Gnocchi with a twist

Our kitchen is still not ready. Benchtop and rangehood are delayed. Plumbing has not been completed. Still waiting for floor tiles to arrive. And there is still paint work, cleaning and packing after. Will I ever have my kitchen ready for Christmas? At this stage, I have lost a little faith.

Paint bucket

Paint bucket

I hardly cooked the last 2 weeks due to my bad gum infection that allows me to eat only soft foods and because we are bunking in with a friend that has very limited stock and gadgets in her pantry. I have to admit that I am such a gadget freak. Not just kitchen gadgets but any geeky gadget. I just love new toys. Who doesn’t?

So living in a house with few gadgets and spices, I kept most recipes very simple. But after a trip to Prahran market and to the Potato man, I had this urge to make gnocchi. The few times I made gnocchi had always been a hit and miss. I can only remember once that I succeeded but as the saying goes “Practice makes perfect”.

This is a recipe without measurements and without the appropriate equipment. There were no scales or ricer or potato masher. So I turned to tweetverse and asked how I could mash my potatoes without these gadgets. Thanks to @houseofturtle, @s_s_and_s, @sweet_libertine, @sarahcooks, @becberry, @felixexplody, @JaredIngersoll, @DivinaPe and @stickifingers for all these suggestions. Most of them suggested that I used a fork and a lot of arm effort. But the best solution came from @stickifinger and it was to chuck the boiled potatoes into a plastic bag and massage it.

Tweetverse contributions

Tweetverse contributions

It was a brilliant idea and even if I did have the gadgets, I will still would have tried to see if it worked.

Boil potatoes

Boil potatoes

Black trumpets

Black trumpets

Ingredients:

  • Plain flour
  • 5 medium size Toolangi potatoes (potato man at Prahran market)
  • 100g Black Trumpets (mushroom man at Prahran market)
  • Grated pecorino
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Creme fraiche
  • Butter
Potatoes in plastic bag

Potatoes in plastic bag

Mashed potato

Mashed potato

Roll the dough into a long strip

Roll the dough into a long strip

Fork the dough

Fork the dough

little pillows of gnocchi

little pillows of gnocchi

Method:

  1. Boil the potatoes with skin on till it is super soft. Remove the skin and then cubed.
  2. Chuck all the cubed potatoes into a plastic bag, place a cloth over it and massage or use the back of a small pan and gently pound it. It will be still be a little lumpy. So use fingers and press on those lumpy areas. It works way better than a potato masher!
  3. Flour the benchtop and place a little flour at a time to the mashed potato. Knead gently with the salted flour and keep adding until you reach the right bounce up. This means when you press into the dough, it will bounce back easily.
  4. Spilt the dough into 3 pieces and roll it gently into a roll stripe. Flour the knife and cut little 1.5cm dough.
  5. Use a fork and roll it over the dough. Place the dough into very gentle simmering salted water.
  6. The gnocchi is cooked once it floats to the top of the pot. Drain it.
  7. Saute the finely chopped garlic in olive oil and butter. Chuck in the mushrooms and cook it for about 1 minute
  8. Add the cooked gnocchi and more butter. Cook till the gnocchi has a slight brown colour. Remove the pan from the heat, add some creme fraiche and stir through. Season well
  9. Grate somep ecorino on top and serve hot
Gnocchi with mushrooms and cheese

Gnocchi with mushrooms and cheese

I needed a tad more flour in the gnocchi dough. But overall, it had a nice, deep and earthy flavour from the mushrooms and it was quite rich from a good dose of the creme fraiche and grated cheese. Cheesy, creamy, earthy and starchy. It felt great being able to cook again. It is not the best looking or tasting dish but it was home cooked. And so I realise that one should not be handicapped by kitchen gadgets. Too spoilt!

However, I still wish is to have our house ready before Christmas. I will love to have “orphan” friends over. I will love to cook for them and enjoy their company over food and drinks.

Do you remember a time that you were not accessible to a kitchen (besides travelling)? How did that make you feel?