Sausage Gnocchi


Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling that can be made of various things, but most commonly potato or flour. Homemade gnocchi can be absolutely lovely, but prepared gnocchi is increasingly easy to find and can make a very quick meal.

This recipe is my very own and uses sausage and a spicy Arrabiata-like sauce. Use hard goat or sheep’s cheese (like Pecorino) to add an extra depth of farm-fresh flavor that you don’t get from Parmesan. Then eat with a spoon.

[Prep: 5min / Cook: 25min]sausage_gnocchi


– 550g/1lb gnocchi
– 450g/1lb sausage meat
– 1 onion
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 390g/14oz (1 can) chopped tomatoes with basil
– dash each of chili powder, paprika and ground ginger
– handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise (optional)
– 1-2 cups of fresh spinach
– hard goat or sheep’s cheese (or Parmesan)

[Serves 4]


  1. Chop the onions and garlic.
  2. In large saucepan or wok, brown the sausage of choice* with onion and garlic (about 5min). Once browned, add the chopped tomatoes chili powder, paprika, and ginger. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10min.
  3. Meanwhile, boil water and cook the gnocchi according to package directions.
  4. Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes to the sausage and cook a further 2-5min until spinach and tomatoes just wilt.
  5. Stir in the cooked gnocchi & take off heat. Top with grated cheese of choice.


  • The proportions here are meat heavy, which worked well for us, but for a more gnocchi-focused dish, you could get away with half as much sausage.
  • Gnocchi is easy, but can be a bit annoying if not timed just right. To cook gnocchi, all you need to do is boil water and dump in the gnocchi for about 2-4 minutes until they float. Now the trick is not to drain them or let them sit before adding them to the sauce. They get really gloppy and sticky if you do. So it’s a good idea to leave it right up until you need the gnocchi before you put it on, so you can move it with a slotted spoon straight from the pot to the saucepan.
  • *Use can use the sausage heat/flavor of choice, but a tiny bit of spice makes this dish extra nice (like an Arrabbiata).  In America it’s easy to get sweet or spicy ‘Italian’ sausage, which would be my recommendation for this dish. One of the main distinguishing flavors of Italian sausage is fennel seeds, so when cooking this where Italian sausage isn’t available, I add a sprinkling of fennel seeds when adding the spices.
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Tortilla Chip Casserole

IMG_7118 A playful twist on some traditional flavors …

[Prep: 10min / Cook: 20min]

– 1 red onion
– 2 garlic cloves
– 2 tomatoes
– chili powder
– ground cumin
– 1 can red kidney beans in chili sauce
– 1 small can of corn
– nacho cheese tortilla chips (ie: Doritos)
– shredded cheddar


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/395F.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the onions, garlic and tomatoes and heat in a large saucepan with some oil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in a dash of chili powder and cumin as well as the beans and corn. Stir and heat for another 5 minutes
  4. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Top with crunched up tortilla chips and cheese and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.
  5. Top with any of the below and ready to eat!

[Serves 2]

Suggested toppings:IMG_7113

  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped coriander/cilantro
  • Fresh lettuce, tomato and onion
  • Rice
  • Pico de gallo
  • Jalapeños/Chilis


  • This need not really be a casserole. Once you’ve heated everything through on the stove top, you can mix and match and serve it as you choose. For example, baking makes the tortilla chips a bit soggy, so if you added them after baking, you’d get more of a crunch.
  • Similarly, turn this into a taco salad by lining a bowl with crushed up tortilla chips (or Frito chips), then top with the mixture, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.
  • Or use the mixture inside tacos or enchiladas topped with sauce of your liking.
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Haddock Chowder

This is a simply delicious chowder – makes your whole kitchen smell like fish, but it’s worth it. Barely altered the original recipe.

Haddock Chowder[Prep: 5min / Cook: 30min]

– 2 haddock fillets
– 1 pint of whole milk
– small can of corn
– 100g (3.5oz) cubed bacon pieces (lardons)
– 1 leek
– 350g (.75lbs) sweet potato
– 250ml (1 cup) fish or vegetable stock
– coriander


  1. Put the fish and milk in a saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes to cook the fish. Then scoop out the fish with a slotted spoon, flake and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, slice up the leek, peal and cube the sweet potato.
  3. Heat the bacon in the bottom of a large pot for about 5 minutes, then add the leek and potato for another few minutes.
  4. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes until the potato is tender.
  5. Add the fish, milk and corn and stir until heated through.
  6. Serve with a little chopped coriander on top.

