Purple Vitelotte Gnocchi



This recipe is super-easy and so pretty.  However, it is in French, so Morgane has kindly translated for you below – or use this link to see the full site and pics http://laraffinerieculinaire.com/the-purple-gnocchi-gnocchi-de-vitelotte/

La raffinerie culinaire / The purple gnocchi

Je ne suis pas très pâtes en général, mais alors les gnocchis, pwaaaaa ! Surtout les gnocchis à la pomme de terre (parce qu’a la semoule je suis moins fan) ! Comme c’est bientôt la fin de la saison des Vitelottes, j’en ai profité pour en prendre un petit peu, parce qu’une pomme de terre Violette, c’est quand même vachement cool ! Bon par contre mis à part la couleur, ça reste une pomme de terre, avec un léger petit goût de noisette, certes, mais une patate quoi. En plus la chaire farineuse de la Vitelotte restreint un peu les possibilités de la cuisiner, à part en purée ou en chips, on à vite fait le tour ! Alors puisqu’il faut des pomme de terre bien farineuse pour faire des gnocchis, pourquoi pas en faire des violets ! J’ai gardé la recette de base que j’utilise pour faire des gnocchis classiques, et je les ai mêmes mieux réussit qu’avec des pommes de terre classiques. Au top quoi !

I don’t really like pasta usually, but gnocchi, OMG !

But specially potato gnocchi (I’m not a big fan of semolina gnocchi honestly) ! As the end of the vitelotte season is approaching, I took the opportunity to take some of them…. A purple potato is still pretty cool! (Well) aside from / apart from the colour, it’s still a potato, and tastes slightly like hazelnut, but is still a potato.

Besides the floury flesh of the vitelotte quite limits the ways of cooking it, apart from mashed potatoes or chips. So since you need very floury potatoes to make gnocchi, why not make purple ones! I kept the basic recipe I use to make classic gnocchi, and I even made them better than with basic potatoes! Perfect then!

 Serves 4:

. 500 g. vitelotte potatoes (total weight once peeled, so use a bit more at first)

. 1 egg

. Lemon zest

. 140 g. flour

. Salt

Start by boiling the purple potatoes: rinse them (that’s not because we peel them off after that we have to cook them before washing!), then put them in a pot full of a cold* water, then cook them until they’re done (Elementary my dear Watson), then count about 30 minutes of cooking, so 25 minutes of boiling.

  •  if you do not put them in cold water, they will burst, same thing with basic potatoes.

Once cooked, rinse your vitelottes under cold water to stop them from cooking further, but you still need to keep them tepid, as it’s easier to make a puree. Peel them, then mash them. Ideally, you should mash them in a potato ricer, in order to get a very thin puree; as I don’t have a mill, I just mashed them with a potato-masher. The most important thing is to have a really smooth puree, without any big bits. Then add the lemon zest and mix well. Add salt, then add half the flour. Mix and add the egg. When you get smooth dough, add the rest of the flour and mix well. At this point you should get a nice firm smooth ball of dough. If your dough seems too sticky, add more flour. Cut your ball in 4, flour your work surface and form long thin rolls (circa. 2 cm diameter each). Cut each of your 4 rolls into gnocchi size pieces; to get regular bits, take your fingers as mark, measure between the thumb and your index finger, and cut to size.

If you wish to, you can leave them as they are. Indeed in Italy, some restaurants serve gnocchi with that shape! But if you want to make them properly according the rules, you still have some (long) minutes of preparation; form some small balls with each of the bits. Take a fork, place a small ball of vitelotte at the top of the fork’s tines, press your index into the gnocchi then make it roll with the aid of your index. Do this with each of your small gnocchi balls, and yes it takes some time! Here it is, you have some beautiful purple gnocchi! You cook them the same way you cook basic gnocchi. Bring to the boil a huge volume of hot salt water, then put the gnocchi in it. They’re cooked once they get to the surface.

Serve them as they are, drizzled with olive oil and with some parmesan cheese. You can also brown them in a stove with some butter and serve them in a salad.


