I was feeling inspired when I got the challenge and had my dishes planned out within an hour – that is definitely a record for me! Spices are a big part of my every day cooking, and I love experimenting and finding new ways of including them in my dishes. These creations are no exception!
Next on the brief was the white chocolate, and I decided to be adventurous and make a double chocolate meringue cake. It has a bottom layer of moist, dark chocolate cake with a hint of chilli and a meringue topping flavoured with warm cinnamon and sweet dashes of white chocolate. This is a sublime combination of flavours and textures and would look very impressive on your dinner party table.
As usual, all of the recipes are available on the Freshly Blogged website. If you like the sound of my dinner party feast you can vote for it HERE. (Update: competition has closed.) A big thank you to everyone who has been loyally voting in previous rounds, I appreciate every vote.
CHICKEN LIVER RAVIOLI IN A SAGE CREAM SAUCE
For the pasta:
- 270g plain flour + extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp finely chopped sage
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 egg yolks
For the ravioli filling:
- 2 tsp flour
- pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 250g fresh chicken livers
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ an onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
For the sauce:
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped sage
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup cream
- salt and pepper
- olive oil, for frying
- 12 sage leaves, to garnish
To prepare the pasta:
1.) Combine the flour, salt and sage in a bowl. Add the eggs, olive oil and egg yolks. Mix until mostly combined.
2.) Tip everything onto your work surface and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Dust the dough with a little flour if it becomes sticky.
3.) Cover the dough and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the filling.
To prepare the filling:
1.) Combine the flour, salt and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken livers and toss to coat.
2.) Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Add the cinnamon, onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3.) Using the same pan, cook the chicken livers for 5-6 minutes until well browned and cooked through.
4.) Add the onion mixture back into the pan. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat. Use a food processor to blend into a smooth filling.
To prepare the ravioli:
1.) Divide the pasta dough into 2 pieces for easier rolling. Use a pasta machine to roll the dough into a long, thin sheet. (Start on the largest setting and work your way up.)
2.) Place a strip of pasta (mine was roughly 14cm wide) in front of you. Roll small teaspoonfuls of the chicken filling into balls and place them along the sheet of pasta approximately 4cm apart and 4cm away from the edge.
3.) Brush the pasta sheet with water, along the edges and in between the balls of filling. Carefully fold the pasta edge that is closest to you over to enclose the filling. Gently press out any air bubbles. Fold the pasta over again. Use a sharp knife to cut the pieces of ravioli apart.
4.) Cook the ravioli in a pot of salted boiling water for 6-8 minutes until tender but still firm.
Cook’s tip: any leftover pasta can be rolled out and cut into strips or lasagna sheets to enjoy another day!
To prepare the sauce:
1.) Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the sage and sauté for a further minute.
2.) Add the white wine and cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half.
3.) Pop the sauce in a food processor and blend until almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4.) Heat a dash of olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the sage leaves for a few seconds on each side until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside on a piece of kitchen towel.
5.) Dish the ravioli onto heated plates. Drizzle with the sauce and top with fried sage leaves.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MERINGUE CAKE
- 2¼ cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 1 tsp bicarb
- 5 tbsp cocoa + extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups hot water
- ¾ cup sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 160g castor sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 large egg whites
- 80g white chocolate, finely chopped
1.) Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Grease a 22cm round springform cake tin and line with baking paper.
2.) Sift the flour, baking powder, white sugar, bicarb, cocoa, salt and cayenne pepper into a bowl and mix.
3.) Add the hot water, sunflower oil and vinegar and mix until you have a smooth batter.
4.) Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes.
5.) While the cake is baking you can make the meringue. Mix the castor sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. In a separate, clean bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peak stage. Continue whisking while you gradually add the cinnamon sugar. Carry on whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
6.) Fold the white chocolate into the meringue. Carefully pile the meringue onto the hot cake and spread over the top. Return the cake to the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7.) Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin. Dust with cocoa powder and serve.