Eggplant, anchovy and capsicum #pizza with #basil #veggies

Haven’t made pizza for ages but was inspired by my visit to the Entertainment Quarter markets in Centennial Park in Sydney this morning.

Brought home a beautiful haul of fresh, organic vegetables and thought an (almost) vegetarian pizza as a unique take for football finals food would be a nice addition to the usual sausage rolls and meat pies served at this time of the year at parties around the country. Still pizza though so figure it fits into the genre!

My basket of goodies from the markets this morning.

I started with the pizza dough for the base so it could “prove” for an hour while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

Pizza is fun to make and is so good when you make it all from scratch.

Prep time: 1 hour cooking time: 15 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

2 and 2/3 cups of plain flour

1 cup lukewarm water

7g (1 sachet) dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1.5 tsps salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Whisk yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to froth.

Mix flour and salt and place in a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour, add frothy yeast mixture, and oil and mix using a cutting motion using a round edge knife or metal spatula.

When mixture starts to come together, quickly knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Should be a lovely smooth blob with a slight elasticity to it.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it, cover with glad wrap/cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to “prove” and double in size.

Sauce for base

ingredients

2 small ripe tomatoes finely diced

1/2 onion diced finely

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tablespoons tomato sauce (I used an equal mix of tomato and sriracha sauce)

1 cup water

1/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add garlic and sauté until just fragrant, add onions and cook gently until transparent, then add mixed herbs, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chilli flakes and white wine and simmer about 5 minutes until wine evaporates, then add water and simmer about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened and tomatoes have softened and created a nice sauce, add more water if necessary to cook more for tomatoes to break up. set aside to cool.

Topping

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant

1 whole red capsicum

4 anchovy fillets

1/2 onion sliced very thinly

8-10 small marinated green olives

Grated mozzarella

Cherry size bocconcini balls

Preparation

Capsicum

Turn on your grill/oven to 250 degrees Celsius on the grill setting. Line a small baking tray with baking paper, prick the capsicum with a fork in a few spots to allow air to escape, place on baking tray and roast in oven until skin is totally blackened…about 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven and immediately place in a plastic bag and knot the top. Set aside to cool, the skin will easily peel off when you are ready. Peel off skin, remove core and seeds, slice into thin strips and set aside.

Eggplant

Slice eggplant thinly and cover with salt and rest for 30 minutes or so, this will remove he moisture and stop the eggplant form discolouring. After minutes, drain away liquid, pat dry and pan fry with olive oil until golden brown, place on kitchen paper towel to drain off excess oil and set aside.

Olives

Slice into smaller pieces, removing pits if necessary.

Onion

Slice thinly and set aside.

Bocconcini

Slice 6 cherry bocconcini balls into 4 rounds and set aside

TURN ON OVEN TO PRE-HEAT GRILL to 250 degrees Celsius

ASSEMBLY:

Roll out half the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired size and thickness. Remember the dough will rise a bit in the oven. Lightly flour your pizza pan or baking tray and place your pizza base on that. (You can freeze the other half to use another time)

Spread your cooled tomato sauce over the base.

Sprinkle a layer of grated mozzarella sparsely or not so sparsely (up to you) over the tomato sauce, then place eggplant slices evenly around the base, add s shreds of the anchovy fillets, capsicum, raw sliced onion, olives and bocconcini over the base. Add another very light sprinkle of mozzarella.

Cook under 250 degree grill, lowering heat slightly if top looks like burning, lightly cover with foil if necessary to low base to cook and crisp up.

Remove from oven after 15 minutes, scatter with fresh basil leaves and allow to sit for a few minutes. Ready for devouring!

Oh Baby! #babyshower

Went to a fabulous baby shower today for my niece …wish I had taken more photos of the fabulous feast and the beautiful tea-cups…but here’s a taste!

Sticky date pudding for two

We are having a quiet night in and a special dinner to celebrate a New Year’s Eve as we wait to watch the annual fireworks spectacular on Sydney Harbour. It is always a special night as the first major city in the world welcomes in the new year.

It was a beautiful day here and we started with an early morning swim at Nielsen Park beach on Sydney Harbour, then divine coffee and croissants at The Grumpy Baker in Vaucluse. After the sea mist lifted this morning it turned into quite a hot day, but late this afternoon a thunderstorm cooled things down.

