I am going to write this blog post – in real time. Normally I shop, cook and then blog adding in an ‘image’ of my day. So – today is all about change for me. I was walking this morning and decided that today I am going to change something. Not sure what yet – but my mode of blogging is a great place to start. As my feet were pounding away rhythmically on the pavement at 5.30am this morning I got to thinking about why I blog – and why after nearly two years – I am still blogging. My ‘cooksister’ ‘sista’ blogger, Jeanne Horak-Druiffs’ words came a-floating across my mind like an internet banner ….. Am I a cook that writes or am I a writer that cooks … after about 400 steps of Safri Duo’s Radio Cut Bongo Song … I have an answer? I do solemnly declare myself as being both! I can see everyone’s faces distorting as to the Universal Significance of my dalliance…..how lucky am I to REALLY enjoy BOTH – writing compliments my cooking that compliments my writing ……….. Just saying!!!
I have a big bag of beautifully ripe Ferrari red tomatoes to play with. Hubby is not going to be thrilled, (nb: list link to Mr Delivery here!) but I am thinking about slow roasting them in olive oil – fresh rosemary – fleur du sel (from Oep vir Koep) and loads of garlic … and this I think I will turn into tomato soup… fingers crossed. I confess that I was bought up on Heinz Cream of Tomato canned soup – and love it! Trickyricky on the other hand – won’t touch it! When Daniele & Max professed their undying love for the tinned spaghetti that was served for lunch at their pre-school, daddy nearly had an apoplexy!
Riccardo does not like tomato soup at all!! Ooops! HOWEVER, just because I AM NICE – I shall make some mushroom and spinach gnudi (pronounced New-dee and translated means ‘naked’ pl. nakeds!) to pop on the top of the soup ….. that will take care of the awesome fresh ricotta cheese I bought from l’Edicola and will look pretty in a pic AND turn my good old fashioned tomato soup .. Cue the music … Pavarotti singing O sole mio!!!!!
Zuppa di Pomodori Arostiti con Gnudi al Funghi e Spinaci
Hehehe … a girls gotta do what girls …..
4 red peppers
2 – 3 chillies
10 very ripe tomatoes – tops cut off and quartered
Garlic – 1 head, top cut off skin left on
6 bay leaves
Fresh rosemary thyme and sage
Fleur du sel – if only you could get your hands on to some smoked salt!!
(Jan Sighs* gives a sideways look @ Sam Linsell and wishes that we could get
Her wonderful products here in eThekwini …)
2 peeled onions cut into 8ths
250g baby brinjals – stalks cut off and halved
A squeeze of balsamic vinegar reduction
1Tbs of treacle sugar
2L of chicken or vegetable stock
I roasted the peppers on their own – they would burn if you put them in with tomatoes for 3 hours.
Pre-heat your oven to 220d and roast the red peppers for 25minutes at this temperature.
Remove them from the oven and put them into a plastic bag, remove all of the air and tie a knot to seal in the heat and steam.
Leave them to cool completely, and then remove the skins, stalks and pips.
Quarter the tomatoes and lay them into an oven proof tray.
Cut your onions into 8ths and slot them in between the tomatoes
Tuck in the garlic cloves – whole with skins on and all of your
Herbs, Bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and sage
Sprinkle with Fleur du Sel, freshly ground black pepper, about 1Tbs of treacle sugar, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction and a Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover with tin foil and pop into an oven @ 120d for 3 hours to slowly roast and
Maximise the tomato flavour.
After 3 hours, remove the tin foil,add in brinjals and put the heat in your oven up to
180d and roast uncovered for another hour.
Remove all of the stalks from the herbs and squeeze the sweet and soft roasted
garlic out of each clove.
Liquidise the roasted tomatoes& brinjal, red peppers with 2L of chicken or vegetable
stock until it’s nice and smooth and silky.
Now to make the little mushroom & spinach dumplings
to pop on the top.
Naked little dumplings
400g mushrooms finely chopped – the food processor is the best for this –
fried in a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper and cooled
1 large bunch of baby spinach – wilted, squeeze all of the water out and chop finely
250g ricotta cheese – drained of any excess water
½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp grated nutmeg
In a bowl, use a fork to mash the ricotta cheese
Add the egg, mushrooms, pecorino cheese, spinach, salt, pepper, nutmeg and flour.
Taste for seasoning …
Using your hands combine this well to make sure that all of the ingredients
are evenly distributed.
Wet your hands and roll balls of this mixture into hazelnut sized dumplings.
I only made enough for the two of us – this gnudi mixture keeps very well
in the fridge – in a bowl covered with cling film.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
Pop half of the dumplings in – they will sink to the bottom
And in one minute they will rise to the surface –
Scoop them out with a slotted spoon to a platter and drizzle with a little
olive oil to stop them from sticking to each other.
Serve the soup with a few gnudi on top.
Well, this was a resounding success – both Trickyricky and I enjoyed this
soup so much that we had the left-overs for lunch the next day!
With basil pesto garnish and a few more gnudi freshly
What an amazing weekend we have had here on the East Coast – The Vodacom July
Fever – The iHeart Durban market – The Mr Price Pro –
The Olympic Committee Converged on
the city – NOW i hear that The Prince & Princess of Monaco are on their way
over here to Durbs for their Honeymoon!!!! Miss Jade & Mum Brenda are
here and I AM IN AUNTY JANJAN HEAVEN – if I am a little quiet this week
it’s cos I am having too much fun with my niece!!!!!!