Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


For a cold night: baked sweet potato gnocchi with roquefort.

Queen's Birthday Monday. A northerly blew all morning. It wasn't particularly cold until around lunchtime when the wind flipped around and found some rain somewhere and spat it at us. That made it the kind of afternoon best spent in front of the fire and the television, so naturally I went out. I took Thomas, above, with me. William has a cold and stayed in. The picture was taken about 4.30 p.m. on Portsea back beach. That red stain on his coat is spilt raspberry couli from the giant slice of hummingbird cake Tracy and I tried to eat at the Blairgowrie cafe earlier, until Thomas hijacked it. William passed. He's not a cake boy.

And then it was dinner time and the long weekend was all but over.

I peeled a large sweet potato, chopped it into two-inch cubes, boiled it until it was soft and pressed it through a ricer onto the marble workbench, let it cool for ten minutes and made a crater in the top. Into the crater I cracked an egg and added the yolk of another.

Then I added some flour and a little polenta and a clove of very finely diced garlic. I pressed and kneaded the mixture and added more flour until it all held together. (I read a recipe for gnocchi once that said you must do this using only one hand, leaving the other free to add the extra flour; but I used two and they were covered in sweet potato batter and then the phone rang. It always does.)

I finished the conversation, holding the phone between a forearm, a shoulder and part of my skull; dropping it only twice, and then I rang off, formed the gnocchi into two cylinders and sliced these into sections.

I dropped the sections into salted, oiled boiling water and soon they rose to the top like little whales coming up to breathe. After leaving them to bob about in the water for a few seconds I lifted them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain before placing them into a glass casserole dish.

That was the hard work out of the way. I topped the gnocchi with about a quarter of a cup each of grated emmental and grana padano. Emmental has a nice bland sweetness and the grana adds bite. The roquefort goes in later.

Into the oven for ten or fifteen minutes, then out again for the roquefort - just crumble it liberally over the top - and back into the oven for a few minutes more. It will keep melting at the table.

Serve with fresh buttered baguette. Gnocchi might be Italian but the roquefort takes it over the border.


Janis Gore said...

William strikes me as a more serious boy than Thomas. There's a hint of mischief about Thomas. Is that correct? Or is it just the particular photos?

kitchen hand said...

You're right. William is dramatic, 'reads' books end to end and talks incessantly. Thomas throws the book after a few pages.

We will see.

Paz said...

What a cutie pie! Love the photo! And love the sound of your dinner. Delicious!


kitchen hand said...

Thank you Paz.

Jessica said...

Beautiful baby!

sean said...

Sweet potatoes, delicious!