GnocchiWockyDooDah!

 

Every now and then when we ask the kids what they want for tea they answer with something that strikes fear into me!

Gnocchi is one of them!

They love potato gnocchi and indeed so do I, however, making gnocchi for six hungry people, it’s one of the more… shall we say… time consuming dishes!

However sometimes you just have to and for all the time it takes and mess it causes the end result is always worth it.

Of course you can always cheat and get your gnocchi ready made from the supermarket!

I have to say that I’m not keen on gnocchi when it’s boiled and served in a sauce… it just doesn’t do it for me. However we do love it when it’s gently poached and then fried in butter so it’s nicely caramelised and slightly crispy. It makes an Epic! (Kids description!) side dish when served like this.gnocchi 5

 

I had bought some nice Tuna steaks that had been on special offer and as we don’t have Tuna very often I thought they deserved tuna 1something a bit special. It was decided that we have them with gnocchi and some chick peas tossed in a nice lemon, butter sauce flavoured with just a touch of cumin.

When I make gnocchi I have to say I normally just wing it! I add flour, egg and a touch of baking powder to some mash potato (usually leftovers!) and hope for the best!

 

 

 

 

However here is a recipe for those that don’t want to take the risk!

 

Ingredients;

 

6 large potatoes peeled and cut into fourGnocchi 1

1 medium egg

3 handfuls plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt and pepper

 

Method;

 

Place the potatoes in a pan and just cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Drain the potatoes well and put back in the pan, leave for a couple of minutes for the potatoes to dry out a little then mash or put through a potato ricer.

In a large bowl whisk the egg and add the seasoning and a splash of water. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix together until you have a soft dough. If it’s too wet add a little more flour, if it’s too dry add a splash more water.

Divide the dough into four. Take one piece of dough and on a floured board roll into a long sausage shape. Use a blunt knife to cut the dough making  little pillow shapes. place the dough pieces on a floured tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Once all the dough has been used up, place the tray with the cut dough on it in the fridge for ten minutes or so to firm up.

gnocchi 2

To cook the gnocchi bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Carefully drop the gnocchi in and bring back to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for a couple minutes or until the gnocchi floats on the surface of the water.gnocchi 3

 

 

 

Once cooked the gnocchi can be drained and either tossed in a sauce or coated in a little oil to either serve later (just drop into boiling water to warm up or heat in a sauce) or be fried. To fry the gnocchi melt some butter in a frying pan and when sizzling drop in the gnocchi, keep turning until the gnocchi are nicely coloured and golden.

gnocchi 4

We had our gnocchi this time with a nice seared tuna steak and a simple sauce consisting of a little onion and garlic sautéed in butter with chicken stock, a splash of white wine, zest and juice of a lemon, cooked chick peas, ground cumin and finished with yet more butter!

chickpea in lemon butter1

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple salad of chunky tomato, cucumber and onion drizzled with a little vinegar and a pinch of sugar and seasoning is all that was needed for a superb tasting, Mediterranean style dish.

 

tuna & gnocchi 1

Shepherds Pie… No really… Just Shepherds Pie!

Sometimes, not very often but sometimes we have a meal which is quite simple and not spicy. Well, not that spicy!

 

Shepherds pie 6

 

Shepherds pie is one of those dishes. We don’t have it that often at all, so when we do it’s a real treat.

It’s one of those really comforting foods. Perfect for when the weather turns a bit cooler… like it did… in August!

Oh and it has to be lamb. None of this using minced beef and passing it off as shepherds pie, that’s Cottage Pie!

This recipe is a very basic recipe for Shepherds Pie. Proper Shepherds Pie. Like your Mum used to make but better! Not curried Keema Shepherds pie. Not Clapshot Pie and not Shepherds pie where you’ve ponced about slow roasting a leg of lamb, used the juices to make the gravy and with anchovies in etc. Plain and simple Shepherds Pie.

This recipe will give six to eight portions so you could halve it if you don’t want to make so much. Or why not get some foil containers so you can do some individual portions which can be put in the freezer for another day.

Shepherds Pie

1.2 Kilo minced lamb

2 medium onions diced

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

4 medium sized carrots dicedShepherds pie 1

Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 tablespoon soy sauce (dark)

2 tablespoon plain flour

2 litre of hot stock (chicken or beef)

For the mash

2.5 Kilo potatoes (I find red are good for mash, or Maris Piper)

1 large egg

25 gram butter

1 tablespoon milk

Seasoning

To make the filling heat a little oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Fry for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent and beginning to colour.Shepherds pie 2 Add the minced beef, stir to break it up add the seasoning and spices and fry until the meat has browned. Add the soy sauce and stir. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Put back on the heat and add the stock a little at a time stirring all the time until the mixture comes to a simmer. This now needs to cook for at least 45 minutes. Don’t worry if it looks a lot of liquid. You strain the meat to go in your pie dish so you are left with a lovely gravy to accompany your meal.

Shepherds pie 3

To make the mash. Peel the potatoes and 1/2 or 1/4 them depending on size. The bigger the size the fluffier your mash will be. Put in a pan and just cover with cold, salted water then put on to boil. Once up to the boil your potatoes should take 30 – 45 minutes to cook. Once cooked drain and put back in the pan. Give the potatoes a quick blast of heat from the hob and then leave them until the steam reduces to nearly nothing at which point you potatoes should be nice and dry. Throw in the butter and then mash your potatoes once broken up add the milk, beaten egg and seasoning and mash until smooth. Don’t overdo the potatoes otherwise you will end up with something resembling wall paper paste!

Shepherds pie 4

Now to assemble the finished dish. Strain the filling from the gravy using a slotted spoon, small sieve or colander into a deep baking dish or two. Reserve the leftover sauce to use as a flavour filled gravy to go with your pie. Don’t leave it next to the sink though or your better half may think you don’t want it and throw it down it! Once you have strained all the meat and veg into your dish carefully place the mash potato on top of the meat and gently spread out with the back of a spoon. Use a fork to put some ridges in the topping and if you want put a little sliced tomato on top.

Shepherds Pie 5

To cook put in a pre-heated oven at 190°C or 170°C for fan assisted for around 50 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned.

Serve with the reserved gravy and whatever veg you fancy (peas go great!)

Shepherds pie 7