I have a confession. Despite the fact that I can make countless fancy recipes, pizza remains one of my favourite foods.
And yet until a few weeks ago I didn’t know how to make it.
Regular readers will know that I was gifted a bread maker for Christmas.
The bread results themselves have been variable.
I largely follow the recipe booklet that came with the machine- a Panasonic SD 2501. I do exactly as the recipe tells me – it seems ironic that I hate slavishly following recipes- and yet they sometimes turn out wrong. Too wet, uncooked, too soft. *Screams silently*.
Anyway, one thing the machine makes excellently is pizza dough. You sling the ingredients in the machine then move on to the oven stage.
Mr Kochannie did, upon one occasion, pronounce my pizza better than any he had in Italy. That dear reader, may well be an exaggeration. But it beats a chemical tasting Dominos any day…
This is the dough recipe that comes with the bread maker. I’m guessing you could knead it by hand too.
Once you’ve made the dough and let it rise, you want to top it with some pizza sauce.
1 red onion
1 small red chilli
2 gloves of garlic
1 carton of chopped tomatoes with basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Finely chop the chilli, garlic and onion.
Sweat them -in a large heavy based pan-in the olive oil for 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and finely chopped basil.
Season and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add a ladle of the sauce to the pizza, smear it evenly across the pizza base.
Add whatever toppings you want to the pizza. I like to go for a selection of Italian ham, Mozarella, red pepper, olives.
Bacon and egg pizza
If you want to do the bacon and egg pizza, use 2 rashers of chopped bacon and one egg- cracked in the middle.
Put your pizza in the oven at 220 degrees for 20-30 minutes to finish cooking.
Mr Kochannie tells me that one day he wants to buy a house in Spain and live by the sea.
I tell him that in the interim he can content himself with my Spanish Omelette.
For years, I’ve been making various versions of Spanish omelette. They’ve all been pretty good, but not quite authentic, not quite bueno.
And then my Spanish student came along.
Her name’s “Penelope, you know like the actress Penelope Cruz.”
As a thank you for my English lessons, Penelope gifted me the perfect Spanish omelette.
This was both a good and bad thing. Good because it was so delicious; bad because Mr Kochannie wants me to make it all the time. And it takes two hours.
Recipe caveat- lengthy time. Recipe win- a taste of Spanish sunshine.
A Spanish girl’s Spanish Omelette
Important tip: don’t use extra virgin oil, use something heavier.
Even before a big fat Italian man toured me round his kitchen, the country’s cuisine has always been one of my favourites.
What I like about it is the sling-it-all together approach: using leftover ingredients and whatever is to hand.
This brunch style sandwich, for one, uses leftover pizza sauce to upgrade some stale bread.
I asked Mr Kochannie what he thought of the sandwich.
Sadly a profound cold had rendered his tastebuds useless. (I may aswell have fed him Greggs’ greasy pasties.)
But it looked good to me…
2 thick slices of Focaccia
50g leftover pizza sauce
2 slices of Italian ham
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toast the focaccia then smear over the sauce.
Crumble the ham over the top.
Gently break the egg so it rests on the top of the sandwich.
Drizzle with oil and put in a hot oven for seven minutes.
Serve with rocket.
P.S. Bread adventures update:
I made my focaccia in the bread maker using a mix. Still searching for the perfect flour for brown bread so all suggestions welcome.
Instead of baking Mr Kochannie a birthday cake, I made him a stack of chocolate brownies with a candle on top. That counts, right?
And I even sang him Happy Birthday for the second time as I presented them. (The first rendition was in the swimming pool.)
Usually, all the recipes on here are my own. This one, I will admit, is stolen from the BBC Good Food website. However, the addition of chocolate decoration was purely my own- a girl can’t have too much cocoa.
As a footnote, my bread adventures continue. I baked blueberry and banana bread today. Can’t decide if it is a success or not. I will feed some to Mr Kochannie and try not to sing.
You know those carb-free girls who run a mile at the thought of a slice of bread?
I’m the exact opposite: I consume about half a loaf of the crusty stuff on a daily basis.
Aware of this, my Mum gifted me a Lakeland compact bread maker for Christmas.
I began turning out homely looking loaves on a daily basis to much success.
But after about a week, the little Lakeland packed in. The paddle kept getting stuck in the loaf- meaning that the bread wasn’t properly kneaded and completely inedible.
As accident prone as I am – Mr Kochanie calls me ‘Kasia the basher’ – it seemed to be due to a machine defect rather than my fair handiwork.
I duly returned it and upgraded to the holy grail of bread makers- the Panasonic.
I’m still getting to grips with the bread making process, but I have produced some pretty tasty results.
Brown with raisins, sunflower and pumpkins, Rye bread, Rye and Spelt bread and the recipe below.
