Tag Archives: cheap eats

Simple Supper: Blue Cheese Gnocchi

23 Nov

Creamy, easy, good.

So what does everyone think of John Torode? Do we like him? Is he one of the ones off the telly we like? I must confess I hardly ever watch Masterchef although I know I really should.  I’ve also never seen The Great British Bake-Off which is a sin, no question, but I like to think I atone by watching Man V. Food very nearly every day.

Anyway, so I haven’t seen much of John Torode – except for this Buttery Biscuit Base youtube sensation – but I have tried one of his recipes, namely this one from Good Food (where else?) and it was pretty darn nifty.

It doesn’t take too many ingredients – and I always like to have a bag of gnocchi lying about in the fridge as it’s cheap and can be knocked up with butter, a bit of cheese and a few sprigs of sage if you have basically no money and less inclination to cook – but this gnocchi recipe has the added value of spinach to make you feel Popeye-strong and creamy blue cheese to indulge you on a winter’s day.

To buy:

*500g gnocchi   *250g bag baby spinach   *100ml crème fraîche (half-fat if preferred)   *4 tbsp grated parmesan   *100g soft blue cheese (I used Saint Agur)

To make:

1. Cook the gnocchi in a very large pan of boiling, salted water to instructions (usually only for a couple of minutes until the first little pillow bubbles up to the surface) and plunge the spinach into the same pan and then immediately drain through a colander and get rid of any excess water.

2. Put the crème fraîche in a small ovenproof dish with the grated parmesan.  Add the hot, drained gnocchi, spinach, a load of freshly ground pepper and give it all a nice stir.  Crumble the blue cheese over the dish and make sure the seasoning’s just so.

3. Pop under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Serve straight away.

This meal is said to feed 4 but it only made 2 dinners and a small-ish packed lunch for me.  I am a chubalub, it’s true.



Review: Silk Road

19 May

Worst. Photo. Ever.

49 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8TR
020 7703 4832

How many of you have seen The Wire? I have and to say that it’s the best programme I’ve seen in years is rubbish. It’s the best programme I’ve seen, ever. Unfolding layer after layer of grit and heartbreak, revealing pride, love, pathos, vengeance, pain and ambition, like a great American novel we see the struggle of a whole city, it’s future and it’s past. So dark and so poignant still, this is telly that made me think and made me think differently. The only problem is that I’ve become a kind-of demented missionary, singing it’s praises and willing people to convert (touting the mantra that there’s those who love The Wire and those who haven’t seen it yet) because I believe!
I fear that Silk Road may fall victim to the same treatment.  It’s that good.

With its unassuming bench-style seating, modest decor and miles-out-of-SoHo-location, the Silk Road may not look like much but don’t be fooled.

Four of us went for dinner last night and Alex (who is always amazing at ordering “Dad-style“) called for our table to be filled with a smorgasbord of delights. The leek and shrimp, pork and beef dumplings were winsome, tender, chewy, yet soft and silky and came in at £2.50 for ten! We ordered 8 skewers of lamb and gnarled at the tender chilli-cumin meat and melt-in-the-mouth cubes of fat. The medium plate of chicken arrived in a bowl of hot aromatic broth. Bobbing with chunks of potato and ominously huge looking slices of chilli. We greedily slurped our ways through the bowl before the waiter piled in hand-rolled noodles (thick and chewy ribbons of utter scrumminess) and then bowls of rice arrived to mop up the juice. A plate of sour sticky cabbage, peppered with chillies, was uncommonly good and wolfed down in seconds. And then the home-style eggplant showed up. My God. This was aubergine that knocked my shoes and socks off. Sweet and smoky, tender and hot, you’ve just got to try it for yourself.

Throughout the meal the service was as flawless as the food. Attentive and kind, but utterly relaxed. Alex dropped his chopsticks and quick as a flash, a clean pair appeared. They even laughed at Alex’s jokes. I mean, wow. The entire meal (with beer and cans of pop – costing 50p, yes 50p – in London!) came to £40. I nearly fell off my bench.

I will preach more if I need to, but others including Jay Rayner, Time Out and WillEatForMoney have already done this very elegantly. The proof surely is that I was so busy scoffing that I only managed to take one single awful picture (see above) throughout the entire meal. It was that good.