Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi is not a recipe special to my family. Although the dish is eaten in almost all parts of Italy, it is frequently unknown to some people. To me, it recalls sweet memories of my childhood. It takes me back to my summer holidays at my grandparents’ in the mountains of Trentino, a place where I was simply just happy. A bit like Marcel Proust and his beloved Madeleine. These ricotta gnocchi awaken my mémoire involontaire.

Unlike the big city where I was raised, in Trentino they still always use fresh products sourced from local suppliers.

As a child, I loved going shopping with my nonna to buy fresh ricotta in the dairy shop. And then I’d often eat it straight away for breakfast. I’d spread it on bread with a bit of sugar – a great way to start the day.

I rang my nonna a few days ago to ask for her ricotta gnocchi recipe.

A very simple, yet tasty dish. Here’s the ingredients you’ll need, and how to prepare it…

For 2-3 persons:

  • 250 g firm ricotta (alternatively you can use ricotta bought from a supermarket, even if the quality is not quite the same)
  • 100 g wheat flour, type 00 (the kind you use to make pizza). You might have to add a little more flour to produce a dough that is firm, but still elastic
  • 2 tbsp. grana padano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter
  • Sage
  • Optional: grated truffle

Bring some water to the boil (salted to taste).

While the water heats, put the ricotta, egg, some of the flour, salt and grana padano into a bowl. Knead everything together with your hands to make a dough. If it’s not firm enough, add some more flour.

Once the dough is ready, put it out on a work surface dusted with flour, and roll into medium-sized balls (or any other preferred shape).

Sprinkle some flour on the shaped gnocchi, and immerse them in the water.

Add the butter and sage to a frying pan, and heat until the butter turns brown.

As soon as the gnocchi have risen to the surface of the water, remove them from the water using a skimmer spoon, add to the pan and fry in the sage butter.

Sprinkle with grated truffle or grana padano according to preference.

Buon appetito!

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Austrian-style Apricot Dumplings

Our recipe for this Week comes from Austria, and it’s introduced to us here by Jessica May.

I can still clearly remember how my grandma often made apricot dumplings during the holidays. I always found this quite special, and it seemed like grandma’s very own indulgence routine.

Nowadays, apricot dumplings are usually eaten as a dessert. They used to be thought of as a main course, as indeed were the majority of Austria’s other pastry dishes.

Did you know that this one-time luxury dish, which then became part of the menu of ordinary households everywhere, is now protected as part of the nation’s culinary heritage? Unbelievable, but true!

It is one of the traditional dishes to have its recipe kept in a safe in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, so as to preserve it for posterity.

So, here is grandma’s very own indulgence routine:

  • Preparation time: approx. 30 minutes
  • Resting time: approx. 1 hour
  • Cooking/baking time: approx. 30 minutes
  • Total time: approx. 2 hours
 Ingredients for making 5 portions:
  • 500g quark (curds)
  • 100 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • some wheat semolina, to bind the dough
  • 10 apricots
  • bread crumbs
  • sugar
  • butter
  • optional: cinnamon

This is enough dough to make 10 dumplings.

Knead the curd, eggs, butter and salt into a smooth dough, add approximately 1 – 2 tbsp. semolina, and knead again thoroughly. Chill for about 1 hour to allow the semolina to swell.

Pit the apricots You could use plums instead of apricots, if you prefer.

Shape the dough into a roll, and divide it into 10 equally-sized pieces. The dough can be a little sticky, so always dust your hands with some flour when encasing the fruit in the dough. The dough casing should be about 1 – 2 cm thick depending on the size of the fruit

Steep in slightly salted, gently simmering water for about 20 – 30 minutes (depending on whether you are using fresh or frozen fruit). The dough should rise nicely, and the fruit be soft on the inside.

At the same time, melt some butter in a pan, add the bread crumbs and sugar, and brown slowly over a gentle heat. You can decide how much butter, bread crumbs and sugar to add. It’s all down to your individual taste.
Once cooked, drain the dumplings, add to the browned bread crumbs in the pan, coat all over and serve hot.
If you like, you can sprinkle them with some icing sugar and cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings

The New Year is just around the corner, so what better time for a very traditional Jiaozi recipe from our Austrian sisters, Qionglin and Yuru WU.