As I have learnt to my cost, the flour you use is super important. Some of the best seems to be Canadian if you can get it.
Here’s my recipe for Spelt, sunflower and raisins- it makes a large loaf in my Panasonic. Cooking times will vary according to your machine. For example, this recipe would work in the Lakeland machine- but you would need to reduce the ingredient quantities by 20% and it would only take around 3 hours to cook.
My hearty Panasonic takes a hefty five hours!
Luckily, I find the bread making process strangely calming… I have somehow morphed into a bread geek.
Spelt, pumpkin seed and raisin bread
1 and a quarter teaspoons of yeast
250g strong wholemeal flour
250g brown spelt flour
1 and a half teaspoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon of milk powder
20g sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of honey
1 large beaten egg
360 ml tepid water
It is important to put the ingredients in the bread pan in the order specified above.
Set it according to your machine time and that’s it!
If you are doing dairy free, you can leave out the milk powder and substitute the butter for soya butter.
Just in case you got bored of seeing the bread on its own, it’s partnered with the bacon.
It was a year of…
It was a year of sunsets, beaches, world records and Mr Kochanie and I’s many adventures.
It was a year of getting better, growing stronger and smiling more.
It was also a year of a lot of food. Posh Baked potatoes and cheese, Pierogis, Tomato, Spinach and Coconut milk soup were some of my top hits.
But the most popular recipe on my blog- actually dating back to 2012- remains Pink sugar glitter cocktails. So if you haven’t tried them, go pour yourself one now and take a toast with me- here’s to a full, bright, beautiful and Independent 2014.
Disclaimer- this recipe is difficult.
Regular readers will know that the vast majority of recipes on my blog are easy. But just occasionally I throw in a more complex recipe because it’s just too tasty not to. These little bites of cake are the latest culinary fashion- usurping cupcakes.
It’s a great recipe to make with kids and get them involved in the kitchen: it’s not a great recipe if you’re in a hurry. Make life easier by preparing the cake part a couple hours ahead of time so they are cool by the time you ice them.
I borrowed my sister’s cake Sweet Treats Cake Pop machine to make these- it produces a beautiful springy sponge.
The machine comes with a selection of recipes- I used the vanilla sponge recipe. Then I simply dipped them in white chocolate then garnished them with sugar flowers.
“We’ve no eggs for brunch, just bacon.”
“Fancy Bacon bruschetta?”
And thus a new recipe was born- some crispy bacon combined with one of my most popular recipes- Italian bruschetta.
I had bruschetta leftover from a little festive party the night before, and it seemed the perfect dish to ease our overindulgence the morning after. A stalwart to see you through the festive season.
The tomatoes are best prepared the night before so that they can marinade in the oil, vinegar and basil.
2 punnets of cherry tomatoes
8 slices of ciabatta
8 teaspoons of olive oil
1 bunch of basil
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of garlic
Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and finely chop the garlic and basil.
Place them in a large bowl and mix throroughly. Cover with the oil and vinegar and season with salt and lots of pepper; mix well.
Cut the ciabatta into slices.
Spoon tomatoes over each slice of ciabatta.
Fry your bacon according to taste and add it onto each slice of bruschetta.
As previously discussed, Mr Kochanie has a gargantuan appetite.
Dutiful girlfriend I am, the other evening, I made him a hearty dinner of white fish wrapped in bacon -will blog that recipe retrospectively- wonder jackets, vegetables and salad.
And yet still he remained hungry.
Impromptu pancakes came to the rescue. Topped with vanilla ice cream and hot toffee sauce.
Finally, he was sated.
Recipe timing 5-10 minutes
For the pancake mixture
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g vanilla sugar
a little vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, sift in the flour, sugar and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
Add the eggs to the flour mixture and stir thoroughly. Keep stirring and gradually add the milk.
Keep stirring the mixture until all of the lumps are gone. (If there are still big lumps, you can cheat and use an electric whisk to get rid of them! )
Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan.
When the oil is hot, add a ladle full of the pancake mixture to the pan.
Cook that side until you see air bubbles, then flip. If you are a little timid, use a fish slice to help turn it. It should be golden brown when it’s cooked.
When the second side is cooked, decant the pancake to a tinfoil package and store them in a warm oven until the entire stack of pancakes is ready.
For the toffee sauce
100g slightly salted butter
75g soft brown sugar
75ml single cream
1 tub of vanilla ice-cream
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. You should be using a low heat throughout this recipe.
Add the sugar and stir, until the mixture melts and combines.
Gradually add the cream, stirring continuously for three minutes.
You should now have a gooey toffee sauce.
Spoon the ice-cream then pour the hot sauce over the pancakes.
You might also like my White chocolate and raspberry pancakes.