Gnocchi in a rich picante sauc

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This is a great way to eat gnocchi  – it is a warming dish that looks wonderful, smells divine and there is enough here to feed 4 though I made it for two of us and there is just a small bowl left! I couldn’t help going back for just a little bit more! So easy to make too!

INGREDIENTS

500 gm gnocchi

2 x 400 gm tins of good chopped tomatoes

A small handful of basil leaves and their stalks.

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

A splash of red wine.

4 sundried tomatoes cut into strips.

150 gm of cubed pancetta or lardon

6 to 8 slices of red jalapeños  – I use ones from a jar

Olive oil

METHOD

Add a good splash of olive to a pan, the garlic and the basil, including the stalks all finely chopped, and heat gently.

Now add the pancetta or lardon. fry for a minute or two until they begin to brown, then add the tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer, and add the jalapeños and the sun dried tomatoes. You could add a little tomato sauce or puree to taste but if your tinned toms are good quality you shouldn’t need anything.

Stir well and bring to a gentle rolling boil then turn right down – add a dash of red wine and leave to simmer for about half an hour until the sauce begins to thicken. Near the end cook the gnocchi in boiling water for two minutes – drain – and add to the sauce.

Leave on a low heat for another ten minutes to allow the gnocchi to soak up the flavours.

You could use balsamic instead of red wine of you wished  or leave it out altogether – tis up to you!

Serve in bowls with a light green salad.

A fab fajitas for a wet Wednesday….

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A fab fajitas for a wet Wednesday....

The day began well…pink sun rise, apple soft clouds..then around 2pm the heavens opened and a gentle melancholia set in…could the summer really have fled? Is this the beginning of autumn? Chills ran down my spine for the first time since March…I have already begun dreaming about next summer and where to escape to. Enough! Time to make a culinary mental gear shift…stop with the salads and the ozone infused paellas…time to get the autumnal hard hat on and make with the dishes that will sustain us through until the time when we can emerge from the English winter and sally forth to heat laden lands. But for the time being – let’s start thinking end of summer fare. And this simple supper dish this evening was just right for the frame of mind I found myself in. Memories of the dying summer, coupled with the heat and smoke of the on coming solstice fires.

And it felt healthy too.

Ingredients

4 chicken fillets cut into strips
For the marinade – a tbsp of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of fennel seeds, cumin seeds, dried thyme and a dash of hot smoky paprika, a little rock salt

A quarter of an iceberg lettuce shredded finely
4 spring onions chopped finely
12 baby plum tomatoes halved
Quarter of a cucumber finely chopped
Red or green jalapeños
4 slices of parma ham
4 tortilla wraps
Olive oil

Pop all the marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl and then add the chicken pieces – coat in the wonderfully unctuous sauce and leave for around 30 minutes to an hour.
Mix the shredded lettuce in a bowl with the spring onions, cucumber and tomatoes.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a wok or large frying pan – add the chicken fillets once the oil is hot and sizzle for a good 10 minutes until cooked. 

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Add the slices of parma ham, whole to the pan, gently. Let them just start to crisp.

Warm the tortillas in a small frying pan and pop one on each plate. Share out the salad mic between each wrap – then add the chicken and top with the parma ham. I then added several slices of red jalapeños because I like the heat….serve open with a range of sauces and chutneys.

This is so simple and yet so mouth-fillingly sumptuous.

And as always, you can play with it how you will…adding other ingredients that are lolling around the fridge or cupboard – be creative!