Elder

The flowers of the elder are used to brew elder flower ‘champagne’ and flavour desserts while the berries are the nutritional equal of grapes. The European elder is a multi stemmed shrub tree with deep green compound leaves. The large lacy inflorescence’s bear tiny creamy white fragrant flowers. The leaves, bark, green berries and roots are poisonous if consumed.

190px Sambucus canadensis W2 IMG 3144 Elder

photograph sourced from Wikipedia

These cold hardy plants prefer a moist but well drained humus rich soil and full sun to partial shade. Harvest the berries when they are black. Pick flowers early on a dewless morning, spread the heads on clean kitchen paper and leave in a warm, dark, dry place for several days.

Use the fresh flowers to make elder flower wine or cordial or a herbal infusion. Freeze the berries if you want to but you must cook them first before using them in baked goods. Elder flowers are high in Vitamins A and C.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

Tandy

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Recipe For Pasta With Sausages And Cream

Once again I have turned to my copy of The Geometry of Pasta for a recipe. I chose this recipe for pasta with sausages and cream as last year Dave and I spent our annual holiday in Assisi, in the Umbria region of Italy. It was here that we indulged in truffles, ate a lot of ice cream, and walked through the old walled cities. This recipe, found across Umbria, should in theory be made with the famous sausage from Norcia – so famous that the word Norcina has become synonymous with sausage. Unfortunately, we don’t get this typical sausage here so I chose a pork sausage with Parmesan and pancetta in it as these are both Italian ingredients. According to the book, tortiglioni has pronounced grooves that are slightly slanted, wrapping around the tubular pasta in a multiple helix. This is a great bowl of comfort that I would make again, experimenting with different types of sausage.

Pasta With Sausages And Cream Recipe For Pasta With Sausages And Cream

Pasta With Sausages And Cream

Tortiglioni Alla Norcina | Pasta With Sausages And Cream
 
From The Geometry Of Pasta page 272
Ingredients
  • 200g tortiglioni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 250g sausages, skins removed
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 100mls white wine
  • 125mls cream
  • grated Pecorino Romana for serving
Method
  1. while the pasta is boiling heat the olive oil in a large pan
  2. fry the sausage and the onions until the sausage is partially browned
  3. stir occasionally to break up the sausage
  4. add the chilli, closely followed by the wine
  5. reduce by half and then add the cream
  6. leave the sauce to thicken
  7. drain your pasta when al dente and add to the sauce
  8. cook together until the cream is thick enough to coat the pasta
  9. serve with plenty of black pepper and the grated cheese

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by HoneyB, The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.

Tandy

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Recipe For Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Today is reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club! I wonder who got my blog? This month I was assigned Nestlé Kitchens. This is a collaborative blog about good food, and good life. Three bloggers currently contribute to this blog and I had no idea where to even start looking for something to create for today’s dish. Did I want to do a make a drink or something sweet? Or maybe make something for a main course or to entertain with? Or maybe a side dish or something for the holidays, which are looming? I decided to click the random post button and see what the blog decided. And I was lucky! This is a dish I have been wanting to try, ever since my soup recipe I did using ribs. I have made one other short rib recipe, but I have never tried braising them following someone else’s recipe. Chris is a mother of triplets *gasp* and writes recipes for the world’s largest food company. Nestlé products are readily available in South Africa and I am very familiar with them. It made me feel like I already knew Chris before I ‘met’ her through this recipe.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs Recipe For Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

 

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 530g extra-lean bone-in beef short ribs
  • salt and ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 3 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 170mls red wine
  • 125mls port
  • 10mls balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon beef stock granules
  • 2 sprigs each fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 2 carrots thickly sliced
  • 10mls water
  • 5mls arrow root
  • ¾ cup red wine
Method
  1. preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  2. heat the oil in large, heavy oven-proof casserole dish over medium-high heat
  3. pat dry the ribs and season
  4. working in batches, brown the ribs on all sides
  5. once brown, remove and set aside
  6. drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the dish, or add some olive oil if necessary
  7. add the shallots to dish
  8. cook for a few minutes until golden
  9. add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds
  10. stir in the wine, port, vinegar, stock, thyme, rosemary and sage
  11. bring to the boil, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the dish
  12. add the carrots along with the ribs and any accumulated juices
  13. bring to the boil, cover and place in oven
  14. bake covered, for 2 ½ hours
  15. check to make sure it does not dry out, and add up to 170mls water if necessary
  16. using a slotted spoon transfer the ribs, shallots and carrots to a large bowl
  17. if you have time, refrigerate overnight or freeze the pan juices for about 30 minutes
  18. remove the oil from the pan juices
  19. combine the water and arrow root in a small bowl
  20. add ½ cup red wine to the pan juices and bring to the heat
  21. whisk the arrow root into the pan juices
  22. bring to the boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it starts to thicken
  23. remove and discard the stems from the herbs
  24. return the ribs to pan with ¼ cup red wine and incorporate the sauce
  25. serve over horseradish mashed potatoes

