Never to be perfected

Home Made Pizza

Base – per pizza

  • 250g Wholemeal bread mix
  • 15ml oil / knob of butter
  • 330ml warm water

Toppings – Suggestions

  • Packet of Mattessons Smoked Pork Sausage
  • Strips of Bacon
  • Chestnut Mushrooms
  • Capers
  • Courgette
  • Red onion
  • Pepper
  • Sweet Cherry Tomatos
  • Anchovies
  • Olives
  • Can of Chopped tomatoes
  • Cheese – Mozorella
  • Rocket

Pizza is a dish which in my eyes cant be perfected. There’s so many different versions, not just in the toppings department but in the style of base also.
After watching my house mate make numerous amounts of bases from scratch, I had to join in. And what do you know, it makes all the difference. It’s also simple and easy, infact on the last few goes I used a pre-mixed bread mix giving just as good results. I even got lazy and didn’t bother letting the dough rise and still got great results.
The recipe below will give a nice solid base not crisp but able to hold the ingredients without flopping, and the ingredients are just a selection of my latest thoughts. Put what-ever on.
Note:

  • Jamie reckons the ciabatta bread mix is the best premix available. I tried this, and the wholemeal bread mix – both produced equally good results.
  • I put a smidge of chill paste on each slice of sausage

Base:

  1. Wash a surface clean, dry, pour bread mix on the side
  2. Make a wide shallow round hole in the middle
  3. Add olive oil or butter, and then the water
  4. Massage the sides of the flour cliffs into the water until the water is more like mud, then push the remaining flour over and turn into the dough
  5. Kneed the dough for 5-10min untill its got the even elastic consistency
  6. At this point I just rolled it out and put it on a baking tray ready for the toppings. Leaving to rise first will probably improve results.

Main:

  1. Put the can of tomatoes in a blender, add the basil, S+P, Chilli powder, and wiz
  2. Put the mix in a small sauce pan and boil for 15min to get a nice thick consistency
  3. Mean while if using mushroomscourgettes or bacon fry in a pan first, I suggest doing the bacon first and letting the other bits soak up the flavour
  4. Arrange ingredients to taste on the base, I go for a scattered but even technique whilst not being scared to overload
  5. Put in oven for 10-15min depending on taste
  6. If using rocket(which I suggest) only add it along with the mozzarella for the last 5-8min of cooking.
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Birthday Cake!

Amaretto + Summer Fruit Sponge Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 9 oz good granulated sugar
  • 5 oz soft butter
  • 1 small cap vanilla essence
  • 4 oz crushed amaretto biscuits
  • 9 oz plain flour
  • 13 oz summer fruits
  • 1 pack Almond slivers

I’d been making this new cake, which I thought was gonna rock the world. I got so into it I was making multiple mini proto types – trying to get the layers just right. However after 2 weeks I couldnt face eating it any more, so ended up making a last minute new creation which turned out amazing.

Of course I had to give it to the birthday girl so only got to eat the one slice!

I stole this recipe from http://consciouscrumbs.com/tagged/cranberries, however the recipe below involves some changes which I think I’ll keep for my return journey.

Note:

  • A few drops of vanilla would be enough
  • 2oz of amaretto used, could do with 3-4oz
  • Good granulated sugar could have been the key winning factor
  • Ended up leaving in oven for 1h 30min for the sponge to set

Recipe:

  1. Line a 9-10inch cake tin with grease proof paper
  2. Beat the eggs and then gradually add the sugar until silky
  3. Add the butter and vanilla
  4. Add the flour
  5. Crush the amaretto biscuits to nice size chunks
  6. Stir them into the mix
  7. Add the Summer fruits to the mix, fold them in being careful not to over stir – dont want the whole mix to turn pink, looks better to have the white sponge next to the dark red fruits.
  8. Transfer the mix to the baking tray
  9. Pour the almonds over the top
  10. Shove in a pre heated oven at 170c for 1h 10min
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Bit ov egg’n pastry in ya life

Quiche

Pastry

  • 6oz plain flour
  • 3oz room temp. butter
  • cool water

Substance

  • 100g Mattessons Smoked Pork Sausage
  • 4 Strips of Bacon
  • 5 -7 Chestnut Mushrooms
  • A tree of Broccoli
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Pepper
  • 5 sweet cherry tomatos
  • 4 eggs
  • dash of full cream milk/cream
  • cheese – which ever
  • salt+ pepper

I’ve been thinking of putting my omelette up for a while, it certainly deserves it. However I’ve also been fantasising about upgrading the recipe into a quiche. There’s a first time for everything and usually things don’t usually go perfectly – as with this occasion, however it tasted great so here it is.

