Last week I mentioned the chicken pizza base. We also occasionally make a pizza base using turkey mince. It's made from mince, seasoning and an egg. The mixture is quite sloppy so it needs to be spooned into a pan and spread out to cook.
After it has cooked, it gets topped and cooked in the oven as before, to let the cheese melt.
Yesterday, after making the pizza base (we had regular pizza alongside the chicken base), there was some left over so I kneaded in some chilli flakes and flattened it out to make a flatbread.
It rose rather a lot in the oven so I wasn't too surprised when I cut it open and saw...
We have been experimenting with alternative pizza bases recently. I had already tried a root potato pizza base a few years ago and we did one again recently. Something else we've been trying is removing the bread altogether, putting the meat on the bottom with vegetables and cheese on top
We took a chicken breast, flattened it out then fried it. After that it was topped with tomato sauce, vegetables and cheese. Since the base and vegetables were pre-cooked, it only needed to go in the oven until the cheese had melted.
(Reposted from The Pizza Blog)
Last month we went on a short break to Lincolnshire and brought back some locally made flavoured cheeses (the Lymm Bank cheeses we often get from the Living Heritage country shows we go to).
We have just got back from a week in France and brought back a range of different foods, including some smoked horsemeat sausages. I've probably accidentally eaten horsemeat, especially given how widespread the food contamination problem was last year but this is the first time I have knowingly eaten it.
The pizza has slices of the sausage topped with slices of horserasish cheese so I felt that it should be called a '2 Horse Pizza'.
This post also appears on the Pizza Blog.
For this week's pizza night I decided to try a Stromboli pizza, a filled pizza which is often rolled up. The base was a normal bread/pizza base. For the filling I used vegetable chilli, chicken and cheese.
I started by rolling the base into an oval shape. Closer to rectangular would be better but oval works well enough. I spread the base with the vegetable chilli then sprinkled chopped cooked chicken over the top.
Next I added grated cheese.
The stromboli was rolled up and placed onto a hot pizza stone before being put into the centre of the oven at gas mark 6 for about 20 minutes.
Just before the end of cooking, I took the stromboli out of the oven and laid some sliced chilli cheese on top. I put it back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese without letting it run all the way down the sides.
The final cooked product. It came out quite well although it had split along part of one side. I may have caused this by over-filling it or rolling it too tightly but that didn't detract from the eating.
This week's recipe was inspired by an episode of Man v. Food we watched last week. They were in Chicago and ate a traditional deep pan pizza. We decided to try one as part of our traditional weekly pizza night.
We started off with our normal pizza base recipe, using ¾ bread flour and ¼ yellow cornmeal. The dough was made in the usual manner and allowed to at least double in size. I then flattened it out, spread it with butter then folded it over a few times. I put the base in a 9 inch cake tin and pressed it into the edges and about an inch up the side.
One of the things mentioned in Man v. Food was that the deep pan pizzas are made upside down. The first thing on the base is the cheese. Here I used sliced mozarella.
The next things to go on were fried vegetables and cooked chicken. The veg were: roasted red and green peppers, diced and fried onion, leek and courgette.
The sauce then goes on top. I used a spicy tomato sauce which was based on the one from the Mexican Lasagne. I simmered a pan of passata and added crushed garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, paprika, salt, sugar and balsamic vinegar.
The pizza was nearly finished. I topped it with grated pecorino cheese then baked it in the oven, at gas mark 7, for about 20 minutes.
The pizza was full of flavour and unlike anything you normally get from a take-away or supermarket. It is definitely something worth doing again. The base would work well as a kind of 'tear and share', especially if made with garlic butter or a similar flavoured butter, possibly with grated cheese or diced mozzarella folded in too.
The 6 cheeses were:
- Cream cheese mixed with basil puree, spread on the base
- Grated mature cheddar
- Grated pecorino
- Grated applewood smoked cheese
- Sliced goats cheese
- Shredded mozzarella
The breadsticks were made using the same basic recipe as my sourdough pizza. I made twice as much pizza dough and split the mixture in two. One half was further divided in two and left to rise for tonight's pizza. The other half had an extra tablespoon of olive oil and some mixed seeds kneaded in. I left the breadstick dough for a couple of hours to start to rise before I made the breadsticks themselves.
To make the breadsticks, I broke off small portions of the dough, rolled them out and cut them into strips. I rolled the strips individually, based on the instructions given here.
Some of the breadsticks were left plain, others were flavoured with smoked sea salt, smoked paprika, and finally salt and pepper. I cooked them for about 20 minutes at gas mark 4. The actual timing seems quite important since some came out quite a bit darker than others.
