Category: Bread

Wholemeal spinach, goats cheese and prosciutto pizza

At 4pm, every single day, my phone goes off. It’s that time of day when I’m at my desk, the weight of my lunch having left my stomach, considering a cup of coffee and something to eat. And then my phone vibrates somewhere off to my left.

It’s a text about pizza.

It’s not always a text – sometimes it’s an email. It’s not always Dominos – sometimes it’s Papa Johns or Pizza Hut, because I’m not that into brand loyalty. Sometimes within a five minute window I get two, from two different companies. It’s no coincidence of course – 4pm is when we’re in a slump, between meals and with flagging attention spans. But every time it makes me want a cheesy, gooey delight.

Wholemeal-PizzaTo make it clear, I’m not the kind of pizza eater that can sit down with a side salad and a glass of wine and have a sophisticated pizza-eating session. The vast majority of my pizza experiences in recent years have occurred in one of two ways. A) When I’m walking home after a night out, having repeatedly asked “But what is the rum gone?”, and in desperate need of all of the carbs; or B) 9 hours after A) having sat starring at my laptop whining, “But why doesn’t anyone deliver pizza before 12 o’clock? It’s 10am and I need a meat feast with cheesy crust NOW!”, and then spending two hours gazing forlornly at my un-knocked-upon front door, waiting for a man in a motorbike helmet to relieve my pain.

So you can see why, until recently, I’d never made pizza at home – honestly, it sounded kind of a pain in the ass. It sounded like all the faff of bread making but with added hassle with sorting out toppings. That’s not what you need at 6pm on a weeknight, let alone after one too many bottles glasses of wine. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This is the part of the post where I should be all “But it was so easy! So quick!” But a liar I am not.

It was kind of a pain in the ass. Even using a quick dough from Smitten Kitchen, it takes a while, although admittedly this is at least in part because I like to jam as much garlic into tomato sauce as possible. But being able to control exactly what goes into it makes the whole job more worth it, because there’s no uneven cheese distribution, and no mystery fat left pooling in a cardboard box when the rest has been hoovered up by your hungover face. You can’t get tricked into eating green peppers.

And the absence of peppers, alone, makes it worth it. See ya later, Pizza Hut. Sayonara, Papa Johns. Au revoir, Dominos.

Notes

Pizza dough recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
I used half plain flour and half wholemeal bread flour, but you could use 200g plain flour, or 200g white bread flour. If not using wholemeal flour, you will need less water.
Unearthed prosciutto is currently on offer in Waitrose!
I drizzled the cooked pizza with a little balsamic vinegar and served it with a rocket salad.

Serves 2

Ingredients

7g (one sachet) fast action dried yeast
100g plain flour
100g wholemeal bread flour
1tsp salt
Approximately 150ml warm water
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
3/4 cup passata or chopped tomatoes
30g cheddar, grated
50g mozzarella, sliced
A handful of spinach, or more as desired
50g goats cheese, sliced
40g prosciutto, chopped

Method

1) Stir together the flours, yeast, and salt, then gradually add the water, mixing with a wooden spoon, until the dough comes roughly together – you may not need all of the water. Gather the dough and tip out onto a lightly floured counter to knead it for about 5 minutes, so that the dough becomes smooth.
2) Coat a medium sized bowl with olive oil, place the dough in it, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to double in size (about half an hour).
3) While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 170C.
4) Lightly fry the onion and garlic until soft, and then add the passata or chopped tomato and simmer over a low heat.
5) When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out, lightly knead it. Tear off a piece of baking parchment just bigger than your baking tray and on this roll out the dough into a rough square the size of your baking tray, about half a centimetre thick.
6) Spread the tomato sauce onto your base, and then layer with the remaining ingredients – apart form the prosciutto – as you wish. (I went sauce, cheddar, mozzarella, spinach, goats cheese).
7) Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes before adding the prosciutto. Bake for a further 15-25 minutes, until the base of the pizza is mid-brown underneath.

Spiked Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding

SpikedTrayI noticed last week that my front page is getting really, er, brown. A lot of the foods I’ve been enjoying are shades of beige and brown – largely because carbs are brown and carbs are brilliant. This spiked twist on bread and butter pudding is no different.

I’ve said before how much I love hot cross buns – there’s nothing quite like the sweet, spicy smell of cinnamon and sugar and fruit wafting from the kitchen. As much as I’d be happy to eat them simply toasted and smothered in butter, dressing them up with a little egg and dried fruit spruces them up just enough that maybe you’d be judged less for consuming it all. Maybe.

Bread and butter pudding is a dish that’s always about homeliness and ease, a matter of using up some left overs. So when it came to looking for a recipe, I was surprised to see that a lot of them called for vanilla pods, double cream, and breads you’re not likely to have left over from that week’s packed lunches, like panettone. I’m sure if you’re a famous chef, you’re quite likely to have some cream laying about, and you’ve probably got a stash of Fairtrade vanilla pods that you’re happy to simmer in milk for 3 minutes then discard. But the average person doesn’t have these items, surely? In short, although I love food magazines and cooking programmes, sometimes they just seem a little too far removed from reality.

All you need for this pudding is a few eggs, some (normal!) milk, a little rum and some hot cross buns, which are on offer pretty much everywhere at the moment. The hardest part is not eating them all as soon as you buy them.

Spiked Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding

Serves 6-8.

SpikedCloseIngredients

75g raisins
5tbsp dark or spiced rum
8 hot cross buns
Butter
3 eggs
2tbsp sugar, plus some to sprinkle
600ml milk
Vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon
Nutmeg

Method

1) The night before making the pudding, place the raisins and rum in a small bowl or Tupperware box and cover. Allow to soak overnight.
2) On the day, heat the oven to about 75C and slice your hot cross buns in half. Place the halves straight onto the wire racks (hope your oven’s clean!) and heat for about 30 minutes, or until crispy. If you’ve somehow resisted the hot cross buns long enough to let them stale slightly naturally, skip this step.
3) When crisp, remove from oven and butter on one side. Arrange in your baking dish, butter side up. Remove the raisins from the rum, reserving the left over rum for later use, and sprinkle on the bun halves. Change the oven temperature to 160C.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, using a balloon whisk. Set aside.
5) In a medium pan, heat the milk and vanilla extract until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat, and add to the egg mixture along with the leftover rum, stirring as you pour, to make your custard. Mix thoroughly.
6) Pour the mixture over the hot cross buns and allow to soak for 30 minutes, spooning the custard over any dry areas.
7) Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and grated nutmeg over the pudding to your taste. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the custard is set. Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate hazelnut cinnamon rolls

I’m sorry guys. I’m sorry that I have to barge in on your Thursday morning just to break your heart with lust for chocolate hazelnut cinnamon rolls. It isn’t my fault. Really. You can blame this on my dad for giving me the hazelnuts in the first place. What’s a girl to do, if not mix those hazelnuts with delicious melty chocolate and sweet warm bread? But I’m only a little bit sorry – because damn, these rolls are good.

I spent ages looking for a cinnamon roll recipe. I tried Google, I tried Pinterest, I tried Waitrose. Nothing. Nada. No recipe that grabbed me. So I went back to the old faithful, cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread recipe, and tweaked. And chopped, and sprinkled, and rolled. Cooked and waited and waited and waited, and then did a little victory dance around the little kitchen. Clapped like a seal a few times. This is a victory.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can get halfway and put the dough in the fridge overnight. So, with a bit of careful time planning, you could have these for an indulgent Friday morning breakfast to help get you through the day.

If you’re good enough to have the self-restraint to stop you from eating them all in one go, they will be just as tasty the next day, heated in a microwave for about a minute.


Recipe adapted from a recipe adapted from Joy the Baker. 

chocolate-hazelnut-rollsupdateIngredients:

Dough:

2 3/4  cups plain flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope dry yeast
2 oz/50g (unsalted) butter
1/3 whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, whisked
Sprinkling of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 oz/5og (unsalted) butter, melted until brown
50g skinless roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
100g chocolate, roughly chopped (I used 75g dark, 25g milk)

Method:

1)  Mix together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

2)  Heat the milk with the butter in a saucepan until the butter has completely melted. Remove from heat and add the water and vanilla extract. Let it stand for a minute or so to cool.

3)  Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, along with the eggs. This makes a very sticky mixture – just added a little more flour until its easier to handle.

4)  Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to double in size.

5)  While that’s rising, mix together your sugar and cinnamon for the sugar filling, grease your tin (I used a Bundt-style tin), and melt the butter. Preheat oven to 180C or gas mark 4.

6)  When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out and knock it back. Cover it with a tea towel, and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Roll out the dough as big as you can on a floured surface, or if you’re refrigerating it until the morning, wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge. Be sure to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to roll it out!

7)  Slather the dough with the melted butter using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, and sprinkle the sugar mixture over it. Next, sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and chocolate over the buttered, sugared dough, roll lengthways and cut into rolls about 2.5 inches deep. Transfer them to the tin.

8)  Put a tea towel over your tin, and leave the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes – until they’ve doubled in size.
(As my flat is pretty cold, I put a hot water bottle underneath to aid the rising. True story.)

9)  When risen, place it on the centre shelf of the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
Similar to baking a cake, if you put a knife between the individual rolls and it comes out sticky, let them have longer. This might mean putting a foil cap over the rolls to stop the top from burning.