Tuesday, 11 February 2014


During the later part of last year I developed a small obsession with MasterChef Australia. I have always loved cooking shows and am a big Jamie, Curtis and Nigella fan.  But, I was not really worried if skipped a MasterChef episode.

Not sure what brought about the change but Season 4 of MasterChef Oz had me hooked from the first episode. I loved the contestants and the spirit in which they approached the competition. The food that they plated up had me drooling...

So after a Master glass in which one of the judges Gary Mehigan made a potato gnocchi with exotic mushrooms I decided I had to try my hand at it as well.

It turned out so well that I thought I would share it...

I bought gnocchi because I was terrified I'd mess it up!!

It was really yum and I was very impressed that I pulled it off...the best part...the family enjoyed it to.  I have a couple more recipes I tried over the festive season so don't be a stranger.

I could not find all the exotic mushrooms mentioned so I used some brown mushrooms instead.  I have since found an exotic mushroom supplier and it was even better the second time I made it. Oh and we also don't seem to get tarragon here in SA so I just added a few rocket leaves.

Potato gnocchi with exotic mushrooms, rosemary and tarragon
Rock salt, to bake
1kg floury potatoes, Sebago (or brushed potatoes), washed
½-1 egg, lightly beaten
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

Mixed mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g king brown mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
100g wood ear mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
100g Nameko mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
40g butter, softened
Lemon zest
Tarragon leaves

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2 Line a baking tray with about 1/2cm layer of rock salt. Prick the potatoes all over and place on salt. Bake for 1-1.5 hours or until very soft. Immediately cut in half and press through a potato ricer or drum sieve placed over a large bowl. Add egg and season with salt, mix until just combined. Sprinkle half the flour onto a clean bench. Place potato mixture on top, flatten the mixture and sprinkle with remaining flour. Press mixture down with your fingers and fold it over with a pastry scraper or spatula, repeat this process until all the flour has been incorporated. Bring the dough together to form a ball. Divide dough into three, roll each into a 2cm diameter sausage shape using small amounts of flour to dust.  Cut into diagonal pieces about 2-3cm long and set on a floured tray.

3 For mushrooms, heat one tablespoon oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add king brown mushrooms and cook for one minute each side. Add garlic, wood ear mushrooms, thyme, Nameko mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

4 While mushrooms are cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, reduce to a simmer, gently add gnocchi and cook until they rise to the surface. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to an oiled bowl.

5 Heat one tablespoon oil in a non stick frying pan, add gnocchi and brown on both sides. Sprinkle over rosemary leaves and the butter in little blobs around the pan. Add back in cooked mushrooms, the lemon zest and tarragon. Spoon onto a serving plate and season to taste, dressing with extra butter from the pan.

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