Each and everyday I'll scribble down the list of jobs that I consider as important or urgent matter. I'll probably spend good 10mins or so thinking about the most effective and logical working orders of the job required. Although I am not the sort of person who works with strict time schedule and allocates rather tight time limits to everything, I, more than often, considered myself as a grafter who would simply get on with the tasks once I put my mind to it.
But lately, I can't seem to be able to get down with the business.
I mean, come on, sorting out stuff, picking up the pieces, taking care of all the nitty gritty used to be my forte, given the fact that my job title is a 'manager'.
I thought, as long as I am organised and have the ability to successfully produce a super tight - by I mean good - job lists, everything would be a peanut.
Bish bash bosh, job done, and the mission accomplished!
You see, I planed to update the blog the other Wednesday. But after spending hours wrestling with a grubby old toothbrush, trying to clean the bloody mould and stained hair dye on my bathroom tile grout, I lost all my will to even attempt to babble. The simplicity of repetitive hand movements had caused me some serious muscular pain and the only thing I could ever think of lifting is very well deserved glass of wine to celebrate those intense moments of me and now-very-worn good old toothbrush.
The thing is, I have been trying to cram everything into what was already a very little spare time of mine.
I had a full time job to care for, a blog to look after, a magazine article to submit every month, an-almost-there but never ending home renovation, and to top it up - or to tip it all upside down - a wedding to organise.
My stress level was reaching high, and my tolerance was wearing thinner and thinner each day. I could, if I tried hard enough, start to see myself turning into the short tempered, always tired looking, greasy messy haired, fag puffing, miserable cow.
And, that's when I decided enough was enough.
As much as it was wonderful to be given an opportunity to write for CookAnd, I couldn't help myself feeling upset that I have left my love in neglect. Every given time off was spared for the magazine and my blog was being pushed on a side, at the bottom of my lists. And, it was about time, that I put things in right order.
She wrote back to thank me, and told me that one of our images were on the front cover to celebrate my final article.
And the day I made this gnocchi, I giggled and told Toby how happy I was. I think it may have well been the first time I smiled in a long while.
Beetroot Gnocchi with Green Pesto
for the gnocchi
300g floury potatoes
250g beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
some plain flour
pinch of salt and pepper
some oil and butter for frying
for the green pesto sauce
1 garlic cloves, crushed
handful of pine nuts, toasted (put some on the side for garnish)
handful of basil
handful of parsley
25g parmesan cheese, grated (+some extra for garnish)
1/2-1 lemon juice
some extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
couple of shallots, finely sliced
This is a sort of recipe where you can be really lazy with measuring, and just go with the flow. Although I have made it vegetarian, it would also be quite lovely to add some thick smokey lardons. Pay enough attention to how the dough feels in your hands, you will be rewarded with these mouth watering, beautiful, earthy magenta nuggets.
First of all, preheat the oven to 200º and bake the potatoes with skin on and pricked for around 45mins to an hour, until it is really fluffy and soft inside. Baking potatoes will remove a lot of its moisture contents, which will then allow the gnocchi to be the lightest and fluffiest.
Meanwhile, put your beetroot into the saucepan with a pinch of salt, cover it with water, and boil them for around 30mins or until it is soft.
When it is cooked, drain and blitz them until it becomes smooth pure.
To make your gnocchi, skin the cooked potatoes and put them through the ricer. You can mash them really smooth if you don't have the ricer. However, passing them through the ricer will give you the airy texture you want from good gnocchi.
Mix in the beetroot pure into the potato, season and gradually add the flour until your dough becomes stiff enough to handle but supple.
Take handful of your dough, roll our on the floured surface into a long sausage shape, and cut them into small bite size chunks.
Repeat this process until you use up all of your dough.
Now, let's make the green pesto sauce.
I am making my pesto slightly on the thicker side for this pasta because I like to have a little bite to it rather than puree like. But you can make it more runny if you prefer, by adding more oil and lemon juice. Or even tiny drop of water to loosen it up a bit.
First thing, put toasted pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, basil and parsley into your food processor or pestle and mortar. Blitz them into preferred consistency whilst adding some olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt.
To put together this lovely gnocchi, pan fry your bite sized gnocchi with little butter and oil over medium to high heat, making sure you only turn once. You might have to do this in batches. Be patient, and don't be tempted to do it all at once. You want to get them really crispy on the outside to create contrasting texture.
Once you're finished with it all, put them on a side.
Into the same pan you've just fried your gnocchi, gently fry the shallots with little olive oil until it's golden and crispy. Add fried gnocchi and pesto, stir in well with lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
Garnish with some toasted pine nuts, and more parmesan cheese.
It feels good to be back. To the place where I feel home.