Note: Put some baking parchment down, pastry likes to stick

Recipe:

  1. Add the flour and butter to a mixing bowl, combine with finger tips until crumbs.
  2. Add a dash of cool water to bring the crumbs to a dough.
  3. Line the dough in your chosen baking tray. I used a 8inch round thing. Place in fridge for 30min
  4. Quarter the mushrooms
  5. Slice the courgettes into 15mm slices then halve down the middle
  6. Cut the pepper into 2cm squares
  7. Slice the broccoli to bit size
  8. Slice the sausage to around 10m chunks
  9. Halve the tomatoes
  10. Fry the bacon to how you like it, I prefer it juicy – not crisp. Remove bacon and slice it up.
  11. Add a slosh of olive oil to the bacon juice and fry the veg + sausage until the courgettes are browning on each side.
  12. Whisk the eggs with S+P for only 5-10 sec then add a slosh of milk and stir until mixed.
  13. Mix the bacon and veg and place half in the pastry lined tray
  14. Spread half the grated cheese over
  15. Add the tomatoes
  16. Add the rest of the veg
  17. Pour the egg mix in
  18. Drop the rest of the cheese on top
  19. Cook at 160c for around 35min
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A Lemon Day

Lemon Cheese Cake

Main Substance

  • 2 Lemons
  • 700g Cream Cheese
  • 300ml Single Cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 cap of vanilla essense

Base

  • 900g Hobnobs
  • 150g Butter

As with most of my new dessert creations, this idea started off with me having a craving for something sweet. From there I go through all the possible things I fancy which then turns into all the things I could make!

So today I pronounce Lemon day, for I(with some help) have created a truly lemony cheese cake. By this I mean it isn’t an incredibly sweet lemony taste – which has no real bite, for this creation has that bitter bite without the unpleasant sneer one usually masks after. It tastes like it was made from a real lemon giving it an authentic taste.

This true lemon taste in conjunction with the oaty hobnob base make this recipe one to remember.

I’m also quite pleased in the success of this recipe after failing my last cheese cake. It contained far too much cheese and little sugar giving it a rather savoury taste. Bit unpleasant. This recipe however hit the nail on the head with the two eggs giving it a nice lighter texture.

Note: After a few days in the fridge the texture seems to thicken, still very edible.
2nd Note: Make sure to press the base firmly into position and only put in over for 10min max!

Lemon Cheese cake

  1. Start off with the base, crush hobnobs and mix the butter in. Getting your hands in there seems to be the way to go.
  2. Press into the bottom of a pre greased 12′ cake tin, or two smaller ones. Put in oven at 180°c for 10min and remove – leave on side.
  3. Combine the sugar and cornflour in a bowl and then add the cream cheese. Probably better with electric whisk but I used the manual option.
  4. Add the cream still beating, bit by bit.
  5. Add the vanilla, the zest and juice of two healthy lemons and then the eggs.
  6. Spread the mixture into the cake tin and place in the oven for 40min.
  7. Leave on side till cooled or shove in the fridge if a bit impatient.
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First log of a ‘nailed’ recipe

Simple Lasagna

White Sauce:

  • 25g Butter
  • 25g Plain Flour
  • 150ml Whole milk
  • 150ml Single Cream
  • 25g Blue Cheese
  • 25g Cheddar

Bolognese:

  • 250g Mince Beef
  • 1 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Onion
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Mild chilli powder
  • Tiny bit of cayenne pepper

For too long I’ve got in the habit of putting too many ingredients in recipes. Probably routed in the lazy idea of shoving loads of extra vegetables into a recipe, so you don’t have to cook any with the meal. I’m trying to kick the habit but it is quite convenient.

I went through a faze of making really thick lasagna with the likes of sausages, sliced potato, bacon, peas + sweet corn, beans, mozorella, chorizo. Basically anything I could find. In this recipe however I stayed on the holy path of quality over quantity. In the ingredients department anyway.

This is the first time I’ve made a proper cheese sauce for a lasagna, and I really think it makes the recipe. I pledge I shall never go back to ready made cheese sauce. The added cream, plus the blue cheese giving it the extra punch, really pull their weight.

I personally always like a slightly spicy/hot Bolognese, nothing too harsh, just enough to taste it. Which mild chilli powder is perfect for. And perhaps a few chilli flakes, and maybe some jalapenos, the list goes on..

LASAGNA

How to make:

  1. So first we ruffly chop the onion get it sizzling in some oil.
  2. Add the garlic (cut fine), to the pan.
  3. After a min add the Mince, brown all over
  4. Then add the chopped tomatos.
  5. At this point I add what ever veg I’ve got in the fridge. On this occasion it happened to be a yellow pepper and a leek.
  6. Now for the spices; cumin and old dry coriander normally go in, but on this occasion I stuck with just mild chilli powder and the tiniest dash of cayenne pepper. I was quite pleased with the out come.  Season with S+P and 1/2 tsp sugar.
  7. Put a lid on the pan and let it sit on a low heat whilst we make the white sauce.
  8. Separate pan, melt butter add flour, mix so there are no lumps.
  9. Add milk + cream, stir
  10. Add blue cheese + cheddar, stir until all is one
  11. Season with S+P
  12. Get the oven going say 180c
  13. Pour half bolognese into a baking dish
  14. Cover with a layer of the lasagne sheets
  15. Pour half the white sauce in
  16. Put last of the bolognese over the top
  17. Cover with 2nd layer of pasta sheets
  18. And finally the last of the White sauce on top
  19. Put in over for 20-30min.
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