Jiaozi is a well-known dish throughout China. The recipe varies from one region to the next. There are also different folding techniques, and the filling can be prepared according to varying tastes … using vegetables or seafood, for example. The Jiaozi we are showing you here, are made using mixed minced meat, carrots and oxheart cabbage.

Hendian (Yuru WU)

Jiaozi is a dish traditionally prepared and eaten together by the whole family at New Year – and that’s how we do it in the WU home, too. Our grandparents and parents, and we the children, all gather round the dining table, and everyone has a part to play:

Papa, head chef of the WU family, prepares the filling, while Mama gets the dough ready. Then, once it’s all ready, Grandma rolls out the dough in the traditional manner, while we siblings fold the Jiaozi into their dumpling shape.

As a family, we all really enjoy it, and it’s a great way to start the New Year together.

Ingredients

for 4 – 6 people

Dough
  • 750 g flour (type 450)
  • 2.5 tbsp. salt
  • 400 ml lukewarm water
Filling
  • 500 g mixed minced meat
  • 250 g chopped carrots
  • 250 g chopped oxheart cabbage
  • 3 tbsp. soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 3 pieces of scallions
  • 30 ml of oil
  • 20 g ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves

Preparation

For the dough, simply mix the flour, salt and water. When you see lumps beginning to form, knead the dough well with your hands. To test if the dough is soft enough, press it with your finger. If it regains its shape without any indent forming, then it is ready. If this is not the case, simply moisten your hands with some water, and continue kneading the dough. Once it has been kneaded, allow the dough to rest for a while. Do this by spreading a cloth or some cling film over the dough to prevent it drying out.

NOTE: The longer the dough remains wrapped in the cling film, the softer it will become, BUT don’t let it get too soft, so keep a close eye on it!

Now, let’s turn to the filling.

Add the carrots and oxheart cabbage to the minced meat, and season everything with the soya sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Mix the filling well. Now, heat the oil and add the finely chopped garlic and ginger. After 30 seconds, or once you can smell the aromas, mix the garlic and ginger, together with the oil, into the filling.

The filling can be varied according to your own particular preferences. For vegetarians and vegans, we recommend substituting the meat for vegetables with low water content.

Now it’s time to shape our dumplings. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface, and put about a third of the dough onto the surface. If your work surface is large enough, you can put all of the dough out in one go. Cover the rest of the dough. You need small round discs of dough to make the dumplings. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. The quick method: roll out the dough until it is about 2 mm thick, and cut out the discs using a large circular cookie cutter (approx. 10 cm in diameter).
  2. Traditional method: shape the dough into a roll, and using a knife, cut it into equally-sized pieces about 4 cm long. Using your hand, press down the small lump of dough until it is flat, and roll out into medium-thick discs (approx. 2 mm). The discs should be about 10 cm in diameter. Make sure that the edge is a little thinner than the centre, so that after shaping the dumplings, they have the same thickness all over.

Now for the filling.

Place about 1-2 teaspoons of filling into the centre of the disc of dough, and seal. Take a look at the video to see how to fold the dumplings properly. You’ll soon get the hang of it with a little practice.

Place the sealed dumplings on a tray dusted with some flour, and cover with cling film to stop the dough drying out.

Now you just have to cook the dumplings in boiling water for about 7 to 9 minutes.

Finally, serve with a small bowl of soya sauce. And they’re ready.

As we say in the WU household, 请慢用 [qíng màn yòng] and 新年快乐 [xīn nián kuài lè]!

(Bon appetit and a Happy New Year!)

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Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Our fourth recipe comes from Ghana in West Africa and is presented by Theresa Messerer.

You may well be thinking that my name has nothing to do with Africa … but Eric, my partner’s, does. He was born in Togo and grew up in Ghana, and I love his recipes and cuisine.

Fufu is without a doubt the dish that is most typical of West Africa. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cassava flour that can be served with a variety of sauces. But believe me, mashing fufu to make it nice and smooth and getting just the right balance between water and cassava flour can be hard work without a bit of know-how. I’ve therefore decided to show you a different, but equally delicious dish instead – beans and gari with ripened plantain.

Gari (also spelt “garri”) and beans are pretty much staple foods in West Africa. Gari, obtained from cassava, is used in a wide variety of different ways: fried, boiled, mashed, grated or ground. When my friends ask me what cassava is, I often say that it looks like an African potato. Cassava is also very commonly found and extremely popular in places like Brazil, Mauritius and other parts of Africa.

