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    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    Tomatoes, Potatoes and Kumara - Some more ideas

    Quelle domage! I bought the wrong potatoes.  Still cooking with tomatoes, I wanted to make one of my favourite soups.  Whilst I was out west, (buying the tomatoes), I like to buy other fresh vege as well. I was saddened to hear that Nick, from Kiwi Orchard, who was my favourite market garden retailer, died last year. I have been shopping there, for at least twenty years and it was a shock to see the little shop, all closed up.
    He had great fruit and vege, a lot of which was grown on his property and he always sold me excellent produce. His uncle Steve, is the owner of Riverhead Orchard, my tomato supplier.
    So back to the potatoes I went elsewhere and I bought some Agria, an excellent all purpose potato... but obviously not at this time of the year. They are waxy and not suitable for my soup as I soon found out.
    Anyway, didn't notice that, till too late. The soup is fine but a nice mashing potato, would have been better.

    Sorry I have been rambling, so on to the soup
    It is from Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, a big favourite of mine

    Cream of Tomato, Leek and Potato Soup
    50gms butter 
    White part of 2 leeks finely sliced
    225gms tomatoes cored and chopped340 gms potatoes peeled and diced
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tsp sugar
    1 litre water

    100 mls cream warmed
    Chevril or parsley

    Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan
    Add leeks and just let them soften. Don't brown it will completely change the flavour of the soup
    Add tomatoes, let them cook until the juices flow
    Add potatoes, salt, sugar and stir
    The add water to cover
    After it comes to the boil
    Turn it down and simmer steadily for about 25 minutes (or until potatoes are tender in my case)
    If you have a food mill put it through, but a blender will do

    Before serving add cream.
    To garnish a little chopped parsley or chevril.

    This is a lovely soup, very simple, but you can taste each ingredient separately.
    Do try, it's lovely.
    By the way I went out west again and this time, bought Sebago potatoes made more of the soup and they were perfect
    Two containers for the freezer. Yum.

    So, I also bought Kumara.
    Michael Smith from the Chef at Home programme on Food TV, made these wonderful little
    Sweet Potato (Kumara) Dumplings (Gnocchi).

    He flavoured them with cumin, as he was making them to accompany a Moroccan Dish.

    I wanted to do the Italian Sage Brown Butter way, so I used dried oregano in mine.
    So easy and with the Sage Butter, superb.
    People are frightened of making gnocchi, don't be, it's dead easy and once you cook the kumara, real quick.

    3 medium Kumara
    1 cup flour plus extra for rolling out
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

    1/4 cup unsalted butter
    6 fresh sage leaves

    Heat oven to 170C
    Place Kumara on baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour till they are squishy
    When they are cool enough to handle
    Split open and spoon flesh into a large bowl
    Add oregano, 1 cup flour. Salt, pepper and olive oil
    Mash and knead everything into a dough
    If the dough seems a bit wet add a little more flour
    The trick is to add the least amount of flour to bring the Kumara into a workable dough

    Turn out on floured board and roll into a ball.
    Cut in half and roll each half into a sausage

    Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to the boil
    Salt the water liberally as you would for pasta.
    Cut each sausage into 2.5 cm pieces
    Toss them around in flour, to stop them sticking together
    Drop them into the boiling water you can do about 10 at a time.
    Cook them till they float to the surface about 2-3 minutes

    In another pan melt butter over medium heat
    Add sage leaves
    Let butter brown and bubble
    DON'T burn
    It will have a lovely nutty smell
    Remove gnocchi from pot and place in sage butter
    Toss around for a minute or two till they brown
    Continue and repeat with the rest of the gnocchi.
    Look at these. So yummy
    I placed the extra, not eaten by us, on a tray and free flow froze them
    When they are frozen, place in a plastic bag, remove air and pop them into the freezer for a later meal.
    I also made them and tossed into a mushroom sauce
    Serve with grated Parmesan Cheese. Equally as good.

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