Gnocchi Gratin

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I love gnocchi, and I love marscapone, and I really like Nigella. I got her newest cook book a little while ago and when I first saw this recipe for Gnocchi Gratin I could hardly contain my excitement! However, a very very hot summer meant it has taken me a few months to finally make it. I celebrated a birthday this week and instead of heading out for a family dinner I decided to stay in and cook a delicious meal. Everyone contributed a dish and it was a great night of food.

Anyway, back to the gnocchi. This recipe is so so easy yet produces a dish so good people will be going back for seconds….and thirds! I wll definitely be making this again, especially as the weather starts to get a cooler.

Gnocchi Gratin
courtesy of Nigellissima

Ingredients:
250grams marscapone
60ml full fat milk (kiwis – I used blue top)
4 T grated parmesan (I may have used closer to 6…)
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Nutmeg (Nigella suggests freshly ground but I used about 1/4 t of packaged and it was fine)
2x 400gram packets of gnocchi
Breadcrumbs

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Put a pot of water on for the gnocchi – I used a large soup pot for this.

Whisk the marscapone and the milk over a low heat. I used the tin I cooked the dish in and it worked well, while saving on dishes!

When the marscapone mixture starts to bubble, take it off the heat and stir in 3 or 4 T of parmesan, nutmeg and a grind of salt and pepper. Mix until it is all combined.

gnocchi prep

Cook the gnocchi according to the instructions on the pack – it usually only takes a couple of minutes. When that is done, drain and add to the marscapone mix and gently coat all of the gnocchi with the sauce until every thing is smothered and sorted in a single layer.

Top with breadcrumbs and more parmesan and put it to the oven for about 15 minutes.

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Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then eat and enjoy.

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We served ours with pistachio crusted tarakihi and a salad.

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Best meal I have had in a long time!

Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family who showered me with birthday love this week, I feel so blessed to have you all in my life!

Birthday cards

Have a great weekend,

Andy🙂

Weekend Baking Round-Up

I have had a brief hiatus from baking lately. I am attributing this to the fact that we have had an amazing summer here in Taranaki which means my kitchen is always super hot – too hot for baking really!

I have been missing it though, and took inspiration from some of my favourite bloggers to get back in to it.

This weekend I have made, devoured and enjoyed:

Strawberry oatmeal bars, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman; (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/02/strawberry-oatmeal-bars/)

strawberry bars 10.3.13

These were so simple to make and absolutely delicious! I used strawberry jam I had purchased for a berry orchard and it was divine!

A giant chocolate chip cookie, from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Mine was no where near as pretty as Sally’s but tasted really good, nice and soft and chocolatey! (http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/02/13/1-xxl-death-by-chocolate-cookie/)

giant choc cookie 10.3.13

I came across a recipe for these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies which were so simple to whip up, and turned out pretty tasty. I’m not sure where I sourced the recipe from but may post it at some point as I have a feeling these cookies will find their way into the regular baking rotation!

Peanut butter and choc chip cookies 11.3.13

I also pulled out one of my favourite recipes from the Marian Keyes cook book (Saved by Cake) – chocolate cheesecake cupcakes which I plan on serving for dessert tonight with a berry sauce that I am about to make!

chocolate cheesecake cupcakes after 11.3.13

Also worth sharing, are these carrot, bran and sultana muffins my mums partner (a.k.a my baking assistant for the day!) whipped up this morning! They were delicious, super healthy too🙂

johns muffins 11.3.13

Thankfully I have balanced out these delicious treats with a few good workouts over the weekend, which has been a long one thanks to Taranaki Anniversay Day. It is so nice to have an extra day off to relax and enjoy the sunny weather!

I am planning on posting something special for my next post – courtesy of Nigellas latest cookbook (Nigellissima). It’s on the menu for dinner tonight, and involves copious amounts of potato gnocchi and marscapone cheese……..

Have a great week everyone,

Andy

Tomato Pasta Sauce

Our garden has produced a giant crop of tomatoes this summer and I am struggling to get through them all! I have made this tomato pasta sauce twice now and find it is a great way to condense a few kilos of tomatoes and make a delicious dinner.

