It doesn’t take much to talk me into hosting a dinner party. Cooking for others would be on the top of my list of fun things to do. This Halloween I put together a dinner party for eight. We started with a classic cheese platter, moved on to handmade walnut gnocchi with roast pumpkin medallions and sage butter. The grand finale was a classic desert from my childhood, Chocolate Pudding. My twist on the pudding was that it was all organic.
Walnut Gnocchi with Roast Pumpkin Medallions and Sage Butter -serves 8
1 large butternut pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup unbleached flour
4 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup ground walnuts
150g finely grated vegetarian parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
125 g organic salted butter
1 large handful of fresh sage leaves
Cut the butternut pumpkin into small even pieces and roast with olive oil on a large baking try for 30 minutes or until soft.
Peel and boil the potatoes.
Mash thoroughly in a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
Once the potatoes have cooled add the flour, eggs, ground walnuts, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
Combine all the ingredients well with a wooden spoon.
Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper on the bench and lightly cover with flour.
Form balls by rolling small amount of the dough in the palm of your hand.
Dip a fork in a small bowl of flour and then press the fork into the ball of dough to form a small log with the traditional fork indent.
Lay the gnocchi balls out on the floured greaseproof paper.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a small amount (enough for 2 portions) of gnocchi to the water.
Make sure to boil the gnocchi in small batches to prevent them sticking together.
Once the balls float to the surface scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place on a warm plate.
Meanwhile melt the butter with the sage leaves in a large fry pan.
Add the pumpkin medallions to the melted sage butter and stir gently for a few moments.
Poor a small amount of the pumpkin and melted sage butter over the top of the warm gnocchi on the plates.
I served this with a large green salad of leaves, pears and blanched beans with a simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, agave syrup, crushed garlic and dried oregano.
Classic Chocolate Pudding
125g organic butter
1 cup organic milk
¾ cup organic rapadura sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups unbleached organic self raising flour
1 tablespoon organic coco powder
1 cup boiling water
¾ cup organic dark muscovado sugar
Additional 2 tablespoons organic coco powder
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degC
Add the butter and milk to a large saucepan and melt over a medium heat.
Stir in the rapadura sugar and vanilla essence.
Sift in the flour and coco powder and stir well with a wooden spoon.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish and spread out evenly.
Combine the dark muscovado sugar and additional coco powder well in a small bowl.
Sprinkle this sugar and coco mix evenly over the top of the pudding batter in the baking dish.
Carefully pour the boiling was over the top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
The pudding will be firm and cooked in the centre with a rich chocolaty sauce around the edges.
I served this with vanilla ice-cream and milk chocolate flakes.