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

To see the other   recipes click the linky below

 Recipe For Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Tandy

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Friday's Food Quiz Number 66

I was not on line from Friday lunch time until this morning, and nearly missed Pink’s Quiz! Here are my answers:

1. What is an Italian dumpling better known as?

gnocchi

2. What is “strata” in culinary terms?

a layered dish of bread and cheese, baked with an egg custard mixture, much like a quiche

3. What does “sous vide” means?

under vacuum

4. The “fifth taste” discovered by Japanese scientists, called “umami” describes what?

savouriness

5. What are the main ingredients of “vichyssoise?

leeks, potatoes, cream and chicken stock

6. What is Mentsuyu?

a soy based condiment

7. The fruit of which African tree is used to make monkey bread?

the only thing I know is that it is similar to a cinnamon bun but have nuts

8. Why is fish traditionally served with lemon?

I have no idea! the acidity in the lemon must serve some purpose. 

9. What is tahini?

a sesame seed paste traditionally used for making hummus

10. What are the basic ingredients of Fregolata, a hard and crumby cake, which are eaten all over northern Italy at the end of a meal?

almonds, sugar, butter and lemon

Tandy

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Ready Steady Cook

Hila, from Add To Taste asked for a volunteer for the next round of:

readysteadycookbadge Ready Steady Cook I  am going to be the host and what I need are participants. If you are familiar with the TV program then you know a mystery bag of ingredients are given to the two competing chefs. They have access to pantry ingredients and in an allocated time they have to come up with a starter, main course and dessert.

The blogger version is similar – if you take part, you will be assigned a blogger to give a mystery bag of 7 ingredients to. I will provide the list of pantry ingredients and from your bag, you have to come up with a starter, main course and dessert. Posts will have to go up by a certain time and a winner will be decided.

I am not going to do this unless I have at least 10 bloggers taking part. The deadline for submitting your name for this challenge will be the 23rd of November. Please complete the form below if you would like to take part.

Tandy

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Secret Santa 2011

I want to thank all the South African bloggers who are taking part in my Secret Santa gift initiative. The assignments have all been sent out and on Monday I will do the ones for the USA / Europe and Australia. This however all depends on a few factors:

  • I need emails from the following bloggers with their postal addresses: sonsothunder, Serious Food For The Soul, A Dash of Domestic, Baker by Nature – if I have not heard from you I will count you out. Sorry, but I have left messages for all of you asking for this information.
  • I would love a few more people from Europe – Spain / Italy / France and England
  • I need one more blogger from Australia

Secret Santa Secret Santa 2011

Please complete this form if you are keen on sending another blogger a gift to the value of R100 / €10 / $10

Tandy

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Something Sweet Challenge To Use Figs

I have not got to many of my own challenges recently, and next week I will be away for 6 days and off the internet. But, I am still going to set a challenge and I hope you all find something lovely to make.

The challenge this week is to create something sweet using figs

Don’t forget that the competition is open till the end of the month – this prize is for South African residents only.

PREVIOUS CHALLENGE ROUND UP

Yvette has shared a lovely pasta recipe with rocket. Natalie has a recipe for foldies with rocket.

Tandy

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Presto Pasta Nights

My week started with submissions pouring in for PPN – and while I left them simmering in the inbox, I attended to sorting out who gets whom for Secret Santa. Once I had given that task my full attention, I started reading all the wonderful recipes for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights. I hope you will click on each blog name to be taken to the dishes submitted.

PPN 239 Presto Pasta Nights

First up is Heather of girlichef’s Vermicelli Soup w/ Butter, Lemon, & Mint. This is a simply perfect dish for any moment, not just mid afternoon while watching Iron Chef.

Kirsten of From Kirsten’s Kitchen To Yours has a lovely dish of kale and slow roasted tomato fusilli, which works well for my Tandy Tuesday challenge of a pasta dish using 5 ingredients or less.

Ruth of Once Upon A Feast has shared with us One The Mend Quick Fettuccine Bolognese. I would not need to be sick to have an excuse to enjoy this meal!

Elizabeth of lawstudentscookbook submitted beef tetrazzini which is an adaption of another recipe she had and used up some of her left overs.

