I haven’t been around here for a few weeks. My best intentions have been around here. My creative spirit has not.
It’s a funny thing (not the kind of funny to make you laugh), that when you most need the heart-starting, spirit-soaring fuel of creative activity, you don’t have what it takes to self-medicate.
A visit from my niece and brother last night gave me the necessity, if not the energy, to make something for our dinner. I had been saving the Potato Gnocchi recipe from Marcella Hazan’s book to cook for my niece who loves potato. I would dearly have loved to make it with gorgeous, floury, Irish potatoes – but I’m fairly sure I would have ended up on an episode of ‘Border Security’ if I’d attempted importing them into Australia in my suitcase.
So we made do with potatoes from the local supermarket.
And we made do with our collective energy.
And we made beautiful gnocchi together!
Earlier that afternoon, I had quietly and respectfully harvested pretty much every leaf from the basil plant that Mum had lovingly grown for me at Christmas. The harvest was not necessarily plentiful, but the eaters were few.
I had to make do with the mini food processor in my ‘home away from home’. With a bit of packing and stuffing, I made all the leaves fit.
The cheese was grated ready to add to the blended leaves, oil, garlic and pine nuts, once we were all set to make the gnocchi.
In my ‘home away from home’ there dwells a ‘potato ricer’. I never really knew what it was until now and, on previous stays, had considered sending it the charity shop. I’m thankful I didn’t. I turns out, that in the absence of an Italian food mill, this is just the ticket! Brother and niece had a great time ricing the potatoes together.
Then we added the flour and I did the kneading. Once smooth we divided it into three and made the sausage-shaped rolls to cut the little ‘gems’ from. No photos were taken at this point as we all had floury hands.
The brother and the niece picked up the technique that Marcella specifically instructed. It took me a little longer…but the laughs were worth it.
They take around 10 seconds to cook. They are cooked in a few batches in a large pot. You sauce them with the pesto as they come out in batches.
This was one of Marcella’s recipes that demands you serve and eat immediately. So we had the table set and ready to go.
And may I just say, the gnocchi were perfect! It was like eating little clouds. All three of us sighed a little as we ate.
Making potato gnocchi for the first time, with the assistance and company of family, felt like creativity to me. Enough for now, anyway.
Last night: #114 ‘Pesto by the Food Processor Method’ and #115 ‘Potato Gnocchi’ with my brother, my niece and communal creativity at my table.
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