Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Dumpling For All Seasons

Summer pumpkin & lemon thyme gnocchi with summer vegetables
I love gnocchi. I really do. And I miss it during the warmer months. I guess it's not an option I consider because it tends to really be a dish that conjures up visions of a cold grey winter day where I have a ragu cooking away slowly, filling the house with it's delicious aromas, then teaming it with soft unctuous gnocchi, a drizzle if chilli oil and freshly grated parmegiano reggiano at the table as we sit down to dinner, warming and cosy...
It's the epitome of the stodgy, heavy, comfort food we crave when its cold.

But what if there was a way of making it lighter? More summery?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Twist On The Ordinary

One of the little challenges I like to set for myself is to make a meal out of only what I have on hand at the time, in the house or in the garden. Mostly, I have to say, it works out very well because it forces me to be a bit more creative and substitute with what I have lying around. It also results in interesting twists on the ordinary or the traditional which are often better because they are unexpected flavours and sometimes even a change of technique to better suit the season.

Today I've done a variation on the absolute classic crumbed cutlet. Who doesn't love a cutlet?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Signature dishes: What's yours?

I know I'm new to this. Since it's early days I don't want everyone thinking it's all going to be about is my late Nonna in laws' recipes. It won't be. It's just that it's the anniversary of her passing so she is on my mind and I'm a sentimental fool.
We are having a family gathering today so I thought I'd make her signature dish and my all time favorite thing that she cooked. Also,please don't think that all my recipes involve frying. I promise there will be many more that don't. I must be in a frying mood right now...


Ok. I guess it isn't really truly crostoli. But that is what she called it. I've searched for equivalent Italian pastries but have never found anything that is really in the same ballpark as this. The easiest way to describe it, is that it is a sweet deep fried 'ravioli' with a custard centre. If anyone knows another name or a similar recipe I'd love to find out about it.

Other than being an absolutely delectable treat, Nonna's crostoli is, I believe, even more beautiful because it was totally and authentically hers and hers alone

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A tribute to Nonna

One day, back when my husband David and I were still dating, he phoned me from his car. "Where are you off to?" I asked. "I'm on my way to my grandmother's house for dinner" he said. Really? Some kind of mid week family gathering I supposed. But no, it was just him going to his Nonna's for dinner by himself. Wow, I thought. On that basis he probably isn't a serial killer.

My latest key ingredient : RICOTTA

Some people just can't see the point of ricotta cheese. They find it bland, tasteless, or (like my father in law), unforgivably white.

And frankly, all those accusations are true. What they neglect to consider is that ricotta is light, creamy without being too fatty, and the perfect vehicle to carry other flavours to many dishes.

The Virgin Blogger

I think I am realistic. In my line of work, it's hard not to be.

So I am under no illusions that (at least for the moment) anyone other than a few of my closest friends and perhaps the occasional stalker will read what I have to say here.