Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Gluten-free , but by no means taste-free, Polenta Lasagna and Chickpea Chocolate Cake

I've got to say, when I saw a recipe for a chickpea chocolate cake, I knew I had to try it!
The cake has only 4 ingredients, chickpeas, eggs, sugar and melted chocolate...a really fantastic combination. It's really moist, but with a nutty texture almost...fudgy, but not sticky. A great tasting cake.
Browsing through my Chatelaine magazine this mornig, I came across a gluten-free lasagna and thought I'd stick to a gluten-free menu, and give the polenta lasagna a go. It turned out to be a very tasty meal, honestly, I didn't miss the pasta.

Easy Polenta Lasagna

    * 450 g ground meat - lean ground beef, ground pork
    * 1 medium onion, finely diced
    * 2 garlic cloves, minced
    * 2 tsp Italian seasoning
    * 796 mL can diced tomatoes, drained
    * 1/4 cup tomato paste
    * 2 tsp brown sugar
    * 1 tsp hot-red-pepper flakes
    * 1/4 tsp salt
    * 2 cups milk
    * 1 cup beef broth, preferably low-sodium
    * 1 cup fine cornmeal
    * 2 cups cheese -  cheddar, mozzarella

Position oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat broiler. Lightly spray an 8×8 inch square baking dish.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add beef. Using a fork to break up meat, cook until no pink remains, about 2 min. Add onion, garlic and seasoning. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 min. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, pepper flakes and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 min.
Boil milk and broth in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in cornmeal until thickened but still loose, about 1 min. Pour half of polenta into prepared dish and spread to cover bottom. Top with half of meat mixture. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining polenta, meat and cheese.
I topped mine with a little flat leaf  Italian parsley
Broil until cheese is melted, about 5 min. Let stand 5 min before serving.

Chickpea Chocolate Cake
300g semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 19oz can  chickpeas, drained 4  eggs ¾ cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch cake pan – dust with cocoa powder.
Melt chocolate chips in double boiler. In food processor, combine chickpeas, eggs, sugar; process until smooth. Add melted chocolate and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake 40 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes before transferring to plate.
My make-shift stensil
Simple icing sugar dusting

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Gordon Ramsay's Broccoli Soup with Walnuts and Goat Cheese and Amazing Pan-fried Fishcakes

Back in full form!
My first blog of the year, totally inspired by the fabulous Gordon Ramsay. I haven't been blogging, but I've been watching loads of cooking shows, including my fav, Kitchen Nightmares...I love you Gordon!
This Tuesdays dinner is directly from an episode I just watched...I immediately put it on the calander for this week.
Gordon's broccoli soup is DEAD SIMPLE, with really only a handful of ingredients...I dare you to try this one. If you love broccoli, you'll die for this soup!
The fishcakes are a little more involved, but WELL worth the effort.
I loved tonights meal.
An aperitif for starters
Its called, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
A sensuous Fusion of Ultra Premium French Vodka and Sicilian Blood Orange Mingling with Mango and Passion Fruits
Now how does that tasty little refreshment sound?
So yummy with a few raspberries

Fish Cakes

    * 400g La Ratte, Charlotte or other waxy potatoes
    * 2 tbsp olive oil
    * Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
    * 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
    * Sea salt and black pepper
    * Few thyme sprigs
    * ½ lemon, sliced
    * 300g salmon fillet
    * 300g smoked haddock fillet
    * Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
    * Handful of chervil, chopped
    * 3 tbsp plain flour
    * 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
    * 50g breadcrumbs
    * 2 tbsp olive oil
Anchovy Dressing
    * 2 tbsp capers
    * 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
    * Bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
    * 4 marinated anchovies, chopped
    * 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
   1. Peel the potatoes, cut into even-sized pieces and drop into a pan of well salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain well. While still hot, mash the potatoes using a potato ricer back into the pan. Mix in the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Leave to cool.
   2. Meanwhile, add the thyme, lemon slices and salmon to a wide pan of slowly simmering salted water and poach for a minute. Slide in the smoked haddock and gently poach for another 4-5 minutes until both fish are almost cooked through. Transfer to a plate, using a fish slice. When cool enough to handle, break the fish into large flakes, discarding the skin and any pin-bones.
   3. Mix the fish and chopped herbs into the mashed potatoes, using your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the mixture into four and shape into neat patties. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Coat the fish cakes in seasoned flour, then dip into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat evenly all over. Reshape them as necessary and place on a tray or plate. Chill for 2 hours to set the shape.
   4. To cook, heat the oven to 350. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide ovenproof frying pan. Fry the fish cakes for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then flip over and fry the other side for 1-2 minutes. Finish cooking in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
   5. Make the dressing in the meantime, by gently warming all the ingredients together in a pan for 3-4 minutes. Spread a generous spoonful of dressing on each warm plate and rest a fishcake in the centre. Serve immediately, with peas or beans.

Broccoli Soup
    * 1 large or two medium broccoli clusters (as fresh as possible)
    * Salt (3 tsp.)
    * Ground Black Pepper (4-5 turns on the grind wheel)
    * Water
    * Olive Oil
    * Goat Cheese (2 slices per bowl)
    * Walnuts (about 5 per bowl)
Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add a large pinch of salt (1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp.). Add broccoli and boil rapidly.
You will want to slice your goat cheese at this point.  Dip the knife into the boiling hot water before each slice for even smooth cuts. Cut two slices of goat cheese per bowl being served. After cutting, use the hot smooth side of your knife to smooth one side of the cheese slices for appearance.
Your broccoli is finished cooking when you can pierce it with little or no effort. Remove the stock pan from the stove burner. DO NOT POUR THE WATER OUT! Use a slotted spoon to add broccoli to a blender but be careful because it’s boiling hot! Pour enough of the water left over from cooking the broccoli to fill the blender half way. Add a pinch (or more) of salt. Use several pulses on your blender to break the broccoli up and then puree for several seconds.
Add five walnuts to the bottom of a shallow bowl and then place pieces of goat cheese.
Pour soup into shallow bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve at once! Delicious!

Wanna see just how simple this soup is to make? Check out Gordon in action.

Here's a peek at how to go about doing those lovely fishcakes.