First up I cut in half about twenty tomatoes, poured over some olive oil and sprinkled on some garlic salt and pepper.

tomatos before

I popped this into a 180 degree C oven to roast for about 45 – 60 mins and had to restrain from eating the whole tray when I pulled them out!

tomatos after

After they had cooled a little I transferred the tomatoes to my trusty magic bullet, along with some fresh basil (also from the garden) and blitzed away.

From this:

blender

To this:
sauce

The sauce was delicious slurped straight from the jug, tossed through hot pasta and we also used it as a sauce on some crumbed fish – very versatile indeed!

So that is the tomatoes taken care of – I now have a crop of beetroot ready for harvest – any ideas on how I can use this?

Have a great day,

Andy

Cookie Time!

Hi, how are you all?

I don’t often bake cookies as I tend to favour creating cakes, brownies and desserts. However I saw this recipe: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/01/15/soft-baked-monster-cookies/ and decided to give them a go. I definitely was not disappointed, these were delicious – I recommend! 

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Now I am thinking I might make cookies on a more regular basis – have you got any good recipes for me?

Andy🙂

No Bake Chocolate Snack Balls

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I love a chocolate fix that I can convince myself is healthy! And these balls contain all sorts of healthy ingredients with the bonus of being sweetened with honey so there is no refined sugar. (Except for in the optional chocolate chips…but I won’t nit pick, if you won’t). Biting into these a fun taste explosion of chocolate and nuts and oats!

I slightly adapted the recipe from http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/01/no-bake-double-chocolate-peanut-butter-snack-bites and loved it!

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Ingredients
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
a pinch cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (optional)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)
ground peanuts or almonds mixed with a few pinches of cocoa powder, to roll the balls in

Recipe 

Mix together the oats, flax, almonds, chia seeds, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Zap the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the honey and vanilla to the melted peanut butter. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture and mix together (I used my hands for this part). Once the mixture starts to stick together, add the sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. Roll into golf-ball sized balls and roll in the ground nuts. Store in the fridge (if they make it that far!)

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Enjoy! Rosie🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Happy 2013 dear readers! I hope you all had a great new years and a happy and fun holiday break. I had a fantastic time with friends and family and definitely indulged on more than one occasion! It has been hot weather here, and the heat combined with the urge to eat a little bit healthier (to combat all the holiday eating and drinking…) has meant a lot of smoothies have been coming out of my kitchen lately. 

I enjoy throwing different things into the blender and seeing what comes out. I always use a base of milk, yoghurt and frozen banana and customise from there.

Today i have my current favourite to share with you – chocolate and peanut butter!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

1/2 c almond milk (normal works fine too!)
1/2 c greek yoghurt
1 chopped frozen banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (chocolate would also work but I didn’t have any)
1 heaped T of good quality cocoa
1 – 2 T of peanut butter
1 sprinkling of chocolate chips.

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Combine all ingredients in the blender and blitz away until smooth and creamy. I like my smoothies quite thick, but if you like a thinner consistency then add in some more milk.

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I really recommend this smoothie. Neither of the flavours are too overwhelming, it is deliciously cold and creamy and the chocolate chips add delicious chocolate flakes to the mix. 

Do you have any smoothie recipes you can recommend?

Have a great week,

Andy🙂

Homemade Baileys

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I am fully aware that this is my third post in a row involving alcohol. And I am completely unapologetic about that! The past couple weeks have been so full of everyone else’s Christmas baking and meals, that I haven’t had much desire to cook or bake anything myself. Plus it’s been so warm and humid, the last thing I want to do it turn my oven on!

When I came across this recipe at How Sweet It Is (http://www.howsweeteats.com) for homemade Irish Cream, I was intrigued. Then I saw that it didn’t involve my stove or oven and I knew that I had to try it! The finished product is incredible and tastes just like the real thing!

I served it over coffee icecubes and it was the perfect end to an afternoon at the beach!

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Ingredients

5 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee

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Recipe

Melt chocolate in microwave (or double boiler) and pour into a large bowl. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the whiskey, until smooth. Add the condensed and evaporated milk and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining whiskey, vanilla, cream and coffee and whisk until creamy. If the chocolate and coffee does not fully dissolve right away, it will after sitting.

Pour into a jar, or a jug or other vessel of some sort. Refrigerate it and give it a stir every couple hours. You can drink it right away, but I found it tastier after it sat over night!

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Cheers, Rosie🙂