BittEr, AStringent, PunGent

Time to walk the line again. I’ve been wandering off path lately.
A reminder to myself to eat better. Back to Bitter, astringent and pungent foods, kapha style.

throve

To have more balance in my life I should be eating more Bitter, Astringent and Pungent foods. I wasn’t even sure what Bitter, Astringent and Pungent meant, as I had been so long in the Sweet, and Salty aisles.

Should is not a word I like to use but as I am going along my path to better eating habits and lifestyle I am giving Ayurveda a look.  I was reading about the types, Vatta, Pitta and Kapha.  (I know what you are thinking, who wants to be put into a neat box and labelled but I thought, keep an open mind.) If it makes me healthy and it does no harm then I will try it.  I seem to be Kapha, hence, the Bitter Pungent and Astringent food suggestions.

I had a Sweet food relapse two nights ago, milk chocolate covered marshmallow Easter eggs and  licorice.  What a shame the…

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Limoncello Tasting

image1(1)Appearance: Slightly cloudy, pale pastel lemon
Aroma:          Lemon zestiness
Taste:            Smooth, lemony, not too sweet
Aftertaste:    Lemony fresh

So happy with the results. A glassful of Italy.
So easy. Why not try making it yourself.
Now to look for a recipe for marmalade to use for the leftovers for next time.

Limoncello
The recipe
Limoncello Part 2
The process.
Limoncello Part 3
The bottling stage

Limoncello Part 3

limoncello_bottles
For those that have waited in anticipation for the end result, hold onto your seats because here is the finished product! Taaaaa daaaaaa! My very own bottled limoncello. I made 5 and a half bottles. Bottles are 750ml. If you notice the difference in colour the ever so slightly darker one is the big peel limoncello and the lighter one is made with smaller lemon peel, or the second batch. Oh and remember to stir the batches well before straining and pouring into the bottles so you have an even flavour throughout all the bottles.
Have I tasted it? No. Not yet.
Why not? Well it was 8am when I bottled it so I thought I would wait till later.
I have placed the half bottle in the freezer to freeze for the rest of the day.
I have put temporary labels on the bottles. I want to make fancy labels later.
I am now wondering what to do with the leftover lemon peel????
Sugar coated lemon peel recipes, perhaps.

Limoncello Recipe
If you want the recipe.
Limoncello Part 2
If you want to see what limoncello looks like during the process.

Limoncello Part 2

DSC05491

Lemon peel and vodka after one month sitting in the dark. End of phase one of making limoncello.

My limoncello jars have been sitting patiently in the dark beside the radiogram. They have been noticed. Today I fed them with sugar water. Limoncello has a sweet tooth. I have two large jars in the process. I made up 2:2.5 sugar to water ratio and heated up the sugar and water on the stove to a slow boil for 5-7 minutes. Let the pot cool right down. I then added the sugar water to the limoncello. Do not stir. Lids on again and banished to the dark corner of the room for another month. Poor limoncello. 😦

DSC05492

Sugar syrup BEFORE heating.

DSC05493

Sugar syrup AFTER heating.

Just so I’m clear, I used two jars so I doubled the mix and in total used four cups of sugar and five cups of water. Use filtered water.
Patience comes to those who wait. Watching the brew does not make it work it’s magic faster. Go and do something else. Distraction is the best medicine.

For the actual recipe in my earlier posting see Limoncello.

Chicken, Brandy and Thyme Pate

pate

Chicken, Brandy and Thyme Pate ready for the fridge ©throve 2014

I was looking for pate because I read that chicken liver was very good for you. I looked at the small print on the back of the container and it said chicken and pork livers. I think it also said about 22% chicken/pork. That made me wonder what the rest of it was. Also I didn’t like the sound of pork liver. The chicken liver only pate was slightly better at 33% liver content but it was twice the price. I thought I could do better than that. I went to the meat section and asked if they had chicken livers. They did. Chicken livers were slightly more expensive than the cheaper pate but at least I knew what it contained. Factoring in quantity, the ready made was much more expensive than the raw product.  I bought raw chicken livers. My homemade pate will be maybe at least 85% chicken liver. I like the percentages better with mine.

So what’s in chicken liver that makes me dash to the supermarket?
“Chicken livers are high in protein and a rich store of folate… Livers are also loaded with iron to give you energy and a treasure trove of certain B vitamins, most notably B12… Chicken livers are also one of the top sources of vitamin A.”*

You know when your body is telling you to buy something, you feel like the water diviner, you loiter over a certain food and you get a compulsion to pick it up. No I’m not talking about impulse buying of red wine or potato chips I mean food that is good for you. Sure red wine in moderation is supposedly good for you but you know what I mean. You may hover over avocados when your body is in need of potassium or other nutrients, antioxidants for the eyes, fibre to name just a few of the benefits of this super food.

