In this first month of the year I took it easy, at leisure I guess. After the move and the breath of fresh air in the mountains I decided to take my time and follow my own rhythm. At first I was afraid, I must admit it. I faced the first year as a freelancer – or rather as a passionate food blogger who found herself living a dream every day – quite unconsciously, because all that came was new, exciting, and I was grateful for that. The second year is more demanding: it is still the most incredible adventure, though it’s also time for some confirmation, I need to be sure that I chose the right path to follow.
From my personal – and sometime frightened – point of view, downtime was something incomprehensible, I didn’t know how to handle it. Then I learned to appreciate it, to consider downtime as a reward after a whole year of hard work, something similar to a restoring steaming hot coffee before starting again the rush of cooking classes and recipes to try, photograph, write and… eat.
So downtime turns into a time for experiments and new mental and logistical schemes. I found a new place to my aprons waiting for the students to come to crowd the kitchen, I take care of some yellow daffodils that gladden my balcony even on rainy days, I have lunch with Grandma and I enjoy an hour of chatter and laughs, and a light lunch that is undeniably not light – otherwise she would not be a grandmother, that even when you’re thirty tells you that you have to eat to grow up…
And I make gnocchi, a massive quantity of gnocchi, to be enjoyed during our Sunday lunch but also to be frozen. I have learned to appreciate and enjoy downtime, but you perfectly know that I can not wait to start running again, and then a bag of frozen gnocchi in the freezer will be providential and blessed.
How do you make potato gnocchi? In my family they are not the most popular dish, but trial after trial we ended up with the most simple recipe, the one we love the most: no eggs and basically just steamed potatoes and flour. I am curious to try them also with baked potatoes, who knows…
- 1 kg of starchy potatoes, I like the yellow ones
- 250 g of flour
- Grated nutmeg
- Peel the potatoes, cut them into cubes and steam in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes.
- Let them cool slightly and then mash thoroughly with a potato masher or a fork and a lot of patience. Remove any lumps, the secret is all there. Season with salt and a generous pinch of grated nutmeg.
- Sprinkle some flour on the working surface, scoop the mashed potatoes onto the flour and gradually mix in the remaining flour. I've used about 250 g of flour, though it will depend on the potatoes you chose and how you cooked them, if steamed, baked or boiled in water.
- Cut the dough into 6 pieces, dust your hands with flour and roll gently each piece into a 1 cm thick sausage shaped log. Use a knife to cut pieces every 2 cm and dust with more flour.
- You can leave the gnocchi as they are, or press them onto a fork or a special grater to impress tiny ridges on them. Alternatively, you can simply press them with a thumb to make them hollow: it will catch the sauce later...
- Leave them in the fridge for about half an hour, then boil the gnocchi in salted water. Cook them in batches.
- When they pop back up to the top they'll be ready, drain gently and season with your favourite dressing: I love a simple tomato sauce.
…oh, I was forgetting! In my downtime I also took a lot of pictures of Wolfi, to show you how he changed in the last months. Do you remember how thin and tiny he was when he came this summer?