Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"How much longer on your visionary gnocchi, Stefano?"

as you may be aware, we decided to run the gnocchi dish through from the millenium menu to the italian menu. this decision hasbrought home the difficulty of making gnocchi, especially the eggless variety. the method we use is to bake the potatoes first then scoop out the flesh. this is passed through a mouli and then mixed with flour to make the gnocchi dough. in the traditional recipe one would add whole eggs or yolks either before the flour or after. (the best, and lightest, gnocchi in italy are made by forming the flour potato mix into breadcrumbs then adding enough egg to make a dough). the egg plays its part by enabling the dough balls to set when plunged in the boiling water, giving the usual texture. when using the eggless recipe one must be a little more careful. having formed the gnocchi they must be placed in the fridge or freezer for an hour or so to set the gnocchi up. these can then be poached as usual, then we fry for sevice. the problems occur when the potatoes differ in terms of moisture content. in these circumstances the amount of flour differs and the end-product can suffer. on saturday we had to discard a whole batch due to an inferior texture, yesterday they worked really well.

the recipe i've been asked for is the canneloni, so here it is.

the canneloni are strips of courgette, obtained with a swivel peeler, that have been marinated in lemon juice and olive oil. the filling is a mix of cashew ricotta, toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley and lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper. the cashew ricotta is made by blending 100g of cashews with some garlic, lemon juice, oil and water to make a cream, then blending in some tofu. the recipe is based on the one in veganomicon, by isa moscowitz and terry romero. take a teaspoon of the ricotta mix and roll it into you marinated strips.

the dressing we make is a pea and lemon sauce.

sweat a shallot, add a little stock and some lemon juice, add some peas and blitz with a hand blender. pass through a sieve and serve with cooked peas and broad beans. as martin stephenson once sang/talked

'what does it smell of dave?'

'smells of summer'

update on menu, we'll have salads on the luchtime specials through the summer, as well asour usual menu.

happy eating