Britain isn’t known as a nation of offal lovers, but we certainly eat it.

It’s highly probable you’ve eaten offal before as it features in a several popular national dishes. Haggis is made by stuffing a sheep’s stomach with liver, heart, lungs and oats. Faggots are balls of minced pork and pig offal wrapped in caul fat. Sweetbreads have almost become a staple of the modern gastropub menu while steak and kidney pie is a classic.

Looking to our European neighbours, many of us enjoy Italian calves liver with onions or sage and butter and a beautifully dressed green salad with chicken livers or gizzards is popular on any French menu prix fixe. And who doesn’t love a rich liver paté?

Although offal such as brawn, chitterlings, tongue, tripe and trotters have fallen from favour in recent decades, take heart, as the offal I’m encouraging you to try is not so challenging!

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5134

There’s a belief that all offal has a strange texture (like tripe and liver) and a strong flavour (like kidneys) but this isn’t true. Fresh chicken hearts don’t have a strong or distinct taste and they aren’t gritty, gelatinous or crunchy. When grilled quickly on a high heat, they’re tender morsels with a surprisingly subtle red meat taste. In texture, they’re softer than you might expect, with a hint of bounciness like flash-fried fresh squid.

Chicken hearts, although slightly high in cholesterol, are rich in essential B vitamins (including B12, riboflavin and folic acid) and minerals (including zinc, selenium, iron and potassium).

Around the world, they’re extremely popular.

Across South America, the asado (barbecue) is king and an array of steaks is accompanied by sausages and offal. In Brazil, chicken hearts roasted on skewers are an integral part of a churrascaria (grill house) menu.

Although it’s easy to think of the Indian subcontinent as a region of vegetarians, this dismisses the diversity of meat eaten across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. All have traditional recipes prizing offal, such as the Punjabi Katakat in which a mix of offal is fried in butter and spices.

Offal is most prominent in the cuisines of East Asia. The expression “nothing goes to waste” is put to practice nowhere as well as China, where the popularity of offal is not only due to a desire not to waste any part of the animal but also a belief that many types of offal confer health benefits. As such, offal is considered a delicacy and chicken hearts are enjoyed stir-fried, braised and grilled in many different recipes. In Korea, grilled chicken hearts in a barbeque marinade are commonly sold in street bars, perhaps with a pot of fiery gochujang (a fermented condiment of chilli, rice, soybeans and salt) on the side. In Indonesia and Malaysia, they are one of many types of offal used to make gulai, a type of curry with a rich, spicy, turmeric-heavy sauce.

But my favourite way of enjoying chicken hearts is Japanese yakitori, where different cuts of chicken are threaded onto skewers and grilled over charcoal. Tare, a sweet and salty dipping sauce is sometimes also brushed onto the meat before grilling. Yakitori is popular in izakaya (Japanese pubs) which serve short menus of small dishes designed for nibbling with drinks.

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5124

Buying

Chicken hearts are not (yet) readily available in supermarkets but Turkish grocery stores with butchers’ counters often sell them and very cheaply too. Alternatively, talk to your local butcher and ask him to order some for you.

Japanese-style Yakitori Chicken Hearts

Ingredients
(approximately) 32 chicken hearts
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon pureed ginger
1 teaspoon pureed garlic
2 teaspoons of sugar
3 teaspoons or mirin (rice wine) or substitute 2 teaspoons of dry sherry + 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

  • Combine the soy sauce, pureed ginger, pureed garlic, sugar and mirin.
  • Toss chicken hearts in marinade before threading onto skewers. I fit about 8 hearts each onto 4 skewers.
  • Grill on a barbecue or cook in a heavy-based griddle on the stove. Cook on high heat for a just few minutes each side (overcooking will result in tough hearts). Brush with extra marinade during cooking.
  • Serve immediately.

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5144

 

This piece was written for the November 2013 issue of Good Things Magazine – a food, travel and lifestyle magazine launching to consumers in Spring 2014. Content is also available via the website, or follow @GoodThingsUK for the latest news.

 

Greg Malouf’s recipe for Persian Baked Yoghurt Rice with Chicken (Tahcheen-e morgh), within a review of his book Saraban: A chef’s journey through Persia, remains a popular post on the blog, and it has been lovely to see how many readers have given the recipe a go and enjoyed it as much as we did.

