Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dilemma - Cauliflower Gnocchi with Burnt Butter & Orange Sauce with Hazelnuts, Lamb and Snow Peas



So after replacing our broken dishwasher a few months back, our fridge has decided to slowly stop working as well. I'm not sure why my whitegoods are all abandoning me! But the fridge has brought up a few issues that have been swirling around in my head. Firstly - do I transplant my time-machine of old invitations and post cards and take-out menus and magnets and a calendar from 2011 onto the new fridge, or start with a clean slate? The next issue relates to some frozen cauliflower.

See, we have two fridges - one outside 'drinks fridge' and the everyday fridge that's in the kitchen where it should be. This is so common in Perth where for the majority of the year you want your drinks cold. And plentiful. The power companies tell you that the old outside fridge is just a power-drain and not a good idea - and yet we can't give them up! I know that come December, that extra fridge space isn't 'extra', it's just space. Every inch of both fridges are full of watermelon and rockmelon and every colourful vegetable you can imagine and then you can try fit in some drinks. Maybe. I was telling an overseas friend that we had two fridges and she was blown away. It just seems so unnecessary in places that don't regularly get above 35C, I guess! On the opposite end of the spectrum, I visited Germany at Christmas time as a teenager and I was so delighted to see my host family chill their wine by placing it in a planter box outside the kitchen window. So novel and different to the way we live in Perth!

So our outside fridge is an old hand-me-down fridge and it has just the one setting - COLD! So now that our kitchen fridge has one setting too - OFF, everything has been moved outside temporarily. And it's frozen the cauliflower. I had two of them, because of a sale at the Nanna Shop, both froze solid. Well, what to do with frozen cauli? I love the crunchiness of fresh cauliflower. I love make cauliflower "rice" salads. I love using them with dip. I'm not a huge fan of soggy, fully cooked cauli. But I am not going to throw out two otherwise perfect cauliflowers. So I made soup with one. And cauliflower gnocchi with the other. The soup was a standard cream of cauliflower soup. Nice and simple. The gnocchi however. Oh. My. Goodness. Nutty and delicious. It's fiddly, but give it a go! So good!

To make the gnocchi, first you have to make cauliflower mash, then the gnocchi. Like you would a traditional potato gnocchi. I've split it up into different stages to make it easier to describe. The first night, I served it with this lamb and orange butter sauce, the next night with a simple Arrabiata sauce. Both were good! And I still have enough leftover gnocchi in the freezer for two more meals.


Cauliflower Mash
1 head, chopped into smaller florets
4 garlic cloves, diced
water to cover
big pinch salt

Put all ingredients in a big pot. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the cauliflower is tender. Approximately 30 minutes. Mash mixture, then put into a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the extra water. Allow to cool completely whilst draining.




Gnocchi with Spelt and Hazelnut
Cauliflower mash (1 think I ended up with 3-4 cups)
1 egg
1 tbsp salt
4 + cups wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 cup hazelnut meal

Combine mash, salt and egg in a bowl and mix well. Add the hazelnut meal and 1/2 cup spelt flour. Mix well, then add more flour 1/2 cup and a time until it comes together into a big ball of dough. I think all up I needed about 4 1/2 cups of flour for the amount of mash I had.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth.

Put a large pot of water with a big pinch of salt on to boil.

Cut the dough into pieces and roll out into a rope, and cut into pieces. I made mine around 1cm wide, 3cm long. Roll over a fork to shape the gnocchi. Repeat for all of the dough. I recruited my husband to help with this process.

About 20 pieces at a time, carefully drop them into boiling water. When they float to the surface, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Whatever you aren't using that night, freeze.

 


Burnt Butter and Orange Sauce with Hazelnuts, Lamb and Snow Peas
100g unsalted butter
big handful of hazelnuts (approx. 2/3 cup)
zest and juice of two oranges
20 or so snow peas, cut into 2cm pieces.
2/3 cup shredded roast lamb
Enough gnocchi for 2 people
lots of fresh cracked pepper to serve

In a frypan on medium-high heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant and darker brown. Set aside to cool, and when you can, rub between your hand to remove the skins. Roughly chop.

Put the butter into the same frypan, allow to melt and then swirl around as it  turns brown and nutty smelling. Add the zest and juice, mix around to full incoporate into the butter and add the gnocchi. Stir to coat and keep stirring for a few minutes. Add the lamb, stir it through, allowing it to heat through. Add the snow peas and cook until they soften slightly and turn brighter green.

Just before serving, toss through the hazelnuts.