Sunday, 17 January 2010

Ricer Dream and fake amphibians in baked batter

There's a fine line between love and crime, as Neil Tennant sang in "In the Night". There's also a fine line between genius and stupidity. The fine line of the former can make you tread the fine line of the latter as I found out yesterday.

I was watching Saturday morning cooking TV on BBC1 and saw someone making gnocchi, so I decided to make some. (genius) Even though I had more important things I should have been doing (stupidity). I steamed potatoes but they were huge baking ones, so I got impatient and hauled them out. They were a bit undercooked in the middle which meant there were bits of potato which I could not mash (stupidity), so I thought I would find them, isolate them and pulverise them (genius). Using a garlic crusher (genius). But it turns out there were a lot more hard-to-mash bits than I realised so it took ages and I was covered in potato starch (stupidity).

I think I did this because I am hankering after a potato ricer. I wonder which came first and whether one led to the invention of the other? If anyone reading this thinks I am hinting you buy me one, I assure you, I don't want one. At least not yet. I don't have enough storage space.)

Most upsetting of all, while I was doing this, I had Halo by Beyonce playing on repeat, and it did not occur to me to press stop as I was so intent on getting the task done, so now it is the soundtrack to my potato-based frustration rather than the song I like to pretend I'm a contemporary kitchen dancer to.

I boiled a few of these dumplings up for my lunch. There was far too little flour, so they were basically potato lumps. I turned all the remainders out into a bowl, worked in more flour and reshaped. So my sermon for today is: follow a recipe when making gnocchi (the woman on the telly didn't seem to) and make sure you properly cook your spuds first.

I shouldn't have left them out overnight uncovered because this morning they looked all grey. They tasted fine, though, but were aesthetically unfit to serve to others. So I cooked 'em up and scoffed 'em for breakfast with butter.

In the style of a spin doctor, I have a picture of a delightful toad in the hole I made a few Sundays ago to distract you with:

(Made using Linda McCartney veggie sausages with a few baby button mushrooms thrown in. I put so much grease in the pan to ensure some of the batter went crispy that I had to pour a good deal out of the tray before serving.)

and the cross section of the base of a red cabbage which I fell in love with a little on the day I made the above: