Tag Archives: spinach

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.



Recipe: Nutty Butternut Squash Curry

3 May

Nuttiness squared

For someone who hails from Birmingham, has travelled around India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia – and all kinds of hot and spicy countries – and gets uncontrollabley giddy on trip to a good old fashioned curryhouse, I have never ever made my own curry from scratch. Until now.

Inspired by the ‘Raf Daddy’s Groundnut Curry’ recipe in Rosie Lovell’s Spooning with Rosiebut faffed about with and tinkered, this curry turned out pretty, prettty good, as Larry David would say.

To buy:

*500g butternut squash   *2 small red onions   *2 garlic cloves   *1 red chilli   *2 tablespoons olive oil   *1 tsp hot curry powder   *1 tsp cayenne pepper   *2 big pinches of ground ginger   *big smidgeon of ground cumin   * 2 x 400g cartons/tins of chopped tomatoes   *3 generous tbsp crunchy peanut butter   *200g baby spinach   *about 100ml water   *big pinch of sugar   *salt and pepper   *rice or bread to serve.

1. Prepare the butternut squash by removing the skin and cutting into big cubes and chunks.

2. Peel and cube the onions, finely dice the garlic and slice the chilli, remove and discard the seeds, and chop into tini pieces.

3. Warm the oil in a saucepan and when hot, add the onion and squash, mix and sweat for a few minutes.

4. Add the chilli and garlic, stir and cook for a few more minutes. My eyes watered like a mutha at this point. Beware.

5. Throw in the curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and ground ginger and stir well. It should smell awesome at this point. Cook for a few minutes.

6. Add the tomatoes and place a lid on the pan. Simmer for about fifteen minutes over a medium heat. Stir now and again and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

7. Skim the liquid from the top of the curry and place in a measuring jug along with the peanut butter (as much as you like but too much and you may need to go and jog it off) and blend into a juicy paste. Add this to the pan and mix well.

8. Add a big pinch of sugar and season, throw in the spinach a handful at a time, as it wilts, stir and throw in more until it’s all in the pan. Pop the lid back on and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving – with rice or bread – and a grin.

So that was it. What was I so scared of? Warm and spicy, the chilli packing a punch, the peanut butter peeking through, tasting sweet and silky. So easy, properly wholesome. Enough to feed four greedy people (which means I have a fab packed lunch for tomorrow) Good times.