh local produce and home made treats.
Victoire was looking for cardamom pods for some time and as luck would have it, managed to not only find a vendor that had cardamom, but also a smörgåsbord of other fresh herbs, spices and tidbits for our cooking endeavours. He even made up some barbeque spice for us. Watch out though, if you don’t pay close attention you’ll end up with some really hot spices and a huge dent in your pocket.
Inspired by the cardamom find, I happened to recall a recipe for white chocolate cardamom mousse from Nigel Slater’s Real Food cookbook – something I wanted to try for a long time. So this weekend, I finally got all the ingredients together for the decadent dessert.
Check out this quick Vine video of me whipping up the white chocolate cardamom mousse.
Whipping up a white chocolate cardamom mousse for dessert tonight. https://t.co/3HJNYR2Oso
— Nico Olwagen (@nolwagen) August 4, 2013
Read more about this recipe here.
With dessert sorted, I decided to continue on the fragrant Asian theme and make a Thai chicken curry for a change.
This one is very simple and is quite adaptable to whatever vegetables you have in your fridge.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Thai curry paste (I used panang curry paste – only 15% chilli)
4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs, cubed
can coconut milk
10 baby sweetcorn, halved lengthways
1/2 head cauliflower, halving the florets
1/2 head broccoli, halving the florets
1/2 punnet of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 packet medium rice noodles
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
small handful fresh coriander leaves
Heat oil in saucepan. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a few seconds. Add the chicken pieces and fry gently.
Add the coconut milk, baby sweetcorn, cauliflower and mushrooms and bring to the boil. Partly cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to the boil with a little oil to prevent the noodles from sticking and add the rice noodles. When it reaches boiling point, switch off the heat and let it stand for 4 minutes.
Drain the noodles and add to the pan. Add the broccoli stems on top and simmer for 4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the lime zest and juice, fish sauce, coriander and stir well.
Serve in a bowl, garnishing with fresh coriander, lime wedge and some red chilli (optional).
The dish turned out deliciously fragrant with just a hint of heat. The family gobbled it all up with no left-overs for a snack or work lunch. That to me is a sign of a successful dish.
We ended the meal off with the white chocolate cardamom mousse – a very rich, velvety finish to a delicious meal.
It’s the middle of the month and the pennies are tight. Our fridge has all kinds of leftover bits and pieces from the weekend and we were stuck for quick 15-minute dinner ideas.
In the fridge we had a handful or two of baby spinach leaves, a bunch of coriander leaves, half a green pepper, some alfalfa sprouts, an avocado, parmesan cheese and a small jar of dressing left over from the polenta crusted chicken caesar salad I made over the weekend.
So I went scratching through the freezer and found some tortilla wraps. These would go perfectly with all the vegies. Now I just needed a protein that was quick to defrost and that the kids would still enjoy. My eyes fell on a half a box of fish fingers. A perfect light-bulb moment.
So without further ado, fun (for the kids) fish finger wraps done in 15 minutes.
Ingredients (for those who like lists)
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
4 sprigs (or a small bunch) of coriander leaves
half a green pepper
4 pinches of alfalfa sprouts (more to taste)
1 diced avocado
8 slices of parmesan cheese
8 cherry tomatoes
dressing of your choice or some sweet-chili sauce
about 12 (or more) frozen fish fingers
4 tortilla wraps
Dressing – leftover from an earlier dish
2 tsp garlic-infused olive oil
40g parmesan cheese
4 anchovy filets
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp red vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
Squeeze the juice from the lemons and place everything in a food processor and process.
turn the oven on full whack and set to the grill and bake setting
spread out the fish fingers on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 minutes
meanwhile roughly chop your baby spinach leaves
dice your avocado, tomatoes and green pepper and divide into four equal heaps
heat up each individual wrap on a plate in the microwave for 30 seconds (45 if you like it hot)
5 minutes would have passed by now, so turn your oven down to 220 degrees C and set to bake
slice the parmesan cheese into 8 shavings
after 5 minutes, turn the oven on to the grill and bake setting and turn it down to 200 degrees C
add the parmesan shavings to the baking tray (with the fish fingers) to melt until golden crisps (it will crisp up while cooling down)
start assembling your wraps by spreading about a tablespoon full of the dressing, sweet chili sauce or any other sauce (mayo works well too) in a strip on the wrap
top with the shredded baby spinach leaves, avo, tomato and green pepper as well as a sprig of coriander,
sprinkle with some alfalfa sprouts
by now the fish fingers and parmesan crisps are done (15 minutes total), line 3 fish fingers on top of the veggies and place 2 of the parmesan crisps on top
roll and fold tightly, slice each wrap in half and marvel as the kids devour everything and ask for seconds
This recipe served 2 adults and 2 kids and can be prepared as a lunchtime snack or a fuss-free dinner. Works equally well with chicken or beef.