Chicken, Brandy and Thyme Pate

Ingredients:
3-4t butter
1 onion finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic
1 tub of chicken livers, 350g
2T brandy
1t dry thyme, or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 T sour cream
Salt and pepper

Method:
Melt the butter in a fry pan. On a low heat add the onions and cook until translucent. (About 20 minutes.)  At about 15 minutes in add the garlic.
Cut the chicken livers and add them to the pan, cook for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat.
Stir well so the liver is evenly cooked.
Stir in brandy, sour cream and thyme with the stems.
Cook for a minute.
Cool.
Purée mixture well in a blender.
Press into small dishes, cover and chill for 3 hours.
Serve with crackers or toast.
Keep refrigerated.

How long does pate last?
Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days. It will probably be fine for longer but its best to er on the side of caution.  If you have any left over, freeze it. Pate freezes well, stores frozen up to 2 months.

Notes:
I sneaked the good brandy into this recipe. Cooking brandy was out of stock. Only the good brandy was left. What is a girl to do? 🙂
I used 2 cloves of garlic and would double that for next time.
I was pleased with the texture of the pate, it was smooth. There was no smell. Store bought pate has a smell to it, homemade is void of smell. The taste on the other hand was delicate yet flavourful.
The recipe is forgiving of measurements, you don’t have to be accurate. The steps are the more important point.
The recipe makes approximately 4 average muffin tins in quantity.
This recipe was a big hit.

*the guardian.com

Limoncello Recipe

lemons1
It started with lemons. Washed lemons from the tree in the garden.lemon2
The peeling began. Leaving the white pith behind.lemonpeel
The peel became a mound.  limoncello1
The peel and the vodka met in the jug. They wandered off to a quiet dark corner to get to know each other better.

This recipe is very easy to make. There are few steps. However it is a recipe of patience. The longer you leave the lemon peel in the alcohol, the better the taste. So advanced planning is required if you want to make it in time for Christmas or for a special occasion.
I am storing my limoncello in the corner of the library away from sunlight.

LIMONCELLO

Ingredients:
10-14    lemons, organic, peeled
1 1/2 – 2 bottles of vodka
2 1/2 c  water, filtered
2 c   sugar

Step 1: The peeling
Wash the lemons.
Peel lemons with a potato peeler. Don’t go too deep. We don’t want the pith, the white part.
Add the lemon peel to a large jug.
Pour the vodka over the lemon peel.
Cover.
Let it rest in a dark corner for 14 – 40 days.

Step 2: The syrup addition
After the end of step 1, make the sweet syrup.
In a large saucepan add the water and sugar. Gently bring to the boil.
Boil for 5 -7 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Once cool add the syrup to the lemon peel and vodka.
Do not stir.
Cover.
Let it rest in a dark corner for another 14 – 40 days.

Step 3: The straining and bottling
Strain the peel from the liquid.
Stir.
Bottle the limoncello into nice bottles.
Label and seal.
Store limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve.
Serve straight from the freezer.
Buon appetito!

Easy Pizza

pizza2
Question: What do you get when you cross nan bread with cheese, tomato, salami and herbs?
Answer:    Pizza!

That’s right. I use nan as a base for pizza. I find the pizza bases at the supermarket too thick to use and prefer a flatter one. My solution was nan bread. I could always dial a pizza and have it delivered if I really wanted. I could also order online and collect it to save a few dollars but to make it yourself is better mostly always. I don’t make my own dough. I haven’t tried. I will get around to it. Sometimes you just want to have shortcuts after a busy day or you don’t feel like cooking. Once a week you need a Free Day. This is one of my Free Day Recipes.

Easy Pizza
Ingredients:
Nan bread
mozzarella cheese, grated
tomatoes, sliced
onion, finely sliced
basil, fresh if possible otherwise dried
salami, sliced
mushrooms, sliced
garlic, clove, hit once with the flat side of a knife

instant pizza sauce:
tomato sauce, enough to smear colour over the base
dash of Tabasco sauce
pinch of paprika
pinch of basil
pinch of oregano
little garlic paste (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to fan-bake 180ºC (350ºF).
Mix the pizza sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Rub the garlic clove all over the pizza base.
Smear the pizza sauce over the base thinly. Use the back of a spoon or a brush.
Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese evenly over the base. As much or as little as you like.
Separate the onion rings and scatter them over the pizza.
Do the same with the tomato, mushroom and salami slices.
Lightly sprinkle more mozzarella cheese.
Add a touch of paprika and basil if dried.
Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
Check the oven before the timer is finished just in case your oven is hotter than mine.
If using fresh basil place on the pizza after it comes out of the oven.
When ready, cut with a pizza cutter and serve immediately.

Tip: When laying out your ingredients be mindful of where you will cut the pizza so that you get a piece of salami or tomato on each slice.

Have a pack of nan bread in the freezer so you can create your own pizza with leftovers in the fridge. Be creative with combinations. I made tandoori chicken with mushrooms and tomatoes. Another one was ham and pineapple and onions and olives. All good fun.