Of course, many of us immediately started thinking about variations – using the basic recipe for a baked rice cake with a filling of yoghurt-marinated chicken but ringing the changes by changing that marinade. It’s not that we were dissatisfied with Greg’s original recipe as it stands, but that it was so good it inspired us to take it further.

One idea I had back then, but still haven’t got around to trying, is to use the yoghurt-based marinade from my mum’s Tandoori chicken or lamb recipe to make an Indian-spiced Tahcheen-e Morgh.

Another idea, which we tried and very much enjoyed, was to mix African Volcano Peri Peri marinade with yoghurt to make a Mozambique-spiced Tahcheen-e Morgh. Because producer Grant Hawthorne has already done all the work in creating a beautifully balanced blend of flavours, using his Peri Peri makes this variation super quick and easy, though you will still benefit from giving the chicken plenty of time in the marinade before assembling the dish and baking it.

AVBakedRice-4392

 

African Volcano Tahcheen-e Morgh (Baked Yoghurt Rice with Chicken)

Ingredients
Marinated Chicken
350 grams thick natural yoghurt (full fat)
4 tablespoons African Volcano Peri Peri Marinade
3 egg yolks
0.5 teaspoon salt
0.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
500 grams boneless free-range chicken thighs, skin removed, in 2 cm cubes
Rice
200 grams basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
80 grams butter plus extra for greasing

Method

  • Beat the yoghurt with the egg yolks, African Volcano Peri Peri Marinade, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the chicken to the yoghurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours ahead of time.
  • Wash the rice thoroughly, then leave it to soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Swish it around with your fingers every now and then to loosen the starch. Strain the rice, rinsing it again with warm water.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the salt and stir in the strained rice. Return the water to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Test the rice by pinching a grain between your fingers or by biting it. It should be soft on the outside, but still hard in the centre. Strain the rice and rinse again with warm water. Toss it several times to drain away as much of the water as you can.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 C (fan).
  • Butter a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Add a circle of baking parchment to the bottom of the dish and butter over it again.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the yoghurt marinade, retaining both. Use your fingers to wipe lots of the marinade from the chicken, so only a small amount remains on the meat.
  • Mix the parboiled rice with the marinade and spoon half of the mixture into the base of the ovenproof dish. Spread the rice out over the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Arrange the chicken in the well. Spoon the rest of the rice over it to cover, and smooth the surface flat.
  • Press a sheet of lightly buttered foil down onto the surface of the rice, put the lid onto the dish and bake for 1.5 hours.
  • Remove the dish from the oven, lift the foil away and dot the surface of the rice with generous knobs of butter. Replace the foil, put the lid back on and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully turn the rice out onto a warm serving platter and peel away the parchment paper.
  • Serve with a bowl of creamy full fat yoghurt and fresh mixed green herbs.

AVBakedRice-4397 AVBakedRice-4396

Do have a go and let me know what you think of my variation on the classic Persian Tahcheen-e Morgh!

 

When I’m feeling poorly I always long for the foods of my childhood. Suddenly the familiar holds a much stronger appeal; there’s deep comfort to be found in the things we’ve loved the longest, and that applies tenfold to food.

My shortlist is an assortment of my mum’s home-cooked Indian food, typical English school-dinner comfort stodge and big brand ready-made favourites. A good example of the latter is a steaming hot bowl of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup with buttered slices of pappy processed white bread.

But surely a home-made version, made from home-grown tomatoes and served with home-baked bread (and really good butter), would be even better?

Having grown our own tomatoes for many years, I set Pete the challenge of creating a soup in the Heinz style, but made with a shorter, simpler set of ingredients. Heinz’ soup contains modified corn flour, dried skimmed milk, milk proteins… nothing particularly scary but not ingredients we’d use at home either.

Tom Soup-0168

To my delight, Pete nailed his home-made version on the first try! He completely failed to write down the recipe back then, but when he made it again recently (with the last frozen batch of last year’s tomatoes), I insisted he keep a record.

His delicious soup consisted of tomatoes, onions, fresh cream, home-made chicken stock and seasoning. That’s it.

