We Made Notebooks

Today my cousin came for the day and brought with her a notebook for me that she’d made which was pretttttty cool so we made some more. We picked up a pile of interesting papers from the art shop and set to work with a needle and thread until it turned out my brother actually had a bookbinding set. They only take about half an hour to do (with nice paper cut covers as well) so I think I’ll be making them for absolutely everyone I can think of now, whether they want them or not.


Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi with a Panzanella(ish) salad

IMG_7073 IMG_7079 IMG_7080There was a very delicious looking ricotta gnocchi recipe in the amazing Pizza Pilgrims book, but having never had gnocchi before I thought I should have something halfway to traditional gnocchi, so I sort of used their recipe but made it half with potato and half with ricotta instead. I wanted to do it with spicy sausage but couldn’t find any so I went with these Boerewors instead which were bloomin’ tasty.

Anyway, here’s a recipe.

For the gnocchi:
-250g potatoes
-200g ricotta
-1 egg
-180g plain flour
-Handful of parmesan cheese
-4 big sausages
-300g cherry tomatoes
-Juice of half a lemon
For the salad:
-A couple of handfuls of pine kernels
-100g babyleaf lettuce
-125g pancetta
-2 ciabatta rolls, torn into pieces
-200g cherry tomatoes
-2 sticks celery
  • Drain the ricotta while you boil the potatoes and then mash them.
  • Mix together the potatoes, ricotta, egg, parmesan, flour, plus salt and pepper, and then knead until you have a smooth dough.
  • In a frying pan, heat some oil and then chop your sausages into small pieces (I took the skin off mine but they didn’t keep their shape very well), then put them in the pan with 300g tomatoes.
  • While they are cooking, split your gnocchi dough into six, and roll each bit into a long sausage a couple of centimetres thick, and cut each sausage into 2cm pieces.
  • In another frying pan, start frying the pancetta and ciabatta pieces.
  • Drop the gnocchi into a pan of boiling salted water, and leave for 3 or 4 minutes, until they have risen to the top.
  • In the meantime, squeeze the lemon juice into the sausage and tomatoes, and then chop up the celery. Put the pine kernels and tomatoes in the frying pan with the pancetta and ciabatta (they only need a minute or two).
  • Drain the gnocchi when it’s ready and put them in with the sausage and tomato. Let them brown in the pan for a minute while you assemble the salad (just mix everything in the ciabatta/pancetta frying pan in with the lettuce and celery in a lovely big bowl).
  • When the gnocchi has browned a little and the tomatoes have crushed a bit and are making the whole thing a bit juicy, plate it up with a little chopped basil on top.


Wood Fired Oven

Although the sun and the scenery was all very nice, the most exciting part of my holiday this year was that THERE WAS A WOOD FIRED OVEN AT THE HOLIDAY HOUSE!!

This ranks in top ten most exciting things in the world for me, so I started to prepare a few days before the night we had set for pizza night by making some dough. The odds were against us from the beginning, since we speak zero Portuguese and had a fairly hard time working out the different types of flour in the supermarket. Then we couldn’t find any yeast (partly because we didn’t know the word for yeast), so in a controversial move, I went for a bread mix. This came back to bite me a bit later because when I was making the pizzas, I didn’t have any flour to dust the surface with, only bread mix.

Then I was a bit ambitious and decided I’d make a wet dough so it would be nice and bubbly, and ended up making a dough that was probably closer to being a liquid than a solid.

In the end it was a bit of a disaster really since forming the liquid dough into anything resembling a pizza was pretty hard, and I didn’t exactly know what to do with the fire, but several hours later we had made six pizzas, and even disastrous pizzas are still pizzas, so I was happy.