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Purple Vitelotte Gnocchi

Apple juice from Ringden farm

Morgane’s interview with Scott at Ringden Farm

During our visit to the Ringden farm – Hurst Green, East Sussex – Scott, who is working on the farm, answered a few questions.




Could you tell me the story of your farm? Why did you become a farmer?

 Well I work in the family business, I am not one of the family. But it’s been a family business for over 50 years now and they were mainly just growing apples and pears but due to a violent hailstorm one year, they lost lots of their crops so they decided to branch out into making apple juice. Since then, they have won several awards, both for speciality fruits but also for individual juices themselves. They’re well known within the industry for their knowledge and we have over 48 varieties of apple juice so it’s one of the largest selections in the UK. We’ve also since branched out into doing small range of blended drinks.

To celebrate our 50th anniversary last year we introduced a range called “Bentley’s” which was named after the grandfather who actually bought the farm over 50 years ago. They’re all familiar apple juice–based drinks. We also produce drinks like lavender lemonade, elderflower and lime, and lemonade and lime.

The other products we have now, which we introduced last year, is an elderflower cordial, which is made using fresh elderflowers.  Also we make a raw cider vinegar, which is unpasteurized. It has great health benefits.

Thank you! So how long have you been working on the farm?

About 5 years.

Where do you grow your fruit? 

The majority of fruit is grown on the farm, but because they’re third generation here they know all the farmers around, we share unusual varieties with some neighbouring farms as well.


Thanks. What methods do you use to make an apple juice?

Basically, when the apples come in, they get hand picked from the trees and put into apple bins. Then they go to the press itself and the apples and any badly bruised apples will get taken out.  All the apples are washed, then they go on to the belt where steel drums will actually squash them. The juice goes into stainless steel trays and then get put into big pads. After they have settled, the next day, after the settlement has fallen to the bottom the juice is bottled and pasteurised.

How many litres do you produce a year?

We produce 350 000 litres per year.

How many apples do you need for a bottle of apple juice?

About 8 apples. It depends on what apples as some are more juicy than others!



Do you grow anything else?

We grow a small amount of quince and some medlars.  We also have some strawberries and gooseberries.

How do you treat your trees?

Minimally – we don’t overspray our trees.  We sell what they call “ugly fruits”. It’s more natural and better for everyone.


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Nathan and Scott, from Ringden farm.


Visit us for more info at : www.finandfarm.co.uk

Apple juice from Ringden farm

Strawberries: Our summer’s favourite!

Morgane’s blog about Strawberries


A little history… 

Humans have known strawberries since pretty much forever, wild strawberries of course – But it is only at the end of the 16th century that plants were introduced in Europe by America’s explorers, such as Jacques Cartier.

Throughout antiquity, strawberries have seen many different uses other than as a food source. For example, it was used as a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and red colour. The ancient Romans believed that strawberries had great medicinal value; they used it to reduce the symptoms of varied maladies, from simple melancholy to kidney stones.

The strawberries species we know today are actually hybrid species – this hybridisation is the union of two species of strawberries native to America – union that gave us our garden strawberries.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important for the immune system and skin health. They have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with teeth whitening, skin irritation, inflammation and heart disease. Their fibre and fructose content also help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion, and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect.

Did you know? Strawberry is actually not a fruit. The visible yellow “seeds” that dot the surface of the strawberry are achenes. Achenes are actually the fruits of strawberries plants.

How to store strawberries


The trick is to keep strawberries cold and dry so they won’t go mouldy.

For keeping a short time: arrange the strawberries – without washing or removing the stems on a paper towel-lined tray and cover with plastic wrap; then refrigerate.

Before eating or using them, wash the strawberries under cool water and then remove stems.

For a longer time; if you want to freeze your strawberries for smoothies or cakes, place rinsed, dried and stemmed whole strawberries, cut sides down, on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray;

Freeze, uncovered, for six hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag. You can store them in the freezer for up to three months.