I have never been a huge soup lover, usually preferring something more solid. And it’s rare I lose my appetite, even when poorly. But occasionally I yearn for a light meal, something simple, something tasty and fresh, something comfortingly familiar, something warming that soothes a sore throat as well as a fractious soul…

For those occasions, I can thoroughly recommend Pete’s Home-made Cream of Tomato Soup.

 

Pete’s Home-made Cream of Tomato Soup

Ingredients
1 medium onion, finely diced
600 grams whole tomatoes
800 ml chicken stock
100 ml double cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for cooking

Method

  • Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the onion until golden.
  • Add the tomatoes, peeled if you have the patience and fry until they break down.
  • Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour to reduce.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Blitz in a blender or food processor and sieve to remove seeds and skin.
  • Warm through again on a gentle heat, stir in cream and continue to warm until piping hot.
  • Taste, season and serve with fresh bread and butter.

 

What are the foods you long for when you’re feeling poorly or sad? Do you turn to childhood favourites too?

 

Do you ever envisage a new dish in your head, hoping it will be as delicious as you imagine? And when you make it, it’s even better? I can’t pretend it’s something that happens often – more often there are tweaks to be made… or rarely, the idea is quietly binned and never mentioned again – but now and again success strikes and makes me insufferably chuffed with myself.

So it was with this Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake.

ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0160

In my mind were a number of recipes we enjoy, from macaroni cheese to chicken savoyarde to the penne al forno at my local Italian.

Once the idea for my new dish popped into my head, all we needed was to enjoy a roast chicken dinner (oh, the hardship) and follow that, as usual, by stripping the leftover meat off the carcass and popping the remaining skin, bones and tendons into the slow cooker with water overnight to make stock.

 

Kavey’s Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients
250 grams dried macaroni-style pasta
50 grams white breadcrumbs (we used Panko)
300 grams leftover roast chicken meat, chopped small
50 grams butter
40 grams plain flour
600 ml chicken stock, slightly warmed
175 ml double cream
50 grams Parmesan or other strong hard cheese, grated
2 heaped teaspoons French mustard
2 level teaspoons dried tarragon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Note: For the pasta, choose any of the small hollow tube shapes. We chose chifferi rigati by De Cecco, which are short ridged elbow-shaped tubes.

Note: We like the tarragon flavour to be understated. If you like it strong, add an extra teaspoon or two of dried tarragon.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F).
  • Put the pasta on to cook. When ready, drain, rinse and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce:
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Keep the heat low to medium, to avoid browning.
  • Add the chicken stock and cream and stir thoroughly.
  • Add the cheese, mustard and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens a little.
  • Once the sauce is ready, add the chicken and the drained pasta and stir thoroughly.
  • Transfer into an oven-proof casserole dish.

ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0155 ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0156

  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the surface.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumbs on top are golden brown.

Serve hot with a crispy green salad.

ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0161 ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0162

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Do let me know how you like it!

 

Like quite a few dishes in Japan, katsu originated elsewhere in the world but, as with many so-called yōshoku (Western) foods, the Japanese made it their own. Based on a European breaded cutlet, it was originally called katsuretsu (a phonetic representation of “cutlet”) but was quickly shorted to katsu. Pork (ton)katsu is the most popular but chicken is also widely enjoyed.

Likewise, another yōshoku dish is curry rice, known in Japanese as karē raisu. This type of curry didn’t come to Japan from India (though Indian style curries can certainly be found in Japan) but from Britain, courtesy of the Royal Navy and is similar to anglicised versions of curry that were popular in Britain a few decades ago.

Indeed, when I started investigating recipes for the curry sauce, thinking to create my own spice mix from scratch, I quickly discovered that the Japanese rely on pre-purchased mixes. Restaurants buy this in powdered form, combining it with tomato, coconut milk and a few other ingredients. Home cooks often opt for the ready made blocks or granules which they simply cook with water, adding carrots and onions if they wish.

ChickenKatsuCurry-4901

Katsu-karē is the combination of both the above imports – breaded pork, chicken or beef are served with rice and a generous puddle of curry sauce.

Japanese rice is different to the varieties I’m most familiar with. It’s short grain and somewhat sticky but not the same as the glutinous varieties used in East Asian sticky rice dishes. When we’ve have none to hand, we’ve substituted fragrant basmati but I think Italian risotto types such as arborio would be closer. More recently we’ve stocked up on some Japanese rice at our local Japanese grocery store.

