day four – LBTL

So I know I’ve been banging on about this a lot, but, well, it is kinda my life at the moment. But hey, just so that you don’t think that a) I’m a raging b*tch or b) I’m superhuman, yes, it’s hard. And so I thought I’d answer a few questions that people have been asking me about Living Below the Line.

What do you miss the most?

Coffee. Followed closely by sweets and sweet snacks. It’s just being able to eat whenever I want. I can’t because I have to save it for the next meal.

What’s the hardest thing about it?

You know, I’d originally thought that working around food as I do would be the hardest and it is hard. Especially today when we had cake scraps to pick from, and it’s day four and I really just want to eat cake. And I’m sick (getting over a cold) and that’s been pretty difficult too. Early days for uni, wanting to curl up and go back to sleep. But the hardest thing – harder than no coffee, early mornings, no snacking, no flavour – is that every single time I think to myself  ‘man, I just want a cup of coffee’ or ‘Can I just cheat? just a little?’ there’s this voice in my head that goes ‘Suck it. You know that there are 1.4 billion people who have to do this every day, with even less food because they have to spend their money on other stuff as well.’ The hardest thing is not being able to feel sorry for myself, and then realising how good I have it, how spoiled I really am.

What’s the best thing about it?

Fundraising! All the amazing people who have donated, thank you. All the amazing people who are about to donate, all you have to do is click here! No, kidding. I REACHED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! YAY! And it’s all for an amazing cause – to help people get out of the cycle of poverty. Education is really good. Be grateful for your education! Utilise your education! Don’t skip class or nap during lectures! It doesn’t take much to make me grateful, sure. Just a week of hunger, longing and beating up on myself.

One day to go!

Tomato Soup

This isn’t a concrete recipe. Just take some tomatoes.

Slice them in half.

Roast them for about half an hour.

Put them in a blender.

Cover them with water. Add a little bit of butter.

Blend.

Eat with yesterday’s flatbread, dreaming of a better world.

ricotta gnocchi and the most amazing tomato sauce

Although I had originally planned a whole host of things to do today – washing, baking; general wholesome, homemaking things like that – sometimes plans get changed. SO instead of baking a cake, I made gnocchi with tomato sauce.

Gnocchi is my favourite type of pasta ever. I love it. I also love fresh ricotta, although I have no way of knowing if that’s what was used in this.

No, I didn’t wimp out and buy gnocchi (as if you could buy ricotta gnocchi anyway… I’ll have to check that actually…) but I also didn’t make this ALL by myself. I work at a cafe, and we serve lasagne. We make it ourselves and there was some leftover bechamel sauce with parsley, ricotta and cheddar mixed in (which tasted amazing on its own incidentally… I bet the lasagne was even better.) I got to take it home because I’m awesome, and I turned it into ricotta gnocchi by adding flour.

Thus, I don’t have a recipe for the amazing gnocchi. I do apologise. I suggest that you start with a basic bechamel sauce, add ricotta, finely chopped parsley, a little bit of grated cheddar and a whole lot of flour. When it’s kinda sticky but dough-y, scoop up teaspoonfuls and drop into boiling, salted water. When they float, let them cook about a minute more and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon; put them in a colander to drain, then serve with this.

Ah, tomato sauce. Add sugar? Salt? Red wine, garlic, tomato paste, basil, oregano, fresh tomato, olive oil… No. The very first time I read Smitten Kitchen was for this sauce, and, frankly, I’ve never looked back – neither for tomato sauce nor my favourite food blog. This stuff is amazing.

I’ll let Deb tell you all about it, but just so you know – once you’ve started, you can’t stop. It’s been on Amateur Gourmet with Adam, Orangette with Molly, Rachel Eats with, well, Rachel…Marcella Hazan, you clearly are a genius.

Make it. And then tell me about it. And then dance in the summer rain.