Monday, 26 January 2015

Mushroom & Artichoke Gnocchi Bake

Recipe Clippings

Around the new year, Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen was looking through some old magazine clippings, and inspired me to do likewise. During the subsequent discussion on Instagram, Janice proposed the #recipeclippings challenge, a monthly challenge to make something from your clippings box.

I have a huge box file of magazine cut-outs, which I seldom even open, so it was great to be prompted to sort through them. Most of mine date back to my teens, when I cooked less and collected anything that looked halfway interesting, so my first stage was to throw away a lot of things that now seemed much too simple to even require a recipe. Of my slimmed-down collection, though, I think I'm far more likely to actually work through them now -- especially if Janice keeps up the encouragement!

Recipe ClippingsRecipe Clippings

For my first #recipeclippings entry, I actually combined two recipes, one for gnocchi (from an extremely old copy of Prima) and a Jamie Oliver recipe for baked mushrooms (from Easy Living). The latter probably would have gone in the "too simple, throw away" pile if not for the fact that it sounded like something which would be a wonderful accompaniment to gnocchi. I followed the gnocchi recipe quite closely, but I was very flexible about the mushrooms, and tweaked quite a lot (including the addition of some artichoke hearts, which was definitely a good call).

I can't remember if I've made gnocchi from scratch before, but if so, it was long enough ago that I've completely forgotten. I also accidentally made twice as much gnocchi dough as I needed, and learnt an important lesson: you can't save the dough, even overnight. (Apparently it's fine to shape the gnocchi and then freeze them, but we had friends visiting and I wasn't quite that organised.) It's a bit fiddly, but really nice for a treat, and certainly something I'd make again.

Recipe Clippings

Mushroom & Artichoke Gnocchi Bake
Serves 4

For the gnocchi:
625g peeled potatoes (weigh after peeling)
15g butter
½tsp salt
200g plain white flour
1 egg

For the bake:
1 large red onion
2 cloves garlic
450g mixed mushrooms (I used 150g each of shitake, oyster, and chestnut)
8 artichoke hearts
a large handful of flat leaf parsley
1 ball buffalo mozarella
50g mature cheddar cheese
2tbsp olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Steam or boil the potatoes until soft, and mash together with the butter and salt.
  3. Prepare the gnocchi dough by combining the mashed potato, flour, and egg in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Knead until the dough is uniform, and set aside.
  5. Finely dice the onion and garlic, and chop the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Fry the onion, garlic, and mushroom together until soft (add a little extra olive oil if necessary). Drain any excess liquid.
  7. Shape the gnocchi dough into a long, thin sausage, and use a sharp knife to cut off bite-sized pieces.
  8. Coat each piece of gnocchi in flour, and shape with your fingers.
  9. Boil a large pan of salted water, and add the gnocchi a few at a time, boiling for 1-2 minutes until they float.
  10. In a large, deep roasting dish, layer up the cooked gnocchi with the mushrooms.
  11. Quarter the artichokes, and add to the bake, along with the herbs.
  12. Tear the buffalo mozarella into small pieces, and scatter.
  13. Grate the cheddar over the top, and drizzle with olive oil.
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, and the mixture is heated through.
Step by step photos below:

Recipe Clippings

Recipe Clippings

Recipe Clippings

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Pistachio & Dark Chocolate Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate Cookies

I was recently lucky enough to be sent some samples from Nutural World, a small company specialising in nut and seed butters. Think of peanut butter, but with more or less any nut you could imagine: from hazelnuts and almonds (which I have seen in the shops from mainstream brands) to more obscure varieties such as macademia and pistachio.

Actually, these products are quite a lot better than most brands of peanut butter, because they don't contain any salt or other additives. Ingredients on the label for pistachio butter: pistachios. That's it. Their almond & coconut spread also includes vanilla, bringing it up to a grand total of three ingredients. Of course, without stabilisers, the oils have a tendency to separate out a bit, so I did have to stir some of the jars before using them.

The whole range is also available in crunchy or smooth variants - the smooth ones are very finely milled, as you can see in the photo below, while the crunchy ones have added nut pieces for extra texture.

I actually found the intensity of the flavours a bit much to just spread on toast by themselves (although with a little chocolate spread, it's quite a different matter...), but honestly, my primary interest was in the possibilities for baking.

Since pistachios are about my favourite nuts, I was particularly keen to get my hands on that one. I decided to adapt my chocolate & peanut butter cookie recipe to a slightly greener shade.

And oh, this stuff is green. My cookie dough looked like playdoh. Unfortunately by the time the cookies were baked, they were back to just looking like regular cookies again, but the pistachio flavours still came through.

Pistachio Chocolate Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate Cookies

Pistachio & Dark Chocolate Cookies
Makes 20-30 cookies

3 cups (500g) white flour
⅔ cup (180g) white sugar
1 cup (170g) soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla essence
250g butter, melted
1 cup (200g) chocolate chips
1 jar (170g) pistachio butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. Add the melted butter, vanilla essence, and eggs. Stir and knead until all combined into a thick dough.
  4. Add the chocolate and pistachio butter, and knead into the dough. (This will make it somewhat sticky!)
  5. Form into small balls, arrange on a greased baking sheet, and press gently to flatten. Make sure to leave enough space around each cookie, as they will spread to approximately double the size as they cook.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes (until golden brown), then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Win Books!

I'm celebrating the recent ebook release of Watersmeet (and the forthcoming paperback edition) by offering up a couple of giveaways.

Firstly, a chance to win a paperback copy of Watersmeet via Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Watersmeet by Rachel Cotterill


by Rachel Cotterill

Giveaway ends February 28, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I'm also taking part in a huge giveaway organised by Rainy Kaye, which has a prize pack of over fifty ebooks. You can enter via this Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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