 

Chicken Katsu Curry Rice

Ingredients
For chicken
400 grams mini breast fillets, or chicken breasts cut into a few pieces
1 to 1.5 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup plain seasoned flour (salt and pepper)
1 large egg (may need a second egg)
For frying
Vegetable oil as per your deep fat fryer
For serving
Japanese rice (or basmati if Japanese rice not available)
Curry sauce made up from mix, available from Japanese grocery shops
Optional: onions and carrots, diced, to add to curry sauce

Note: It’s impossible to give exact measurements for egg, flour and breadcrumbs needed as it will depend on the exact size of your chicken pieces. I buy panko breadcrumbs in large bags so I can easily shake a little more into the bowl if needed.

ChickenKatsuCurry-4889 ChickenKatsuCurry-4888
Panko breadcrumbs and curry sauce nix

Instructions

  • Cook your rice while preparing and frying the chicken.
  • Likewise, make up your curry sauce according to the packet instructions, adding onions and carrots if you like.
  • To prepare the chicken, dip (and turn to coat evenly) a chicken fillet in the seasoned flour then dip (and turn to coat evenly) into beaten egg and then dip (and turn to coat evenly) into panko breadcrumbs.
  • Pre heat oil in fryer to 160 C.
  • Carefully lower chicken pieces into oil – don’t try and do too many together or they’ll clump and shake the basket a couple of times towards the beginning to help them separate.
  • They are ready when the breadcumb coating is a nice golden shade of brown, not too pale (or chicken is undercooked) and not too dark. We’ve found that the mini fillets we buy from our supermarket are just the right size to cook through perfectly in the time it takes the breadcrumbs to colour nicely.
  • Serve with rice and curry sauce.

ChickenKatsuCurry-4890 ChickenKatsuCurry-4892
ChickenKatsuCurry-4897 ChickenKatsuCurry-4899

Alternatively, you could enjoy your katsu chicken with kewpie mayonnaise (a richer, yolkier Japanese mayonnaise) and tonkatsu sauce, available Japanese grocery shops.

 

You may also enjoy reading my posts about our Japan trip last year.

 

A roast chicken is a beautiful thing. The rewards are all out of proportion to the effort. It’s easy to ring the changes (though keeping things plain has a lot going for it too). And the leftovers are the best of any roast dinner.

I often smear a little butter over the skin, as recommended by Simon Hopkinson. That and some salt and pepper is as complicated as it gets much of the time.

FarmisonChicken-4836

With this corn-fed Goosnargh chicken from Farmison & Co I decided to add sage and lemon, and to cook the chicken on a rack above the potatoes, so that the delicious chicken fat dripped down onto the spuds below.

 

Butter, Sage & Lemon Roast Chicken

Ingredients
1 chicken
Butter
Sage leaves
1 lemon

Method

  • Carefully tease the skin away from the breast meat with your fingers, taking care not to tear any holes in it.
  • Slide several sage leaves under the skin, against the breast meat.
  • Do the same with thin slices of butter, dotted about the breast area and add a little over the top too, if you like.
  • On the legs, it’s difficult to get under the skin, so tuck sage leaves between breast and leg and add the butter on top.
  • Cut the lemon into quarters or halves and push into both cavities with a couple of additional sage leaves.
  • Roast according to the cooking instructions for your chicken. We usually roast at 180 C, for 20 minutes per half kilo plus 20 minutes extra.
  • Check the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the meat and making sure the juices run clear.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil (only loosely, or it will steam and the skin will lose it’s crispiness) and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the oven up to give the roast potatoes an extra blast of heat to finish while you cook your vegetables and gravy.
  • Carve and serve.

FarmisonChicken-4832 FarmisonChicken-4838FarmisonChicken-4835

Once we’ve finished dinner and the chicken has cooled down, I pick every last tiny scrap of meat off the carcass to use in leftover dishes such as chicken risotto, chicken Savoyarde, chicken croquettes and sandwiches with peri peri mayo.

The carcass (bones, tendons, flaccid skin) go into the slow cooker overnight with water, to make a very simple stock. In the morning, Pete drains it and pops it into the fridge or freezer for a future soup or risotto.