This week's Saturday night pizza took place on Sunday. One of the pizzas was inspired by a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, from his latest tv series 3 Good Things, which highlights simple recipes using 3 main ingredients. The recipe was originally for a pasta bake but I decided to have a go at using it as a pizza sauce.
I started by cooking the sliced courgettes in a little oil.
When the courgettes were cooked down, I added a splash of double cream (just enough to mix in to make a smooth sauce) and a handful of grated parmesan.
I spread the courgette mixture onto the pizza base
Topped it with sliced chicken.
Then added mozzarella and sprinkled with grated cheddar.
I was a bit worried that the final cooked pizza would be a bit soggy but it was fine. In the spirit of the original programme, I kept the toppings to a minimum but the courgette mixture was full of flavour and worked well on a pizza.
This year we seem to have a house full of chilli plants. There are several on the windowsills in both the upstairs and downstairs front rooms. The upstairs chilli plants get a bit more sunlight during the day and were the first to start to ripen.
This afternoon I noticed there were 3 bright red chillies so I harvested them to add to our regular saturday night pizza. They seem to have a decent amount of heat and flavour. There are a lot of green unripe chillies on the plants so it looks like it might be a good chilli harvest this year.
Some of the fruit and veg stalls at Coventry market sell bowls of fruit and veg for £1. We occasionally buy things like bowls of peppers but this morning we decided to also get a bowl of fennel. Now this is a vegetable which we occasionally buy from the supermarket but then it's only 1 bulb at a time. This time we have 5 bulbs of the stuff to use so we're going to need to be a bit creative.
We have a pizza book which has dozens of different recipes for toppings and sauces. One was a fennel sauce which has diced onion, fennel and garlic which is fried then simmered in tomato sauce. We gave that a go and topped it with salmon, anchovies and capers. And cheese of course. I might try it again if we find ourselves with excess fennel again.
Saturday is our regular pizza night and we occasionally struggle to think of new toppings to try. This means we often get stuck in a rut and keep repeating ourselves with various combinations of chicken, vegetables and chilli. Last night we opened one of those Heinz 'fridge jars' of baked beans, which means we have to finish the pack within 5 days. We don't have baked beans very often but Emma suggested combining beans and pizza and replicate the baked bean pizza which was available back in the mid-90s.
I started off by spreading a few tablespoons of baked beans over the pizza base then added sliced chicken, chillies, mozarella and grated cheese.
This post also appears on the Pizza Blog
When I was younger, a muffin was a small bread roll which was usually split and toasted and eaten as a savoury food. These days when you mention a Muffin, the first thing people thing of is the overgrown cupcake, and the old-fashioned muffins of my childhood is now called an English Muffin.
A couple of weeks ago I was given a link to this recipe and yesterday I finally found time to make some. I followed the recipe as closely as possible, making the first part of the dough on friday evening and adding the salt, honey and baking soda on saturday morning, along with some extra flour to give it more of a doughy texture.
The muffins were left to rise for about an hour before being baked on a pizza stone at gas mark 7 for about 10 minutes. Since the muffins are best when they have a flat top and bottom, I found out that the best way to cook them was to start them off flat side up (in other words, turning them upside down when transferring them from the tray to the stone), then turning them over again after a couple of minutes, before the top starts to bulge.
The first muffins were eaten while still warm, as an egg sandwich for brunch. The toasted buttered muffins shown above were eaten for lunch today.
I thought I was also have a go at making a sourdough pizza base, instead of my normal method which used bread yeast. The dough was made with ½ a cup of sourdough starter, 1½ cups of plain flour, a couple of tablespoons of yellow cornmeal, 2 teaspoons of sugar, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of pumpkin seed oil (to make a change from our usual olive oil). I left the dough to rise for about 5 or 6 hours.
The pizza here was topped with red pesto, red chillies, chicken, grated cheese and mozarella. The base was nice and soft but it's not clear whether that was due to it being sourdough based or whether it would have been a nice soft bready base anyway.
Our semi-regular trip to Pizza Express for St. Valentine's Day.
Click on the thumbnail to view the image
We first made a calamari pizza earlier this year but we ate it before I thought of taking a photograph. The sauce was passata, garlic, courgette and chilli which was liquidized then simmered until it had thickened.
The calamari was from Marks & Spencers and was chargrilled in a red pepper dressing. It was topped with lots of grated cheddar and shredded mozzarella.
(Crossposted from the Pizza Blog)