Category Archives: cooking

Potato Gnocchi



Oh potato gnocchi!!  You don’t bring me the good memory that you should…but it is a memory…and kind of funny too although it didn’t seem to be at the time!

Kevin and I had just gotten married and moved in Mr Daniel’s flat where we just had the essentials…couple of pots and pans, a kettle, two plates and two mugs!  It was all we needed.  We ate out the first few nights…but then I wanted to show my new husband what I could do.

Fresh Gnocchi
Fresh Gnocchi

I remembered an Italian friend had made these delicious gnocchi for a group of us once.  He was like the maestro on one side ofthe table, with a bunch of girls surrounding him, watching him orchestrate this magnificent dish.  It looked so easy…but then so does gymnastics and ice skating.

So that was it…that’s what I’d make for our first dinner I thought, as I set about this joyful task!  I worked and slaved all day long in the kitchen while my new husband was slaving away at his job. And then the moment of truth!  I boiled the gnocchi  I’d made, but no amount of sauce could hide the mess underneath!  I was in tears!


My lovely husband sat down and got ready for his meal and just like the trooper he’s always been and still is, he put that first bite in his mouth and with a smile told me how good it was!!  He never did make it to the second bite though because  I snatched it from his hand, and took the plate from the table and with a whoosh, and a few sobs,  they ended down the toilet!  He still does not know what he had said to get that reaction from me and still insists to this day, that they were jolly good gnocchi…but wouldn’t you say that to your new wife?

So it’s been 20 yrs since that fateful day!!  I never made them again and still get the shivers when I hear the word GNOCCHI!! But since I have a blog, and since it’s our 20th Wedding Anniversary today, I think it’s about time I gave it another go, this time with the help of foodnetwork.

Kosher salt
1 pound russet potatoes (two medium sized potatoes)
3 to 4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon gray salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour


Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Bake the potatoes for about 45 mins.

When cool enough to handle, take off the skins and grate the potatoes in a bowl.  You should have about two cups.

Add the rest of the ingredients and form into a ball.  Let rest for half an hour.

Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them. Roll each piece into a ball.

Using the back of a grater, roll each piece down the back.  This creates a rough surface for the sauce to cling to.  Do this with each piece. Place on a well floured (or well sprinkled with semolina).

At this point you can freeze them.

Or if you want to cook on the same day, you need to let dry for about half an hour under a fan.  Turn each one and let dry for another half an hour.

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 90 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired.

Delicious with tomato sauce and I’m sure it’s just as nice with just butter and cheese and some herbs of your liking.

Moment of Truth
Moment of Truth

This time, I must say, the gnocchi got two thumbs up.  Not just from Kevin…but also from me:)  I wish I hadn’t waited 20 years to try these again.  I will sure not wait another 20!! Happy Anniversary my qalbi…here’s to many many more!! Love you with all my heart!

Our Honeymoon Dinner
Our Honeymoon Dinner







I know right??  I had never heard of it before either…

It so happened that I was in a chat with a group of friends comparing things we love that are made with nuts.  Lots of sweet pastries and cookies were mentioned in our conversation and then Dukkah came up!  My ears perked up and I had to know what it was.

Turns out, Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) is an  Egyptian spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds that can be served as a dip with bread and olive oil, or sprinkled on roasted vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and even peaches.  My friend Leslie also uses it as a thickening for sauces…so with so many uses, I say this is a must have in every kitchen.

It is easy to make at home but if you’re in a rush or something, you can also find it at Trader Joe’s.

Here’s my own version…


For Dukkah:

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
5 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon paprika (hot or sweet)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
kosher salt to taste

To make dukkah: toast nuts together in a 350° F oven for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just golden and fragrant.  Let cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, toast remaining spices (except for paprika, cinnamon, and salt) in a large pan over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted.  In a food processor or an electric coffee or spice grinder, pulse all ingredients until very finely ground, about 3 minutes.  Leave a little powdery; do not grind to a paste. Refrigerate to store because nuts do go rancid after a while.


