Monthly Archives: April 2011

Shaping gnocchi @ Le Cordon Bleu

Here comes one, here comes all.

As I said earlier, Chef Loic Malfait taught me plenty of wonderful things about Italian gastronomy and gnocchi. In a series of little clips, you will become as knowledgeable as I have become. … I am joking of course, but I do feel the exciting topics (and tips) we covered could make you shine at the dinner table.

Make sure you don’t miss anything. It’s always great to learn from the best.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby present to you Chef Loic Malfait of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School!

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Filed under Lawson Dodd, Le Cordon Bleu, Learning, Recipes, Tradition

Traditional Gnocchi Shape Know-How

Earlier this week, I had a little chat with Chef Loic Malfait from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. We got to talking about gnocchi and how to prepare them. According to the chef, the Italian potato dough should always be served as a tribute to its Mediterranean origin. We can then play with southern flavors such as basil, olive oil, mozzarella, and pesto. You get the picture…

Pillowy dumplings are best to define the delectable gnocchis and with a glass of wine, they are almost a fashion statement nowadays. Of course the greatest thing is  not only that as a meal they taste amazing with almost anything, but they are also affordable and easy to make.

However I must admit the ‘finesse’ of the dish relies on the shape of the little goodies. Paying attention to details is key here and I suggest looking at traditional Italian cookery books to get an idea of how gnocchi should look like.

The perfect/traditional shape of Gnocchis resembles a sea-shell. To make them have this particular silhouette is a must and does not require any particular skill or wit. Indeed, follow the following steps:

  • Take some of your dough preparation and roll it to make a lengthy sort of sausage.
  • Cut the end of it and roll it your hand to make a little ball.
  • Then take a fork and squeeze gently the little ball onto the fork’s end.
  • Roll it up and you’ll have a little seashell look alike.
  • The perfect gnocchi is in your hand.

Just a tip: don’t forget to put some flour onto the fork. Otherwise, it may stick onto the tool and it can get nasty.

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Filed under Gnocchi, Italy, Learning, Tradition

Slotted spoons for gnocchi

To be honest, id’ never owned one until I got ‘into’ gnocchi and now I can’t image how I managed without!

A slotted spoon is essential if you are to eat your gnocchi at their best.  As the gnocchi rise to the top of the pan during cooking, you scoop them off – and you can’t do that without one of these.

On Amazon there are 156 spoons to chose from. They are not exactly investment pieces unless you consider the rather pretty Portmeirion model with porcelain handle and their iconic flower designs. Is £11 extravagant?

My preference is for a soft grip handle – avoids accidental burning of hand – with steel bowl which  feels more durable and hygienic.

For style one would have to go for Robert Welch… The one pictured above can be found at John Lewis  (and is called a skimmer). This all gleaming metal version  comes in at a neat £16, unless eBay tells you otherwise!

I would avoid the wooden models because whilst they may appear cheaper, and may indeed be more eco- friendly, they really don’t suit the dishwasher!

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Filed under Cooking tools, Gnocchi, Trend

Sunday roast with gnocchi on the side

Further to my previous post, I’m very pleased to announce that I have now made Nigella’s rapid roastini and they lived up to the hype! Even my boyfriend, a Gordon Ramsey wannabe who was very sceptical about the idea when I suggested it as an accompaniment to our Sunday roast, was well and truly impressed.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Bought a pack of Del’Ugo potato gnocchi.
  2. Heated up some oil in my lovely big and new Tefal pan (and I’d actually also used the pan to crisp up the skin of my roast, so the oil was deliciously flavourful by the time I added the gnocchi). Once the oil was hot I added the gnocchi.
  3. I let them brown on one side, then tossed them around a bit in the pan to get all over colour – about 2-3 mins.
  4. To finish I aged butter and salt to taste.

Conclusion: the perfect cheats roast potatoes for when you’re in a rush (and a good option when not in a rush for the slightly lazy, but taste-loving cook). I’ll definitely do it again!


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Filed under Gnocchi, Quick & easy cooking, Recipes

Italian delights

After a gnocchi delight, ending the meal with a tiny cup of coffee adds just the right touch. However, in terms of skills  an Englishman is not well known for his  coffee making.  No wonder shops, such as Starbucks, Nero and Costa, are spreading like mad in this country.

I am always very loyal to my black Americano. Though I do take it with a dash of milk in the morning, I don’t really enjoy it any other way. On the other hand, everyone else seems very excited to have it with caramel, chocolate, cream, ice and even fruit. Indeed, every time I step into a coffee shop, it seems that a new variety has made its entrance in the fabulous and luscious world of “coffee drinks”.

Going back to the genuine way of enjoying one’s coffee, are we all queuing up unknowingly toward putting an end to what coffee culture really is? In Italy, there are know how’s and don’ts:

  • One of them is that milky drinks such as Macchiattos, Lattes and Cappuccinos should always be had in the morning, never after lunch.
  • One should always sit up when having his cup of brownish delight. That said it makes me think that le café francais and its pleasurable terraces must make many Italian’s frown.
  • One should never ask for an espresso. If you do so in Italy, apart from your accent, everyone will know you are a tourist. Espresso means “coffee dose” so ask for a caffee instead.

Hum, hum what to make of this?

Let’s say we are in England and the world is moving on to improve and disapprove. Freedom of choice means having our coffee the way we like. Indeed, that’s what it is.

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Filed under Gnocchi, Italy, Tradition, UK