What are your favourite recipes for roasting a whole chicken and how do you use your leftovers?

 

Kavey Eats was sent a selection of meats by Farmison & Co.

 

Billy Law will already be familiar to those of you who follow his very popular food blog, A Table For Two. He also made it into the top 7 on Aussie Masterchef 2011. Born in Malaysia, he moved to Australia in the mid ‘90s to further his studies and has lived there ever since. On his blog, he explains that it was only when he moved, and missed the home-cooked dishes of Malaysia, that he took up cooking himself. These days, he cooks not only the cuisine of his native country but a wide range of Eastern and Western treats and there are plenty of both in his first cookbook, Have You Eaten?

Have-You-Eaten have-you-eaten-2
My book has the cover on the left, I think the other may be an Australian edition

The book is named for the common Malaysian greeting – not “How are you?” but “Have you eaten yet?”, which shows a commendable focus on the importance of food in the culture. This appeals to me!

One of the things I’ve long enjoyed about Billy’s blog is the beautiful food photography, which really shows off all his dishes so temptingly so it’s great news that he did the styling and photography for his book himself, bringing his trademark rich and warm style to the book. Recipes are easy to read and the whole book is a true feast for the eyes.

Dishes are divided into sections called Snack Attack, On The Side, Easy Peasy, Over The Top, Rice & Noodles Sugar Hit and Dress For Success, most of which I found self-explanatory except for the last one, which was obvious once I looked – it covers dressings, of course!

There are lots of recipes which appeal, from Guinness battered prawns to Pandan chicken, from Deep-fried salt and pepper tofu to Watermelon, baby tomato, chevre and candied walnut salad, from Breakfast pie to Ayam pongteh (braised potato chicken, from Beef Cheeks Bourgignon (using my favourite, Pedro Ximinez) to Burnt butter lobster tail with apple and salmon roe, from Claypot chicken and mushroom rice to Curry laksa, from Popcorn and salted caramel macarons to Gingerbread ice cream, from Wasabi mayonnaise to Chilli onion jam. And that’s just two from each section, there are many, many more that sound delicious.

The recipe we decided to make first was Billy’s Cola Chilli Chicken, as I’ve been reading about savoury recipes featuring Coca Cola for such a long time.

BillyColaChicken-3923

We skipped the cashews, as Pete’s not a fan, but otherwise followed the recipe as it was. We did find it needed quite a bit longer for the liquid to reduce down, but that may also be a factor of the size and shape of our wok and the heat we cooked over. Otherwise, it was very straightforward.

BillyColaChicken-3933 BillyColaChicken-3939

The finished dish was absolutely delicious. The sauce wasn’t sickly sweet but beautifully balanced. Given how easy it was to cook, this is likely to be something we make again.

BillyColaChicken-3947

And it makes me even more excited to try many of the other recipes in the book.

 

Billy Law’s Have You Eaten? is currently available from Amazon UK for £16 (RRP £25).

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Hardie Grant Books.

 

I’ve always been put off making Dauphinoise potatoes because recipes I’ve previously come across require laboriously layering very thin slices of raw potatoes, neatly and evenly, before pouring cream over them and baking for absolutely ages.

But recently, I learned a far quicker and easier method, which fits perfectly with my impatient style of cooking and my satisfaction with more rustic dishes.

My mum and I recently won a day’s class at the Waitrose Cookery School. We cooked several dishes in the morning including coquilles St Jacques, roast rack of lamb and peas braised with little gem lettuce and bacon. We even made a fancy lemon tart with fruit salad and orange zest tuile. But my favourite dish of the day was the potato Dauphinoise which was a revelation in easy cooking and delicious dining.

I’ve since searched the web and encountered many variations of this easier recipe.

Dauphinoise2-0843

The recipe ingredient amounts in the cookery school recipe are for a kilo of potatoes. The first time I made it, I halved the amounts (as we did in class) and made enough for three (greedy) servings.

The first time I made this at home, I followed the recipe exactly.

The second time, I substituted home made chicken stock for the milk (as I had some that needed using) and that worked very well.

 

Easy Potato Dauphinoise

Ingredients
500-600 grams peeled large waxy potato such as Desiree
200 ml double cream
200 ml full fat milk *
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
Salt and pepper

*Chicken stock alternative: substitute milk for the same volume of chicken stock.

