Food on New Year’s Eve


I made food for 6 people on New Year’s Eve. For a starter I made fried gnocchi with pesto, walnuts, and ricotta. For the main I made spinach, chestnut and leek en croute, with a pearl barley, lentil and beetroot salad.

Fried gnocchi with pesto, walnuts and ricotta




  1. Heat oven to 200C. Prick potatoes all over with a fork, rub with oil and salt. Bake the potatoes for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until tender inside.
  2. Leave the potatoes to cool, then peel off the skins. Use a potato ricer or mash the potatoes into a bowl.
  3. Beat the egg and mix with the potato, tip in the flour, then knead until well combined. If the dough is wet, add more flour.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a 2 cm thick sausage. Cut the sausage into 1 cm nuggets.
  5. Boil a large pan of water, then add a large pinch of salt.
  6. Boil the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, about 3-4 minutes. Watch the gnocchi don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Drain the gnocchi and let some of the water steam off.


  1. Grate the parmesan, chop the walnuts, mince the garlic, zest and juice the lemon, finely chop 2 sprigs of rosemary.
  2. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, then fry the walnuts until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Blend the basil, parmesan, walnuts, chopped rosemary, lemon juice, and garlic.


  1. Heat a large frying pan and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the cooked gnocchi with the rosemary sprigs and fry until crispy and browned.
  2. Toss the gnocchi with the pesto.
  3. Serve the gnocchi with the fried garlic sprigs, grated parmesan, lemon zest, and a dollop of ricotta

Spinach, chestnut and leek en croute



  1. Mince the garlic and thickly slice the leeks.
  2. Melt butter in large frying pan. Add leeks and garlic and cook until leeks are soft, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Wilt the spinach in the pan, then cool and squeeze out the water.
  4. Dice the cheese and remove any rind.
  5. Add the chestnut puree, 3 eggs, grated nutmeg, spinach, breadcrumbs and cheese to the bowl with the leeks, and season to taste. Stir until well mixed and chill for at least an hour.
  6. Heat oven to 200 C.
  7. On a floured surface, roll out pastry into a large rectangle. Put the pastry on a greased and lined baking tray.
  8. Spoon the filling onto the centre of the pastry, then fold over the pastry and crimp.
  9. Beat the remaining egg and brush onto the pastry, then poke holes in the top.
  10. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the pastry is golden.

Leak sauce



  1. Thinly slice the leeks.
  2. Boil the leeks for 5 minutes in a saucepan.
  3. Remove 2 tbsp leeks, add the cornflour and blitz the rest with a hand blender.
  4. Heat slowly, stirring until thickened.
  5. Pour in the cream and the reserved leeks and heat through.

Pearl barley, lentil and beetroot salad



  1. Boil the pearl barley and lentils until firm but cooked.
  2. Finely chop the garlic, onion and carrot. Strip the thyme leaves. Thickly slice then quarter the beetroot. Dice the goats cheese. Finely slice the spring onions.
  3. In a frying pan heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the red onion, 2 cloves of garlic, carrot and thyme. Fry slowly until the onions and carrot are soft.
  4. Add the beetroot and fry until the beetroot is fragrant and heated through.
  5. Stir in the lentils and pearl barley and heat through.
  6. Combine 3 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic, salt and mustard.
  7. Stir in the dressing, spring onions, goats cheese and rocket.


I made the leek sauce, filling for the en croute, pesto, pearl barley and lentils, and lentil salad dressing the day before.

The pesto oxidised a bit in the fridge, turning the surface black. This wasn’t a problem for the taste, but made it look a bit less fresh.

I tried to make the gnocchi in advance, but the texture of the gnocchi dough became more sloppy after a few hours in the fridge. To fix it I had to add a lot more flour, which probably changed the texture.