14 April 2011

Gnocchi, fritters and kidneys - you don't get much more varied, than that!

 The following blog can be seen in situ here.

Even though I do a weekly menu plan, sometimes life just conspires against me and insists on throwing all my plans into disarray.  I’d had a big taste of that disarray last week, which meant that two recipes had been carried over to this week.  Then, not satisfied with the confusion it had already created, disarray attacked at the end of the current week, causing us to have sandwiches instead of a lovely steak & kidney pie – which got put in the fridge until the following day.

The first recipe that got carried over was a Pot Roasted Chicken (which are always gorgeous).  This one was to be accompanied by some gnocchi and tender stem broccoli, in a parmesan cream sauce.

I’ve not had a good track record with gnocchi – which is odd, considering I really like anything even remotely connected with a potato.  Gnocchi have always seemed to me to be nasty glutinous little lumps of wallpaper paste with little or no flavour.  So this was, pretty much, their last swansong before being consigned to the “don’t like it” pile.

I was using ready-made gnocchi and I do acknowledge that homemade gnocchi stand the change of being far superior – if you get them right.  However, this dish had one thing in its favour before we began, which was that it was so quick and easy.  Basically, while the tender stems & gnocchi are cooking, you cook garlic and chilli in butter, add some stock, crème fraiche and parmesan to make a sauce.  Combine everything and you’re there.

The chicken was tender and moist, the broccoli and gnocchi were fresh and delicious.

I do have to add a rider at this stage, though, which is that I feel that the gnocchi and broccoli dish would be far better with some boiled bacon or gammon, than the chicken.  So, the next time a piece of bacon hoves into view, I’ll be reaching for the gnocchi.

So.  Having had one half of a chicken, it begged the question of what to do with the remainder.

I had seen a recipe for some carrot fritters that had intrigued me.  Fried food is not something that I do very often (for all sorts of reasons) and as a consequence I’m something of a novice as regards pancakes and fritters.  However, this recipe just made my mouth water and had to be done.  I originally planned to serve it beside the cold cooked chicken, right up until a Coronation Chicken thought struck me.

The fritters contained fresh coriander and ground cumin, both of which would sit very well beside the curry spices of Coronation Chicken, so yet another sudden change of plan happened.

Once again, the fritters are a simple matter of grating carrot, adding flour, cumin, egg, some chopped onion and some crumbled feta cheese.  Spoon big spoonfuls into a non-stick frying pan and, within a minute or so, you’ve got your fritters.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed them – and they did indeed go admirably well with Coronation Chicken served on a bed of mixed lettuce.

Our Sunday dinner was intended to be this week’s piece de resistance.  I’d bought a lovely piece of brisket of beef, along with three kidneys (except four kidneys arrived in the bag) to make a lovely steak and kidney pie.  It wasn’t going to be a traditional pie with pastry top and bottom, nor a pudding with suet crust all around.  It was going to be something of a halfway house, with a top crust being suet-based much in the same way as a Teviot pie.  I suppose, it could be classed as a Steak & Kidney Teviot pie, if you wanted to be particular about its name.

Unfortunately, time ran away with me on Sunday afternoon (so much so, that I was doing my online shopping at 10pm) and the meat for the pie went into the oven at least an hour and half later than it should do.  Being brisket, the writing was on the wall there and then.

At 6pm – dinner time – I tried the meat and found it to be crunchy.  Not tough, not bouncy, the teeth went through it okay – but it had an odd crunch to it.  Definitely not done.

So, out came a tin of tuna and we all had sandwiches.

Next day, and we’ve just eaten the Steak & Kidney Teviot – and according to my son, if zero marks where a shop-bought Steak & Kidney begins, then this is (moving his hands apart as far away as they would go) about here – and, engage thrusters – even further.  I think, no, I know that he liked it.  So did I – I doubt I will ever use a shop-bought steak & kidney anything from now on.  Worlds apart.



  1. I like the idea of those carrot fritters very much. They remind me a little bit of onion bhajees, which I used to make all the time before we had children .. not sure what the correlation is there? Sounds like one could almost make a combination of the two.

  2. That's the exact same thought that they sparked off in me, too. I've been pondering making some, just to see if it'd work (except with gram flour)ever since!


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