Monday, 20 April 2015

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough


I love how you can connect with others on social media particularly on twitter. A recent follower on my twitter account is David from Old Fat Guy (@DiscoDavid9)  He lives in Canada and likes to cook. He has lots of great recipes on his site but the one that caught my eye recently was this recipe for Quick Pizza. I'm not a huge lover of pizza and will almost always choose pasta over pizza if we eat at an Italian restaurant. Over the Easter weekend, we did a lot of work around the house and wanted something quick and simple for dinner. Instead of ordering a takeaway pizza, I decided to give David's recipe a try as it seemed so quick and simple. 

It was also a good chance to make use of ingredients in the fridge to use as pizza toppings. I was terrible at shaping the pizza so mine looks quite 'rustic'. Let's just say that was how I intended it to look in the first place :) I rolled out the dough quite thinly as I prefer a thin base pizza and made 2 different ones. The first had a tomato and pepper pesto as a base and was topped with pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, grated cheese and mozarella cheese. The second one had a bbq sauce base and was topped with ham, cheese and tomato. I baked them on my pizza stone and they tasted absolutely delicious! The pizzas were ready in about 35 minutes from start to finish! That's quicker than some pizza deliveries particularly on a busy weekend. This is definitely going on the regular menu plan and it would be great for parties or when I have guests round. 

I'm sending this to Bready, Steady, Go! hosted by Jen from Jen's Food and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families. Both Jen and Michelle are keen bread bakers so they've decided to host this challenge together. 


I'm also sending it to Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes. I bookmarked this and a few other recipes whilst going through David's blog.


It's also perfect for Credit Crunch Munch guest hosted by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy. The challenge is run by Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. Making your own pizza is definitely more cost effective than ordering one for delivery even if you bought all the ingredients from scratch. Hopefully you will have some of these ingredients at home. The bonus is you can custom make your own pizza and not have to pay extra! As mentioned I used up leftovers from the fridge for toppings. 




 

 mix until the dough starts to clump on the hook

 almost ready - you can see that the dough is smoother and sticks to the dough hook 

 my 'rustic' pizza 

 spread base of pizza on dough 

 add your toppings and bake 

 first pizza - tomato and pepper base with pepperoni,mushroom, tomato and cheese 


  second pizza - bbq sauce base with ham, tomato, mushroom and cheese 

Recipe adapted slightly from Old Fat Guy
I used bread flour instead of plain flour as I'd run out of plain flour (shocking but true) 
My pizzas only needed 8-9 minutes to cook as the dough was very thin and I used a pizza stone. 

240g bread flour (or plain flour), divided into 120g x 2
2.25 teaspoon easy bake yeast 
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
160ml very warm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pizza toppings of your choice 

  • Place a cold pizza stone in the oven and pre heat the oven to 220C or as high as your oven will go.  
  • Mix 120g flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Add the water and oil to the mixture. 
  • Give it a quick stir then add the remaining 120g flour and place on the stand mixer with a dough hook.
  • Mix until the dough starts to clump on the hook and continue mixing for another 7 minutes. Set a timer and let the mixer do all the work! 
  • Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes. 
  • Roll out the dough in a circle and toss the pizza if you know how! Otherwise, roll it out thinly into a rustic shape like mine.
  • Transfer the pizza to the hot pizza stone and spread pesto sauce, bbq sauce or pizza base on top of the dough then add the toppings. I found it easier than transferring a ready made pizza to the hot pizza stone. Alternatively you can use a cake lifter or pizza paddle to transfer the ready made pizza to the hot pizza stone. 
  • Bake for about 8-9 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the dough is brown on the edges. You may need to bake it longer if your dough is thicker. 
  • Slice and enjoy! 
  • Note: If you don't have a pizza stone, you can bake this on a pizza pan which has perforations to ensure a crispy base.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Raspberry and Coconut Cupcakes


I made these cupcakes for a charity bake sale at J's work weeks ago. The inspiration for these cupcakes were the Taylor & Colledge flavour pastes that I was sent to review. I'd already tried out the lemon one in this banana and berry lemon muffin recipe which worked really well.  I decided to try the coconut one next and chose to pair it with raspberry. The result was a wonderfully moist, coconuty cake interspersed with chunks of fresh raspberries which cut through the coconut. It was paired with a raspberry jam frosting and had a hidden raspberry inside the cake. I baked 2 batches for the bake sale and a further batch later in the week to take to my work as it was just too good not to share. Everyone was amazed by the hidden raspberry which looks like a heart so I'm planning to make this again for Valentine's Day next year!

