Pea – Gnocchi – Oh!

Gnocchi1
‘Once upon a time there was a little boy made of wood…..’

One thing I’ve cottonned onto since getting Kid in the kitchen is that the best activities, the ones where she can really get involved, are the ones with batter or dough of some sort. Pizza, empanada, tortillas, crumpets or whatever. These are really satisfying, tactile  adventures. Making the dough, rolling, cutting, cooking, then eating. Hands-on involvement with a directly tangible  result that Kid (and I) can be proud of.

I’ve always been a big fan of making gnocchi. Not so much in a restaurant context because chefs are always so pushed for time and you need time to enjoy the process and get it right.

It can be made in numerous ways, the most ardently traditional will tell you gnocchi is potatoes and flour and nothing else. Rolled and cut by hand. Then there is the classic Gnocchi Romaine which is made with semolina and set in a tray then cut out and baked. Or it can be done choux style as well and piped into a pot of hot water.

It is a classic Italian dish and just like the classic Italian story, you can’t tell lies with gnocchi, or take short cuts. Your nose won’t get bigger but it will end up doughy or tough (the gnocchi).

‘A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as clear as the nose on your face…’

We’ve replaced potatoes with the infinitely versatile ricotta cheese for this relatively time friendly version. Totally legit and you don’t have to wait for the spuds to cook.

Baked Ricotta Gnocchi…tomatoes, olives, peas etc…

500g ricotta
2 eggs
a pinch of allspice or nutmeg
1 cup parmesan
50g feta
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 bunch chives
s & p

HOW

Pre-heat the oven to 250*c. That’s not a typo. Get a large pot of salted water boiling, I added 3 fresh bay leaves because I have them but don’t feel obliged.
Whip the ricotta, eggs, chives, salt, nutmeg, feta and parmesan until it’s a bit fluffy. I used an electric beater. Gently, I said gently now, fold in the flour until it is just incorporated. This is the important bit, as with a lot of dough recipes, the more you work it the tougher it will turn out.
Gnocchi2
Tip it out onto a well floured bench, cut off a third (always cut dough, don’t pull it) and roll it gently into a long snake the about 2-3 cm in diameter. Use your fingers to guide the dough, once it’s rolling back and forth it will spread without much force from you.

‘Always let your conscience be your guide…’
Gnocchi3
Cut off 1.5cm pieces using a little flour on your fingers to make little dumplings.
Place them on a tray with grease proof paper whilst you prepare the rest of the dough.
Plunge the gnocchi into the boiling water. Do this in 3 batches, if you do it all at once you’ll have troubles. When the gnocchi floats to the surface, give it another 30 seconds and remove into some ice-cold water.

‘That night, something magical happened..’

If you over cook here, the gnocchi will be tough. The water must be absolutely arctic to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
Place the gnocchi in a large non-stick baking tray, cover with some grated parmesan and put aside for now.
Gnocchi6
The Sauce Ingredients
2 punnets bella rossa tomatoes (mini roma, or similar),quartered.
6 cloves garlic – we used 10 because that’s how we do.
1 cup green olives – pipped and halved
1 cup green peas – defrosted under hot water if using frozen. Blanched if using fresh.
1/2 bunch fresh basil
1/2 cup good olive oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper.
Parmesan for serving
*Warm some olive oil in a fry pan, add the garlic and saute until just golden, add tomatoes, pipped green olives and cook until the tomatoes just start to soften. Add the peas and a little salt. Turn off the heat.
Gnocchi4‘into the belly of the whale..’
Now put the gnocchi in your raging hot oven for 5 minutes. No more. The cheese will melt a bit and the gnocchi will go golden on the pan. Pour your sauce and fresh basil over the top and stir gently. Serve. With extra parmesan and salad.

Insalata di Spinachi Bambino, Pera e Finochio – Salad of baby spinach, pear and fennel.

Slice some nice ripe pear, shave or grate a baby fennel bulb, slice some cucumber and toss with baby spinach, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of extra virgin.
Gnocchi5

 

What Kid Did

Kid was totally engaged in this one. You can see how busy she is in the pictures.
Like I said when you can get your hands on some dough or mix a batter it’s really very satisfying. I also pushed the envelope with the salad today. I thought baby spinach and fennel might be a bit grown up but she was into it. The pear helped no doubt.
Gnocchi7
Jiminy Crickets, that was a good meal.
Our bellies like Monstro the whale as we licked the last of the glistening red oil from our plates.

‘Toodle-oo Stromboli..’ Image result for pinocchio and jiminy cricket

Broken and Beaten (Eggs part 1).

A week at work in a restaurant can certainly have you feeling a little this way, ask any chef. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just a nifty title – and relevant to today’s post.

Eggs.

High protein, low cost, easy to do something tasty and healthy with.

I am flying by the seat of my pants till pay day this week. I’ve gotta feed me and Kid dinner (and leave some left over for mid week) on the cheap. Meat Free month is still in full swing at my place too. (I went to a friend’s bbq the other day and took an eggplant. They were very understanding.)

I think when you grow up and leave home you should at least be able do something with eggs. I’m going to put together a whole heap of egg recipes over time (use the egg tag) that Kid and I can make together . I will avoid terrible egg puns where possible.
This should also fit the ‘five items’ profile.

