Posted in American Cuisine, Cheese, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, spicy, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Pizza

pizza

My favourite cuisine is definitely Italian and No 1 is Pizza… Here is a recipe to make the pizza dough, which should be enough for 4 small or 2 medium sized pizzas if  you like thin and crispy bases as we do.

Ingredients for the pizza dough

1 pkt dried yeast

1 1/4 cups of warm water

4 cups of flour

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp of sugar or honey

1/4 cup of milk

pinch of salt

Method for the pizza dough

Put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the dried yeast in it, stir and wait for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, put the flour in large bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the olive oil, sugar or honey, milk and salt.

Add the yeast mixture to the bowl of flour and gently mix with a fork then form into a ball with your hands.

Flour a clean surface and place the ball of dough on top.

 **The dough will be very sticky, this is normal as more flour will be added during the kneading process.

Sprinkle more flour over the dough and start kneading, using your knuckles to push out as much air as possible.  I generally knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour to the surface/dough as needed to stop it from sticking.

Form dough into a ball shape and place in a large glass bowl.  It needs to be large as the dough will rise while it is proofing. Brush some olive oil over the top, this stops it from drying out and cracking. Cover the bowl with cling film (stretch film) and leave for at least an hour to proof.

Remove from bowl onto a floured surface and knead for another minute.  Break into 2 or 4 even balls (depending on size of pizzas you are making. and using a rolling pin roll them out to desired thickness.

Place on grease-proof paper on a baking tray. Fold around the edges to form a rim. If desired you can egg-wash the rim and sprinkle sesame seeds around the edges.

Ingredients for the pizza sauce

2 or 3 heaped tbsps tomato pureé

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp olive oil

A little water

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Method for the pizza sauce

Mix the tomato pureé, basil and olive oil in a small bowl.  Slowly add water until you have a smooth sauce, not too thin and runny.  There is nothing I hate more than tomato puree just being slapped straight on pizza dough.

Spread the sauce using the back of a spoon over the dough.

Decorate

Cover your pizza with grated cheese then decorate with desired toppings. Here are a few suggestions;

red and green peppers,

pepperoni,

tuna and sweetcorn,

ham and pineapple,

chicken…

…there are many more, it’s up to you.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 200 °c for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and topping is golden.  You can switch to grill for last couple of minutes but be careful as the pizza can burn very quickly, and nobody likes burnt pizza!!

Suggestions

You can also make garlic bread, and a variety of dips too…

 

Posted in Fish, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, spicy, Uncategorized

Hamsi Chilli Ramen – a Turkish twist to an Eastern Asian dish…

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We like anchovies, fried in the traditional Turkish way, and you generally buy them by the kilo meaning you end up eating them for days when there are only 2 of you.  So I came up with an alternative by using another favourite dish of ours, Chicken Ramen, an Eastern Asian dish, and substituted the chicken with the left over fried anchovies.  Then I changed the recipe a tiny bit more and this is what I created…

Ingredients

Fried Anchovies (amount depends on number of people)

1 boiled egg (per person)

1 square of dried Chinese egg noodles (per person)

Boiling water (for noodles)

1 tbsp Olive oil

100 g sliced mushrooms

1 litre fish stock (or chicken if you can’t find fish) (you may need extra  if more people)

4 tsps Thai red curry paste (2 for stock and 2 for sauce)

2 tsps hot chilli sauce

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 green and 1 red pepper (deseeded and chopped)

1 spring onion (sliced)

A bunch of fresh coriander

1 carrot (grated)

1 slice red onion (per person)

1 wedge of lemon (per person)

Fiery hot pepper (optional)

Preparation

Place noodles in a saucepan and cover with just enough boiling water to cover them.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes or until soft.  Set aside.

Fry the mushrooms in the olive oil for approximately 5 minutes or until cooked.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer the chicken stock and 2 tsps of the Thai red curry paste.

Now for the Ramen chilli sauce, mix the remaining 2 tsps of Thai red curry paste, the oyster sauce, chilli sauce and the sugar.

To serve

In a deep bowl put a spoon of Ramen chilli sauce in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon some noodles on top of the sauce then spoon in the broth.  Lay the spring onions, chopped peppers, grated carrot, fried mushrooms and the slice of red onion on top of the noodles.  Slice the boiled egg in half and lay this along with the fish, lemon, coriander and chilli pepper by the side of the other vegetables.  Salt and pepper as preferred.

It may sound complicated, but most of the effort is spent in arranging the food in the bowl.

Notes

If you are a lover of spicy food, feel free to add more Thai red curry paste and hot chilli sauce.

As I said, I used leftover fried anchovies.  If making from scratch then, anchovies were cleaned, sliced in half, placed belly to belly then coated in flour and fried on either side until golden.

Posted in Uncategorized

Banana Bread

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Ingredients

2-3 very ripe bananas

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg beaten

1 packet (5 ml) vanilla essence

1 packet (5 ml) baking soda

A pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Method

Preheat oven to 175 c.

Mash Bananas then add the melted butter and stir.

Stir in the baking soda, salt, sugar, egg and vanilla essence.

Gently fold in the flour until well mixed then put in a (greased) bread tin and bake at 175 c for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.. Check at 50 minutes.

Suggestion

Serve with cream and chocolate sauce, or warm up and serve with ice cream.

 

Posted in American Cuisine, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Potato Dishes, Uncategorized

Beef Stew (second variety)

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Ingredients

450 g (1/2 kilo) diced beef

1 tbsp olive oil

2 beef stock cubes (I used oxo)

750 ml boiling water

2 tsp mixed herbs (I used rosemary/thyme and oregano)

2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)

3 carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 leeks (white part) cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tsps cornstarch

2 tsps cold water

2 tbsp gravy granules

Method

Brown off the beef in the oil for 4-5 minutes or until brown.

Put the beef into a stew pot (I am using a deep terracotta pot).  Mix the stock cubes with the hot water and pour over the beef. Add the herbs then cover and cook at  about 180 c in the oven for about an hour.

Stir potatoes, carrots and leek into the pot.

Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tsps of cold water and stir into the stew.

Cover and simmer 1 hour more.

Mix the gravy granules in a bowl with some of the juice from the stew then re add to stew and cook a further 20-30 minutes.

 

Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, British Cuisine, Quick and Easy, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Scottish Shortbread

scottish shortbread pic

Ingredients

125g butter (softened)

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190c.

Beat the butter and sugar together until it is smooth.

Slowly stir in the flour and mix well.

Turn mixture out onto a clean worksurface (sprinkled with flour to avoid sticking) and roll out until it is 1 cm thick.

Cut out desired shapes (rounds or fingers) and place on a baking tray with parchment paper (grease-proof) and softly poke with a fork to make pattern and then place in fridge for 20 mins.

Sprinkle with a few sugar grains over each one then bake in oven for 15 mins or until pale golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Posted in Uncategorized

Jam and Coconut Cake

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There’s nothing like an old school recipe to take you back to your childhood days.  And what could be better than the old school dinner classic, a sponge cake topped with jam and dessicated coconut… and don’t forget to cover in lavish amounts custard.

Ingredients

8 oz (227g) butter

8 oz (227g) sugar

10 oz (284g) self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180c (gas mark 4) and grease and line your cake tin with grease-proof paper.

Beat flour and butter until light and fluffy… this can be done in blender if you want to save your arm).

Now add the 4 eggs, ONE AT A TIME, gently mixing them in to the butter/sugar mix.

** If the mixture looks like it is starting to seperate, add a little of the flour and gently mix in. **

Slowly add the flour and baking powder, a bit at a time, folding (very gently mixing) it as you go.

Pour into your tin and level off.  Bake in the oven at 180c for around 35-40 minutes.

**Do the knife test –  –  –  put a clean sharp knife into the centre of the cake, if i comes out with cake mix it needs a little longer, but if the knife is clean then it is ready.**

Posted in Italian Cuisine, Uncategorized

Chicken with a pizza topping

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Ingredients

(For the marinade)

1 tbsp olive oil

½ small glass of red wine

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 sprigs fresh oregano (stem removed)

(For pizza sauce)

2-3 tomatoes

1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

1-2 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 medium onion (finely chopped)

A dash of red wine (or water)

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

3-4 chicken breasts (diced)

Grated cheese (I used Mild Cheddar and Red Leicester)

2 Pork sausages (cooked/optional)

Red and/or green peppers thinly sliced

Any other general pizza toppings you like such as pepperoni, sweetcorn etc)

Oil for frying

Method

Mix the marinade ingredients together, add the chicken and marinade in fridge for around 2 hours (longer if you have time).

To make the pizza sauce, roughly chop your tomatoes and the onion and place in a food processor and blend.  Add all of the other pizza sauce ingredients.  You may need slightly more red wine/water depending on consistency,  (If it becomes too watery add more puree).

Fry chicken in a little oil until it turns white.  Place in an oven proof dish.

Pour the pizza sauce over the top.

Cover in grated cheese and then add your preferred pizza toppings (I used sliced sausages and red peppers).

Bake at 180c for approximately 25 minutes (until chicken is cooked through and topping is golden).

You can also grill the top if required.

Suggestion

You can also use whole chicken breasts, I used diced as that was what I had to use up at the time.