Roast the aubergines at 180ºC fan (400ºF) for about 40 minutes; let cool down and peel the skins;
Dice the aubergine pulp and place it on a sieve; squash the pulp with a fork to remove the water inside;
Mix the pulp with the egg, a pinch of salt, the flour, and add the cheese last;
Shape the dough as you please: you can make cubes like I did, or form the more traditional dumplings;
Boil the gnocchi in salty water, as you would do for pasta, and take them out when they are starting to float; serve with warm butter, toasted pine kernels and sage leaves.
Gnocchi are such a rewording meal. I love to make them in many different ways, changing the main vegetable component from time to time. You can use potatoes, beetroots, butternut squash, spinach, etc. They can be also ‘veganised’, removing the egg from the mix (try adding some ackee instead) and replacing Parmesan cheese with any dry vegan cheese. And for the sauce? Really, just go with whatever you please: melted butter, toasted nuts, herbs, a light tomato sauce, a spicy sauce, or a classic beef and pork ragù. Have fun and enjoy your food!
Recipes in this post: KALE CRISPS on a CELERIAC & TOASTED HAZELNUTS SOUP (serves 2 or makes a great starter for 4)
(use as many kale leaves as you like; EVO oil; salt and spices):
wash and pat dry the kale;
lightly dress the kale leaves with EVO oil and salt; you can replace the salt with any other dry rub, like peri peri, turmeric powder, ground cumin, etc.; do not drench the leaves, just get them slightly shiny, otherwise they will not become crispy;
place the leaves on an oven tray lined with parchment paper; do not overlap the leaves;
bake at 120ºC fan (275ºF) for about 20 minutes, flipping the leaves over after the first ten minutes.
Kale has become a staple in my winter kitchen. It is a lovely vegetable and it matches gloomy weather beautifully. Nevertheless, I do miss the sun, the heat, and I could certainly use less rain on an average week, so these crisps (chips, for those across the Pond) remind me of a child’s summer treat. Kale’s bitterness and sharp edges will give you the perfect British winter feel, while soothing you with its aromatic notes and tannic finish. It is a super easy and fast recipe.
For the prep, I recommend to play the world famous 1960s song (you can check its fascinating story here); sing along, if you know the lyrics, and then enjoy a crunchy feast in your mouth. Use the kale crisps as the perfect garnish for this easy peasy celeriac soup (recipe below) and you will discover a symphony of perfumes and textures that will cure your winter blues in no time.
Celeriac & toasted hazelnuts soup
(1 celeriac; 1 handful of hazelnuts; EVO oil; salt; oat milk/cow’s milk/cream):
remove the celeriac skin and cut it into chunks;
toss the celeriac chunks in a bowl with EVO oil and salt flakes; optional, add 2 tsp of vinegar;
bake at 200ºC fan (425ºF) for about 30 minutes until golden and tender;
while the celeriac bakes, place a few peeled hazelnuts on their own in the oven with just a sprinkle of salt for about 10 minutes till they start to get brown on the edges;
blitz celeriac and hazelnuts with 1 tbsp of EVO oil and 2 tbsp of oat milk, or cow’s milk, or cream (depending on whether you want to keep it vegan, vegetarian, or indulgent on the dairy side); before serving, warm it up in a pot with a glass of water or broth.