Val of More Than Burnt Toast has shared Sheet Macaroni and Cheese – an inspired dish. It has my favourite crunchy topping, and is going on to my bucket list!

Helen of Fuss Free Flavours is making sure we have something great to do with our Christmas left overs with this dish of chestnut, cranberry, stilton & sprout pasta. I might not be able to wait!

Alisha of Cook. Craft. Enjoy. has submitted a recipe for pierogie casserole. This is definitely something new and different for me.

Caffettiera from la caffettiera rosa cooked linguine with mussels.This little feast does not take long to prepare.

Jac of Tinned Tomatoes (who I will hopefully meet next year) has submitted this ‘creamy bowl of heaven’ as Ruth describes it. Her tagliatelle con Spinaci e Funghi is a dish to be enjoyed when you need a cheese hit.

Last, but in no means least is Shelby aka HoneyB of The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch has introduced me to a new ingredient with her capativi with wild mushroom sauce. I also now have another use for my sage plant.

If you missed my post earlier during the week, I made pasta with broccoli and anchovies.

Farfalle With Broccoli And Anchovies Presto Pasta Nights

Farfalle With Broccoli And Anchovies

Thank you Ruth so much for letting me host!

Tandy

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Recipe For Chilli Crumpets

I need to learn the skill of paying attention and being in the moment all of the time. My mind is always filled with thoughts and I will be doing one thing and thinking about another more often than not. So, I went shopping and I needed fructose. I headed to the health food aisle, and picked up the first packet with white ingredients I saw. I did not even realize when I packed the ‘fructose’ into the cupboard that what I had was something else. Then, in the middle of baking I needed fructose and went to the store cupboard and searched. Lo and behold, what did I find but potato flour! How on earth had this happened. It does not feel the same through the packet, and indeed, I do not like the feel of it out of the packet. Not wanting anything to go to waste, and not feeling like making the effort to go and swap the ‘offending’ item, a few weeks later I used the potato flour to make an adaption of my wholewheat chilli pancakes.

Chilli Crumpets Recipe For Chilli Crumpets

Chilli Crumpets

Did you read the beginning of this post? About me needing to pay attention? Well, these chilli crumpets don’t have any chilli in them – or at least they didn’t when I published the recipe. The lovely Blubee sent me a kind e-mail to tell me I had left the ingredient out of the recipe! And, so, I am back here to edit and add the ingredient. As I say: Perfection is something to be achieved, not yet attained.

Chilli Crumpets
 
Ingredients
  • 165g potato flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10mls dried chilli flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
Method
  1. mix the dry ingredients together
  2. whisk together the egg and milk
  3. add to the dry ingredients
  4. add the butter and whisk in
  5. using a tablespoon measure ladle the batter onto a flat griddle, turn once when bubbles appear

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Tandy

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Dill

I want to start out by sharing with you, that every Wednesday is meant to be herb day here, but somehow this has not happened with success. I only type up the post on the Tuesday if I have time. Also, I would venture out into my garden to take a photograph of my dill, but it is November and even though that means summer, it is actually winter here. It is overcast and miserable and raining. Very unseasonable weather for us (and please don’t blame climate change, we have been coming out of an ice age for a LONG time now). So, with that said, here is today’s post, with the photograph sourced from Wikipedia as usual.

Dill has a slight caraway taste and a long history of use in Indian cooking. It is an annual plant with feathery, aromatic, blue-green foliage and attractive flat-headed compound umbels of yellow flowers, which are followed by small elliptical flat seeds.

 Dill

Dill requires full sun and a well drained, moist soil. Sow seeds directly into the soil in spring after the last frost, lightly covering them with soil and keep them moist until they germinate, or plant seedlings with the potting soil attached. In frost free areas you can plant dill in autumn.

Thin plants to about 5cm apart, and stake if necessary. Harvest leaves as required and spread them thinly on paper, then microwave them to retain good colour and fragrance. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (this goes for all herbs and spices). Store fresh leaves in a plastic bag in the fridge, or chop them finely, put into ice trays, top up with water and freeze. Harvest the seeds after the heads have dried on the plant.

With the taste reminiscent of anise and parsley, the fresh leaves complement soft cheeses, white sauces, egg dishes, seafood and chicken, salads, soups and vegetable dishes, especially potatoes. Dill is famously used in gravadlax. Add fresh dill to hot dishes just before serving, as cooking diminishes its flavour. Dill seeds are used in pickling spice mixtures, in breads and in commercial seasonings for meat. Personally, I love fresh avocado, with lime, cream cheese, black pepper and dill.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

Tandy

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