So this is where I’m at with the whole life thing right now…
The end of daylight savings a few weeks ago means that it is dark, not only when I get up at 3am for work on work days, but also at 7am (give take an hour) on my days off too. It also starts to get dark in the evenings – and by evenings I mean late-ish afternoons – a good hour before Beer-o’ clock which has set my internal body clock into all sorts of mayhem and means that my first beer can no longer be enjoy outside in warm sunshine but inside, as I pull on socks and a sweater.
Because the temperature has now reached the level that, the moment I step out of my bed, I’m wishing I was back under the covers nice and snuggled and warm. My feet turn to blocks of ice in a second without the aid of socks (and, yes, although I hate to admit it, slippers too) and the dash from the bedroom to the warm, steamy confines of the shower is starting to become painfully cold and cruel.
Yes winter is slowly creeping up on us down here in Australia, although, for the time being, Autumn is hanging around quite undecided if it will become an authentic let’s-brace-for-winter-style autumn or the, “oh, Autumn is much milder this year” kind of season.
Nevertheless the shorter days, the cooler weather and the ability not to go around the entire day in just shorts and t-shirts (footwear optional) has only now become possible if you don’t mind freezing certain extremities and having wet slushy leaves stuck to your feet.
Alright, venting, and complaining over. Breeeeeeeaaaaaatttttthhhhhheeeee! It’s all out of my system so now it’s time to get back to happy, excited by food, James. Ok?
Despite my obvious complaining at winter-expecting life right now (first world problems, I know) there are benefits of the cooler times:
- Sleeping: How good is it being able to go to sleep, snuggled under the blankets and keeping cozy and warm? Certainly beats tossing and turning in a furnace-like bedroom where even a wafer thin sheet feels like the thickest of winter coats;
- Cuddle/ Netflix time in front of the couch (pretty much for the same reasons as sleep – see above);
- Food: There are times when people think I’m joking when I say my life revolves around food, but, no, really my world really does revolve around food.
For example, I love to travel. I think that’s one of the main reasons I get up and go to work because I know, at one time or another, I will have saved enough money to buy a ticket and jet off to some exotic location.
Of course there’s seeing the sights: the temples, the museums, the bridges and even the bronze tiger statues (hello Oslo!!!) but what I’m most excited about when travelling overseas, the thing that gets me as excited as a young kid at christmas (almost unable to sleep excited) is the food.
It’s always about this food
So it’s not surprising that when it comes to finding something exciting about the arrival of winter, one of the most important things on my mind is: food.
Because all through summer, as I’m cooking barbecues, tossing salads and cooking even more barbecues, I do forget how good winter food is.
But then, on the first chilly day of the year – which is almost always accompanied by an overcast sky and a steady falling of mist like rain? (aka perfect comfort food weather) you will find me in the kitchen throwing to gather something like a Beef Bourguignon and, with a few simple ingredients and several sips (alright, gulps) of wine??? (because drinking wine is compulsory when cooking French Food; if you don’t do it you are breaking international food preparation laws – true story! ) my love of winter food is reignited.
And that love will burn brightly for about 6 months until summer comes rolling back again which, of course, means barbecue!
Yes, winter is all about the stews?, the curries, the pasta?, the soups, the big bowls of warm, comforting, stomach-hugging, going-back-for-seconds meals.
And delicious comfort takes the spot as the people’s favourite winter menu option, am I right?
And what better way to bring about comfort food greatness that making a recipe that is:
Quick and easy to make: everything is placed into a food processor to make the sauce before being added to cooked gnocchi. Yup, it’s that simple??.
Healthy: nothing from a jar here! Just wholesome food made with fresh ingredients (with a drop of ricotta just to add that little extra burst of comfort-food awesomeness)
And that recipe comes in the form of this gnocchi, swimming around in a thick and creamy sauce made from pumpkins, ricotta and enough garlic to have things tingling for comfort food joy.
Grab and fork and dig in, it won’t last long!
Pumpkin and Ricotta Gnocchi
Prep Time: 10 mins || Cook Time: 20 mins || Serves: 2
- 500g Gnocchi
- 250g pumpkin/butternut squash, boiled until soft and cooled
- 50g ricotto
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced (this can be double if you’re a garlic aficionado)
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried basil (or oregano, or mixed Italian herbs if you prefer)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- pinch of salt, to taste
- cheery tomatoes, fresh parsley to for garnish
- Place all ingredients except the gnocchi, into your food processor and blitz until a thick and creamy sauce like consistency has been achieved, adding 1/4 cup of water if it seems a little too thick.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the gnocchi. Cook for a few minutes, or until floating to the surface, and then drain.Return the gnocchi to the pan on medium heat and add the pumpkin sauce. Cook for a few minutes or until heated through. Serve.
- Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and can be frozen.
- Insider’s Tip: This gnocchi will serve two people as a light lunch type meal but, if you’re two hungry people looking for a soul-sotthing, stomach filling dinner, you may want to get a piece of the garlic bread/ bruschetta/ salad/ other delicious Italian-style side dish action, other wise you may not feel as comforted as you should be.