Sadly for me, dearest readers, I’ve been unwell for the last couple of weeks. Actually, it’s not just me it’s been sad for. In general I’m a vision of robust good health and rarely ail, always being on hand to fulfill my role as (my amended version of) a domestic goddess, taxi driver, provisions supplier, laundress, stock wrangler and all round go-to woman-about-the-house and it is just possible that this has been taken for granted, a smidge, by those with whom I reside. It came as an unpleasant and inconvenient surprise for them to see me wallowing in tissues, decongestant and self pity for what seemed a prolonged amount of time.
What came as a nastier surprise to them was the scarcity of meals provided by yours truly. Dinner time would roll around and as they assembled in the cold, darkened kitchen their sad, disappointed, little faces gazing across the barren dinner table would have been enough to make a lesser woman take pity – but not me. I figure it’s about time they hardened up and worked out how to feed themselves and, anyway, I’ve been too busy blowing my nose and feeling sorry for myself, so normal service has taken some time to resume.
Now that the doctor has brought out some big pharmaceutical guns I’m beginning to feel much better and actually, a bit hungry myself. My appetite has been more than a little piqued by some of the brilliant pizza ideas supplied by my clearly imaginative readers as they’ve entered my competition for the Emile Henry pizza stone. You’ve all come up with such wonderful ideas and, fearing that my loved ones might notice that the improvement in my health had not so far resulted in correspondingly increased activity in the kitchen, I decided that last night was to be pizza night.
Homemade pizza’s have to be one of the easiest, tastiest and most popular dishes in our house and a very healthy, cost effective alternative to the shop-bought variety. You can choose to make your own pizza dough, as I often do, or buy ready made pizza bases. I find that many of the commercial pizza bases are thick and stodgy, so I prefer the crisper base achieved by using locally made Greek Pita bread. Then, it’s just a matter of smearing on a flavour base, selecting your toppings and cooking at high heat on a pizza stone in the oven, or in one of those handy-dandy little electric pizza cookers (which also work a treat). You can make your own tomato sauce, but for convenience sake I often use pure tomato paste. When heading down a more “gourmet” path I just adore playing around with the flavours of some of the extensive range of our local Beerenberg condiments. I’m all about maximum impact for minimum effort – remember?!
Following what seems to be something of a theme in the pizza ideas comments for the competition, I made a sweet potato, chorizo and Woodside Cheese Wrights chevre pizza and a caramelized onion and garlic prawn pizza – both perfect, fast weekend meal ideas.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Ras el Hanout
- 4 small pizza bases, or pita breads
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Beerenberg Sweet Chilli Relish
- ⅓ cup grated mozarella
- 1-2 chorizo sausages, thinly sliced
- 150 gms Woodside Cheese Wrights goats chevre
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Toss sweet potato with oil and ras el hanout, spread in a baking dish and cook in oven for 20 minutes.
- Increase heat to 220C and place pizza stone in oven.
- Spread bases with tomato paste, then spread lightly with chilli relish.
- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the bases.
- Distribute the cooked sweet potato evenly over the 4 bases, then do the same with the sliced chorizo.
- Cook the pizza's for approx 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden and the sausage is crisping. Remove from oven.
- Crumble the chevre over the pizza's, then sprinkle with chopped coriander before serving.
My second effort, the caramelised onion and garlic prawn pizza, was even simpler. I smeared a couple of tablespoons of Beerenberg Caramelised Onion on to the pizza base, sprinkled over a handful of grated mozzarella and dotted it with fresh, raw prawns which had been marinaded in crushed garlic, salt and olive oil, then threw them into the oven for about 10 minutes – just until the prawns have pinked up a little. I served them with fresh, wild rocket scattered over the top, but fresh chopped basil would be a great alternative too.
Don’t forget – there’s still time to enter for the chance to win a gorgeous Emile Henry ceramic pizza stone, here!
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You can check out the full list of contents here.
I received a nice little surprise last week when I found another lovely cookbook in the letter box from Wakefield Press. One of their newer releases, this is an interesting little book because of it’s format. Titled Veg In and written by Australian Flip Shelton, this is a recipe book of vegetarian alternatives to your favourite takeaway meals. Full of fresh, wholesome and simple recipes, these dishes will end up saving you money, time and calories and often take less time to prepare than it would take to drive to the shop to buy their expensive, greasy counterparts. The book is divided into ten separate chapters covering all the popular takeaway meals -Indian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Pizza, Spuds and Burgers and is full of gorgeous photo’s. I really like this format and think it would be a great book for encouraging older kids and teenagers to cook for themselves, although I would have liked to see an index at the back.
Friday night is often pizza night in our house and we prefer to make our own – they are cheaper, quicker, much tastier than the bought variety and the kids all make their own (see above). In her book, Flip has suggestions for cheats bases as well as recipes for homemade white, wholemeal or gluten free bases and follows this with a list of seriously tempting toppings. Hope fully she won’t mind if I share this leek and gherkin one with you as quite a few of us have leeks in our boxes this week. This will make one single serve pizza.
Braised Leek and Gherkin Pizza
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek, washed and chopped
- 4 small gherkins, chopped
- salt & pepper
- 30 gms Gruyer cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- Warm oil in a heavy based saucepan, add leeks and gently saute on low heat until softened.
- Spread over pizza base. Top with gherkins, season and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake 10 minutes.
This will make one single serve pizza – 22cms.
Number of servings (yield): 1
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The link to the goodies in this weeks boxes – here!
Sun, glorious sun – at last! The brown snakes are getting bolder – we found one by the front door today – so we really know the seasons have turned.
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