Tag Archive for pumpkin

pumpkin gnocchi

pumpkin gnocchi

Gnocchi aren’t really difficult to make once you know the rules. Until then they can be mysterious and tricky, sometimes tough, sometimes falling to pieces in the water as they cook and sometimes turning out perfectly. I had a number of failures until I spoke to my Italian neighbour 15 years ago.

The good news is that there are only three rules that apply to any gnocchi, whether you are making them with potato, pumpkin or sweet potato.

  1. use a floury vegetable (potatoes really are the best as they require the least flour)
  2. use the minimum amount of flour you can get away with
  3. don’t knead them any more than is needed to just incorporate the flour.

For potatoes this means using a steamed floury variety and for pumpkin and sweet potato roasting them to keep them fairly dry. Minimal handling is necessary because otherwise kneading and overworking the dough will activate the gluten which will make the gnocchi tough.

Sadly, the bad news is that it is very difficult to convey in words just how to know when you have added enough flour. The only way is by feel and experience. I was told by my neighbour that the dough should feel like an earlobe.

Along the way you’ll possibly have some failures, but once you get it right, it is easy to whip up a batch on autopilot in very little time.

In my garden, the pumpkins are starting to be in season and the tomatoes are coming to an end so I decided to make some pumpkin gnocchi for dinner. I served them with a tomato, garlic and chilli sauce with a little grated Vegusto Piquant cheese.

 

pumpkin gnocchi
 
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author:
recipe type: vegan
cuisine: italian
serves: 2
ingredients
  • 220 grams of roasted pumpkin flesh
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
instructions
  1. Combine the pumpkin, salt and about ¾ cup of flour.
  2. Turn out on to a bench and make into a ball with as much of the flour as needed, Use just enough.
  3. Divide dough into 3 pieces.
  4. Roll the dough into 2cm sausages
  5. Cut the sausages into 2 cm lengths
  6. Cook in boiling water until the gnocchi float to the surface.
  7. Allow them to cook for 30 secs more and scoop out and drop into your sauce.

 

 

 

curried pumpkin fritters

curried pumpkin fritters

Week 136 of my love affair with chick pea flour. Is there anything that can’t be done with this fabulous stuff? It binds like egg, you can make omelettes and quiches with it, it is delicious and it is high in protein so your mother and your non-vegan friends can stop worrying if you are getting enough protein. 🙂

Today I made some curried pumpkin fritters, a variation on the “what the hell do I do with all these zucchini” fritters (that moment will come in the summertime!).

They are delicious too, but pumpkin and curry spices have a great affinity so these are a winner. They are fast and simple to make, and delicious. They are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Sometimes I serve them with a spoonful of coconut yoghurt, but I’d run out, so today I just scattered them with some fresh coriander leaves from the garden. This recipe would work with carrot and parsnip too.

 

curried pumpkin fritters
 
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author:
serves: 6
ingredients
  • 400 grams pumpkin
  • ½ cup chick pea(besan) flour
  • 2 teaspoons of your favourite curry powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbs water
  • 2 tbs oil for frying
instructions
  1. Grate the pumpkin coarsely into a bowl.
  2. Mix in the salt and curry powder.
  3. Stir in the chick pea flour. It will be a little dry, so add the water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture just sticks together. It shouldn't be wet.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, turn the heat down to low.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of mixture for each patty to the pan and neaten and shape into patties and loosen from the bottom so they don't stick.
  6. Allow to fry on that side for 2 minutes, and then carefully flip and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Drain on paper to remove any excess oil.

 

bean and vegetable chilli

chilli with polenta

During the winter I often make a bean and vegetable chilli and eat it with some soft polenta and tofutti sour cream. It is one of those nice “stay at home, snuggle under a rug and watch some trashy TV” kind of meals. Spring here in Melbourne has been its usual fickle self, with days ranging from freezing to fairly hot, so this dish got an outing on one of the more grim days just when I thought winter food was over.

When making chilli dishes in the past I have often just used some generic powdered dried chilli. This year I went mad and bought about a zillion kinds of whole dried south-west  American and Mexican chillis: California, Ancho, Chipotle, New Mexico, Pasilla and Mulato, after a friend gave me a gift voucher for the wonderful Gewurzhaus in Carlton. There is a whole world of chillies out there and I’d just been eating chilli powder.

The chillis I bought are, for the most part, all fairly mild. Some have a bit of heat, but they have other flavours that are really great in a chilli, ranging from sweet to chocolatey to smoky. They’ve made the comfort food I love just a little bit classier with their complex flavours.

As I wrote about recently in another post, I volunteer at the wonderful food rescue, hunger fighting organisation called FareShare.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to cook up a VAST batch of bean and vegetable chilli using a recipe that I made up on the spot using the vegetables available. I ended up making enough to make 600 vegan meals that will be finding their way to feed hungry people.

cooking up a vat of chilli

Here’s a photo of me looking not very fetching in a baseball cap, stirring a couple of hundred litres of chilli. Hard work!

It is really astonishing cooking on this scale and I found myself laughing as we threw in handfuls of cumin and chilli and garlic!

 

 

 

Anyway, here is my recipe on a much smaller scale. Enough for 3 or 4. 🙂

 

bean and vegetable chilli
 
author:
recipe type: quick meals
ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 chipotle chilli (dried or canned chipotle in adobo)
  • ½ large dried sweet mild chilli (ancho, california or new mexico would be good, they're all chocolatey and sweet.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 0.5 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (less if dried)
  • 1 450g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 450g can borlotti beans (or cook an equivalent amount. It is about a cup and a half cooked)
  • 1 cup roasted cubed pumpkin (1 inch/2.5cm cubes)
  • fresh coriander leaves (torn roughly)
  • salt
  • 0.5 cup corn kernels (fresh, tinned or frozen are all fine.)
instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and fry the garlic until it starts to smell nice. Do not burn.
  2. Add the chopped chillis, cumin and fry a bit more for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes along with a bit of water to rinse the can. Add the oregano and a pinch of salt to taste.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes to reduce and sweeten, adding water as needed. Taste again and if it is too tart, add a pinch of sugar.
  5. Add the drained and rinsed beans and heat for 5 minutes. Just before serving add the corn and roasted pumpkin taking care not to break it up. Leave it to warm through.
  6. Serve with soft polenta, garnished with the coriander.
notes
This chilli goes well with a soft polenta. It is also great in a tortilla with guacamole, some vegan cheese and sour cream. I've kept the spicing fairly mild, so if you're a chilli lover add more.