Having lived in Portugal for more than five years, multifaceted Rosemary Ladle is carving out a name for herself as a kitchen whiz. Between designing recipes and testing them, she is also a talented seamstress.
SALVIA OFFICINALIS or ‘common sage’ is a native of the Mediterranean region.
A member of the mint family, it has a very distinctive, pungent and peppery aroma. For centuries, sage has been considered a truly multi-purpose herb with ‘cure all’ properties. It has been used to treat complaints ranging from indigestion through to depression, anxiety and menopausal problems. A cup of sage tea could soothe a sore throat or cough and for those of us prone to the odd mosquito bite a quick rub of the sap from its silvery grey leaf could calm it.
If you’re tormented by bad spirits, thoughts or influences you can always ‘smudge’ (burn) sage to cast them off.
In cooking, sage is commonly used as an accompanying herb to poultry and pork. In the Middle East, it is popularly used in the roasting of mutton. Surprisingly and considering its strength of flavour, it is also very popular in the pasta dishes of Italy
One very simple way to serve this herb is to sauté it in olive oil and butter until crisp and then toss a filled or plain pasta through it.
The recipe here this week is a little more elaborate but is still suitable as a quick supper meal.
250g pasta farfalle (bows)
400g chicken livers (cut in half)
2 tablespoons of butter or
1 small onion (thinly sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
50g freshly grated parmesan
2 tablespoons plain flour
225ml chicken stock
125ml single or cooking cream
1½ tablespoons chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan to serve
1. In a large pan of boiling, salted water cook the pasta bows until al-dente and then drain. Return to the warm pan and cover.
2. Heat the butter or olive oil in a large frying pan and then add the chicken livers. Fry for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly until the centres show just a hint of pink. Remove from the pan, set to one side and keep warm.
3. In the same frying pan add the garlic and sliced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender.
4. Stir in the flour and season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the chicken stock, cream and sage.
6. Stirring continuously, slowly bring the sauce to a simmer and until thickened and bubbling. Cook for a further minute or so.
7. Stir in the grated parmesan to melt.
8. Pour the sage and cream sauce over the pre-cooked pasta and toss to coat.
9. Add the warm chicken livers and toss gently.
10. Serve immediately, with more parmesan.
Shopping basket for next week:
Tin of ready-made custard, tub of mascarpone cheese, orange juice, passion fruits, lime, Savoiardi (sponge fingers) and orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec).