Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

This was going to be a post about Sicilian desserts, to finish off my holiday scribblings and pass on the heavenly sweet that is Cannoli to the uninitiated.

And then any warm and fuzzy, Jamie Oliver-esque feelings left by the afterglow of my successful food travels, disappeared faster than blue sky over Scotland.

I realise the point of a food blog is usually to inspire others and pass on recipes that actually work but if anyone is suffering a crisis of confidence in the kitchen then a few minutes reliving my week can only serve to improve your mood and its so tragic its almost laughable.

I developed an unhealthy addiction to Cannoli while on our honeymoon and I was so horrified at the thought of going without until I could get back to Sicily that as soon as I had an afternoon to spare I armed myself with a set of Cannoli moulds and a bottle of Passito, thinking I would be writing now and munching contentedly on a second batch… not so I’m afraid. Turns out I’m very good at making edible drain pipes.

I did try various methods of frying and baking the dough but no joy. Not deterred, I decided to come back to Cannoli another day and moved on to the Marsala mousse recipe I was determined to re-create from our last supper.  What at first bite was perfectly light and fluffy, turned out to be hiding an offputting little puddle of sweet wine that was lurking in the bottom of the cup instead of behaving itself in the mousse as planned. Not being able to face making another batch I abandoned that one as well.

Next followed honey and cinnamon cupcakes and then blueberry muffins in an attempt to lift my spirits (not all in one day I should point out) but neither of them turned out to be drop-what-you’re-doing blog worthy creations. In fact the muffins are currently lining the bottom of my dustbin… you know its bad when you feel compelled to throw out cake.

By the weekend I was pretty dejected and my daily wine consumption was nearing dangerous levels.  So who knows why but with what in hindsight seems suicidal determination, I decided to try and make Calzone on Saturday night. I can make a decent pizza but I’ve never had much luck with Calzone as my dough always lands up soggy in the middle and the fillings not quite as good as they do when they get to toast themselves directly under a hot grill.

This time however, pizza was my prozac. The food gods must have taken pity on my hitherto pathetic week because I was slightly obsessive about making sure all my ingredients were moisture free but other than that I did the same things as usual and instead of doughy misery I was rewarded with cheesy happiness. Crispy, chewy, salty, creamy Calzone and Pizza all in one. Even with the  best of both calzone and pizza combined it might not sound like  much of a nirvana but sometimes a simple success is the perfect comfort food.

So for those of you in need of cheering up I recommend the following recipe. I owe the pizza dough recipe to Tessa Kiros and the rest to the food gods.

Home-made Calzone-Pizza

Pizza dough from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros.

  • 500g plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 370ml warm water
  • 12g instant yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 onion


  • 2 smoked bacon rashers, finely chopped
  • large handful baby spinach leaves, steamed and drained
  • 100g ricotta
  • 1 cup grated mozarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tin of anchovies in oil
  • 1/4 cup pitted and halved black olives (kalamata are best)
  • 1 birdseye chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Combine the yeast, honey, water and 150g of the flour in a large bowl and whisk well. Leave to stand for 15-30 min until the yeast begins to activate. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and the salt and then the remaining flour. Mix using an electric mixer with a dough hook or by hand, adding more four if required, until the dough is smooth and elastic but not too dry. Place in a clean oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1-1/2 hours until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, chop the onion and garlic in a blender.  Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and fry the onion mixture for 5-10 min until soft. Add the rosemary and then the tinned tomatoes and simmer for about 40 min until all the moisture is removed. You want to get from this…

To this…

Take the tomato slush off the heat and leave to cool. In another pan, fry the chopped bacon until very crispy and drain on kitchen towel. Make sure the spinach is completely drained by squashing it against a sieve with a metal spoon before roughly chopping. Drain the anchovies on kitchen towel as well. Prepare the other toppings while the dough is rising. When ready, preheat the oven to 245°C. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in two. Freeze one half for use another time and roll the other out on a baking sheet into a large rectangle, rolling it thinner on one side than the other. Place a few teaspoons of tomato followed by the spinach, bacon, half the ricotta and a sprinkle of mozzarella on the thinner half, leaving a 2-3 inch gap around the edge.

Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal. Spread the remaining half with tomato (freeze whatever is left) and top with the anchovies, olives and chilli. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and the parmesan over the top and finally the oregano.

Place in the oven 15 min until the cheese and edges are golden (I don’t have a pizza stone but I did place my baking sheet with an air pocket in it on the oven rack to provide extra heat from below). Either slice the pizza and calzone separately if people prefer one or the other or cut across so that you get a strip of each with every slice.


Grab a napkin and apply to face.

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When it rains it pours! I’ve just got so busy at work that I didnt get around to writing at all last week. I barely had time to cook and eat anything, never mind contemplate pausing long enough to take a picture and say something intelligent about my food. So as penance for my radio silence I leave you with two recipes this week.

Both have a common theme of cheese, which goes against my current pre-wedding theme of healthy eating (which come to think of it isn’t much of a theme since I spend as much time breaking it as sticking to it), but when the going gets tough…the tough sometimes have to indulge in a little cheese…

Cheese Muffins 3 ways

I have made cheese muffins on this blog before but I just got a new book called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, which I was prompted to buy after reading this post by Chocswirl and I was dying to put some of the lessons on basic baking ratios  into practice (looking back at the recipe I used before I now know why these turned out better – butter!)… plus we needed something for lunch on Saturday.

This, combined with an inability to choose between making several different flavour combinations that Dawn and I had found in other recipes, resulted in this recipe for 6 of each. If you want to try the Ruhlman ratio out yourself then use this recipe for flavour inspiration only and go with the ratio for a basic muffin batter – 2 flour : 2 liquid : 1 egg : 1 fat – to make whatever quantity you need (the ratio is by weight not volume).

Basic batter (makes 18 muffins)

  • 375g plain flour
  • 375g milk
  • 187g melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Pizza Muffins

  • small handful of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

Parmesan and Herb muffins

  • 50g grated parmesan (we actually made these with cheddar as we didnt have any parmesan so you can use either)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • few sprigs chopped thyme
  • 1 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Feta and Caramelised Onion Muffins

  • 50g crumbled feta
  • half an onion, finely chopped and fried until golden and soft
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped and fried with the onion
  • 1/2 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Prepare all the flavourings in 3 separate bowls and preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cooled melted butter with the milk and eggs and beat until combined. The butter will start to solidify if the milk is too cold but it doesn’t effect the end result so don’t worry. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions and the flavourings to each one. Spoon into silicone cups or a lightly greased muffin tray and bake for 25min until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack and cool slightly before serving (yummy with a lathering of garlic and herb cream cheese!).

Grilled Pork Loins with Caramelised Red Onion, Apple and Smoked Applewood Cheese

I owe Dawn for this recipe too. At some point during the muffin making proceedings she mentioned making pork loins topped with apple and cheese  like this and I immediately started thinking about how good that would be, especially made with Smoked Applewood cheese.  So by last night I was thinking about nothing else and had to make it today to get it out of my system. The sweet apple is perfectly balanced with the smoky cheese and caramelised onion, just served with a simple mash. I don’t know why I didn’t think to try this before.  Thanks D!

  • 2 pork loin steaks
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 50g grated Smoked Applewood Cheese
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until browned. Add the garlic and grated apple and fry a few minutes more until the mixture is softened and caramelised (don’t fry too long or the apples will get mushy).

Take off the heat, season with the thyme, salt and pepper and set aside. Heat another splash of oil over a high heat and fry the pork loins briefly on each side to sear the outsides. Place them on a baking sheet and top with the apple and onion mixture. Add the grated cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the steaks are cooked through and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Serve on a portion of mash (drizzle over the juices from the baking tray or gravy as optional).

Hope that makes up for last week’s absence and gives you something to perk up your week. Happing cooking! ♥

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