Choc and chook
Mention Easter and fluffy yellow chicks and eggs, (chocolate ones of course) come to mind. Easter egg hunts were, and still are, part of our family get-together on Easter Sunday. And sitting down to a jolly good feast once the eggs were found. Not that all of them were located, however — all these years later, my aunt is still digging up gold (Easter foil) in her garden. Chocolate and chickens are the inspiration for my family feast this Easter weekend.
Marinated roast chicken
We love preparing a chook this way — the delicious flavours are rich and warm, helped along by the marinating process. This dish is a favourite in our busy family house mainly because it’s so quick to put the marinade together with the chicken. We get it ready the day before, then just pop it in the oven.
2 size 16 whole chickens or 2 kg chicken pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 bay leaves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
½ cup honey
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 cloves garlic
⅓ cup green olives
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup capers
- Cut the legs and breasts off the chicken (keep the carcass for chicken stock or soup).
- Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, bay leaves, rosemary, wine, honey, salt and some freshly ground black pepper together and marinate the chicken in it overnight.
- Heat the oven to 180C. Place chicken and marinade in a roasting tray with garlic cloves, olives, cranberries and capers.
- Roast for 1 hour basting the chook by spooning over the roasting juices every 15 minutes to glaze.
- Serve with polenta chips and slaw (recipes below).
2 tsp salt
150g instant polenta
25g Parmesan Flour for dusting
Extra polenta for dusting
Vegetable oil for frying
- In a pot bring the water, milk and salt to the boil.
- Add the polenta and whisk continuously until it is all combined, then bring back to boiling.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking every few minutes.
- Add the parmesan then pour into a 20x30cm tray lined with plastic wrap. Allow to cool and set in the fridge.
- Cut into chips, dust with flour, whisk the eggs then dip the chips in the egg wash and then into the polenta. Place on a paper towel and in the fridge ready to cook.
- Fry the chips in hot oil until golden, drain on paper towels, season with fine salt.
3 red apples
1 large mango
¼ cup sliced mint leaves
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup hazelnuts
- Carefully slice apples into matchsticks using a mandolin, or with a large sharp knife.
- Peel and dice mango, slice radish and place in a bowl with apple. Add mint, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Lightly season with salt, gently mix, and then sprinkle hazelnuts on top.
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Choc (chocolate truffle cake)
At Easter (and only at Easter) I am a marshmallow egg guy — preferably the larger sized ones! I try to avoid the creamy centred eggs and hold back wherever possible on overdosing at this time of year. If however you were to put a slice of this in front of me... well, to be honest there would be no holding back. This recipe is actually my chocolate truffle cake from Vinnies. It has been hugely popular over the years, served with various accompaniments, ice-creams and sauces, but it is also just perfect all on its own. One ofthe secrets to its success, other than using good quality ingredients, is to serve it simply, at room temperature.
20g cocoa powder
2 Tbsp melted butter
- Heat oven to 210C.
- Make a sabayon by whisking the eggs and sugar in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water until light and fluffy.
- Remove from the heat and whisk on high speed until the mix has tripled in size. Sift in the flour and cocoa and fold through, then carefully fold through the melted butter.
- Spread evenly to 4mm thin on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cook for 4 minutes then allow to cool.
- Cut a piece of the sponge to fit the base of a loose bottom cake tin — I sometimes use a square plastic container, you can even try making individual cakes.
- To help remove the truffle cake once it has set, line your tin or container with a piece of plastic wrap.
- Make a simple liqueur syrup by boiling together 4 Tbsp each of water and sugar until dissolved. When cool add 1 Tbsp Kahlua.
- Pour a little of the liqueur syrup over the sponge in the container to moisten it.
150g dark 70% chocolate buttons
1 egg yolk
3 whole eggs
1 ½ gelatine leaves (soaked in cold water until soft)
250ml cream, lightly whipped
Dutch cocoa, for dusting
- Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.
- Make a sabayon by whisking the egg yolk, eggs and sugar in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water until light and fluffy. Remove from the heat.
- Squeeze excess water from gelatine then melt in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the gelatine to the sabayon and whisk on high speed until the mix has tripled in size.
- Gently fold the melted chocolate into the sabayon a little at a time, then fold in the cream, mixing thoroughly after each addition — two spoonfuls to start, then the remainder, in thirds.
- Pour the truffle mix on to the sponge, cover with plastic wrap then place in the fridge overnight.
- Use a long sharp knife dipped in hot water to cut truffle cake into neat sharp rectangles. Lightly dust with Dutch cocoa and serve with a berry coulis and raspberries to garnish.
- Gelatine leaves can be purchased from some supermarkets and specialty food shops.
- For an alcohol-free cake, omit the kahlua.
- Extra sponge can be carefully wrapped and frozen and used for a second truffle cake.
- Here is a recipe for berry coulis.