I'm sharing this with a few blog challenges this month

Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes.



Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too


Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Vicki from Honest Mum




Bake of the Week hosted by Helen from Casa Costello 


Casa Costello

 This was for a double recipe 

 Adding coconut extract paste 

 adding fresh raspberries and dessicated coconut

 lovely cupcake batter 

 fresh from the oven

 Make a small hole in th centre using a cupcake corer or melon baller 


 Fill it with a fresh raspberry

 ready to frost 

 pipe icing on and add a fresh raspberry on top and a sprinkling of dessicated coconut 

 I used pink and white spotty cases to match the raspberry and coconut 


 Ta-da! Do you think the raspberry looks like a heart inside? 

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes 
130g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
130g self-raising flour
50ml double cream 
1 teaspoon Taylor & Colledge coconut extract
50g desiccated coconut
50g fresh raspberries

For the icing
110g butter
110g seedless raspberry jam
100g icing sugar, sifted

To decorate
24 fresh raspberries
dessicated coconut 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs slowly and continue mixing. 
  • Add in the coconut extract, double cream and flour. 
  • Finally stir in the dessicated coconut and fresh raspberries by hand.
  • Fill the cupcake cases until 2/3 full with cake batter.
  • Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely before decorating.
  • To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar until smooth.
  • Add the raspberry jam and continue beating until smooth. 
  • Make a small hole in the centre of each cupcake - you can use a cupcake corer or a melon baller.
  • Place a fresh raspberry in the cored out cupcake.
  • Pipe the frosting on top and decorate each cupcake with a fresh raspberry on top and a sprinkling of dessicated coconut.
Disclaimer: I was sent a range of flavour pastes from Taylor & Colledge for review purposes. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Lemon Posset with Fresh Strawberries


Hurrah for Friday! It's been a long busy week and I'm really looking forward to the weekend. This is a really quick and easy dessert to make. I had some leftover double cream that was near exipiring so I did a quick search on google and came up with lemon posset. This is actually something I wanted to make for my New Year's Day Afternoon Tea but I never got round to it. I also had some fresh strawberries in the fridge so I did a mini layered dessert with fresh strawberries, lemon posset and more fresh strawberries. It was really zingy and fruity and felt quite refreshing despite the cream in there. 

I'm sending this to No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I used up leftover cream that was near expiring and some fresh strawberries for this recipe.





 cooking the lemon posset 



Recipe from BBC Good Food 

600mls double cream
200g golden caster sugar
zest and juice of 3 lemons
fresh strawberries (optional)


  • Place and cream and sugar in a large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has melted.
  • Simmer gently once the mixture is bubbling and turn off the heat.
  • Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and stir.
  • Allow to cool in the pan before dividing into serving dishes.
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  • I placed a layer of chopped strawberries followed by the lemon posset and more fresh strawberries. 



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hot Cross Buns


If you read my blog regularly you will see that I love baking cakes, cupcakes and cookies. I've started to bake more with pastry recently which includes trying different types of pastry and I even had a go at hot water pastry but that's for another post. Bread baking is a different matter and I've tended to stray away from baking bread or dough.  

J has been asking for hot cross buns since before Easter. It's traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the UK and in many other countries. Unfortunately I didn't get round to baking it and Easter flew by in the blink of an eye.  A week after Easter and J was still asking for his hot cross buns so I decided to give it a go. 

I used a Paul Hollywood recipe from BBC Good Food and followed it exactly. As it's my first time baking hot cross buns I decided not to stray from the recipe. The dough needed to prove 3 times and by the time I finished baking this it was almost dinnertime! Luckily we had a busy day doing some home improvements and did not have a chance to have lunch so these were a welcome treat with a cup of tea. I also gave some to our lovely neighbours next door and to our new neighbours who moved in a few weeks ago. 

