Monday, 3 December 2012

Rabbit Pate

My mom and I had a dinner party a while ago. She got two rabbits, and we cooked them for the party. The rabbits came with their innards: liver, kidney, heart; I saved them, and froze them...

All in all, it was about 150 grams of offal.

Since Thanksgiving was coming, I decided to make something I've been dying to make for a while - Pate. It's very rich, but thanksgiving is a holiday all about decadence so I figured it might be a great team player with all the other dishes. After reading some online recipes, I discerned that many recipes put equal parts offal and pre-cooked meat into it. Apparently, this is to diminish the metallic taste that offal can give off. Anyway, after combining a bunch of different recipe ideas, I came out with a REALLY good rabbit pate...

Keep in mind though, this is no where near healthy.


150 grams rabbit innards (liver, heart, kidney, etc.) I wouldn't use brains in this though. Too gummy.
150 grams cooked rabbit or chicken or turkey meat
75 grams room temperature unsalted butter
1 shallot
5-6 cloves garlic
About 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
8-10 fresh sage leaves
1,5 tablespoons gin

Saute shallot and garlic on medium low heat until caramelised. Cool it down to room temperature(ish)
Boil water, drop in rabbit innards, cook for about 4-7 minutes (if you've just taken your rabbit innards out of the fridge, go for the 7 minutes. If they're at room temperature, go for 4 minutes)
Slice the butter into chunks, and put it at the bottom of a food processor
Add generous pinch salt, some ground pepper, the cooled shallot, cooked rabbit innards, and everything else.
Turn on the food processor.
Blend to a paste.

When I tasted mine, it tasted too much like the cooked chicken meat, so I added a little more butter, more rosemary, more salt, and more gin. Who DOESN'T like a boozy pate? :-)

I whirred it again and when I was satisfied, I put it into a bowl lined with plastic wrap, and then into the fridge.
The fridge firms up the butter again, so when you take it out for eating (at least 3 hours, ideally overnight) the pate slices like...meat butter. Which is essentially what pate is.

Mine came out with gorgeous floral notes of rosemary and sage, and a bit of juniper twang from the gin. It was honestly WAY better than I thought it would be.

Some recipes called for a tablespoon of heavy cream. I might try this next time, but I didn't have any in the house when I made my pate, so I just used butter. I would probably cut back on some butter and use some cream instead, if I were trying it this way...

Monday, 26 November 2012


I love cooking.

Thanksgiving is a fun but frustrating holiday for me - lots of cooking, but I have to stick to tried and true favourites. As long as my family is with me, there shall never be a vegetarian (or fish based) thanksgiving. Although when I have my own home...

One of my favourite things to do after thanksgiving is to boil the turkey carcass and get some delicious stock and bitties of turkey that literally fall off the carcass after boiling for several hours. Leftovers are where I can shine. Ginger maple squash soup? Check. Turkey pot pie? Check. Pho? Check.

I love making Pho from leftover turkey because it completely transforms a quintessential bit of Americana into something unrecognisable from its original form, but still DELICIOUS.

If you make your own stock, great. If you need a tip, here it is:

Boil Turkey carcass in lots of water for many hours. 
Strip meat from bones

That's all.

for the Pho!

Simmer about 8 cups turkey stock with:
1 inch piece of ginger cut into "coins" 
9-10 thick stalks of cilantro (save the leaves for later!)
9-10 thick stalks of mint (save the leaves for later!)
9-10 stalks of THAI basil (save the leaves for later!)
half a lime (skin only)
one white onion cut into quarters or eighths

At the end, add about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce.

I took several ladles of stock and put it into a small saucepan.
In that saucepan, I cooked pho noodles. They're just thin rice noodles, like this:

I separated the noodles into two bowls
Then, I warmed up two big heaping handfuls of cooked turkey in the same broth.
I put that over the cooked noodles in the bowls.

I topped all that with thinly sliced white onion, thinly sliced green onion, and the reserved cilantro and mint leaves.
Then, I took the broth (which was boiling/simmering) and ladled it over everything. 

One can add the thai basil and bean sprouts as desired.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Walnut and Garlic crusted Cod with Mashed squash and plantains

I am terrible. I haven't written here in forever.

I made this lovely dish a couple of days ago though that I need to write down because it was so good, I don't want to forget it.

1 filet of cod
heaping handful of walnuts
Smoked salt (I have this lovely applewood smoked salt) Other salt is fine too :)
2 large cloves (or 3 medium cloves) garlic

1/2 cup roasted squash
2 ripe plantains, sliced and steamed until soft
1-2  tsp (give or take a little)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup plain yogurt
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cumin

Assorted Veggies (green beans, broccoli, etc)
at least one or two handfuls of cilantro
4-5 cloves minced garlic

My inspiration for the veggies was Portuguese: they make almost everything with a huge hit of cilantro and garlic. I love it.

For the cod? My mom always puts a bread crumb topping on her fish which I find boring, and it gets soggy afterwards too. Yuck.

Pulse walnuts, garlic, and salt in food processor til you get small crumbles.
Sprinkle on top of cod.
Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. Broil on high for about a minute to get a little char on the crust.

After steaming plantains and roasting squash, combine all in large bowl.
Add yogurt.
Add spices.
Puree with immersion blender.
If it's too thick, add some water/soy milk/milk

Sautee veggies and garlic together.
Turn off heat and throw in cilantro at the end and toss.

My mom is not a very adventurous eater. I thought she'd hate the squash/plantain mix. The squash was from our garden, and the plantains had been forgotten in our fridge for several weeks (maybe even a month?). She absolutely LOVED the mash.

The thing about this dish that makes it a winner is the flavors hitting the palette...

The bitter-ish salty crunch of the walnuts and garlic smashes against the slightly sweet, tangy plantain squash mash. The cilantro provides a fresh smack against all of it. Ah! Just writing about it makes me want to make it again.

I'll take photos next time :) Sorry!