So, it’s going to be perfect to enjoy sticky date pudding with our French champagne in the lead up to midnight. As I write this the early 9pm “kids” fireworks show is already lighting up the harbour and Sydney skyline spectacularly. The rain has gone and Sydney is sparkling! Can’t wait to eat our dessert and see the “real” show as we welcome 2019!!

Thanks to Climb, Cycle, Repeat for this fab recipe for Sticky Date Pudding for two! I am going to add crushed walnuts to the batter to add some crunch!

http://climbeatcyclerepeat.com/sticky-toffee-pudding-for-two/

Pannetone Xmas Ice Cream Sandwich

The piece de resistance and finale of our Christmas feasting spree …toasted pannetone and Xmas ice cream sandwich. The Xmas ice cream involves softening (not totally melting) a 1 litre tub of vanilla ice cream with a jar of Mrs Robertson’s fruit mince mix and refreezing it. Reline the original tub of ice cream with glad wrap and then refill the tub with the ice cream mix overnight.

when you are ready, remove the ice cream from the fridge to soften slightly. Then toast your pannetone, slice the ice cream and make these “to-die-for” festive finishers! Divine dessert.

Puff pastry pot pies

This was easy as.

Just cooked up a diced lamb filling with onions, tomato, garlic, white wine, pepper, mushroom, peas, spinach and herbs …then lined the little buttered ceramic pots with frozen puff pastry, filled the pots, topped with a circle of pastry, brushed with egg and popped in the 230 degrees Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden.

Quick and easy, perfect with salad but still warm and comforting.

Reminded me of the recipe for Lamb Curry Pot Pies but simpler and …I like the puff pastry better.

Ham and Turkey Pizza

Still getting through the leftover ham and turkey and other bits and pieces in the house…so decided to go Italian with homemade garlic bread, a nectarine and baby spinach salad and a homemade, from scratch, ham and turkey pizza using ingredients from the fridge.

Prep time: 1 hour Cooking time: 20 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

4 cups plain flour
7g yeast (1 sachet)
Pinch of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
400ml warm water
60ml olive oil
Flour for dusting Board

Method:

Place yeast and pinch of caster sugar with half a cup of warm water in bowl and allow to develop until froth forms about 10 minutes

Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre of the flour.

Add water to centre of well and then mix gently with your hands until well combined, then add olive oil and knead carefully to make a soft, elastic dough, making sure not to overwork.

Set aside covered with a cloth in a warm spot to allow to rise to almost double its size.

Knead dough back into a smooth round ball and divide in half. This quantity makes 2 good size bases but half the dough can be frozen for later use. (Just thaw for 24 hours in fridge before using)

Gently stretch and pat dough into pizza pan, working and spinning the dough carefully to stretch.

Your pizza base is ready for sauce and toppings.

Pizza sauce:

Ingredients
2 ripe tomatoes
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tsps mixed Italian herbs such thyme, oregano and rosemary – I used a combination of fresh and dried herbs
2 red chillies finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tspoon salt
1 tspoon black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Bowl of boiling water

Method:

Place tomatoes in boiling water and leave for 10 minutes, then remove skin which will peel off easily.

Cut tomatoes into quarters removing seeds.

Chop tomatoes into a fine dice and set aside

Finely dice onion

Crush garlic in a mortar and pestle or using a garlic press

Heat oil in non-stick pan and then add onions.

Sauté onions until transparent, then add garlic and heat through until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and herbs and then white wine and water and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes have softened into a thick sauce. You can also add 1-2 teaspoons of tomato paste or tomato sauce to the mix if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir occasionally to ensure sauce is not sticking.

Set aside to cool before using on base.

Pizza topping: (use your favourite topping ingredients)

Ingredients

1 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped turkey
3-4 hot pickled peppers chopped finely
2-3 artichokes in brine chopped into bite size pieces
6 anchovies (optional)
4 bocconcini balls or mozzarella
Parmesan cheese for shaving over
Basil leaves for garnish

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees celcius

Spread pizza sauce evenly over base

Place toppings on base starting with ham and turkey, then other topping ingredients.

Tear bocconcini and/or sprinkle over mozzarella over the top. Sprinkle salt in bocconcini.

Place in oven for 15-20minutes until base is crispy and cooked through and cheese is melted.

Shave over Parmesan and sprinkle with basil leaves and serve.