While Ilaria’s frying gnocchi in the cooler climes of London, in this neck of the woods there are truckloads of asparagus at every turn and piles of great quality affordable avocado. Yep! That’s more like it! Spring has definitely sprung around here, with salad leaves doubling in size overnight and tomato plants stretching skywards, but, she’s got a point: gnocchi the way she’s serving it up transcends the seasons. I bet few of us (vegans excluded) wouldn’t mind tucking into a plate of fluffy pan-fried gnocchi on a little fry-up of red peppers and onion, topped with a poached egg, sometime over the weekend. When the egg is cut, the yolk flows over the gnocchi, mixing with a shower of parmesan and forming a sauce. She calls the gnocchi magic balls. Mmmmmm. You get the idea … I’ve included a standard Italian tomato sauce recipe as well, which you can use on gnocchi and pasta and in other dishes.
Back to asparagus. Did you know there are male and female asparagus? True! Read here. And I’ve got plenty of ideas for serving up asparagus so they never become ho-hum.
And to avocado – they are so amazing at the moment, but the trick is to buy them unripe and to ripen them in a fruit bowl to ensure you are not buying bruised fruit. (Shoppers testing every avocado for ripeness with a squeeze results in squashed and bruised fruit.) Leave them in the fruit bowl and check them every day; when ready to go, they should just ‘give’ a little when you cradle them in the palm of your hand and exert very gentle pressure. The price is so good at the moment that you can afford to be generous – try them with gazpacho dressing as a lunch platter shared with friends.
A couple of extra things to discuss – damn spring rain has resulted in soggy grounds everywhere and Waiheke’s Rangihoua Olive Estate has had to close their grounds to let them dry out. The Oyster Festival will now be held 5th November. That gives you plenty of time to get your mates organised and get tickets. It’ll be a big weekend on Waiheke!
Also, there is still room on the two remaining cooking classes being held in October: Saturday 22nd (Labour weekend) and the following Friday 28th. Check out the details here Cooking Classes.
Have a great week!