Thursday, 24 October 2013


NAME: _Hasenfaker

500g chicken (or rabbit) pieces
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
3 - 4 brown onions
1 - 2 carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup malt vinegar
1 cup red wine
2 cups water and 2 chicken stock cubes (or 2 cups chicken stock)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Put the flour and tsp salt in a sturdy plastic bag and shake. Add the meat pieces and shake until they are coated in the mixture, shake off excess and put the pieces aside. Put half the oil in a heavy saucepan and bring up to smoking, fry the meat pieces, turning often, until they are golden brown. Retain the oil and saucepan, set aside.

Peel and slice the onions into 5mm thick rings, add to the saucepan along with the rest of the oil. Cut garlic into 2mm sticks and add to the saucepan, put saucepan back on heat at medium and allow the alliums to start browning. Add the pieces of meat back, recduce heat and add the chopped leaves and pepper. Keep frying for a few minutes, but before the leaves start to burn, add the vinegar, wine, and water. Bring to a simmer, allow to simmer for around an hour. The liquid should reduce by about half, add water if it thickens too quickly.

Peel and slice the carrots (about 5mm thick) and add to the saucepan, add the dijon mustard and stir in well, return to a simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes.

Serve immediately with pasta or gnocchi.

I've made this with both chicken and rabbit, I prefer the taste of rabbit in this, but your mileage may vary. The sauce and onions over fried Gnocchi Parisien is just the best flavour combination.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Potato Savoury Rissoles

NAME: _Potato Savoury Rissoles

These are distant relatives of latkes. 

2 medium-large potatoes (See Method)
1 small brown onion
1 medium-large carrot
1 medium zucchini
50g cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground fenugreek seed
1 tsp assafoetida
1 tsp fine ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
3 - 4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 cup olive oil

Peel the potatoes and grate into the longest strips possible. Grate into a bowl lined with a clean teatowel, then use teatowel to wring as much liquid as possible out of the potato. If you want the potato starch that's dissolved in the liquid, catch the liquid in a large flat plate, cover with a teatowel and set aside to evaporate. (See Notes) The amount of grated squeezed potato should be between 2 and 3 cups. Place in a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients and still allow spoon or hand mixing. Now similarly grate the carrot and zucchini, but do not squeeze. (Carrot doesn't need it, and the zucchinin will lose texture. Cut the onion into similarly thin strips or half-rings and squeeze that out in teatowel, too. Add these vegetables to the potato, gently mix all together.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and spices well. Take about four teaspoons of this seasoned flour one at a time, sprinkle over the grated vegetables and gentle spoon or hand mix each teaspoonful in before adding the next. At this stage grate the cheddar and mix it through the vegetables as well.

Now add three of the eggs to the remaining flour in the other bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the water. If the mix isn't a pourable batter, add the fourth egg. Pour the batter slowly over the grated vegetables and gentle spoon or hand mix, until the vegetables are well coated.

Use egg rings to fry a dollop of the vegetable mixture in a hot frypan of olive oil. Turn when the underside smells done (two - four minutes depending on your particular setup) and remove the egg rings. When each rissole is cooked, (another two - four minutes) lift it and drain on paper towel.

Serve hot, with your choice of sides. Can also be served cold but not as nice.

A LOT of liquid comes out of the grated potatoes. The reason we want to squeeze it out is that otherwise the liquid will make the rissoles soft and sloppy. The starch (if you kept it from previous potato recipes) is okay to add back if you have some, but the water is definitely not needed. Keeping the starch is a good idea beacuse it's useful for other recipes such as (well, this one,) or carbonara, or in bread, and a few more. To save the starch, you need to let this dry out at room temperature and in the dark, because otherwise the starch will blacken. To aid in drying, the more surface area, the better, hence use a wide and relatively flat plate. To keep dark, cover with a teatowel. To keep the teatowel from falling in the liquid, use small spacers to keep it off the surface of the liquid, I use baking weights and old bottle caps, whatever comes to hand and that I can brush any adhering starch off afterwards. I've also laid a cake rack over and laid the teatowel over that - whatever works for you.

There are several things you can do with this mixture, actually. Proceed as above for rissoles with crispy browned exteriors and soft insides. For a thinner crispy latkes-like effect, reduce the number of eggs to two, add more water to make up, and barely moisten the floured vegetables with this batter, then spoon directly into pan and flatten with the egg slice or spatula, allow to become definitely browned and preferably almost over-cooked before lifting out and draining.

The dredging of the grated vegetables in the flour is one of the secrets - it allows the batter to really cling.

When spooning mixture into the pan, be aware that some liquid will always pool in the bowl, your call if you mix this back before spooning or just use whatever clings to the mixture. Recombining produces a slightly heavier more flavourful rissole, using the drained mixture results in a lighter rissole that will take on more crispiness.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Gnocchi Parisien

NAME: _Gnocchi Parisien

1 cup + 2 tbsp water
100g butter
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups plain flour
2 tbsp choppped chives
2 tbsp chopped basil or parsley (See Notes)
1/2 cup fine grated mild cheddar or mozzarella (See Notes)
3 or 4 eggs (See Method)

Put the water, butter, and salt into a good saucepan (NOT non-stick, you will be beating the dough in this) and bring to a boil, stirring. Tip in all the flour and begin to mix and beat with a wooden spoon, keep going until you have a dough ball that pulls away from the sides, reducing heat as required to prevent flour burning.

Once you have the dough ball and have kept mixing it for a minute or two over low heat, remove from heat and mix in the dry ingredients and the cheese, making sure they are all beaten well together. Now add one egg at a time, beating until each egg is absorbed into the dough before adding the next. When you get to three eggs it's decision time. If the dough feels too hard, add the fourth egg.

The change in the dough as it incorporates the egg is quite abrupt and sudden. You must make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next, The ghost of Escoffier himself will haunt you if you don't do this right.

Let the dough cool for 15 - 25 minutes, meanwhile prepare a pot of salted water, bringing it to a slow simmer. When the dough's ready, put it in a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, and begin piping the dough straight into the water, cutting into 1cm - 2cm sections with a sharp knife as it extrudes, and letting the pieces fall into the water. Work fast, and as soon as the first few pieces start to float to the surface, stop making more gnocchi and let the batch poach for a further three to five minutes, then lift out with a strainer or similar and lay on paper towel to dry off.

Meanwhile, make the next batch, and while its poaching, take the last batch and lay them on a tray covered with oiled greaseproof paper. When all the batches are done, let the tray rest until the gnocchi are all cool and dry to touch. At this stage you can freeze them  on the tray if you like, then bag up the frozen gnocchi for storage, or proceed to the frying stage.

Place 100g - 300g butter in a good frypan (depends how many gnocchi, size of frypan, etc - aim for enough butter to 1/2 cover gnocchi when the pan is full but not crowded) and add dry gnocchi until the pan is full but not crowded. Fry, stirring often, until the gnocchi are golden brown outside. Lift out with a slotted spoon or similar and allow to drain, preferably on paper towel.

These can be used in a number of ways - add grated cheese while still in the pan for a delicious stand-alone course, or place in a baking tray and top with cheese and fried finely shredded bacon and bake until cheese melts, or drizzle sour cream and chives over and serve, use them like dumplings in stews etc

These gnocchi aren't like the gnocchi con patate, they are a bit lighter and fluffier on the inside, and they are versatile. If you'd like to make them more Parisian use the parsley and a relatively mild cheese, if you're after a more robust Italian flavour use a good mozzarella and basil and oregano in addition to the chives. Fresh chives preferred, but I've made them with dried herbs and they taste good enough for my meals - I'm not a food critic, and near enough is good enough for me...



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