Thursday, June 30, 2016

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I love Gnocchi, those gorgeous pillowy potato dumplings Italy made famous! They are so versatile and a fantastic change from regular pasta every once in a while. You would be surprised how simple it is to make your own. Plus making your own has the added benefit of no preservative or additives. Just a few simply ingredients and you are done!

Ever the health conscious, well I like to do a little balancing act of 20% bold awesome treats, and 80% sinless tasty meals; I've decided to make gnocchi even healthier. Normally made with white potatoes and white flour, I'm mixing things up a bit using whole wheat flour, and sweet potatoes instead. I love how by making little grooves in the gnocchi, your sauce sticks to them, making for a very tasty vegetarian meal. I like to go meat free on a Monday after maybe over eating at the weekends. This is the perfect antidote to a weekend of over indulging, but still packed with goodness and flavour!


  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 tbsp of olive oil, extra virgin
  • Salt & pepper
  • The sauce of your choice,  My Parsley Pesto, is a particular favorite


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and bake the sweet potatoes for 50 minutes. If you are short on time, prick each sweet potato many times, wrap in kitchen paper and microwave for 6-7 minutes.
  2. Once baked, slice the potatoes in half and scoop out the soft potato, discard the skins. Allow to cool. 
  3. Add salt, pepper and the oil, and mash the potatoes well.
  4. Add the flour to the mashed potato and knead to a well formed dough, add more oil if too dry or more flour if too wet.
  5. Dust your work surface with flour and turn out the dough, giving it a brief knead. 
  6. Roll the dough out to a sausage rope.
  7. Cut the rope into 1 inch intervals.
  8. Using a wet fork, stamp each gnocchi, to give a slight indent.
  9. Place a pan of water on to boil with a generous pinch of salt.
  10. Drop the gnocchi into the water and cool for a couple of minutes. When they float, they are cooked.
  11. Stir through your sauce/pesto of choice and enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Red Quinoa & Smoked Salmon Sushi - A Low GI Alternative to Sushi Rolls

Nori Maki is my favorite sushi!! I adore the taste of the nori seaweed paper and the sweet and tangy rice vinegar soaked sticky sushi rice! I've been hooked ever since my Sushi for Beginners class in Ballymaloe (see previous blog post here). I've been obsessed lately with trying to eat foods with a low GI, and trying to pair the correct foods together. I was shocked to see sushi rice so high on the glycemic index (89). Not one to say good bye to my beloved nori maki rolls, I set about trying to find an alternative for the high GI rice. After all, every other part of the rolls are extremely healthy.

That's when I discovered that the awesome quinoa could do the same job as the rice. I have developed quite an obsession for red quinoa, I love the crunchier texture over white quinoa, but they both still have the same nutrient make up more or less. I'll admit that white quinoa is fluffier and probably be easier to work with from a 'sticky' perspective, but I think that the red quinoa just has more flavor, dammit!! :)

There is something so satisfying about rolling nori maki rolls. I can't put my finger on it, it's reminds me of make and do as a child and has a fun playful aspect to it. It's actually childsplay to make and you'll find that you become more confident and accomplished as you progress from rolling your first roll to the final one.

I have an endless supply of gorgeous fresh smoked salmon in my kitchen from the Bed and Breakfast so I robbed some for my dinner to make these rolls. We get our salmon delivered to the door from a local supplier and it's definately worth buying your smoked salmon locally. There is no comparison with the cheaper supermarket alternatives. If you don't like/have smoked salmon you can use pretty much anything, prawns, crab, or go completely veggie, and have a rainbow of peppers and cucumbers. There are no rules!! Afterall, I'm not even using rice!

I will say you can't have sushi without wasabi, pickled ginger or soy! Now that's a deal breaker! I love the hot hit you get from wasabi, so I spread it on my salmon in the roll, but if you're not that hard core, just plant a blob of it on the side of your plate and dip in the roll after. The 'hot hit' though is an addictive feeling.

Here's the recipe to my favorite, but use this as a guide and substitute in the ingredients you like

Makes 4 Rolls


  • 1 cup of red quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tbsp japanese rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 4 nori sheets, try to source a sushi rolling bamboo mat also. They are usually sold along side the nori sheets. It makes rolling so much easier.
  • 50g of smoked salmon, sliced thinly
  • Thinly sliced variety of peppers, carrots, and cucumber
  • 1 tube of wasabi
  • soy sauce
  • pickled ginger


  1. Firstly you must cook you quinoa. Add 2 cups of water to a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the the quinoa and cook on a simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain well.
  3. Spread the quinoa out in a dish and mix in the vinegar, salt and sugar and make sure everything gets well coated.
  4. Allow the quinoa to cool.
  5. Get your bamboo rolling mat and place in front of you.
  6. Wave a sheet of nori over the hob, careful not to burn, but just to heat slightly to make the sheet more pliable.
  7. Place the nori sheet on the bamboo mat, shiny side down.
  8. Spread a thin layer of quinoa over the the whole sheet, out to the edges, leaving a small space at the top side of the sheet to seal it. 
  9. Lay the smoked salmon and the vegetables (whichever combination you prefer) on the side nearest you. Careful not to over fill as the roll will burst if over filled. I know this from vast greedy experience.
  10. Dab the empty edge of the nori sheet with rice vinegar using your finger. This is your glue.
  11. Carefully , as tight as you can, start rolling the the roll, away from you.
  12. I like to cut the ends of the sushi rolls normally for a cleaner finish, and these ends are cooks treat.
  13. Cut the roll in half, and then cut those halves in half, and finally , cut those pieces in half. You should have eight pieces, for small bites. you can make them bigger, but the sushi etiquette is to be able to eat your roll in one mouth full, and I don't know about you, but my mouth isn't big enough for anything bigger than 1/8 of a roll at a time.

To serve, put a 'blob' of wasabi on the side of the plate, soy sauce in a dish and pickled ginger on the side. Dip and enjoy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...