[Serves 4]
Recipe adapted from Waitrose Kitchen


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Zucchini Soup

Here’s another dish perked-up with the use of mascarpone – in a surprisingly delightful ‘summer’ soup. Made with zucchini (courgette) and pesto, it’s a soup that’s light enough for a summer evening. I serve mine with bread and a little pate or hummus for a light meal.

[Prep: 10min / Cook: 20min]

– 1 small white onion
– 3 large zucchini (about 500-600g)
– couple cloves of garlic
– 250ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
– handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
– about 1/4 cup of pesto
(ie: a couple big scoops)
– an equal dollop of mascarpone ^
– salt
– dried rosemary
– Parmesan


  1. Chop the onion and zucchini and crush the garlic.
  2. Fry with a little oilve oil in a large stock pot for about 5-10 minutes over medium heat to soften up the vegetables.
  3. Add the stock, most of the mint, and all of the pesto. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and carefully blitz in a food processor or using a hand blender to make a thick soup.
  5. Return to the pot and stir in the mascarpone along with a hefty dash of salt and dried rosemary. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan, the remaining mint and an extra dollop of mascarpone.

[Serves 4]


  • The recipe that inspired this used ricotta rather than mascarpone. I’ve tried both and I prefer the creamier finish of the mascarpone.
  • I would also encourage you to experiment with different pestos – my favorite variation of this soup was with a cashew and basil pesto.
  • You can also carry this soup into the colder months and consider leaving out the mint. Maybe even substitute a little chili instead.
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Creamy Bacon Fusilli

This is kind of like carbonara, but with a touch of cheese instead of an egg … and with tomatoes and onions, so really not a carbonara at all. I arrived at it in a bit of an odd way, taking a recipe for ‘Pasta with Roasted Garlic & Tomatoes’, feeling like it was missing something, adding bacon and then tweaking it over and over again until it wasn’t anything like the original anymore. And so here you have the fruits of my experimentation:

[Prep: 5min / Cook: 25min]

Creamy Bacon Fusilli
– 250g (1/2 lb) of fusilli pasta
– 1 small white onion
– 3 cloves of garlic
– lump of butter
– 200g (7oz) cubed bacon/lardons/pancetta
– dash of salt & ground black pepper
– 125ml (1/2 cup) white wine
– 1/2 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
– 125g (4.5oz) mascarpone
– fresh grated Parmesan – to serve


  1. Bring a pot of water to a fierce boil and add the pasta. Cook until just al dente – only about 6-8min. Drain and reserve about 125ml (1/2 cup) of the cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic and toss it into a large wok (yes, a wok) over medium heat with a lump of butter. Cook for about 2 minutes, add the bacon, and cook for about 5 min more, until the onions and bacon start browning. Season with salt and pepper, then add the wine and tomatoes and let it simmer for a couple minutes.
  3. Turn the heat to low and tip in the pasta and cheese. Top with the reserved cooking water and stir until the pasta is evenly coated and mixed with everything.
  4. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan.

[Serves 2]

Creamy Bacon Fusilli


  • I’ve seen and tried a lot of recipes lately (including the inspiration for this one) that call for cream or soft cheese. Let me tell you, that has nothing on mascarpone. Whenever possible, go for the ‘real’ stuff – it makes all the difference.
  • I almost always use wholewheat pasta. I think it gives a lot more flavor and ‘umph’ than regular pasta, so give it a try.
  • You can make it without bacon; you can make it without tomatoes; you can add other cheeses (like Parmesan) to the sauce; you can add fresh or dried herbs … but I like it best this way.
  • I snuck a couple pasta method tricks into this one which are worth knowing:
    • always cook your pasta al dente (firm), and even less so if you are going to return it to the heat at like this recipe as it will continue to cook and absorb a bit when you put it back in
    • cook in a wok, not a saucepan nor a pot – it’s perfect for moving pasta around and coating it in sauce
    • when finishing the sauce (especially cream sauces), add that touch of reserved cooking water – there’s a little science behind it, but it really helps the sauce and the pasta come together and helps bind and thicken the sauce better than milk or water – here’s a great article all about it
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