They were very impressed with the homemade hot cross buns and so were we. The buns were soft and fruity and tasted so much better than the shop bought ones. We had them warm from the oven with lashings of butter and they tasted heavenly. We also had them toasted the next day with some homemade marmalade (from a friend) and it tasted just as good. 

I'm sending this to Bready, Steady, Go! hosted by Jen from Jen's Food and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families.  Both Jen and Michelle are keen bread bakers so they've decided to host this challenge together. I think it has a great challenge name which was chosen by one of Michelle's daughters. 


It's also going to Treat Petite hosted by Kat from The Baking Eplorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi. The theme this month is Hello Spring. 


Food Year Link Up hosted by Charlotte from My Recipe Book. These are of course for Easter.



Finally to Let's Cook for Easter hosted by Nayna from Simply Food.




 bread flour with salt, yeast and sugar 

 the dough is soft and crumbly...

 ...but becomes smooth and glossy after kneading 

 adding in the fruit after allowing the dough to prove 

 looks delicious!

 I weighed each bun as suggested to ensure even cooking 

 The cross is made from a flour and water paste 

 The glaze gives it a really nice shine 

 Lashings of butter! 

Recipe from BBC Good Food 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Spinach, Ricotta and Mushroom Quiche


This is one of the tastiest quiches I've made. Although I'm not vegetarian, I have found that the vegetarian quiches tend to taste better than the meat/fish ones. This broccoli and red pepper quiche was a real hit at my Christmas party last year and I've had repeat requests to bake it again. However, this may well trump that as it was just so tasty! I was a little worried about a soggy bottom particularly as the recipe calls for spinach and mushroom - two ingredients that excrete a lot of water whilst cooking. I made sure I strained the spinach well ensuring it was very dry before using in the quiche.  The mushrooms were roasted in the oven first so you can discard any excess water.  The quiche looks very impressive with the large mushrooms on top with the green spinach poking through. The mustard and ricotta worked well and really brought all the flavours together. 

I'm sending this to Extra Veg hosted this month by Jo from Jo's Kitchen on behalf of Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families.


Cooking with herbs hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage as the recipe uses thyme. 

Vegetable Palette hosted by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table. The theme this month is white vegetables and these large flat mushrooms are definitely white! 


Simple and in Season hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours on behalf of Ren. Spinach is available all year round but it's in season in spring. 




 mix the ricotta cheese with grainy mustard 

 spread cheese/mustard layer on the bottom of the quiche 

 add the cooked and strained spinach 

 arrange the flat mushrooms on top 

 pour in the cream/egg mixture 

 Ready to eat! I took this to work so I don't have any pictures of the cut slice. 

Recipe adapted slightly from BBC Food which is a James Martin recipe from Saturday Kitchen

For the pastry (or use ready made)
280g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g cold butter, cut into pieces
8 tablespoons cold water

For the filling
4 large flat mushrooms 
Handful of thyme leaves
400g spinach leaves
250g ricotta cheese 
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
3 egg yolks
300ml double cream 
salt and pepper
  • To make the pastry using a food processor - place the flour and butter and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms. 
  • Alternatively, rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms. 
  • Roll into a ball, wrap with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking. 
  • Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line your tart tin. 
  • Use a small ball of pastry scrap to press the pastry into the corners of the tin. 
  • Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Line the tart case with kitchen foil or baking paper and fill with baking beans. 
  • Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans and foil/paper and continue baking for 5 - 10 minutes until the pastry is light brown.
  • Grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed tart tin with butter.
  • At the same time, place the mushrooms onto a baking tray and sprinkle with thyme leaves. 
  • Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until they start to soften and excrete water. Discard any excess water.
  • Bring a large pan of water to boil and add a tablepoon of olive oil. Add the spinach and cook until it's just wilted.
  • Drain twice and press with a paper towel to ensure that the spinach is dry. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Place the ricotta into a bowl and stir in the grainy mustard. 
  • Spoon the mustard and ricotta mixture into the bottom of the tart case, top with the wilted spinach, and carefully place the roasted mushrooms on top.
  • Place the egg yolks and cream into a bowl and whisk until mixed. 
  • Pour this mixture into the tart case.
  • Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until it's golden brown and gently bubbling.
  • Allow to cool before slicing.