Potato gnocchi with black olive tapenade

Photography by: Matt Houston Photography

Photography by: Matt Houston Photography

This dish is a real crowd pleaser! Making gnocchi at home might seem like a daunting task, but if you follow these simple instructions it is really quite easy. The olive tapenade is super simple and can be used as a dip, salad dressing or on your sandwiches at a later date (so make extra!). 

Ingredients:

Sebago potatoes                        1.2kg

Plain Flour                                   400g

Eggs                                           2 yolks

Rock salt                                     200g

Black olives                                 200g

Basil                                            1 bunch

Olive oil                                      100ml

Lemon                                         1

Parmesan cheese                        100g

Butter                                          50g

 

Method:

1. Start by making the gnocchi. Lay the rock salt on an oven roasting tray and place sebago potatoes. Bake in the oven for 40mins at 180C until potatoes are tender. Baking the potatoes on the salt draws out excess moisture and means you need to use less flour when making the dough - resulting in a lighter gnocchi. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and set up a seperate container with ice water. 

2. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Reserve the skins for another time. Mash or pass the potato through a drum sieve until there are no more lumps. Transfer the potato to a clean bench and gently mix together with flour and egg yolks. You do not want to work the mixture too much or else it will become glutenous. Work the dough into a log and cut into manageable pieces. Cover with tea towel.  

3. Take each piece and roll it into a log about 1cm in diameter. Using a knife, cut the log into pieces approx. 2cm across. They should look like beautiful little pasta pillows! When you have finished cutting the log, transfer the gnocchi pieces into the boiling water. Cook in water until they float to the surface and then transfer into the ice water. This process of plunging into ice water is called 'refreshing' and will stop foods from overcooking. Repeat the process until all of the gnocchi has been rolled, cooked and refreshed. 

5. When all of the gnocchi has been cooked, remove from iced water and let dry in a colander. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil so that the gnocchi does not stick together. 

4. To make the tapenade, add the olives, picked basil leaves (reserving 2 leaves for garnishing), olive oil, and lemon juice into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 50g of finely grated parmesan cheese and blend again. 

5. To serve, cook gnocchi in a medium hot frying pan until golden. Add a small knob of butter and cook until foamy to add an extra layer of flavour and deliciousness. Add a spoonful of tapenade to the pan and mix. Transfer to serving platter or bowl. Peel or grate the remaining parmesan cheese over the pasta and garnish with torn basil. 

 

SIDE NOTE:  If serving a few people, you will need to cook the gnocchi in batches - if you add too much to the pan the gnocchi will not cook evenly!

 

Marinated olives with grilled flat bread

Photography by: Matt Houston Photography

Photography by: Matt Houston Photography

Although curing olives can take a bit of time, it is a straight forward process and you can keep enjoying your work for months! You can source fresh olives in a number of places, including in around your neighbourhood and online. Served with the grilled bread, this dish is perfect as an entree or to share at a dinner party. 

Ingredients:

For the Olives:

Black or green olives                             1kg

Water                                                    2L

Table Salt                                              2/3 cup

Cider vinegar                                        600ml

Pomace or olive oil                                2L

Fresh red chilli                                        2 

Thyme                                                    1 bunch

Lemon, peeled                                        1

Orange, peeled                                      1

For the flatbread:

Plain flour                                                1kg

Warm water                                            600ml

Dried yeast                                              30g

Table salt                                                 15g

Sugar                                                       25g

Olive oil                                                   3 Tbsp

Thyme                                                      1/2 bunch

Method:

1. Take your fresh olives and wash them thoroughly. Using a sharp paring knife, make a cut down one side of the olive all the way to the pip. This will help the water penetrate the olive and remove the bitterness. Fill a clean jar with cold water and put in the olives straight in until 3/4 full. Use a piece of baking paper cut into a circle to ensure the olives are fully submerged. 

2. You want to replace the water in the jars every day for a minimum of 14 days to remove the bitterness. 

3. After 2 weeks you want to remove the water and add in the brine. Heat the 2L water, cider vinegar and salt in a pot until the salt is dissolved. Once the brine is cool, pour over the olives. Leave them in their jars in a cool dark place for 4-5 weeks. 

4. After 4-5 weeks you will have ready to eat olives! To make them extra delicious, we like to marinate them. To do this, remove from the brine and mix together with pomace or olive oil, the chilli, thyme, lemon and orange peels. Put bake in the jar and marinate for up to a year. The flavours will start to come through after a few weeks. 

5. To make the flat bread, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Once combined, turn out onto a bench and knead with your hands for 5 minutes. Return the dough back to the bowl and leave for 2 hours in a warm spot to proof (rise). After 2 hours, knock the air out the dough so that it goes small again and leave for another hour.

6. Take the dough out and break into small chunks. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into an oval shapes.

7. Finely chop the thyme and mix with the olive oil. Brush the herb oil onto the flat breads until completely covered on one side. Gently pick up the bread and transfer onto a hot grill or BBQ, oil side down. Once the bread is on the grill, brush on a bit more oil on the other side. Cook for 20-30 seconds until you see air bubbles coming up and then flip over using tongs. Cook for another 40-50 seconds on the second side. The bread should be done at this point, but feel free to grill longer if desired. 

8. Chop up the bread and serve with your marinated olives. 

 

Olive oil sponge with yogurt cream and berries

Photo by: Matt Houston Photography 

Photo by: Matt Houston Photography 

This dessert is a nice twist on a classic. Adding the olive oil to the sponge brings a light grassy flavour to the dish which balances really nicely with the yogurt cream and berries. If you want extra wow-factor, get some freeze dried berries to crush on top! 

Ingredients:

Plain flour                                                       150g

Olive oil                                                         60ml

Free range pastured eggs                               5

White sugar                                                    150g

Mixed frozen berries                                       200g

Honey                                                             60g

Cinnamon                                                       1 stick

Full cream                                                       100ml

Yogurt                                                             80g

Raspberries                                                     1 punnet

Blueberries                                                      1 punnet

Freeze dried raspberries (optional)                 10g

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a tray with grease-proof baking paper and coat with oil spray. Using an electric beater, whisk the eggs until they get pale and foamy. Add the sugar and continue whisking until the mixture doubles in size and gets thick and rich. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking. The mixture should create soft peaks. 

2. Sift the flour into the mixture and gently fold the ingredient together. You don't want to be too rough or all of the air will go out of the mixture and your sponge cake will be flat. Once mixed, pour into the lined baking tray and cook for 40 minutes uncovered. Once cooked, remove from oven and leave to cool down in the tray. 

3. While the sponge is cooking, combine the frozen berries, honey and cinnamon stick together in a saucepan. Cook on a medium heat for approx. 20 minutes until the berries have turned into a loose jam. 

4. Whisk the cream in a metal bowl until firm peaks and gently fold through the yogurt. Adding the yogurt to the cream like this creates a really nice texture and also adds a bit of extra freshness. 

5. To serve, tear the olive oil sponge into chunks and place on the plate. Put a healthy dollop of the yogurt cream in the middle and add the berry jam around the plate. Sprinkle the fresh berries around the plate and, if using, crush the freeze dried raspberries all over. Eat immediately.