We are having rain showers at the moment which has cooled the air and heightened the fragrance of all the blossom that is in bloom. I have 400 lime trees and the nieghbouring finca several thousand orange trees that are all in bloom. The scent is heady. I wish I could bottle it and send it to you.

There is still plenty of fruit on the trees, the limes fruit and flower pretty much all the year round, so I am still busy making marmalades, pickles and conserves to sell in the farm shop. I will be sharing with you some of my tried and tested recipes for these in due course, but today lets think about lunch.

I have some boiled potatoes left over from a previous meal, so I thought potato gnocchi would be nice. If your only experience of gnocchi are those terrible heavy bullets that you get in the supermarket, think again and try these. Gnocchi can be made with semolina or with potatoes, and I by far prefer the potato version which is a light and fluffy dumpling. They are superb with a blue cheese sauce as a starter, or in this case make a great lunch mixed with meatballs and chestnuts in a tomato sauce.

POTATO GNOCCHI

500 gms floury potatoes – peeled weight

1  organic egg

75 gms plain flour

50 gms semolina – fine ground

salt and pepper

Cut the potatoes into cubes and boil in salted water until cooked but not too mushy. You don’t want them to be too wet. Drain and leave to cool completely.

In a bowl mash the potatoes. Add the beaten egg and mash to amalgamate with the potato. Check for seasoning and add freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste.

Add the sifted flour and and the semolina, mash this in. By this time you should be able to form the dough into a ball. If it is too soft and wet, add a little more flour and semolina.  Handle the dough lightly so as to keep it soft.

Dust the work surface with plenty of flour and turn your dough out onto it. Taking a small ball of dough at a time roll it out with your hands into a cylinder, and then cut it into even sized pieces. Roll these again, very lightly between your hands to make small cylinders. Don’t worry if they are not all exactly the same, this is rustic food that we are making and light handling is more important than having your gnocchi identical.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a little salt. When boiling start to add your gnocchi a few at a time. They want to be only one layer in the pan. After few minutes they will float to the surface. You can at this point scoop them out and either reheat them later or let them cool completely and dry a bit and then freeze them for another occasion. If you are generally cooking for one, then this is a good option as this recipe makes easily enough gnocchi for four meals.

If you are eating the gnocchi straight away, then let them cook for another three minutes after they have started to float. Drain them and then mix with whichever sauce you fancy.

I am afraid that you will have to tune into tomorrows blog for the Meatballs and Chestnuts in Tomato Sauce……….

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