I always try to cook different things, which really helps to improve my culinary skill. I am definitely starting to get the hang of improvising, and being able to substitute ingredients and adapt a recipe to suit our own tastes. Not only that, but it also helps to make oneself more open to food when visiting other countries, and cultures. It goes beyond just being open to their food, but also being open to more things in life, too.
When I was younger, I remember a few teachers being really impressed with the number of different types of fruits and vegetables that I knew the names of, and had tried. Once a friend came round to my house for dinner and she asked what the “yellow stuff” was on our plates. My parents were shocked that she’d never even come across sweetcorn before. Back then I had already tried things like pomegranates, Sharon fruits (persimmons), star fruits, passion fruits, and lots of other things like that.
But I feel as though it extents to more than just knowing your food; by knowing and being aware of food makes you naturally inquisitive about other things (i.e. it’s a lifestyle thing). I remember also being in secondary school (high school) and some teachers were really shocked when one pupil pointed Canada out as Australia on a map….and so was I! I went back to my parents and exclaimed to them how one couldn’t know that! And to be honest, my geography is rubbish…but surely everyone knows where Australia is, right?
Anyway, I made this meal for my mum as a mini Mother’s Day gift (even though it’s not until tomorrow). We’ll all celebrate Mother’s Day properly next weekend, because dad will be back from work in London by then, and also we can celebrate with both of our grandmothers, too. But to be fair, I don’t really think that we’ll even be celebrating that, because next week, is mum’s graduation ceremony!
Mum said that she wasn’t looking forward to this meal, as she tried gnocchi years ago (before my brother and I were born) and didn’t like it at all. Admittedly it was from a packet, but I managed to convert her by rustling up this delicious dish of fresh gnocchi! You should try it, too!
I would love to make this again, but for those who like their meat, chicken would go great with this dish! I suppose you could pan fry it before adding the mushrooms. Simple. 🙂
Fresh Gnocchi with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Source: The Culinary Chronicles
Serves: 4 generous platefuls
For the gnocchi:
• 750g potatoes
• 220g (~2 cups) flour
• 1 x egg
• 1 tsp salt
For the mushroom sauce:
• 2 x tbsp butter
• 500g button mushrooms
• 2 x cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp dried chives
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• 500ml vegetable stock (36kcal)
• 60ml (¼ cup) double cream (150kcal)
• 30g (¼ cup) cheese, grated (I used cheddar)
• salt and pepper, to taste
To prepare the gnocchi:
Peel the potatoes and cut them into sizes roughly the same size. Boil them in slightly salted water until they’re incredibly soft – about ½ an hour.
Drain the potatoes, reserving the water in the large pot (keep a lid on it to keep the water as hot as possible). Mash the potatoes in a large bowl, and add the flour, little by little, mixing with a wooden spoon. Keep on adding flour and mixing until the dough comes together, so that it’s easy to handle without being particularly sticky.
Separate the dough into balls, and roll each ball out into a long thin sausage-shape about ½ – ¼ “ thick. Then, use a pastry cutter to cut little balls of pillows about 1” long.
Boil the salted potato-y water (reserved from earlier), and pop the gnocchi in. Prepare a large bowl half filled with cold water. Cook some of the gnocchi (this will need to be done in batches) for a couple of minutes until they float to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon into the cold water.
When all of the gnocchi are cooked, drain them in a colander and set aside for later.
To prepare the sauce:
Wash and slice the mushrooms. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large pot; add the mushrooms, thyme, garlic and chives. Sauté the mushrooms until reduced and golden brown. Then add the stock, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cream, and simmer for a few more minutes, before adding the gnocchi. Let the gnocchi heat all the way through, add the cheese, stir well (being very careful not to break and mash the gnocchi), and leave to boil. Reduce to a simmer for approx. 5 minutes.
Serve piping hot with salad, or anything else of your choice.