Method

Dauphinoise2-0827

  • In a large sauce pan place the double cream, milk, garlic, salt and pepper on a gentle heat.

Dauphinoise2-0829 Dauphinoise2-0832

  • Peel the potatoes and slice reasonably thinly. If you have a mandolin, that would probably make this quicker, though as my slices were about 3 mm thick, it didn’t take long by hand.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Dauphinoise2-0834 Dauphinoise2-0836

  • Add the potato slices into the cream and milk and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potato slices have softened a little.

Dauphinoise2-0838 Dauphinoise2-0839
Dauphinoise2-0840

  • Use a slatted spoon to transfer the potatoes into an oven dish, so that the slices are reasonably flat. Don’t worry about being too neat, but try and get an even height across the dish. Pour or spoon the remainder of the thickened cream and milk over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Dauphinoise1-0979 Dauphinoise2-0844

  • Check if done by inserting a knife into the dish; the potatoes should feel soft all the way through.

Dauphinoise2-0845 Dauphinoise1-0984

  • The dish will stay hot for several minutes before serving, if you need time to finish other elements of the dish.

 

I’m entering this recipe into Family Friendly Fridays, hosted this month by Pebble Soup.

badge-familyfriendlyfridays

 

I am a chilli wuss. For someone of Indian descent, this can be quite embarrassing. People are constantly surprised by my inability to tolerate chilli heat and even my mum has to tone down the heat a little when cooking for me. And North Indian cuisine isn’t that hot to begin with!

It’s not that I don’t like chillies at all – the wide variety of flavours can be wonderful. But anything too hot burns my taste buds and lips so badly that not only am I in genuine pain but I’m also quite unable to taste any of the other flavours of the dish in question.

So I’ve been left pretty cold by the current craze for extremely hot sauces.

I do use chillies in my own cooking, where I can carefully control the heat levels, and have enjoyed experimenting with dried Mexican dried chillies.

But ready-made hot sauces? I’ve steered clear of those!

I met Grant Hawthorne, highly talented and experienced master chef, when he lead the enormous brigade of chefs for the Kai We Care charity dinner last year. Grant hails from Cape Town but has been living and working in the UK for 12 years. He’s one of those people you can’t help but warm to – hugely knowledgeable and talented yet quiet, thoughtful and unassuming in mannerism, with a genuine warmth and concern for others that is heart warming.

Grant has recently developed and launched a brand new product, his African Volcano Peri Peri sauces and marinades.

AfricanVolcano-0750

Peri Peri (also known as piri piri and pili pili) is a marinade and seasoning sauce of Portuguese origin and is particularly popular in parts of Southern Africa (presumably as a result of the culinary diaspora that occurred during the centuries of European empires). It’s usually made from chillies, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a mix of spices and herbs.

Grant’s version uses a variety of chillies including Scotch Bonnet and Dorset Naga. All are sourced from Edible Ornamentals in Bedfordshire. The good news for me is that Grant, like me, is not a fan of extreme chilli heat. So he’s developed his peri peri products to give flavour first, which lingers pleasantly in the mouth, and then a gentle heat that warms rather than burns the mouth.

Since South African chain Nando’s opened in the UK, in the mid ’90s, peri peri chicken has become far better known here than it used to be. What you may not know is that Nando’s originated within the Mozambiquan Portuguese community in South Africa, as Mozambique was part of Portugal’s East African empire.

Grant originally learned how to make a great peri peri from a Mozambique-born woman who fled the revolution in Mozambique and settled in Cape Town. Since then, he’s modified the recipe gradually over the years, resulting in today’s African Volcano.

The sauce (which is a cooked version of the marinade) we use on its own straight out of the bottle and, as long as I don’t dip too generously, the level of heat is just within my comfort zone. Good with nachos or home made chips.

The marinade does just what a good marinade should do – imbues the meat with wonderful, deeply delicious flavours.

Note: don’t worry if the oil separates from the rest of the ingredients a little during storage. This is a natural product and a vigorous shake will emulsify the oil back into the rest of the sauce very quickly.