Let’s get cracking! (sorry)

We are starting with  a Tortilla. A basic potato omelette with a Spanish background.*

Roast Potato and Green Pea Tortilla 

Ingredients
250gm un-shelled green peas
500gm Kipfler potatoes
8 large free range eggs
2 stalks of spring onions
2 cloves garlic.
tortilla ingredients

HOW

Cut the potatoes in four lengthways, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast them for 40 mins on 180*C. They should be golden and crispy. Leave the oven on.
Kipfler
Crack the eggs into a bowl with the chopped spring onions and some salt and pepper and whisk well.
DSC_0642
Next heat a fry pan (oven proof) on a moderate heat and add a little olive oil. When the oil runs ribbons add the crushed garlic and give it a stir until almost golden. Add the peas and potatoes and lastly the egg mix. Keep the heat moderate and let the omelette cook on the bottom for 3-4 minutes to form a golden outer layer. Next put the pan into the oven on 180*C for 15 mins.
tortillacookingTorta
Remove from the oven and let sit for a good 20 minutes covered with a cloth before you touch it.
Place a large plate upside down over the fry pan. Holding the pan in one hand and your other hand on the plate, invert the whole lot to tip the omelette out onto the plate.
From here you can slice it like a pie and serve.
We had a ‘Little Green Salad’ made by Kid.

What Kid Did
Kid made ‘A Little Green Salad’ for us to have with the Tortilla.
Shaved cucumber and carrots – I had Kid shave strips of cucumber and carrot with a peeler for the salad, it’s more fun and safer than kids using knives.
Always make sure that any sharp objects being used are facing away from the user.
Tomatoes we tried to cut with a cheapo egg slicer I bought on what I thought was a genius whim.
Spencersalad2
Instead I cut the tomatoes and vowed to go buy a good quality egg slicer for this.
Kid tells me she uses one to cut strawberries at her other home. Tops.
Mint was picked and washed, iceberg lettuce washed and broken up with little hands
and then kid made a dressing with a little mayo, lemon juice and a bit of water.
Then everything was  tossed  in a bowl and served  up.
Kid had a particularly fun time with the shaving of the cucumber.
We shelled the peas together. Use frozen peas for the same result without the fun. I’ve always got frozen peas in my freezer just in case.
Spencersalad
When I was a kid I would sit at the bench across from my mum and shell the peas. It felt good to be involved plus I loved to eat them raw when mum wasn’t watching. We had a golden cocker spaniel named Mandy that would chase any peas that fell on to the floor and eat them.
Kid also cracked the eggs into a bowl and beat them well with a fork. (Broken and beaten!) When I had the hot pan ready with the vegetables she poured the egg mixture into the pan.
I’m going to by one of those bench top electric fry pans. I think this will be a great way to introduce Kid to actually cooking some food. I can put it somewhere that we can both reach it and really cook something together. Fried rice maybe? Or pikelets?
Tortilladinner
The Wash Up.
It was a simple, tasty dinner that I will make again one day when I’m pushed for time and $$. The salad was a great accompaniment, so light and fresh against the potatoes and eggs.
Kid was way more eager to come and help out now that I’ve made more space for her to work.

I used Kipfler potatoes, a small waxy potato with a long irregular shape and sweet nutty flavour. Originally from Austria.
Use what you will but a good sweet and waxy spud will give you a nicer finish.
Ask the fruiterer if you’re unsure.
Almost anything could go in a tortilla like this. Traditionally potato is featured, but left over roast vegetables or meat could be used here.
Seafood works nicely too.
It makes a good lunch or late night snack the next day as well.
Totally vegetarian as well.

*On 2 consecutive breakfast menus I had  a hot smoked salmon ‘tortilla’ and then a pork’n’beans w/ guac and soft tortillas. This was my explanation to staff and customers –
Tortilla in Spanish cuisine refers to a simple pan omelette, normally served at room temp in tapa’s bars.
In Mexican cuisine the word Tortilla refers to flat bread normally made from wheat or corn.
Both come from the same origin ‘torta’ which means cake.

Until neggst time (bahaha).

X

Marcey's Table

We All Eat And It Would Be A Sad Waste Of Opportunity To Eat Badly~~ Anna Thomas

Cook the Beans

inspired by ingredients, smells and Travels, vegan & vegetarian

Simply Sundays!

For the love of home cooking

Food Meanderings

REAL FOOD. REAL LIFE. HEALTHY BALANCE.

WP SITES

Genesis Tutorials

Emerging Adult Eats

Food for folks who have yet to figure it all out

Food, Photography & France

Journal of a food photographer living in France

Charming Language

Book Reviews And Random Rants For Anyone Who Finds Language Charming!

To Italy With Love

Fall in love with all things Italian

Kidgredients

Kids and Family Food and Amazing Lunchboxes

Natural New Age Mum

Happy. Healthy. Holistic.

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

Big Kid Little Kid

because all dads are Awesome Dad

Commas and Ampersands

Books | Travel | Geek Chic

My Daughter and I

coffee, dessert & chickens- one mother and daughter's musings on the important stuff...

Italian Home Kitchen Blog

Italian Home Kitchen Blog

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: