Goodbye long weekends 😦 This was the first full week back at work for me after two 3 day weekends in a row….I had a look ahead for those of us working in Australia, and the next one is on June the 9th… that’s like a whole month away. And it really doesn’t help waking up when its getting so cold in the mornings. But with colder weather comes more opportunities to simmer away some delicious warming comfort food.
Italians especially, are masters at flavour packing comfort food with their pastas and rustic stews. As I posted previously, I was inspired to try making my own tagliatelle the other day, and because I had some 00 flour left over, I decided to have a go rolling out some gnocchi. My previous attempts have been a hit and miss. I once ended up with a whole batch of rubber bullets… mmm. I think it was because I used too much plain flour and forgot to take out the egg white.
This time I trusted my touch a bit more and didn’t really follow a recipe. I ended up using:
- ~400g sebago potatoes (I cut mine into quarters)
- 00 flour
- 1 egg yolk
- Salt and pepper to season
- I started by peeling and steaming the potatoes until they were soft. Then I let them cool.
- I didn’t have a potato ricer which would have been ideal, so instead I pressed the potatoes through a seive into a large bowl.
- I then mixed in the egg yolk. Roughly but gently. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t thoroughly mixed in. Season.
- Next, I add one big spoon of sifted flour into the potato mixture. This is the part where I used my hands and started folding the flour through the potatoes.
- Little by little, I added the flour and started kneading gently. Keep adding flour and kneading until the ball of gnocchi dough feels like its sitting on the border between wet and dry.
- I then tipped it out onto a floured wooden chopping board and divided the dough up into four sections.
- Taking one of the sections, I rolled it out until its diameter was sausage size and then cut it up into 2-3 cm chunks. Place in a single layer on a floured tray
- You can do that fancy thing where you roll the gnocchi on a fork but it’s fine if you don’t.
- Boil a big pot of water, salt, then drop in gnocchi
- When they float, boil for another 10 seconds and scoop out, drain a little and place into sauce.
For the sauce, I went with a simple one with tomatoes, chilli and garlic
- Olive oil
- 3 tomatoes chopped roughly. Best if they are still trussed
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped roughly
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 2 chillis chopped finely. Seeds removed.
- Handful of torn up fresh basil leaves if you have them
- Fresh oregano if you have it.
- Salt and pepper
- Half a ladle of water
- Parmesan to garnish
- Heat oil in pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and chilli. Stir a bit and make sure you don’t burn it.
- Add in tomato paste and fry for a bit until you see the oil turning orange in colour.
- Add in tomatoes. Mix for a bit and let the juices come out. Add in the water and season
- Add in the herbs. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. In the mean time boil the water for gnocchi
- Open lid and taste sauce. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Let it keep simmering away and let the sauce reduce for another 5-10 minutes. Keep tasting. I wouldn’t mind making the sauce a little bit saltier than preferred as the moisture from the gnocchi would mellow the sauce out when you put them in.
- You can probably boil the gnocchi and once they’re ready, drain and place into sauce.
- Gently, use a spatula to fold the sauce through the gnocchi. If you’re skillful (I tried and failed) you can use your wrist motion to toss the gnocchi with the sauce and let them mix together.
- Dish out and garnish with parmesan.
I had some lamb chops as well and fried them off to make it a meal. Yumm
Finally, I have a post that is not about seafood.
I had these lovely lamb chops today and was thinking of what to serve it with. I usually have plain boiled rice with everything, which is like oxygen for Asians like me…. but I wanted to have something a bit special. Even though it is summer in Australia and the temperature is like 30 degrees, I decided to make a pumpkin risotto! I didn’t have any arborio rice either, but who cares.. I used some thai long grain rice instead… talk about a multicultural dish lol. For the lamb chops I went for a moroccan style spice rub, which actually translates to a whole lot of paprika, cumin and coriander powder.
Here’s a picture of the dish.. I am yet to make the pictures look profesh and good… and I know that the liquid pooling at the bottom of the dish looks kind of yuck and insipid, but I promise that it is delicious, its actually the meat juices from the lamb. Let’s just focus our eyes on that charring instead mmmm
NOTE: start your risotto off first then when its about done, start on your lamb. A degree of multi-tasking is needed
- 6 lamb cutlets
- 3/4 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1tsp coriander powder
- 0.5 tsp chilli powder
- 0.5 tbsp sugar
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Drizzle of oil and more for frying
- A wedge of lemon to use later
- Combine everything except the lemon, and rub into the lamb. Let it sit and marinate for at least an hour.
- Heat a pan on medium to high heat and pour in some oil and wait until the pan is hot
- Carefully place in cutlets one at a time and evenly spaced around pan. If there’s not enough space, don’t force it, you may have to wait and fry off some of the others first.
- After frying for around 3 minutes, turn over.. You may have to judge for yourself. I prefer medium-rare (but leaning towards medium). Fry for another 3-4 minutes.
- Once its about to be done, squeeze in some lemon juice, covering all the lamb cutlets and take out of pan.
- 1-2 cups of rice (really depends on how much you want, 1 cup should feed 2 people fine). I used long grain but if you have arborio, go ahead and use that
- half an onion chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
- 150-200 gram pumpkin (cubed into really small pieces, around 1.5 cm cubed)
- Sprinkle of sage
- salt and pepper
- A sprinkle of mixed herbs such as thyme, rosemary
- Chicken stock (buy around 2 litres just incase your rice takes a while to cook)
- Splosh of white wine (optional)
- half a cup of cooked corn kernels (I just cut some off a cob and boiled it for around 1 minute)
- First you need to cook your pumpkin. Heat oil on medium heat on pan/pot (with a lid) and place in pumpkin cubes. Let cook for around 2 minutes.
- Add in some salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sage. Mix it abit and turn the heat to low-medium and cover with lid. This will allow the pumpkin to cook faster and steam in their own liquid. Cook for around 8-10 minutes until it is soft and mashable
- Mash up the pumpkin and set aside in a bowl
- Heat oil on medium heat in a clean pan
- Add in onion and garlic and fry for a bit until translucent, then add in a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Mix for a bit and then add the rice.
- Stir the rice and let it fry off for a while (~1 min), then add in the white wine and let the alcohol cook off a bit.
- Add in a ladle of chicken stock (evenly) and stir the rice a bit. Now is the point of time where you are stuck at the stove until the risotto is done.
- When the rice has absorbed the chicken stock, then add in another ladle. When you stir, you are massaging the rice and helping it release a bit of the starch to make it creamy. Don’t mix too vigorously but gently and making sure the rice from the sides are being pushed to the middle and to the bottom where the heat is.
- Keep ladling in chicken stock and letting it get absorbed into the rice until done. You will have to try a bit of the risotto to see whether it is to the texture you want. Ideally, you want the rice to just be cooked without any hard or chalky white bit in the centre.
- At this step, you want to season lightly with salt and pepper and remember to taste!
- After it is to your desired taste, add in the mashed pumpkin and corn kernels. Stir and make sure the pumpkin has dispersed fully throughout the rice. You want to have that orange tinge. Taste again
- Dish out and serve with your lamb. Enjoy!