There must be a thousand variations of this dish and various ways of preparing it and pepping it up with other ingredients.

Here’s my recipe – I hope you enjoy giving it a go too:

  • Portions: 4
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45–60 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups balck-eyed beans
  • 2 plantains (the riper the better)
  • 2 onions
  • 500 ml vegetable oil
  • To taste: gari (cassava semolina)
  • salt
Preparations:

Black-eyed beans are cooked in the same way as rice, with plenty of water and a little salt. If the water boils away too quickly, simply add some more. A lot of water is needed to ensure that the beans turn out nice and soft. Simmer the beans for a total of 45–60 minutes (+/-) until they are soft.

While the beans are cooking, cut the onions into half rings and fry in plenty of vegetable oil. The onions should swim a bit in the oil, which we will be using again later.

Slice the plantains and fry in the vegetable oil until golden brown. It best to use a little more oil here too, so that the plantains stay nice and moist.

Once everything is sizzling and cooked through, serve.

When serving up, Eric is very particular about the order of things: First the beans. Then drizzle some onion and some of the oil used to fry the onions over the beans. This gives the gari a nice crispy texture. To finish off the dish, place the plantains on top.

Bon appétit!

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Recipe collection

Here you can find all recipes for our delicious dishes of the Allround Service Team. Let your taste buds go on a culinary journey with us.

Upside-down bowl (Bol Déviré)

This dish is a Chinese-Mauritian fusion and is very popular amongst Mauritian households. It typically consists of a filling of chicken or pork cooked in a wok with oyster/soya sauce and some veggies at the bottom of a bowl. It is then topped with fluffy basmati rice patted down which is turned out onto a plate. The domed shaped dish is then garnished with a fried egg on top and some chopped coriander.

My Mauritian grandma used to make this quite frequently on a Sunday afternoon and it was always fun to watch her make it.

There are various different ways Mauritians cook this dish, but I’ve shared an adaption of my grandma’s recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Tunisian Tagine with Cheese and Chicken

Back home, Sunday was always “Couscous Day with Tagine” for us. As children we’d always be helping Mama to prepare the food – peeling and chopping the vegetables and such. And you can be sure that we’d always try and pinch some of the fried diced potato … however loud Mama’s indignant protests, it was simply to delicious to resist! I often find myself thinking back on those days, and it’s always with a smile.

Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Fufu is without a doubt the dish that is most typical of West Africa. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cassava flour that can be served with a variety of sauces. But believe me, mashing fufu to make it nice and smooth and getting just the right balance between water and cassava flour can be hard work without a bit of know-how. I’ve therefore decided to show you a different, but equally delicious dish instead – beans and gari with ripened plantain.

Munich White Sausage

And what is the basis of the old saying: “White sausage must never hear the chimes of the midday bells”? Well, back in the days before refrigeration, if the sausages were not pre-cooked, they would have to be eaten quickly otherwise they would spoil. Today, this rule is no longer applied quite so strictly. The important thing is to make sure you have some sweet mustard and pretzels to hand, and a beer is the perfect drink to accompany the meal.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just around the corner and for all of us who enjoy a sweet treat or two, Elisabeth Feulner has just the very thing for those grey, rainy days … streaming Christmas songs while baking yummy cookies. A sure way to get in the Christmas spirit, and you won’t be able to wait for the festive season by the time you’re cutting out these cookies.

Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings

The New Year is just around the corner, so what better time for a very traditional Jiaozi recipe from our Austrian sisters, Qionglin and Yuru WU.

Jiaozi is a well-known dish throughout China. The recipe varies from one region to the next. There are also different folding techniques, and the filling can be prepared according to varying tastes … using vegetables or seafood, for example. The Jiaozi we are showing you here, are made using mixed minced meat, carrots and oxheart cabbage.

Austrian-style Apricot Dumplings

It is one of the traditional dishes to have its recipe kept in a safe in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, so as to preserve it for posterity.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi is not a recipe special to my family. Although the dish is eaten in almost all parts of Italy, it is frequently unknown to some people. To me, it recalls sweet memories of my childhood. It takes me back to my summer holidays at my grandparents’ in the mountains of Trentino, a place where I was simply just happy. A bit like Marcel Proust and his beloved Madeleine. These ricotta gnocchi awaken my mémoire involontaire.

to our Homepage