I wrote this entire blog post last night and then it disappeared somehow, which more or less didn't bother me since a life of breaking and losing things constantly does nothing if not really prepare you for a life of breaking and losing things constantly. The only unfortunate thing is I can't exactly recapture the magic since I was writing it in a certain location: on the floor of a friend's house, by a merrily humming heater, in a dimly lit room, with a beautiful dog wandering around and occasionally booping me. In this deleted blog post I talked about the nature of things that bring comfort - because for me, sitting on the floor in the dark next to a heat source that's emitting white noise is literal serene heaven - and now that I'm rewriting it, I'm in a completely different place. I don't know if I can recreate that comfort, but in a way all attempts at comforting yourself is just trying to artificially recreate comfort, yeah? Long story short: back your stuff up and press save often, people.
Included in the thoughts I put forward was the idea of comfort food, which I write about on here often: in this case, it takes the form of gnocchi, a pasta that's made from potatoes and therefore gives you carb-on-carb comfort, like sleeping with a thick blanket on top AND an electric blanket underneath at the same time. It's the middle of winter, we've all got sniffles and iron deficiencies and debt, the very least we can do for ourselves is cook something warm and moderately stodgy. Normally gnocchi involves peeling and boiling and draining and mashing potatoes like someone with seven years of spare time and a non-tendency to burst into tears at the slightest provocation, but here I shorten the path from A to Carb by using instant mashed potato flakes, and m8888, they are a revelation. Sacrilegious? Sacrelicious!
When fried in hot oil you end up with these little pillowy puffs that are golden and gratifyingly crispy on the outside and marshmallow-soft within, like the love child of a roast potato and a bowl of fettuccini. Fried brussels sprouts give sprightly green crunch, rosemary adds sex appeal (possibly highly niche sex appeal: I can't help that I find the scent of fried or flamed rosemary deeply attractive) and pine nuts are just nice as hell. On top of which I made this for myself after having had literally forty minutes of sleep the previous night, so like, you got this.
fast fried gnocchi with brussels sprouts, rosemary and pine nuts
a recipe by myself
- one cup instant mashed potato flakes
- half a cup (125ml) recently boiled water
- one cup flour
- a pinch of sea salt
- a handful of brussels sprouts (idk, six?), halved lengthwise
- a sprig of rosemary
- two tablespoons of pine nuts
- olive oil
Mix the potato flakes, boiling water, and salt together in a bowl, then stir in the flour and knead it a few times (just push the dough away and then pull it towards you and then push it away again, basically emotionally abuse it) till it forms a smooth-ish ball. Add a splash more water if it's really not coming together. Roll it out into a square about half an inch thick, then slice horizontally and vertically in parallel lines to form a bunch of small rectangles. Roll the back of a fork over them, to press some indentations in, (sort of rolling them lengthwise as you do it) and then set aside.
Heat a good amount of oil - at least three tablespoons - in a large saucepan, and fry the brussels sprouts, cut side down, till they're browned. Turn them over for a bit just to heat the other side, then remove them to your serving dish. Add some more oil if need be and then tip in the gnocchi, frying them on both sides till they're golden and crisped. Remove them to the serving plate, and then finally, strip the sprig of rosemary of its leaves and throw them in the hot oil till they're sizzling, and then finally briefly toast the pine nuts. Tip all of this on top of the gnocchi and sprouts, and then eat it.
As someone with hardcore, spine clenching anxiety I'm always trying to keep abreast (ha) of the stuff that (I take back that "ha", so immature) gives me some semblance of calm and staunches that feeling that the veins in your arms have slithered up your shoulder blades and wrapped themselves around your neck. Obviously nothing in particular is going to cure it, but if rain noises or whatever make me feel 9% calmer then that's still 9% calmer than I was before. (Also, I retract the retracted "ha", abreast is a funny word and I stand by it. I stand abreast with it, even.)
Look for comfort where you can. The world kind of sucks. These gnocchi look like they're all giving you a supportive fist bump, or at least that's how it looks to me in the photo at the top of this post. And that's something.
(Evidence that the tableau I described did happen.)
title from: Placebo, the name of one of my favourite bands and also one of my favourite effects, with their nasal goth hit Every You Every Me.
Spook the Horses, Footfall. Deliciously heavy.
Laura Lee Lovely, Hot Blood. I got to meet this absolutely beaut person for real recently after years of us exchanging heart emojis on each others instagram selfies, and she's just released a dreamy banger of a tune. If you like music that makes you feel happy and sad at the same time, give it a hoon.
next time: Whatever it is, I'm pressing save VIGOROUSLY the entire time I write it.