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Friday, 9 September 2011

Post the Nineteenth (in which Leinster have their first home match of the season)

And I'm not at it.  #rage, and all that early twenty-first century jazz.  Emmet and I generally go to all the home games, but we've to be in Dublin tomorrow night (and early Sunday morning for the match - more on that later) and it just wasn't feasible for us to go up tonight for the match.  Dogs don't generally appreciate being left on their own for three days at a time, you'll find.

So it's three-all at 25 minutes in.  Against Newport Gwent Dragons, btw.  Of course, no-one is supposed to say that the opening weeks of the Pro12 are going to be less than explosive, with most of the teams missing their star players because of the world cup, but everyone's thinking it.

Success on the world cup brekkie front, by the way - my oldest sister is hosting this Sunday's.  Result!  Thanks Clo!  I've said I'll supply the chilies for the huevos rancheros and she has allowed that jim-jams are acceptable attire.  Everyone's happy.

On the food photography front, I've been snapping away all weekend, with various different settings on my camera.  All the photos still look the same.  I'm beginning to think my camera only has an idiot-mode.  It's a Sony Cyber-Shot 8.1 Mega Pixel, if anyone is familiar with it and would like to give me a few pointers.  I'm kind of ashamed to admit that my phone takes better pictures.  I shall keep trying, however.  I'm nothing if not stubborn.

So, as I averred to yesterday, last night was my night off the low-carb wagon, and what better way to celebrate it than with the carb-tastic wonder that is gnocchi.  Potato-based pasta dumplings  You really can't get better than that.  Now, gnocchi is actually very easy to make from scratch, if you can be bothered, but for me it's one of those life's-too-short things.  So sue me, I buy mine.

Gnocchi & Parmesan Bake - serves 4

500g gnocchi                            2 tins tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped           Bunch of basil, stalks chopped, leaves chiffonaded
75g parmesan, grated               1 tbs dried oregano
2 onions, diced                         1 small red chili, finely chopped          
Salt, pepper & pinch of sugar

1. Boil your gnocchi in lots of salted water until almost done - about 4 minutes.  Drain, refresh in cold water and set aside.

2. In the same pot, heat a glug of olive oil.  Add your chili, onions, basil stalks & garlic and fry til beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  (Are we beginning to see a pattern with the tomato sauces, btw?)  Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, add the chopped basil, oregano and a pinch of sugar.  Simmer gently for 15 minutes.

3.  Season the sauce and stir in the gnocchi.  Pour into a large dish, scatter over the grated parmesan and bake at 190C until golden & bubbling.  Serve in deep bowls with a green salad and garlic bread.

A note on oven temps: Unless specified otherwise, take it as a given that all ovens are preheated.  I'm not going to tell you when to switch it on - you know your oven better than I do.  My oven heats really quickly, so switching it on at the start of cooking, as most recipes specify, is a waste of energy.  My mother's oven, on the other hand, needs to be turned on some time the previous day before you can start cooking in it.  So, know thy oven.

Another note on tinned tomatoes: I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I always buy whole tinned tomatoes, rather than chopped ones.  They're 10 to 15c cheaper, and tend to be better quality - not as many stalky bits.  I just whizz 'em in my mini chopper for a couple of seconds before using.

Today's Top Tip: Save time when crossing a one-way street by only looking in the direction of oncoming traffic.


  1. What happened to Post the Nineteenth??

  2. Oops, dunno what happened there! Titles are fixed now. Thanks!