Foods that pair with strawberries


Strawberries can be used with many different things. They may be eaten whole, sliced or crushed. Strawberries are an excellent addition to fruits salads, ice cream and sorbets. Perfect for summer! When strawberries are overly ripe they can also be used in pies, mousses, smoothies, puddings and cakes! Strawberries pair perfectly either with a bit of sugar, vanilla ice cream or with whipped cream! My favourite way to eat strawberries is with some whipped cream and melted chocolate on top of it!

But strawberries can also be used for savoury recipes -of course! In salads, appetisers, or even with chicken or fish!



You can actually find some very interesting strawberries recipes on the BBC Good Food site (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/strawberry) – from the good old strawberry jam to a strawberry and white chocolate mousse cake!

Visit us at www.finandfarm.co.uk

Strawberries: Our summer’s favourite!

Visit to Tibbs farm!

Morgane, our intern, is doing the rounds of visiting our customers and growers to get an idea of how food works in Sussex, from her Parisian point of view.  Here’s her first interview with Robert from Tibbs Farm, at Udimore, who grows our delicious summer fruit.

Morgane’s interview with Robert at Tibb’s Farm (June 2016)

Muir and I went to visit Tibbs farm, in Udimore, East Sussex. At the moment they are growing mainly strawberries and gooseberries but other summer fruit will come soon. They specialise in “pick your own fruits”.

We met Robert Wheeler there, owner of the farm. He showed us round his farm, where he grows all the delicious fruit bushes. I had the opportunity to interview him.


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Could you please tell me the story of your farm? And how did you become a farmer?

So I’m from a farming family going back a long time. We’ve been growing hops for six generations. So I’m a sixth generation hop grower, so that goes back to the 1790s. My immediate farming family also goes back a long time. My father came here in 1956 and this is where I work now. That’s how I became a farmer.

Why did you choose to follow the family path? Did you have the choice to do something else?

I certainly once had a choice. I went to university and could have got a job but farming is a way of life, isn’t it, so that is why I wanted to become a farmer.

What fruit do you produce?

Well we have strawberries, loganberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants and further on we grow raspberries as they’re quite popular fruits.  Later on, we also have blackberries.  We grow our fruit – on this sloping bank for drainage and easy access.

Do you have pickers to pick your fruits?

Yes, we have pickers in for that. We try not to waste any, that’s the point. Nobody likes waste, so we do pick quickly.  There are some fruits whose shelf-life is very short, like loganberries, and if you don’t pick them when they’re ready, after a day, they go mushy and juicy, and must be thrown away.

When do you grow?

We are now so used to seeing strawberries in shops all year around. You have them in glass- houses and you have them from South Africa or anywhere you like, they’re all coming but flavour is best when they are properly grown in season. So, you can have strawberries all year around. But the traditional way in this country; they start about June-July, and that is the peak season for strawberries.

And here, we grow them in the ground without cover, so we don’t force them to come early and we don’t try to make them come late.  We choose different varieties so the season can last as long as possible.

How do you treat your fruit?

We try to be as organic as possible. We just have to make sure we don’t have disease problems. There are aphids and other insects, but we live with them!

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Come and visit us and see our online shop at www.finandfarm.co.uk

Click on Delivery to see if you are in our delivery area.

If not, then hopefully at some point we can deliver to you!

Visit to Tibbs farm!

Dill – Unusually Useful!


Was mulling over my herbs and got to thinking about Dill – as you do…. It’s not a herb we use much of in our kitchen and we’re not sure why we forget to use it.  It has a fabulous delicate flavour and works well with most seasonal ingredients.

The Sussex dill we have currently is soil grown by Toni, our farmer in his eccentrically beautiful glasshouses (all tucked down a track out outside of Arundel and is a mish-mash of spaces all smelling of herbs and warm soil – lovely!).  Toni’s variety has quite a punchy flavour which is probably because it’s freshly picked and not left to go all floppy and wilty in a plastic bag in a warehouse?

Dill is also a good source of vitamin A, calcium and magnesium, which are important for the immune system and good vision.  It was also used traditionally as a medicinal herb, as it contains unique healing components.  Perhaps this is why it is such a popular herb in colder countries as it grows well and is so very useful and rich in nutrients.

