I love gnocchi, but only if they are pan-fried. I found boiled ones to be a bit heavy and sloppy. When I discovered pan-fried gnocchi (thanks to Nigella!), it was a game changer and since then I don’t do it any other way.
If I remember it right, I saw this recipe on one of the Sainsbury’s recipe cards, which you can pick up from the store. The recipe is so easy and adaptable, you can easily adjust it to your taste.
PAN-FRIED GNOCCHI WITH WATERCRESS PESTO & ROASTED TOMATOES
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
75ml olive oil, plus extra for frying
3 tbsp walnuts/pine nuts, toasted
1 x 110g bag watercress
1 x 500g pack fresh gnocchi
100g fine green beans, halved
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the halved tomatoes on the oiled roasting tray and roast until they are ready and caramelised on the edges.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, make the pesto by putting the garlic, olive oil, walnuts and the watercress in a food processor, blitz to combine. Check for seasoning.
- Heat a large frying pan with a splash of olive oil, add the gnocchi and toss gently over a medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden.
- Meanwhile, cook the beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until just tender, drain.
- To assemble, add the pesto to the gnocchi and toss together. Gently stir in the beans and tomatoes. Serve as a side dish or as a main with some salad.
We had a few versions of this salad when we visited Sicily. Because oranges were in season, this salad was available pretty much everywhere. One version had oranges and fennel, another had oranges, onion, cheese and mint. Even all of the above plus olives. The list goes on. All of them were refreshing, palate cleansing, very simple but delicious.
Since I brought back with me a few oranges, I also made a several versions of this salad at home. Here is one:
INSALATA DI ARANCE
2 oranges, skin removed and cut into rounds
2-3 spring onions, ends removed and finely sliced
50g mild cheese (sorry, I know it’s not authentic, but I used Edam)
extra virgin oil to dress, to taste
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
- Mix the ingredients together and serve.
Fresh, bright, full of goodness salad to brighten up your winter dinner.
WINTER SLAW WITH HERBS AND POMEGRANATE
1/2 medium head of white cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 small batch of parsley, finely chopped
even smaller batch of mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
seeds from 1/2 – 1 head of pomegranate (depends on the size, optional)
Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl, sprinkle the salt on it, mix and allow to sit for 15 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the lemon juice, herbs, oil and mix well. Taste, season well with salt and adjust to taste. It should be sharp and lemony. At the end, sprinkle the pomegranate seed on top, if using. Enjoy!
Here is a great winter salad for your lunch boxes or an alternative side dish. You can literally roast any veg you like (butternut squash, beetroot, carrots, courgettes, red onion, etc.) In this instance, my chosen vegetables are cauliflower and aubergine.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, AUBERGINE & GREEN LENTIL SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING
1 cup puy lentil, cooked
1 small cauliflower head, separated into the florets
1 large aubergine, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated
2-3 tablespoons of hot water
spring onion and parsley to garnish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Toss cauliflower and aubergine with olive oil, salt and pepper then spread out in an even layer on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring half way through.
- Meanwhile cook the lentil according the instruction on the packet, if it’s not cooked already.
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, zest, garlic and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until it’s reached the desired consistency. Stir in parsley and set aside.
When vegetables are ready, serve on a bed of cooked green lentil and drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve warm or at room temp.
The texture is soft and tender, the taste is savoury and slightly sweet, with an earthy corn flavour. These cornbread muffins are a perfect pairing to sticky sweet barbecue ribs, a nice warm bowl of stew or your favourite bowl of chilli. You can make it any shape you like, a round or square tin, as muffins, with any topping or additions. I recommend chopped chives, feta cheese, jalapeño, roasted peppers or bacon. The variations are endless but this is a great base recipe.
This is Ina Garten’s recipe and although I’m always keen on trying new things, in this case it is my addiction. I keep coming back to the same recipe again and again.
So if you haven’t tried it yet, here it is.
(Ina Garten’s recipe)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
200g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
200g extra-strong Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped spring onion/chives, optional
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers, optional
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170C. Grease any preferred shape baking tin.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped chives/spring onions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Since I tried this recipe, I can’t stop making it and telling everyone about it. It’s a perfect match of sweet juicy watermelon flesh against the sharp and salty Feta cheese and olives, balanced with mint flavour. It is Summer on a plate for me!
(Marry Berry’s recipe from Absolute Favourites)
½ small watermelon, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes
200g feta cheese, crumbled into small cubes
50g pitted black olives in oil, halved
1 small bunch of mint, chopped
For the dressing:
4 tbsp olive oil (or oil reserved from the olives)
juice of ½ lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Peel the cucumber with a potato peeler, cut in half lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut into crescent shapes.
2. Layer half the watermelon, cucumber, feta and olives in a bowl, repeat again, then sprinkle with the chopped mint. For the dressing, whisk together the oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and pour into the bowl. Serve chilled.
This is one of my favourite side dishes to serve along with roast chicken, sausages or this time with Slow-cooked Spiced Pork Belly with Apples and Fennels.
PUY LENTILS HOT POT
400g puy lentils
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
leaves from a 4-5 thyme springs
50ml white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
salt & pepper
1. Cook the lentils in enough water to cover them by 5 cm. Do not add salt at this stage as this will toughen the lentils. When they are cooked but still holding a small bite (about 20-30 minutes), drain the water.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and sweat the chopped vegetables and garlic with the thyme leaves, a large pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. If you opted for the wine, then add it now to the vegetables and let everything cook for another 5 minutes.
3. When the vegetables are nicely softened, add the cooked lentils and a splash of water to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pan. Mix the mustard and the chopped parsley into the lentils, check the seasoning before serving.