I made this as I had about 500g of mashed potato, half a tub of ricotta and some double cream (fast approaching its sell-by-date). Not a very colourful dish, but great comfort food! Serves 2.
- 500g mashed potato
- 130g strong (sifted) white flour (plus extra for rolling out the gnocchi)
- 125g ricotta
- 100g gorgonzola (grated)
- 100ml double cream
- Black pepper
Mix together the mashed potato, flour and ricotta. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and thoroughly mixed together. Cut into 3 pieces and roll each into a ‘sausage’ (about 2.5cm in diameter). Cut each sausage into 1cm thick slices (these will flatten out as you cut them as the potato, flour and ricotta dough is very soft), place on a floured tray, and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
Cook by boiling about 5 litres of water in a large pan. Tip the gnocchi into the boiling water (the gnocchi are likely to be a bit sticky, so you may have to ease them off the tray with a knife/spatula). Remove the gnocchi on to 2 plates as they rise to the surface of the boiling water (using a slotted spoon) and keep them warm in a low oven.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the gorgonzola and the cream, mixing all the time, until it just begins to boil. Pour over the gnocchi and grind over black pepper to taste.
This is quick and easy to make. It goes very well with fresh fruit, and I think it would taste good in an affogato (a scoop of ice cream with a measure of espresso coffee), but I haven’t tried this yet. Above it’s served with a chocolate beetroot muffin. The ingredients below are based on what I had available at the time. I have also made it without the double cream. However, I think that it is improved by the addition of the cream.
- 150ml double cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 375g mascarpone (1 1/2 250g tubs)
- Vanilla (essence or seeds from a pod, use as instructed)
Using an electric whisk, whip the cream until it is thick. Add the mascarpone, the condensed milk and the vanilla flavouring until it is thick and creamy. Spoon into a plastic container (with lid) and freeze for at least six hours. Use as any other ice cream.
This is based on a recipe in the February 2015 edition of Waitrose Kitchen magazine. For 2 people:
- 10g dried porcini mushrooms
- 130ml boiling water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot (or equivalent amount of onion – finely chopped)
- 130g chestnut mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- Leaves picked from 4 thyme sprigs
- 1.5 tbsp port
- 1 tbsp ricotta
- 4 large leaves of filo pastry
- Extra olive oil for brushing the pastry
- 15g grated parmesan
- 2 tbsp double cream
- 1 tsp brandy
- Black pepper to taste
Place the dried porcini in a small bowl, and pour on the boiling water. Cover, and leave to stand for 20 minutes. Then drain and squeeze the porcini, reserving the liquid. Chop the porcini.
Gently heat the oil in a pan, and cook the shallot for 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and the porcini, and cook (covered) over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat, add the port, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool and stir in the ricotta.
Cut the filo pastry sheets in half widthways, and store under a damp cloth.
Layer the sheets of pastry into two lots of four, brushing each sheet with olive oil. Divide the mushroom mixture in half, and arrange each portion on a pile of pastry. Wrap each portion in the pastry, tucking in the edges, and place on a baking tray, so that the edges are underneath. Brush with oil and sprinkle with parmesan.
Cook in the oven at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for about 20 minutes, until golden.
Meanwhile boil the liquid from the porcini until it has reduced by 2/3rds. Stir in the cream and brandy, and heat to just below boiling point, and season with black pepper.
Serve with the porcini sauce.
I made this with butternut squash which had previously been roasted and a red pepper which had been ‘charred’ (see below). Both processes greatly enhance the flavour of the soup.
Enough for 3:
- 1 large red pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
- 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
- 1/2 of a large butternut squash (previously roasted (as one piece)) and cut into small chunks
- 150ml passata
- 500ml water
- 1 tsp vegi stock powder
- 2 tbsp double cream
- Season with black pepper and lemon juice
Char the red pepper by blackening the skin all over using a gas ring (on high) or a blowtorch. Rub off the skin in a bowl of cold water, and slice.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for five minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the red pepper, the butternut squash, the passata and the water, and stir in the vegi stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.
Take off the heat and blend (using an electric blender or a liquidiser). Stir in the double cream and heat until just boiling.
Season and serve.
This is a variation on the classic Pomme Dauphinoise. The recipe is based on one in Jean Conil’s Cuisine Vegetarienne Francaise (published in 1985). Enough for 2 as a main meal:
- 2 largish onions (finely sliced)
- 50g butter
- 500g potatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 150ml double cream
- Black pepper
- 80g grated Cheddar
Heat half the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in the onions and leave to cook very gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Rub a shallow dish (large enough to accommodate the ingredients) with garlic (cut in half). Retain the garlic. Butter the dish with the remaining butter.
Peel the potatoes and cut into rounds about 5mm thick. Place in a pan of cold water. Bring the boil and drain.
Beat together the cream, the egg and garlic (crushed). Season with black pepper and grated nutmeg.
Arrange half the potato slices in the bottom of the shallow dish. Pour over half the egg and cream mixture, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Then arrange the onions on top. Layer the remaining potatoes, pour over the remaining cream and egg mix, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Bake in the oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
I had some of the green ends of leeks so I made this soup which is based on an Elizabeth David recipe for Potage Flamande. Enough for 3:
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 leeks (washed and sliced) – I used the equivalent in ‘green leek tops’
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 1 large potato (peeled and sliced)
- 750ml boiling water
- 1 heaped tsp vegi-stock
- 2 tbsp double cream
- Lemon juice and black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the leek slices and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the potato and carrot slices and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add the boiling water, and stir in the stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the cream and blend using a hand blender. Reheat until just boiling. Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste.
Serve with croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup).
The recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Eat. The cream and the smoked haddock make a great combination. Enough for 2:
- 200ml double cream
- 250g smoked haddock (skin removed)
- 6 black pepper corns
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 carrot (finely diced)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 15g butter
- 120g green lentils
- 300ml stock (made with vegi-stock powder)
- A generous amount of chopped parsley
- Black pepper and lemon juice to season
Heat the cream in a saucepan (one which will accommodate the fish), together with the haddock, the pepper corns and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave covered. The fish should continue cooking (if not sufficiently cooked gently heat the pan again).
In another pan, melt the butter and add the carrots and onion, and gently cook for 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (are until the lentils are just cooked). Stir in the cream (from cooking the fish (having removed the fish, pepper corns and bay leaves)), and continue cooking so that the liquid reduces, until it just covers the lentils.
Stir in the parsley and season. Divide the lentil mixture between two plates and top each with half the haddock.