vw combi van salt and pepper shakers.

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My friend Kelsie (yeah she has the same name as me, go figure) had a trip to Australia over Christmas and she brought us back these gorgeous things! Aren’t they fab? She got red to match my mixer and pasta machine.

Can’t even wait to crack them out at the next dinner party.

 

In answer to the complete lack of recipes here at the moment, I am sorry! Hash browns sorta counted and tomorrow I’ll discuss the perfect buttermilk pancake. But my main issue at the moment is that I am trying to master the macaron, and it is hard. But I’m not too worried seeing as David Lebowitz took seven attempts. My fourth attempt is in the oven now, and they are by far the best I’ve done so far.

homemade hash browns.

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I know, they don’t look hugely appetising like this, but just wait until I fry them and get them all browned up. They will look spectacular, I promise!

Anyway, the other day, while eating a substandard storebought hash brown, I decided I’d try making some of these guys. Beware, almost entirely improvised recipe ahead.

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curly fries.

So, one of the coolest Christmas presents my boyfriend and I received this Christmas was from his sister: a curly fry maker. We did pick it ourselves – being avid curly fry fans we simply couldn’t walk past it in the shop.

There’s a link below to a video of how it works – it is absolutely legendary. It works perfectly, no joke. Those of you who are in New Zealand and feel that you can’t live any longer without a curly fry maker can buy one from Stevens. They’re fairly dear but Stevens has a sweet sale on at the moment, until tomorrow I believe!

Anyways, pictures:

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Left: Eddie working the curly fry maker

Right: a curly fry within a curly fry!

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The completed product, all ready to be roasted/fried/whatever floats your boat (I roasted them but they were a bit sad, so I may try frying next time).

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFtinMAv5jk

homemade potato gnocchi.

So the boyfriend recently made me some amazing ricotta gnocchi that weren’t for dinner one night when I got home from work. We didn’t have any ricotta, see, so he used cottage cheese and grated regular cheese. The recipe he used seemed a bit weird, though, and we wound up with, essentially, little boiled omelettes. LOTS of egg.

Gnocchi as I know them are fairly dense and doughy, and so we started looking up how to make that kind. I heard all kinds of horror stories about how labour intensive and difficult they are, but they’re really easy and kinda fun to make.

I have a suspicion that any Italian looking at this will tell me my dough is too firm. But that’s OK, it’s how I like them (don’t hurt me! I don’t know any better, having never visited Italy!). Also, these are not Gold Standard gnocchi (i.e. egg-free) but the potatoes I used were nice and sticky, so there’s some potential for the next batch to be eggless.

Ingredients

800g (ish) potatoes

270g (ish) plain flour

1 egg

a pinch of salt

 

Boil the potatoes. I did them in their skins, this makes them frightfully easy to peel. When you can push a skewer into them, but they’re still firm, take them off the heat and remove them one by one from the pan, peeling and then grating as you go.

You will wind up with a mound of grated potato. Add the whisked egg (which I added the pinch of salt to) to it, followed by the flour. You’re supposed to add the flour bit by bit, but I sort of dumped mine in and mashed it around until I had a dough. I didn’t use all the flour – there was a lot left in the bowl, and I wound up using it a bit for kneading.

Knead the dough like you would bread dough, until you have a nice, even consistency.

Divide the dough into four, and roll out into long thin strands on a well floured surface. Then cut the strands up. You want them to be about 1cm thick, and then you cut them in 1cm long chunks (see below). They ought to look like little pillows.

Use a fork to indent the little guys. You have to sort of press the gnoccho onto the fork and then roll it off so that it turns into a little roundish thing … it can be a mission. But don’t worry too much about it, because the ridges you’re putting on are only there to collect sauce. You’re not going to offend the gnocchi gods or anything.

Then, chuck them into a pan of water, simmering. You want the water salted. I used my leftover water from boiling the potatoes which is why it looks a bit murky. Feel free to use fresh water, though – mine was a matter of convenience as it was already hot.

Give them a quick stir when you drop them in so as to stop them sticking to the bottom, and then take them out about a minute after they rise to the surface (this is serious guesswork. It’s hard to know which gnoccho rose first. I gave up). You can cool them in cold water and then drain them in a sieve, though both these steps are optional.

Serve with a delicious sauce, and enjoy!

Also note that this recipe serves about 8 people (or, in my case, 2 people 4 times). Sweet! (Especially as it probably cost us less than $2 to make them.)

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On the left we have: 828g of potatoes. We were after 800g, I figured that was close enough. Also, cider. Always cook with cider.

On the right, gnocchi dough!

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On the left, long thin strands about to become individual gnocchi.

On the right, gnocchi! Each individual is called a gnoccho. There’s your fact for the day.

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On the left: gnocchi being boiled. You can see how a few of them have come to the top as they’re just about ready to come out.

On the right: the finished product! Yum.

 

This recipe is very loosely adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia.

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