Anyway, we’d love to know more about how you use it in your kitchen – so please do send us your ideas.  But, beyond salads, we realised we had a gap in our herb knowledge so have started adventuring more into the world of aniseed flavours…

How to store

  • Rule #1: Don’t wash before storing as it is too delicate and will just wilt.
  • Just make sure you shake out any insects before storing in the fridge
  • If you are storing in a plastic bag then put a piece of kitchen roll in there as well to absorb the condensation.
  • The tried and tested way of storing delicate herbs is to treat them like flowers and put into a jar of water.  Put a clear plastic bag over the top and this helps to hold back wilt and seal flavour.  Store in the lower part of the fridge though – dill doesn’t need to be kept too cold.

You can freeze dill and it will be good and full of flavour for cooking – but won’t hold up to salads as it loses its featheriness:

  • To freeze a whole bunch, remove the lower part of the stem.  Wash in cold water and dry carefully and thoroughly on kitchen paper.  Don’t squeeze it – or you could leave it to dry naturally on a baking cooling rack.  Divide into usable portions and freeze in a small plastic bag.
  • To freeze chopped dill, first wash and dry as above.  Chop the dill, but keep it quite rough – not tiny pieces.  Place a spoonful in ice cube trays, cover with water and freeze in cubes.  We have also tried freezing delicate herbs in olive oil, which also works beautifully, but it depends on how you are using.  It’s less helpful to freeze dill this way, although freezing in butter works well as it is fabulous defrosted then used to cook eggs or dabbed over new potatoes.

Foods that pair with dill

Dill pairs beautifully with potatoes, hot or cold.  Use in potato salads or as above to make dill butter to dab on jacket potatoes or steamed.  This fantastically healthy salad dressing which recommends flax oil, but locally we have delicious hemp oil which has a grassy peppery flavour or Brighton’s own wonderful Mesto Olive oil.


Grains are another pairing match for dill – couscous, bulgar wheat, quinoa, pearl barley – you name it…Add chopped dill when serving or you could try something like this quinoa rice pilau with dill and roast tomatoes, which could be served with chicken or fish – or with crusty bread and butter (how we like our midweek suppers!).  Incidentally, we are huge fans of making beer bread with spelt flour (or more often cider bread as it’s a little sweeter) – quick to make and quicker to eat when fresh from the oven.  Here’s a recipe, also using dill, which is quite handy.

Dill pairs well with most fish – especially white fish like cod, coley, bream or mullet.  Keep it simple and just bake with dill and butter for a totally deliciously moist dish.

Cheese, apart from blue cheese, is another fine match.  Being summer, cheese and dill scones are just designed for picnics.


Traditionally, eggs and dill were the match in our house – as a child, scrambled egg with dill was a heady sophisticated dish.  A simple yet perfect dish is the feta cheese, dill and egg scramble..with wholegrain toast or pita.


Dill is not particularly popular in tomato and onion dishes, but the flavours marry well.  One of our all time favourites is Menemen, which also uses egg, so in all a perfect match of flavours (just substitute dill for parsley in this recipe).  We usually cook this with olive oil unless we are feeling particularly decadent, when we will half and half with butter…Don’t google too many images as generally it’s not a photogenic dish which is a shame as it is one of the most delicious dishes EVER.


Dill has a citrussy quality so is wonderful paired with lemon.  Mixed in vinaigrettes or chopped in salads or try chopped over a stew such as lamb cooked with lemon and dill.

Another vegetable which grows all over the colder countries is beet and unsurprisingly this also pa

irs well with dill.  Think of a delicious Russian Borscht with a delicate combination of dill and sour cream dabbed over.  Or the same delicious flavours roasted together with roasted beetroot, sour cream, hazelnuts and dill.

Come and visit us and see our online shop at www.finandfarm.co.uk

Click on Delivery to see if you are in our delivery area. 

If not, then hopefully at some point we can deliver to you!


Dill – Unusually Useful!