New Veg on the Block, Kalettes

Is it time we replaced Brussels sprouts with something we actually like? Every year we put them onto our plate at christmas and every year they are scraped off our plate into the bin, or in our case into the dogs dinner bowl (a mistake as regrettable as adding them to our dinner in the first place). It would be a shame I know, to take away something that is so entrenched in us, it would be like taking away the decorations from the tree. Without them it’s just a tree in the living room. The same with the dinner it may as well just be another roast dinner we have every Sunday. So why not change it. Kalettes, a blend of the best bits from your ever faithful brusssel sprout and your curly leafed friend, kale, give you a fantastic alternative. Different enough to be tasty but similar enough to not be unfaithful to the traditional sprout. 

They are not genetically modified before you ask, they are a hybrid of the two created using “traditional breeding techniques” to quote their website. I don’t know what this means. Maybe they water them with wine, stick on a bit of Barry White, close the doors and let Mr White work his magic. What I do know is that they taste amazing. Sweet, nutty and milder than Brussels. They a the first new vegetable to hit the shelves in over a decade and I for one welcome them with open arms.

I am going to do a few more recipes with them which I will post. For now here is a link to the Sea bass with garlicky bacon kalettes I cooked a while ago.

Learning about my food… Gnocchi

Gnocchi like many foods has murky beginnings and like a Chinese whisper it’s variations spread far and wide till it altogether becomes impossible to track it’s true origin and design. The word gnocchi is thought to come from the word “nocca” which means knuckles or maybe from the word “knohha” meaning knot, like in wood. 

We know Gnocchi is inherently Italian and was introduced by the Romans. It is thought maybe from the Middle East. Then each area infused there own ideas into it wether from experimentation or necessity of ingredients. For instance, northern Italy’s climate allowed better crops of potatoes over grain so more potatoes were added. It was a great inexpensive food for the masses much like polenta and risotto which also herald from this part. Like subtle differences in a regions accent the recipe would change. Some regions would use squash and other vegetables instead of potato or a ratio of each.  Some would call for a layer of cheese and then be baked in the oven, another a dressing of butter and Parmesan, Verona still serves theirs with a tomato sauce. Like they have done since the 1500’s during their carnival.

The gnocchi we know is usually a potato base. Potatoes are boiled and mashed then mixed with flour. It is then formed into little dumplings either by rolling the dough into a long sausage and then cut into inch or so pieces or just formed individually. Either way they are then given grooves or scores using a fork or grater. These grooves are what makes the gnocchi great as its these grooves that hold the sauce.