Colin Ashton
Colin Ashton, owner and executive chef of Food at Wharepuke Kerikeri, trained under his father and then under Gary Rhodes in London.

Having worked extensively in Europe and Australasia, Colin travelled America and Europe with Shania Twain and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers providing food for The Stars and their crews. Before settling in Kerikeri, Colin was head chef at Passage Rock Winery on Waiheke Island, where at the helm, he gained entry into the top 50 Metro restaurants in Auckland.

Colin's Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass Panna Cotta won Metro's best dessert . This year Al brown used Colin's kitchen to film his new food show Get Fresh airing September / October. Also this year my restaurant in Kerikeri "Food at Wharepuke" has won Northland's Matariki Awards, "Best Cafe", and Michael Guys Cafe Magazine "Best Cafe in Northland".

Watch video of Colin cooking the recipe below, or check out the blog post for pictures from the day.

Organic ricotta and beetroot gnocchi, with a herb pesto cream
Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe

1.5kg Organic ricotta – firm (Mahoe Cheese)
2 cups flour 8 heads beetroot -- salt roasted ( Marty Robinson)
1 egg (Ohaewai Chicken Co.)
salt pepper
500g very old edam – grated (Mahoe Cheese) 100g very old edam – shaved (Mahoe Cheese) 500ml cream 500g mixed herbs -- basil, Italian parsley (Kuklando)
500ml extra virgin olive oil (O’Livetto)
1 clove garlic – minced (David Frear)
1 small bag micro herbs (Mighty Mushrooms)
1 lemon (Orira)

Wrap the beetroot in some foil, season with salt, and roast in a moderate oven for 40 minutes until tender.
Remove and let cool, peel beetroot and place 3/4 into a blender with 1 egg and 1/2 a cup of water and blend until smooth, and dice the other 1/4 and reserve In food processor place beetroot puree, ricotta cheese, 1 cup grated edam, and salt an pepper to taste.
Blend until smooth and well combined. Transfer to a bowl and mix in 2 cups of plain flour. Let rest in the fridge for 1hour and then place the dough on a floured surface.
Take some mixture and roll into a 1 cm thick sausage, cut into 1cm x1 c m lozenges and blanch in boiling salted water until they rise to the surface.
Take lozenges out and refresh in iced water, repeat with the rest of the mixture, To make the pesto cream, toast the macadamia nuts to release the oils and cool and roughly chop. Wash the herbs, an blanch in boiling water, for 5 seconds, and refresh in iced water. Squeeze out excess water and place in a blender with 250 mls of extra virgin olive oil.
Blend until a fine puree, then add crushed macadamias, grated aged edam ( or parmesan), 1 clove of minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse, still retaining some texture, not too fine.
In a pan reduce the cream by half and add in the pesto, warm and season.
Place the gnocchi, and the diced beetroot on non stick paper in a tray, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes.
Once warmed through place in a bowl with some of the pesto cream, shaved edam, and top with micro herbs.
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