Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Little Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow!

Alfresco 2

I very rarely recommend places to buy or eat. I don't do it because I find there is never any consistency. One day fantastic, next time BLAH!
  1. The food is just not consistent, chefs on different shifts that cook food differently.
  2. Staff changes, sometimes friendly, sometimes NOT.
  3. The quality of produce seems to differ on different times that you go, sometimes really fresh, others not so fresh
So hence, I try to avoid it. But about 18months ago I went to one of my sons many birthday parties he gets invited to. One of the parents was smart enough to have little desserts on platters. Normally you get stuck with a cold sausage roll, a piece of cake that your son has eaten all the icing off and some really bad coffee and tea station. Yuk! It's bad enough having to stand there for 2 hours when really you just want to be doing something else. But we do it because we love watching how much fun our son has and how special he feels to be invited to a 6 year old red carpet event.
So I asked the parent where she got them? This is the place Alfresco 2 and oh my what a flavour hit.
We have been going there ever since. Seriously this place is something special. The pastries are divine. Always beautiful, always fresh, always lovely staff!!!
The price is exceptional $1.30 per piece with the ones I picked.
And last but not least consistently Excellent!!
Last night was our Football Teams break up dinner and I supplied dessert!
This is what I brought them!
This is them, well some of them anyway. Full range below.
Their Range includes:
  • Cannoli
  • Ricotta Cannoli
  • Chocolate Eclair
  • Coffee Eclair
  • Puff
  • Hazelnut Puff
  • Vanilla Slice
  • Fruit Tart
  • Strawberry Tart
  • Almond Tart
  • Rum Baba
  • Banana Caramel
  • Sfogliatelle
  • Chocolate Sfogliatelle

- The Chocolate & Vanilla Custard Cannoli is the perfect amount of sweetness and that gorgeous crunch of the shell.
- The Chocolate Eclair is again the perfect amount of sweetness and that lovely fluffy choux pastry, with the decadent chocolate on top
- The Vanilla Slice, the most perfect vanilla slice I have ever had. Just perfection.
So I am telling you, if you live in Adelaide, go here, you will become addicted.
Just a wonderful place.

Alfresco 2

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday - 8am-5pm
Saturday - 8am-3pm
Sunday - Closed

(Closed all public holidays)

Shop 4
636 Lower North East Road
South Australia 5074

Phone: 08 8365 3480
Fax: 08 8365 9662

Saturday, 1 September 2012

For The Vegetarian Footballer In Your Life!


Yes, Yes You Are, CAPTAIN!

Vegetable, Sage & Parsley Gnocchi with Butter, Garlic & Pine Nuts


For The Gnocchi

I made a massive batch so I could snap freeze half for a different sauce in the future. The KEY to good Gnocchi is it needs to be light and fluffy not heavy like a dumpling. How to do that is to not overwork the dough, mix it with your hands gently and knead it gently.
3 kilos of potato, peeled, cubed and steamed.
3 Free range Eggs
1-2 Cups of 000 Flour
Extra Flour for rolling
1 Cup of Flat Leafed Parsley Chopped (Italian Parsley)

Once you have steamed the potatoes, lay them out on a tray and allow them to sit for a good 15 minutes to cool and to dry out. Then put them through a potato ricer. The good thing about a potato ricer is that it keeps the potato light and fluffy. If you don't have one, I would use a colander and push the potato through using a spatula. Mashing them is not a good idea as it seems to make the dough a lot heavier. 
In a very large bowl, add the potato, the cup of chopped parsley, three eggs and about a cup and a half of flour. I also added a good grind of black pepper.
Mix with your hands nice and gently to form a ball, this is when you will assess if you need more flour. If it is really sticky add some more as you go. Once it has come together in a nice ball, put on a floured bench.

Knead the dough not for long until the ball looks like below.
Cut dough into Quarters, each quarter you roll into long ropes about 1 inch thick and cut the dough into about 3 quarter and inch pieces, then place them on a lined tray.

Remember to be gentle with it. They are like light fluffy pillows.
I left mine out for an hour or so just to rest. Then I froze half of them on the tray, after they were frozen for a good few hours, I popped them into a freezer container for a later date. Half the Gnocchi will feed 4 large eaters ( Footballers)

They are so beautiful.

For the Sauce

Cup of Chopped Sage
Cup of Chopped Flat Leafed Parsley (Italian Parsley)
3 Large Cloves of Garlic Chopped
Cup of Toasted Pine Nuts
2 Punnets of Cherry Tomatoes Cut in Half
3 Zucchinis Chopped into uniformed pieces
75 grams of good Quality Butter
A Good First Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Season
Now I made this in two batches, the reason I did that was so I could keep the Gnocchi light and fluffy without crushing it all together in one massive pot. But after doing it in two batches, I look back and think I probably could have done it in one.
You decide how you would like to do it.

Before you start you need to have a massive pot of well salted boiling water on the stove for the Gnocchi. In a separate large pan on a medium to high heat pop in half the butter and a really good splash of the olive oil. Use a good olive oil, it's about taste and you want that lovely fruity pepperyness from the oil.
Fry off half the garlic until translucent and then add half the zucchini. Cook on a medium high heat until the Zucchini has just become translucent as well. Add half the cherry tomatoes and half the sage. Give it a quick stir.
Gently place the half the Gnocchi into the salted boiling water, they only take 30-60 seconds to cook. They will sink to the bottom when you put them in. Once they start floating they are done. Use a slotted spoon as they come to the top and gently place them in the pot with the herbs and vegetables.

Gently stir them through the sauce, with half the parsley and add half of the pine nuts. Season to taste, lots of pepper and I used quite a bit of salt.
Serve Immediately.

Like I said, I did it in two batches that's why each measure is half of what is in the ingredients list. It was delicious. My Vegetarian Football Captain loved it!
The flavor is just lovely.