Can’t beat a good pizza. They’re super fast to make and super fast to eat! The dough contains:
- 250g strong bread four
- 1 packet dried yeast
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 150ml tepid water
Make a soft dough and knead on a floured surface for 10-15 minutes until nice and smooth. Prove for 20 minutes and then roll out onto a polenta covered surface. The polenta prevents the dough from sticking to the worktop (really important, I’ve made many a boob doing this – if you do mess up though, just roll up your pizza and pretend you meant to make a calzone all along). The beauty of pizza is you can make it your own. I used some cooked off spinach, anchovies, taleggio and a runny egg (idea stolen from Angela Hartnett – what a wonderful woman she is!). I keep my baked tray (also covered in polenta) in a very hot oven (220°C) and then place the pizza on, crack the egg in the centre and place in the oven. The pizza takes ~4-6 minutes to cook depending on how good your oven is. If you can rescue your pizza before the yolk cooks through then you’re winning!
Other topping combinations I’ve tried include:
- asparagus tips
- a drizzle of garlic infused olive oil
- tomatoes cooked down with a bit of sugar and garlic
But there’s so much more to discover. I try not to make pizza too often to prevent the likelihood of turning into a blue whale overnight. It’s definitely a treat and goes very well with a good big glass of Chianti. Buon appetito!
Can’t beat making meatballs on a school night. Nothing to it really, all I did was :
- Cook off some meatballs in a little oil
- Rip up some basil leaves and soak in some good olive oil (I bought some really nice pressed stuff at the local market last Saturday)
- Add a tin of tomatoes to the cooking meatballs and simmer
- Get a big pan of water on a salty, rolling boil for some tagliatelle
- Add the infused olive oil to the meatballs and season to taste, add a bit of sugar to bring out the flavour of the tomatoes
- Drain pasta when it is al dente and mix into the meatballs
I had a real craving for butternut chorizo stew last night. I started the stew by cooking through some chopped up chorizo to melt it’s fat to cook the onions in. I then added a tin of chopped tomatoes, some butternut squash, mushrooms, butter beans, fresh chilli and frozen peas. I squeezed a bit of honey into it as well to add some sweetness.
I scooped out all of the butternut squash seeds and dry toasted them with some salt and sprinkled over the stew for some crunch. A bit of chopped coriander and a blob of yoghurt and then it was very quickly demolished! It’s a very warming dish and perfect for winter. I like to serve it with rice but it would also go well with a crusty loaf of bread.
ROUGH PUFF PASTRY. Do I need to say anymore? It’s packed with butter, tastes amazing and will probably decrease your life span by 1 hour with every bite. To make this pastry all you have to do is cut up a stick of cold butter and rub it into some flour and mix with water. To make it puff up you have to leave lumps of butter visible in the dough. I followed a recipe on the BBC good food website which was quick and simple to do. I cheated though and put the pastry in the freezer for half the time stated to speed up the cooling process because I was HUNGRY and had mouths to feed. The filling was a creamy chicken, mushroom and bacon affair which was also very unhealthy but SO, SO good. Next I’m going to have to give proper puff pastry a go without cheating and buying it from the supermarket. Hmmm. Still haven’t started that training for the half-marathon yet. Should probably get on that soon…
I had some left over cornmeal from making a pretty horrible cornbread the other day which was a bit of a boob. :/. I used up the left over cornmeal by making southern fried chicken. NOM. Simple as really, dunk your chicken thigh fillets in buttermilk and coat them in seasoned cornmeal with chilli flakes. Fry them in a pan with ground nut oil (so that it doesn’t spit at you or burn really easily), flip over and then place on kitchen roll to drain. They were bloody gorgeous with a bit of salad dressed with lime & olive oil and some deep fried courgettes. They were so much better than KFC. Our boiler wouldn’t let us put the heating on that night (for some unknown, irritating reason) but it didn’t matter though as we ate very warming and indulgent food to make up for it!
I never buy samphire at the supermarket but I found a big box of the stuff for a very reasonable price the other day and couldn’t resist! It was a chilly Autumn night and I really felt like a comforting fresh pasta dish. I followed an Abel and Cole recipe online (http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes/buttered-salmon–samphire-spaghetti) and hey presto, I got exactly what I felt like. I chucked a load of fresh parsley in at the end and a big knob of butter. Perfect. I’m not sure if I’m turning into James Martin with all these buttery thoughts. I do admire his passion for butter and cream, I like the way that man thinks.