Category Archives: Dinner

Food and Wine: Seasonal tastes

As months go by, our tastebuds appear to know what they want.  Doesn’t it seem more appropriate to enjoy a powerful Red, gorged with the sun of more Southern countries, when it is utterly cold out? On the other hand, a  lighter range seems much more enjoyable when it is excruciatingly hot outside. Hence us reaching out for Rosé and White wine. While season’s change, one’s wine drinking seem to be influenced by the weather.

Food and drinks are usually chosen in accordance to one another:

During the cold days of the year, we prefer richer and warming tastes. Hence our choice of  in-house casseroles, stews and roasts during the winter, accompanied by a strong red.

In the summer, I believe we mostly are looking for something refreshing, aren’t we not? Consequently, I would be more entitled to be on the lookout for fish, seafood and salads, a glass of white wine on the side.

It is amazing how our body and our mind invite us almost instinctively to a certain “art de vivre” (as say the French)!


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Italian Wine: The pinot grigio effect

Italian white wines have taken over  consumer affection. Indeed, for the first time in decades, sales show that French and American wines have stepped down after dominating the British drinkers’ habits.

People seem to very much  enjoy the pinot grigio. Apparently, the Italian white wine has become the default choice in UK kitchens. Sales show that  Pinot Grigio now accounts for 40% of UK sales. That makes it the third most popular grape variety, after the Chardonnay and the Sauvignon blanc.

Why this Italian success? The reasons are highly sensible to how much cheaper its wines are compared to others. According to the Daily Telegraph, an average Italian wine in Britain is £4,23 where a French wine compares to an approximate £5,11 average.

So what will it be:  Gnocchi and Pinot Grigio this summer?

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Gnocchi alla Romana

Do you love cheese with a passion?

If so, let’s get started!

Gnocchi alla romana is delicious! They are exactly the right thing to eat when you want to chill out in front of a movie.


250g  semolina flour
1l milk
2 egg yolks
100-200ml grated parmesan cheese
Butter, onions and salt

1. Put the milk and the semolina in a heated pan. When the mixture is ready, it will be thick with a porridge like consistency.

2.  Add the egg yolks, a knob of butter, a pinch of salt and stir well.

3.  Pour the mixture onto a flat surface, preferably on baking paper.

4. Flatten into a large rectangle, about 1 cm thick.

5. When it has cooled down, cut out circles with a cookie cutter (grease the edges so nothing sticks).

6. Put the semolina circles into a buttered ovenproof dish. Add some well cooked onions, sprinkle the cheese over this and pour some cream on top at the end.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, and bake until it’s nice and golden.

Its comfort food disguised as an elegant dish of semolina and cheese ‘gratinee’. Eat with a bottle of red wine and you are good to go!

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Gnocchi alla Ciociaria

Does your mind go blank as to what to prepare for dinner? Don’t worry here is something for you to drool over!

You will need: pancetta, porcini, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and sausage.

1. Heat the olive oil over a high heat until almost smoking. Then add the pancetta, porcini, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and sausage.

2. Cook over a high heat until the sausage is a little browned and the vegetables are tender.

3. Add half a glass of red wine. When it has evaporated, put the tomatoes and the pepper in the pan. Mix it all together and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water, for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.

5. Let them fry in a pan with butter (see photo above).

6. Once the sauce is nice and thick, put the gnocchi in a plate and cover with the sauce.

7. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.

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Palermitana sauce

From my trip to Rome, the last dish I remember trying was the “Fusilli Palermitana”. Although I had no clue what it would taste like, its description was mouth-watering.

Pasta with a vegetable medley of aubergine, courgette, pepper onions, cherry tomatoes, basil and pomodoro. How could anything  go wrong? Indeed, it was delicious and I automatically thought about trying it out with gnocchi.

Gnocchi palermitana would make a perfect dish to accompany a  Chianti wine. Let’s call our friends and set up a dinner party, we are cooking tonight!

Palermitana sauce:

1. First of all, chop slices of aubergine, courgette, pepper onions. Put them in a pan with olive oil, and let them cook until they become tender.

2. Add the tomato passata, the chopped basil and tomatoes, the oregano and the olives. You can already smell Italy in your kitchen!

3. Finally, add a little white wine to the sauce. Let the wine evaporate over a medium heat.

4. Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water, for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.  Let them fry in a pan before putting them in a plate.

5.  Cover the gnocchi with the sauce.

6. To give the final presentation a typical Italian touch, sprinkle some flat Italian Parsley on each plate.

… Don’t forget the chianti. Dinner is ready!

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Supper Clubs: A Super Idea

You may have read the article in today’s London Evening Standard about supper clubs. If not you can read it here. We’d actually started drafting something about supper clubs and got very upset that the Standard had beaten us but we really are excited about supper clubs and less about the foaming cumin….

Can you imagine being welcomed into a stranger’s home, and given a very hearty and tasty meal? Whilst it sounds a far fetched idea, supper clubs are taking over from the cupcake revolution as the hot trend for foodies this year.

The recent revival has been more of a reaction to fine dining establishments that have been known to charge you £26 for a salad! Supper clubs give diners an opportunity to enjoy gourmet food and a different kind of dining social experience without the extortionate prices.

This ties in with the Argentine tradition that takes place on the 29th of every month that we’re all fans of: Gnocchi Night. Falling just before payday when we’re all feeling the pinch, Gnocchi Night is a chance to sit down with friends and family to enjoy some belly-filling gnocchi – a dish that won’t break the bank or stretch your culinary skills too far.

We’ve pulled together a few tips from Debi Shawcross’ book, Friends at the Table: The ultimate Supper Club Cookbook and added a few of our own.  So give it a go, enjoy, let us know how it goes and send us some photos!

  • Definition – Shawcross recommends organising your group with eight to ten people. Regardless, make sure that everyone involved is committed to the same supper club goals – laugh, have fun, try going vegetarian?
  • Organisation – The supper club is designed to expand your palates so check people’s allergies and dietary requirements, when to eat, where to eat etc.
  • Cleaning – Consider the clean up. Make sure that it’s not always the same person.  The Gnocchi night tradition is that the host places a one peso coin under a plate, whoever sits there is the next host. We would recommend this.
  • Test the Recipes – If you’re new at cooking, or cooking something new to you, make sure that you try the dish first. Practice boosts confidence and relieves stress!

If you are feeling the pressure, as Gnocchi experts we’d certainly recommend Nigella’s roasted Gnocchi. A bit different but as easy as boiling Gnocchi.

If you don’t feel up to setting up your own but want to check one out, have a look at ten of London’s best secret supper clubs.

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