To try it out, I made my ftira.  I rolled out a piece of dough about 6 inches across and as thin as possible.  I drizzled some oil and liberally sprinkled some dukkah and a dash of kosher salt on top.  I baked at 425 degree oven for 5 mins.  Rotated the pan and baked for a further 5 mins.  It’s ready when it baked golden colour.

Next time, I might leave some of the sesame seeds whole and also add a touch of chili or cayenne pepper to the mix…

Chevre Ravioli ~ It’s What’s For Dinner


Chevre Filled Ravioli
Chevre Filled Ravioli

I still had half a pound of goat cheese in the fridge waiting to be magically turned into some kind of snack/lunch/salad/dinner type thingie.

I  love having prepared frozen dinners ready for when I’m either are too lazy to cook or maybe running late or when I just can’t even be bothered to call for pizza!

Goat Cheese Ravioli!  Perfect answer to my dilemma!

How hard could it be to find a recipe for goat cheese filled ravioli?  

Oh, there are tons of fancy ones…from heart shaped ravioli filled with goat cheese and beets or butternut squash or pumpkin but I was hoping for something simpler.  Something that if I offered it to my kids, I won’t be met with the same wrinkly nose I used to give my mum when she offered stuffed cabbage for dinner!

I was just about to give up my search, when I saw this recipe which was just what I was looking for.  I used my own fresh pasta dough recipe and made some minor adjustments with the filling to cater for my family’s taste.

This recipe makes about two dozen.


Flour Eggs Oil Salt
Flour Eggs Oil Salt

2 cups all purpose flour

1tsp salt

3 large eggs

1tbsp extra virgin oil

semolina for dusting

Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface; shape into a mound and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall of the well in a circular motion. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Cover and let rest for about a half an hour.



6 oz. fresh goat cheese

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 cup pecorino romano

salt and fresh ground black pepper

 Cut dough into four pieces.  Take one piece and pass it through the pasta machine on no.1 setting a few times.  Then on 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th, then 5th. Cut in half.  Place a tbsp of filling about an inch apart on one piece of dough.  Brush surface with a bit of water or egg wash, around the filling. Take the other piece of dough and place on top. Secure around the filling and using a ravioli cutter or knife, cut into ravioli forms. Circles or squares or wherever your imagination takes you.

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 4 minutes; they’ll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon.

Set aside


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup dry white wine

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add oil.  Fry the garlic.

Once all that is bubbling (without burning – turn it down if it is!) and the pasta has cooked in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, drain the pasta and then add it to the saute pan.

Once the pasta is coated with the sauce in the pan, add 1/2 cup dry white wine and simmer for a couple more minutes, stirring occationally.

Remove the pasta from the heat.  Place on the plate. 

Add parmesan and chopped parsley and serve!

Makes an ideal first course meal when served three on a plate!

Garnish and Serve
Garnish and Serve

I have tried plain goat cheese and a combination of goat cheese and ricotta which are both very good. Would be very happy to hear your ideas!


First time I went to Amelia’s, owner of Hidden Fortress, I wasn’t sure what to expect!  I’d heard she had chickens and was a famous micro brewer and that we were going there to make some cider!

What impressed me the most, since I’m not a cider drinker, were all the different kinds of chickens and roosters that were happily clucking away in their castle like coop! From then on I became a believer that happy chickens make happy eggs.

Well this past weekend I got to know that Amelia has added geese to her happy family and Kevin brought me some goose eggs to prove it! The egg shells are super strong and need a good whack to crack them open as Kevin found out while making his Sunday morning omlette!   Look at these beauties!!  The middle photo shows the difference between a chicken’s egg and a goose’s egg.



A birthday gift from Malta

I am so thrilled!!  My parents sent me this wonderful book Aroma Kitchen by Manuel Book 2 for my birthday today.

Aroma Book 2 by Manuel
Aroma Book 2 by Manuel

I’m trying out the Clam Chowder with Chorizo Sausage!! Happy Birthday to me!!  Going to be a tasty year!