Chicken livers in Marsala Wine and Strawberry Spice Cake

freshly blogged, challenge 6, chicken livers, marsala wine, creamy chicken livers, strawberry spice cake, cake with cayenne pepper, cinammon, lindt white chocolate, glaze, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsThis was the last Freshly Blogged challenge that I did but I didn’t upload it because I got chopped. For a while I had a draft on this blog that was just a straight copy and paste for what I prepared for their site but after a lot of thought I felt I had to say something.

There are very few things that are set in stone but rules of a competition are there to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If, for example, vinegar isn’t on the pantry list and you use it that means you are breaking the rules even if the judges decide afterwards that they forgot to put it on the list (and add it 2 weeks later). The people who obeyed the rules will feel discouraged as they followed the instructions to the letter and made do without a “crucial” ingredient and those who broke the rules got away with it. Do you agree? I would like to hear from those outside the competition as well as those participating.

Now the reason I wanted to write this was because when it comes to the Freshly Blogged competition I quickly realized that I was way out of my league. The creations that my fellow bloggers are coming up with are mind blowing and I hope you are voting for the recipes that use the ingredients creatively to make something innovative and fresh. If you are told to make custard and all you do is make custard (with custard powder or ready-made and not with cream and eggs) then I’m sorry but you don’t deserve to win a competition of this caliber.

You could call blogging an art but with some rules. I made the fatal error of making a kedgeree but I didn’t add boiled eggs. That means that this wasn’t a kedgeree. I have no idea what I was (or apparently wasn’t) thinking but I take my elimination with a lesson well learned. If you call a dish French or Mediterranean inspired the judges and voters should check that this dish shows this inspiration clearly. Do your homework and vote for the people who deserve your votes. You might be a loyal fan of someone (and you are welcome to vote for them) but no one has tied you down to just one person. Open your eyes and you might find yourself a fan of more than just one or two people.

If only you were a fly on the wall of the Freshly Blogged bloggers WhatsApp conversation when we received this challenge. There was talk of chicken liver milkshakes and cayenne pepper ice cream. I was laughing so much I snorted on the bus and got lots of strange looks. Never fear however because none of us (that I know of) decided to actually follow through on those insane ideas and I am happy to report that the recipes I came up with was eaten with relish by my family at home and my friends at church.

Chicken livers in Marsala Wine

30g butter

250g chicken livers, defrosted, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1 large onion, finely chopped

250g mushrooms, sliced

2.5ml Robertsons cayenne pepper

5ml Robertsons ground cinnamon

125ml marsala wine/veg stock

170ml fresh cream

Heat butter in large frying pan. Add onion and fry until golden brown. Add mushrooms and fry briefly before adding chicken livers. Allow all the moisture to evaporate and stir to brown livers on all sides. Add spices and fry quickly being careful to not allow it to stick. Deglaze the pan with wine and stir well. Allow to simmer briskly for 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Add cream and allow to bubble for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot with freshly baked rolls.

Brown Bread Rolls

500ml cake flour

500ml brown bread flour

10g instant yeast

60ml sugar

5ml salt

250ml milk, scalded (heat until just below boiling point)

30g cold butter

1 egg

Melt butter in hot milk and set aside. Sift together dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and turn the machine on low. Whisk egg into milk mixture and add to dry ingredients. Increase speed of stand mixer until the dough pulls away from the sides. Allow the machine to knead the dough for 10 minutes or remove from bowl and knead by hand until silky. Set aside to rise covered with clingwrap in a warm place untili doubled in size (about 60 minutes). Punch down the dough and shape into balls. Place onto a greased cookie sheet leave some space in between each ball. Cover with clingwrap again and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius and bake rolls for 15 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Strawberry Spice Cake

500ml cake flour

500ml sugar

2.5ml salt

250g butter

250ml water

2 eggs

125ml milk

2.5ml cayenne pepper

7.5ml cinnamon

5ml bicarbonate of soda

250g fresh strawberries, cleaned, chopped and stems removed (hulled)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Set aside. Melt butter and water together and set aside to cool slightly. Mix together milk, eggs, spices and bicarb in a large jug then add to flour mixture. Slowly pour in butter mixture and beat until well combined. Pour into a large greased cake tin or divide between 2 smaller cake tins. Scatter strawberries over the top of the batter and bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center of the cake. If the top is browning too much, cover with foil (dull side facing up) about halfway through the cooking time.

White chocolate glaze

80g Lindt White chocolate with a hint of vanilla (use the other 20g for quality control)

80ml fresh cream

Heat cream in a glass bowl until just below boiling point. Add chocolate and stir well until the chocolate has melted. Allow to cool in the fridge until thickened. Pour over the cooled cake and serve.


  1. Tandy | Lavender and Lime

    August 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Dave made sure that the chocolate was perfect. I think a lot of us added mushrooms to our livers. I would have loved vinegar to be a pantry item in the first challenge but I though it had been deliberately left out so they could make it a compulsory ingredient like they did for the second challenge. The quality of dishes is mind boggling from bad to brilliant. I’m so impressed with what you came up with Tami xxx

    1. rumtumtiggs

      August 13, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Lol. I found I was way under budget for the challenge which meant I just bought more chocolate (in case of flops) ;). Thank you so much for the support Tandy. The best thing to come out of Freshly Blogged is all the new friends I have made and the hilarious Viber conversations 😉 xx

  2. Kit

    August 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Ooh I wanted to use Marsala for mine, but couldn’t see any in the PnP bottle store. Ended up using their Chenin Blanc instead which was quite nice. I also went for strawberries with my dessert, they work so well with the white chocolate
    I totally agree on the vinegar issue and hope that the most deserving people get through the Top10. There are so many really creative cooks and brilliant food photographers in the line-up.

    1. rumtumtiggs

      August 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Should have seen the look I got when I asked for Marsala wine. She thought I was talking about Masala. It comes as no surprise when staff and PnP don’t know their stock. Glad I knew to look in the dessert wines section. The standard that is coming out of Freshly Blogged is amazing. Makes me so proud to be part of this community xx

  3. Sous Chef

    August 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I hear you, so often the goalposts are moved in competitions. I entered one where the theme was ‘South African’ one of the finalists was an Italian Sub!

    1. rumtumtiggs

      August 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

      I remember that competition. I think it was the one where Jess kicked up a fuss and her sandwich won? I don’t think I’ll sign up for one of these things again. Now I can say, been there…done that :) Xx

  4. Shafeeqa

    August 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I also feel its unfair especially when we take such care to adhere to the rules, which is part of the fun of the challenge. I didn’t know about the vinegar issue until now, and it would’ve helped me in previous weeks. Also cornstarch, it’s not on the pantry list but it may have been added as an extra grocery item by some. Had I known it fell under flours it would’ve made life easier! It’s my first time taking part in something like this, but all the issues (esp the voting system) will make me think twice next time.

    1. rumtumtiggs

      August 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

      I am so with you there Shefeeqa. Good luck with the rest of the competion. I will be cheering and voting from the side lines :) xx

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