i’ve never been much of a runner (let alone
extremely decently sports fanatic)… but within the past 4 or so years, i’ve gradually achieved at least some sort of a running routine. meaning: i’ve managed to cram in an average of 1 (slow and short) run per week. it’s not a marathon. but it’s something. i mean, let’s just leave it at that. there’s probably no need for me to point out how it hasn’t helped my body one tiny little bit, right? because it hasn’t. and it’s frustrating. but still, i believe it helps my heart, my lungs and my mind, too.
it helps my mind especially. running has taught me to be patient. because, when you’re more of a snail (or, a little more ambitiously perhaps a turtle..?) than a hare, then, well, you’ll have to take your time. at first, i thought i’m not getting back home or to work in due time (i.e. before dusk…). putting one foot in front of the other and not advancing in the speed you’d imagine is humbling. and strangely purifying. granted, i do sometimes envy the fast runners, who, with a light foot and a cloudlike spring in their step, flow past me (all the effing time…). but then again, it’s good to teach myself that there are more important things than performance. there’s more to the eye than bigger, better, greater, faster.
oh, and the things you can think when you’re a slow runner… you can submerge yourself in day dreaming. or plan your day that stretches ahead of you. that’s why i never run with music; because i like to hear my thoughts, without distraction. and while with yoga, you’ll always be instructed to ‘think of nothing’, in running, i allow myself exactly that: to think without limits. my thoughts run with me. and as an extreme thinker, it’s kind of an achievement to feel my thoughts, afterwards, collapse in tiredness (in sync with my legs, ahem).
how can i put it… some things are simply good because you do them – not necessarily because you do them well.
wild herb gnudi with fried dandelion buds & brown butter
recipe for the gnudi adapted from donna hay’s basic ricotta gnocchi recipe
2 1/2 cups (500g) fresh (dry or drained) ricotta
1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
2 cups mixed wild herbs (i used goutweed, ramps and lesser celandine)*
up to 1 cup (160g) semolina
sea salt, cracked black pepper and musk
1 cup dandelion buds**
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 stick (60g butter)
maldon sea salt, cracked black pepper and musk
thyme leaves for garnish
the thing about gnudi (or gnocchi or whatever you want to call them…) is that you have to make the dough as dry as possible for it to stick together and turn into a fluffy but still consistent pillow. so, if you have a very dry ricotta (then you’re lucky), use it as it is. if it’s less of a compact one, drain it overnight: wrap it in a towel and put it in the fridge. place the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, flour and lemon rind in a bowl and mix well to combine. finely chop the herbs and fold them in as well. season with salt, pepper and musk. add a bit of semolina to achieve desired consistency (up to one cup), then shape into (golfball sized) balls. cook the gnocchi, in batches, in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 2–3 minutes or until they float to the surface. remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
clean the dandelion buds, remove sturdy outer leaves. pat dry thoroughly. heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then fry the buds in it until they ‘pop’ and are brown and crispy. lightly season with salt. in the meantime, heat the butter in a small saucepan and, on medium heat, let it turn into browned butter. season it with salt, pepper and musk. to serve, toss the gnudi with the brown butter, then scatter the fried dandelion buds on top. sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve immediately.
* instead of wild herbs – that, admittedly, have to be in season and found, no less – you could use spinach, mint, basil or thyme. go wild!
** since dandelion buds are harvested in spring (i.e. time is over by now… sadly) you could maybe substitute them with capers (the large, beautiful kind or the smaller shrunk looking ones, both work). drain them, pat dry and then proceed in the same way.
all pictures taken by photographer genious christine benz. thank you, love!