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


Rocket fuel.

So far this winter, the weather has offered a sullen series of half-hearted south-westerlies delivering slow-moving patches of rain in between teasing sun.

Today, it hauled off and hurled a frozen blast at us, straight from the north and right off the alps, where snow has just fallen. The icy blast rode in on the same north wind that destroyed half the state by fire just four months - 16 weeks - ago.

I put on a coat. That fixed it. Then I went for a long walk.


Last night I cooked - with a little assistance - comfort food, fuel for a cold winter: home-made gnocchi with rocket from the new vegetable garden (that is, so far, a major success thanks to its northerly aspect).

To five old potatoes, boiled and mashed, I added - in a large bowl - a cup of plain flour, 30 grams of melted butter, cracked peppercorns and half a cup of grated parmesan. Any parmesan will do - if you have to have the imported stuff, save it for the top of the dish. Then I threw in seven or eight rocket leaves finely snipped.

Mix and knead four minutes. Turn out on a floured board. (William and Thomas were watching me and trying to help. During the afternoon, they had been making playdoh models with their mother, and they thought this was the continuation of the game.)

We rolled up the dough into cylinders the diameter of a spark plug's thickest part. (I use Champion.) Then I cut the cylinders into one-inch sectors and lined them up on another floured board like small, fat, green-flecked Formula One racing cars on the grid.

Boil water, carefully, on the back burner. Add a few drops of olive oil and some salt. Drop the gnocchi in once the water is boiling and retrieve and drain them two minutes after they return to the surface.

Sauce: more rocket and parsley from the garden (yes, the parsley is back; not quite as prolific as the late jasmine, which amounted to two large green waste-bin loads) thrown into the processor with unmeasured quantities of pine nuts, parmesan, garlic clove and olive oil. Whizz, whizz and it's ready. Toss the steaming gnocchi in the sauce and eat. More parmesan on top.


Later: "Daddy, why are you eating playdoh racing cars?"


neil said...

I'm hoping those same northerlies start bringing rain like they used to.

Didn't mind the early start to winter this year, love rugging up against the cold.

Playdoh racing cars...rocket racers perhaps?

kitchen hand said...

Neil, I have carefully observed the clouds - riding in on both northerlies and southerlies - emptying over the bay. That's where they need to build the dam.