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 kg King Edward potatoes
- 1 egg
- 250 g plain flour
- 10 sprigs rosemary
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 large bunch basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 50 g parmesan
- 50 g walnuts
- Ricotta cheese
- 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.
- Leave the potatoes to cool, then peel off the skins. Use a potato ricer or mash the potatoes into a bowl.
- 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.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a 2 cm thick sausage. Cut the sausage into 1 cm nuggets.
- Boil a large pan of water, then add a large pinch of salt.
- 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.
- Drain the gnocchi and let some of the water steam off.
- Grate the parmesan, chop the walnuts, mince the garlic, zest and juice the lemon, finely chop 2 sprigs of rosemary.
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, then fry the walnuts until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Blend the basil, parmesan, walnuts, chopped rosemary, lemon juice, and garlic.
- 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.
- Toss the gnocchi with the pesto.
- Serve the gnocchi with the fried garlic sprigs, grated parmesan, lemon zest, and a dollop of ricotta
Spinach, chestnut and leek en croute
- 50 g butter
- 500 g leeks
- 3 garlic cloves
- 240 g spinach
- 400 g can chestnut puree
- 4 eggs
- 0.5 nutmeg
- 200 g whole cooked chestnuts
- 85 g fresh breadcrumbs * 200 g Shropshire blue cheese
- 500 g puff pastry
- Mince the garlic and thickly slice the leeks.
- Melt butter in large frying pan. Add leeks and garlic and cook until leeks are soft, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Wilt the spinach in the pan, then cool and squeeze out the water.
- Dice the cheese and remove any rind.
- 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.
- Heat oven to 200 C.
- On a floured surface, roll out pastry into a large rectangle. Put the pastry on a greased and lined baking tray.
- Spoon the filling onto the centre of the pastry, then fold over the pastry and crimp.
- Beat the remaining egg and brush onto the pastry, then poke holes in the top.
- Bake in the oven until cooked through and the pastry is golden.
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 2 leeks
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 300 ml double cream
- Thinly slice the leeks.
- Boil the leeks for 5 minutes in a saucepan.
- Remove 2 tbsp leeks, add the cornflour and blitz the rest with a hand blender.
- Heat slowly, stirring until thickened.
- Pour in the cream and the reserved leeks and heat through.
Pearl barley, lentil and beetroot salad
- 0.5 cups pearl barley
- 0.5 cups puy lentils
- 1 large carrot
- 1 red onion
- 4 cooked beetroot
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 40 g rocket
- 100 g goats cheese
- 5 spring onions
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- Boil the pearl barley and lentils until firm but cooked.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the beetroot and fry until the beetroot is fragrant and heated through.
- Stir in the lentils and pearl barley and heat through.
- Combine 3 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic, salt and mustard.
- 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.