AfricanVolcano-0714
AfricanVolcano-0710 AfricanVolcano-0712
Breast fillets in neat African Volcano marinade; boned chicken thighs in full fat crème fraiche and African Volcano marinade

As Pete can tolerate more heat than I, we use the African Volcano marinade neat on his preferred chicken breast fillets. For me, I mix it with either full fat natural yoghurt or crème fraiche and liberally coat my preferred chicken thighs.

Both are either grilled or baked in a hot oven.

This time, I doubled up portions, so we could enjoy the rest with a salad the next day.

AfricanVolcano-0754 AfricanVolcano-0965

You could grill or barbeque the meat, but so far, we’ve baked it in the oven, which has worked very well. The meat remains incredibly moist (even the breast fillet, which is a dryer cut) and the flavours are just wonderful.

Please don’t think I’m recommending African Volcano to you because Grant has become a personal friend over the last year. He has, but, as he and other friends know very well, I’m always honest about what I like and don’t like, and that’s probably even more so when it comes to products and services offered by friends and family rather than by strangers.

If I didn’t genuinely love African Volcano Peri Peri, I would not be suggesting you buy some for yourself. And in case it’s not clear, I am!

And if that weren’t reason enough already, Grant is donating 30 pence from every bottle sold to support the work of Habitat for Humanity, a South African charity that encourages those with money and skills to work alongside members of South Africa’s poorest communities, providing capital and co-workers in building affordable housing.

To buy your own African Volcano Peri Peri, either visit Grant at his stall in Maltby Street Market on Saturdays, or purchase from one of his retail stockists. You can also drop him an email via his website, to organise mail order.

 

Tamasin Day-Lewis’ Chicken Savoyarde recipe appeals to me for more than one reason.

Firstly, the initial part of the process is essentially how I already poach a whole chicken, so the recipe lends itself very well to being made with leftovers. (I’m sure it would work with roast chicken leftovers too).

Secondly, it features chicken, cheese, cream, white wine, mustard, bread and tarragon – what’s not to like?

And thirdly, a friend made it for me for dinner once, and I absolutely loved it!

I adapted Tamasin’s recipe by poaching my chicken in my usual slow cooker way and using only half of the meat from my smaller whole chicken, along with some of the poaching liquid stock. I also switched both the parmesan and gruyere to comte, as I had some in the freezer. And lastly, I substituted dried tarragon for fresh, as the supermarket was out of stock when I went to buy some. Apparently, there’s been a shortage!

ChickenSavoyarde-0733

This is a very simple dish and doesn’t take long to make, especially if you have a food processor to grate the cheese and make breadcrumbs.

 

Chicken Savoyarde

Adapted from original Tamasin Day-Lewis recipe, here.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
350-400 grams leftover roast or poached chicken meat, chopped into bite sized pieces
40 grams breadcrumbs
25 grams comte cheese, grated
butter, for greasing
For the sauce
45 grams butter
35 grams plain flour
300 ml chicken stock, heated
190 ml dry white wine
170 ml double cream
75 grams comte cheese, grated
2 heaped teaspoons French mustard
2 level teaspoons dried tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste

ChickenSavoyarde-0723

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Keep the heat low to medium, to avoid browning.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, the white wine and the cream and stir thoroughly to combine with the flour and butter roux.
  • Stir in the cheese, mustard and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning.

ChickenSavoyarde-0725

  • Cook for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Meanwhile, butter a gratin dish and spread the chicken meat across the bottom.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken.

ChickenSavoyarde-0727 ChickenSavoyarde-0729

  • If you are preparing the dish ahead of time to bake later, stop at this stage and store the dish in the fridge until ready to cook. Whilst the oven preheats, finish the preparation, as follows.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly over the surface of the sauce.

ChickenSavoyarde-0730 ChickenSavoyarde-0732

  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges.

ChickenSavoyarde-0734 ChickenSavoyarde-0736

This is fabulously delicious, though not one for those watching waistlines! We used the chicken fat skimmed off the poaching liquid stock to roast some potatoes to serve with the chicken.

 

Please excuse the poor quality of images, they were taken on my ancient mobile phone!

 

I’m submitting this to Can Be Bribed With Food’s new Love Food Hate Waste challenge and Fabulicious Food’s Family Friendly Fridays event.

bribedwithfoodlovefoodhatewaste badge-familyfriendlyfridays

© 2006 - 2014 Kavita Favelle Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha