Tag Archives: simple supper

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.



Simple Supper: Leon’s Butternut and Bacon Chowder

12 Nov

A Winter Warmer

It’s been months since I posted and I can only apologise and offer this as an explanation: a) I went on a Deep South roadtrip which took up much of my monies and day dreams and b) I am planning a wedding, which does the same!  I hope you’ve all been and eating well.

I don’t know about you but I am starting to hug the duvet a little more when I wake up in the mornings, starting to eye up knitwear when out shopping and very recently crave liqueur coffees at odd times of the day; it must be the season.  With whole aisles of the supermarket dedicated to mincepies and goose fat and bonfire night behind us it’s definitely that time between autumn and winter when you could eat a salad but what I really want is stew or soup or pies or roasts. I love it.

This butternut and bacon chowder is from the unsurpassed Leon Ingredients and Recipes cookbook and is rich and sweet and warming all at once.

For four:

To buy:

*3 tablespoons butter   *200g streaky bacon, diced small   *1 large onion, diced   *1 small butternut squash (about 650g), peeled and cut into 2cm dice   *2 medium floury potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2cm dice   *500ml stock   *100ml double cream   *500ml full-fat milk   *3 big handfuls of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped   *1 tablespoon of thyme, roughly chopped   *salt and pepper

To make:

1. Over a medium heat melt the butter in a big saucepan and add the bacon – not in one big clump – once the butter’s nutty and browning.

2.  Cook on a medium heat until the bacon starts to crisp and go golden brown. Then stir in the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

3. Add the onion and some salt and cook for another 10 minutes or so with the pan lid on until the onion is soft  but not browning.  Add a few splashes of water and then the squash and potatoes.  Turn the heat down a little and continue to cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes.

4. Now turn the heat up a little and add the chicken stock and cream.  Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes until the veg is soft but not collapsing.

5. Add the milk and bring to a simmer and then quickly turn off the heat – Do not let the milk boil or it will split.

6.  Using a slatted spoon remove the veg from the soup and blend into a smooth puree and add back to the soup.

7. Season as you like, add the herbs, a dribble of cream if you’re being a fancypants and serve with crusty bread, butter and your favourite box-set.

Super Simple Supper: Carbonara

19 Apr

Summer supper

London right now is balmy.  It’s weather for bare legs and summer dresses, BBQs and lazy beats, new freckles and tan marks.  I frigging love it.  But on a sweltering hot evening I want to be sipping rum on my balcony, not sweating in my kitchen.  And for evening’s like this, this meal – from Jamie Oliver – but tweaked ever-so, goes from hob to table in about fifteen minutes.  Win.

To buy:

*250g fresh pasta   *1 egg   *50ml double cream   *salt and pepper   *6 rashers of smoky bacon, roughly chopped   *a couple of handfuls of fresh podded petits pois   *Big handful of fresh mint   *freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

To make:

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the packet instructions.

2.  Whisk the egg in a bowl with the cream, salt and pepper and meanwhile, put your pancetta or bacon into a second – large – pan and cook until crispy and golden.

3. When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the peas for the remaining minute or two.  When cooked, drain in a colander, saving a little of the cooking water.

4. Add the pasta to the pancetta and stir in most of the mint, finely sliced.

5. Now add the egg and cream mix to the pasta.  What’s important here is that you add it while the pasta is still hot.  This way, the residual heat of the pasta will cook the eggs to give you a silky smooth sauce.   Toss together and loosen with a little of the reserved cooking water if necessary.

6. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the cheese (about a bucket-load if you’re anything like my guy or me) and the rest of the mint leaves, and serve as soon as possible.

Serves 2.