Tag Archives: one pot wonder

Homemade pizza

I am going to tell you how to make a pizza in 20 minutes. That wasn’t really a lie. Slightly bending the truth, I accept that. But wait! You honestly can make a pizza in 20 minutes. You just need to be sneaky… sneaky is good. Sneaky pizza is very good.

Now tell me you don’t want to make it. That would definitely be a lie.

Ingredients:
For the bases (makes 4):
3 tbsp olive oil
1 packet (7g) fast-action dried yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
600g strong white bread flour
large pinch salt

For the pizza:
a few tbsp tomato paste
50g cheddar
50g mozzarella
oregano or Italian herbs
any other toppings you like

Method:
1. Put the yeast, sugar and oil into a jug with 335ml lukewarm water. Set aside for a couple of minutes
2.  Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, then add the liquid. Mix until it all comes together, then knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes
3. Oil a large bowl (or use the same one) and put the dough into it. Cover with a teatowel and leave somewhere warm to rise for an hour
4. Preheat the oven to 230C (fan 210C). Briefly nead the dough again on a floured surface , then split into four and roll out each piece to a 1/2 cm thickness
5. Transfer the pizza base to a baking tray. Spread on enough tomato paste to cover the base, then add the toppings and sprinkle with cheese and herbs. Bake for 10-12 minutes

This pizza was truly delicious – I had it with anchovy paste mixed in with the tomato paste, and onions on top. Stinky but delicious. The second time I made it, I had it with mushrooms. Less stinky, still delicious. This pizza tastes way better than the ones you buy in the supermarket. And because you’ve made it all yourself, it feels positively virtuous. Well, it may not help your daily vegetable intake but the fact that it’s completely handmade has to count for something, right?

The real genius lies in the fact that you can freeze the spare bases by wrapping them in clingfilm. They take barely any time to defrost (I just put one on a baking tray when I get home from work), then barely any time again to whack on the toppings and bake. Not to mention that you can have your pizza exactly how you like it, AND you can save pennies in the process. Great news if you are saving for your imaginary vintage china collection, or, you know, a house in which to keep said china collection (amongst other things). Normally I wouldn’t consider eating pizza off a vintage plate but in this situation I would say it is completely justified. Eat and be happy =)

Mushroom risotto

I never used to like risotto. I think I’d had a bad risotto at some point, then was more annoyed by the principle of the thing – as a vegetarian, when you eat out you can almost guarantee that for one of the courses, risotto will be one of the two options you can eat (it’s either risotto or some hideous aubergine dish – why? why do people think that vegetarians really like it when you do awful things to aubergine?)

I’ve actually managed to avoid risotto entirely for the past few years, until we went skiing in February. I mentioned my dislike one day, and the chalet hosts looked concerned as we were having mushroom risotto in a couple of days, but I said I’d try it as all the food had been delicious so far (apart from the polenta, but, well, it’s polenta). The risotto was indeed delicious. Flipping through a recipe book the other day I came across a recipe for risotto, and decided to try it for myself.

I didn’t use the recipe from the recipe book though, as they wanted me to microwave it (“which cuts down the need for stirring” – maybe, but you presumably have to tend to your microwave every few minutes anyway). Seeing as I was trying to achieve a risotto that was actually nice, I read up on a few recipes then freestyled it.

Ingredients (serves 2)
100g chestnut mushrooms
1 small onion
knob of butter
100g risotto rice
250ml stock or water
2 tbsp double cream (optional but makes it yummy)
grana padano or parmesan
pepper, to taste

Method
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Chop the onion and mushrooms and add to the pan, cooking on a low heat until soft
2. Add the risotto rice and cook until translucent
3. Add the stock bit by bit, stirring until all is absorbed. Keep going until the rice is cooked and you are happy with the consistency (you may not need all the stock)
4. Turn off the heat. Add the cream and stir well, then season with the pepper. Finally, add the cheese (to taste)

Recipe notes
It was delicious! The chestnut mushrooms gave the dish a beautiful sweetness that was just scrummy (so much so, that I would be hesitant to use any other mushrooms). Though I did have to stand and stir, it wasn’t like the risotto required my undivided attention, so it gave me a good opportunity to tidy up the kitchen and get out the things I needed for some cakes I was making. And it took under 30 minutes to make start to finish, so I was hardly chained to the kitchen for an unbearable amount of time. I took the leftovers for lunch and it was equally tasty reheated (so, it did see the inside of a microwave after all). Finally, it was one-pot, so minimal washing up. A weeknight winner if ever there was one!