Iso-Spiration – Week Three! Celebrate the Final Weeks of Winter with Chilli Hot Chocolate, Gnocchi & Cheese

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This week, we look at how we can savour the last few weeks of
winter by enjoying all that this season brings!
In the kitchen with Alice in Frames.
Alice Zaslavsky aka Alice in Frames, a long time friend of En Pointe Events, is keeping busy during iso by doing what she does best, COOKING! Alice joins En Pointe this week to share her favourite winter warmer, turning a classic fave into an adult luxe version - the ultimate chilli hot chocolate.

Arguably two of South America’s most popular exports, chilli and chocolate are the best of friends, both in savoury cooking with sauces like Mexican mole, and especially in desserts. The addition of a little chilli to a good quality coverture chocolate takes simple hot choc to the next level, warming the cockles of your heart on a chilly evening. As the weather warms up (we hope!), switch it into a summer taste sensation by pouring over ice, and/or give it a boozy kick with a little liqueur.

Chilli Hot Chocolate
Serves 4

Ingredients
100g dark (at least 70%) couverture chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 long red chilli, de-seeded and quartered lengthways
1/2 tsp ground chilli
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
1 litre full cream milk (or nut/oat milk, if you’re that way inclined)

Method
Add all of the ingredients except for the chocolate into a small saucepan, and heat on low until the milk is just simmering. Whisk in the chocolate a little at a time, allowing it to melt. Bring to a simmer and serve, with one of the chilli quarters bobbing about in each mug.

Alice is set to release her 2nd book In Praise of Veg, a Modern Kitchen Companion in November. In Praise of Veg is available for pre-order and has already topped the best seller list. You can pre-order In Praise of Veg here.

Connect with Alice, for more foodie tips and recipes.
Instagram | Website

Rocco's Nonna’s Gnocchi
A sneak peek into Rocco's childhood - his favourite family meal! This recipe, from his Nonna's cookbook, reveals the secret to smooth, cloud-like and creamy gnocchi, turning this humble dish into a weekly favourite.

Gnocchi Tips
- Bake the potatoes instead of boiling, this is key! Potatoes loose roughly a quarter of their water weight during baking, while boiled potatoes lose none. Boiled potatoes are prone to being waterlogged resulting in mushy gnocchi.
- It’s all about the potato! Use russet potatoes. They’re dry, retain less water and produce the lightest gnocchi. 
- Invest in a potato ricer or food mill, it helps them stay fluffy.  If you mash the potatoes, the gnocchi will turn out gummy or heavy.
- The culprit for tough gnocchi is usually one of two things (or both): too much flour in the dough or too much kneading. Overwork the dough and you'll develop the flour's gluten too much, resulting in hard, gummy gnocchi. Under-work it, and you won't form a proper dough; the gnocchi may look good, but they'll start to fall apart once they hit the water. 
- To egg or not to egg? This has always been a hot debate however eggs make for a more cohesive dough that is easier to work with, easier to roll out without breaking and holds its shape when boiling so there’s less risk of them disintegrating in water.
Ingredients
Serves 4-6
800g potatoes (Russet is preferred)
200g ‘00’ flour, plus extra for kneading and to dust your work bench
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g parmesan cheese, grated
Salt
Pepper
 
Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, lay the potatoes on a baking tray and pierce each potato 6 times with a knife or fork. Bake for an hour or until the potatoes are tender.
2. Remove potatoes from oven and cut in half immediately (use tongs to help stabilise the potato) and scoop out the flesh. This helps the steam escape instead of being absorbed back into the potato flesh, as it cools.
3. Run the flesh through a ricer or a mill, place in a large clean bowl.
4. Make a well in the centre of the potatoes and add flour, parmesan, salt, pepper and a lightly beaten egg - it is really important to season the mix at this stage. Bring together with a fork and transfer the mixture to a floured bench. Knead very lightly until the dough comes together as a ball. The dough should be soft, smooth and a little sticky.
5. Cut dough in half and roll into sausage shape, approximately 2cm in diameter.  With a sharp knife, cut 2cm chunks with a knife and set aside until complete, keep covered with a dry tea towel. To make the signature ridges, roll the gnocchi pieces over the back of a fork or if you’re impatient like me, with a finger, simply press the centre of each potato pillow. These ridges help the sauce cling to the gnocchi better.
6. Cook gnocchi in heavily salted boiling water (it’s a tragedy if you don’t salt your pasta water - it should taste as salty as sea water).
7. Once the gnocchi floats to the top of the water, remove with a slotted spoon, add to your favourite sauce and serve immediately.
Sweet dreams are made of cheese!
If you are like us, buying local and supporting small businesses are a consideration when shopping for food. Help us support struggling Aussie farmers and their businesses by simply eating their cheese (tough gig, right?). Here is the good news... you don’t even need to leave the house because they deliver direct to YOU.

The MOULD Cheese Collective offers a monthly cheese box subscription delivered to your door (Australia wide). Each month, they curate a mix of 4 cheeses from small artisanal Aussie producers for $75. It really is the perfect box for your next wine night, date night, party or weekend spreads. Their first box was so gouda it sold out in a week.

Click here to check out the selections available to order.
What have we been listening to, reading and watching, to keep us busy?
Here are our top picks for this week!

Listening - Dolly Parton's America [Podcast]
Country star Dolly Parton is more than an entertainer, says National Public Radio host Jad Abumrad. In a fractious America, she creates a space where all walks of life can happily coexist. He explores this concept in a podcast - Dolly Parton's America. It is a nine-part non-fiction series based on Dolly Parton's career and enduring legacy. Each episode covers a different aspect of Parton's career, from her early life, to her unique approach to politics, her most famous songs and creation of the Dollywood theme park.

 
Reading - The 1% Solution for Work and Life: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever by Tom Connellan
Top sales reps, weight loss champs, blue chip firms, Warren Buffett, Navy SEALs, Olympians, and other winners all understand the power of 1%. Packed with actionable ideas, The 1% Solution shows you how to power up your next 30 days and then keep on going at a permanently higher level. Because it's based, not upon opinion, but upon solid research that's backed up with real-life examples, this book is for those who want to be better right now.

Watching - Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix
Unlike any other food show on TV, Salt Fat Acid Heat is an American cooking documentary TV series starring Samin Nosrat. Based on her 2017 eponymous cookbook, this four-part series focuses on one element of cooking paired with a location: fat in Italy, where she makes pasta and eats prosciutto and cheese; salt in Japan, where she collects seaweed and makes miso eggs; acid in Mexico, where she eats fiery salsa and harvests honey; and heat in Berkeley, where she returns to the restaurant where she got her start, Chez Panisse, to cook over a wood fire. The show has an opulent cinematography style, like “Chef’s Table” but you’ll come away from each episode with practical tips and recipe ideas, too.
We hope to continue to inspire, entertain, and bring some happiness to you during this unprecedented time. We want to let you know that we are always available for you, by phone, email and our social channels. 

Thank you for your continued support.
Stay home and stay safe x
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En Pointe. It means to dance gracefully and effortlessly on the tips of the toes, all while telling a mesmerising story that captivates an audience. Much like an enthralling ballet, we believe the best events tell their stories just as memorably — coming to life with a level of precision achieved only through countless years of dedication, training, and experience.

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