Insalata di Rinforzo
is a colourful Calabrian and Sicilian salad
served at Christmas. Slightly piquant, this
insalata di rinforzo is refreshing and makes a
suitable counterpoint or 'reinforcement' to the
frontline troops of heavier English dishes!
1 white or green Romanesco cauliflower
50g Puglian Kalamata olives
50g Puglian Nocellara olives
50g pickled gherkins, chopped
50g pickled red pepper, chopped
4 salted anchovies, boned and rinsed,
cut into thin strips
6-9 tbsp olive oil
½-2 tbsp wine vinegar
Squisito Smoked Trapani sea salt
Boil a whole cauliflower in salted water until just tender but still firm, drain, then pop into cold water. Drain again then carefully break the cauliflower into large florets then anoint with olive oil and best wine vinegar. Arrange the florets in a salad dish and decorate with greed and red olives, gherkins and pickled red peppers. Add the strips of anchovy in a nice lattice pattern. Add a pinch of smoked salt and chill well before serving.
Gluten free. Gluten free. Serves 4-6.
Potato Gnocchi with Sugo di Noci
A handy and festive sauce that can be prepared long ahead with potato gnocchi which can also be frozen in batches. Easy but evidently homemade.
to make the gnocchi
900g starchy potatoes (2 large Kings Edwards or Home Guard)
1/4 cup egg, lightly beaten
scant 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
Trapani sea salt
Fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water, then cut potatoes in half and place them in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, this takes roughly 40-50 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Place each potato piece on a large cutting board and peel it before moving on to the next potato. Also, peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the water (without burning yourself) - I've found a paring knife comes in handy here. Be mindful that you want to work relatively quickly so you can mash the potatoes when they are hot. To do this you can either push the potatoes through a ricer, or do what I do, deconstruct them one at a time on the cutting board using the tines of a fork - mash isn't quite the right term here. I run the fork down the sides of the peeled potato creating a nice, fluffy potato base to work with. Don't over-mash - you are simply after an even consistency with no noticable lumps.
Save the potato water.
Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board - ten or fifteen minutes. Long enough that the egg won't cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes. When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound - drizzle with the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour across the top. I've found that a metal spatula or large pastry scraper are both great utensils to use to incorporate the flour and eggs into the potatoes with the egg incorporated throughout - you can see the hint of yellow from the yolk. Scrape underneath and fold, scrape and fold until the mixture is a light crumble. Very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too tacky. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, but it all depends on the potatoes, the flour, the time of year, the weather, and whether the gnocchi gods are smiling on you. The dough should be moist but not sticky. It should feel almost billowy. Cut it into 8 pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch. Dust with a bit more flour.
To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand and place a gnocchi pillow against the tines of the fork, cut ends out. With confidence and an assertive (but light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight "C" shape, their backs will capture the impression of the tines as tiny ridges (good for catching sauce later). Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don't get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it's easy.
Now that you are on the final stretch, either reheat your potato water or start with a fresh pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. They will let you know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water a few at a time with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they've surfaced.
for the sugo
175g shelled walnuts
1 garlic clove
a handful of basil leaves
55g Squisito pecorino perlanera
55g Squisito Grana Padano
40g unsalted butter
4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and ground black pepper
85ml double cream
Pulse walnuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the basil, cheeses, oil and process a bit more. Transfer to a bowl, season and add the cream. Refrigerate until needed. Use the gnocchi water to loosen the sauce a little when serving. Gluten free. Serves 4-6
If you would like to place orders for Christmas please just call me on 07824 314 235
Available for collection at
Kings Norton Christmas Market 5-9pm Thursday 20th, Moseley Farmers Market 9-2pm on Saturday 22nd December or Mac Arts Centre Food Market 10-4pm on Sunday 23rd December or home delivery anytime.