Gnocchi with Mushroom & Kale Cream Sauce

Welcome 2017
Happy new year readers! I’m starting 2017 off not with a ‘new year new you’ green smoothie or broth, but with some comfort food. It hasn’t exactly been an easy slide into 2017 for me, although I knew it wouldn’t be. My 2016 ended with a whirlwind of change: I got a full-time job! After 4 years as a student/very low-paid adjunct lecturer, I am very pleased about this development. However…the job involves me spending my weeks in the north of England and my weekends in London, which will radically change the way I live plan and cook meals. I start next week, and am currently in a stressful fog of marking, flat-hunting, and preparing for this new job. As ever, being in the kitchen remains a form of solace.

Obviously, the blog is about to undergo a bit of a change of focus, and probably less frequent posting in the short term. I will be cooking in a totally new way and the blog will reflect that. Hopefully you will still want to continue reading. 😉

The dish
Incidentally, I had never bought gnocchi until a couple of months ago (though have made it before). I picked up a couple of packages, thinking it would be a good to throw together on evenings when I didn’t have anything planned.

I can’t find the exact recipe I used online, but this one is similar. Although it has the taste of a dish that took much longer, this can easily be made in under half an hour. The sauce is made from sauteed mushrooms, cream (~150ml), stock (~150ml), thyme, sage, and salt and pepper. The original recipe called for spinach, but I used kale instead as I prefer a sturdier leaf in this type of dish. I also modified the cheese – the recipe called originally for 75g of Gorgonzola, but I used Stilton, and much less of it, and then topped with Parmesan.

Somehow this dish manages to be comforting but not too cloying or heavy, despite the cream. It’s a great one to throw together quickly — tasty, easy, satisfying.




Scallops in Garlic, Cream, & White Wine Sauce

I am sad to report that this is my last post from our 2 1/2 weeks in Nova Scotia this summer! 😦 It has been great to ‘look back’ on some great meals and even better memories over the last two weeks. It was overcast, rainy, and 14 degrees in London today, so autumn is definitely closing in. 😉

This meal was our last in Sandy Cove and our second last Nova Scotia. It was extremely cobbled together at the last minute — post late afternoon dog walk and pre music night with friends. The plan was leftover chicken and steamed veggies with these scallops as a supposed stater (in actuality we ate them with the main meal).

Although I have eaten them many times and watched them being prepared many times, I had never actually cooked scallops myself before. I did some very quick Googling and found this simple way to prepare them. I was desperate to avoid either under- and over-cooking them and fortunately succeeded. Although a bit haphazard this meal was a nice celebration of simplicity and local seafood and vegetables.

Slapdash meal

Ottolenghi’s Sweet Potato Gratin

Hi from Germany, where we’ve been, after a great deal of travel mayhem, since Monday morning.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

The only word for this dish is heavenly. That is, if you like sweet potatoes. This recipe is another from Yotam Ottolenghi’s first book, Ottolenghi {recipe also available online here}.

I won’t write much about this because it will either grab you instantly (if you are sweet potato-obsessed, like me), or you’ll skim over it if it doesn’t suit you.

It’s easy to make: slice the sweets potatoes, douse them in a combination of olive oil, garlic, seasoning and herbs, and roast them — first covered (45 minutes) and then uncovered (20 minutes) with the addition of approximately 1 cup/240mL cream (adjust to taste). *Note: depending how many potatoes you use, they might need less time in the oven. You want them to be very soft & tender at the end, so keep an eye on them.

H. found it a bit too rich but I absolutely adored this! It IS rich, and thus not something you can eat every day but served with a simple green salad I found it to be the perfect meal.

20dec 002