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!

Fabrica #coffee #breakfast #Lisbon

Stumbled on Fabrica in Rue Das Flores in Lisbon when we were looking for good coffee and breakfast in Bairro Alto quarter in Lisbon.

The aroma of coffee brewing drew us into this very hip, urban cafe, with what I would describe as a mix of organic and industrial interior design, not knowing that the coffee is all grown and roasted in Portugal.

According to their website which I looked up later:

“Fabrica was created with the strong belief that it’s time for Portugal to get to know genuine specialty coffee. Independent from the root, our family’s goal was to establish a unique coffee experience by being involved in every step of production. By forming direct trade partnerships with farmers, roasting on site in Lisbon, and offering a variety of extraction methods, we deliver a remarkable final product to your cup.”

And our experience lived up to this claim. Great coffee, friendly service and a delicious and simple breakfast menu. Just the light breakfast we were looking for after our wonderful Michelin Star restaurant experience at Bel Canto the night before.

Apparently, they now have three locations in both Lisbon and Porto and offer an international subscription service for all of their home-roasted beans. https://www.fabricacoffeeroasters.com/en/about-us/

Check out Cichetti #sancarlocichetti #picadilly

We checked into Cichetti one of our favourite restaurants in London as our first stop for a quick light lunch.

Winner of many food and wine awards, Cichetti is the perfect Pre- or post theatre venues but also ideal to fuel up between shopping in nearby Picadilly and Regent Sts. Filled with a fashionable crowd at anytime of the day, the atmosphere makes you feel you are at the centre of the action and the menu is a wide and varied list of Italian delights ranging from Cichetti (appetisers), antipasto, pizza, pasta, small and large plates.

With a fab wine list and great speedy service, Cichetti is an excellent and reliable pit stop for breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner or supper!

We had buratta with Parma ham and truffles, a delicious duck salad with a balsamic glaze, apple and rocket and Italian meatballs in sauce wiped up with fresh bread.

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!

#Canellini beans with garlic, chilli and olives with pan fried #salmon.

A yummy and quick side to go with easy pan fried salmon. Served in a bed of fresh baby spinach. Healthy, nutritious, using mainly items you probably have in your pantry.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
2 boneless salmon fillets with skin on
1 can of canellini or white beans
1 ripe tomato chopped into large chunks
1 small onion diced
2 red chillies chopped
3 cloves of garlic pounded into a paste with a good pinch of salt
6 green olives roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 lemon juiced
3 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in pan over medium heat, add crushed garlic to flavour oil, then add onions, and allow to simmer gently, add tomato chunks, olives and chillies, allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add canellini beans, half a cup white wine and simmer until wine is reduced and a thickish sauce. Turn off heat, cover and set aside.

Smother the salmon in the other 2 tablespoons of oil.

Heat a seperate non-stick pan, then place salmon fillets face down and cook on medium high heat until sealed an browned on flesh side, then add knob of butter and then over to cook skin side down for 5 minutes or so until skin is crispy and salmon is cooked to your liking.

Plate a bed of spinach leaves on plate.

Return beans to heat, add lemon juice and reheat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place 3-4 tablespoons of the bean mixture on top of the spinach, put salmon on the side and serve.

#Crepes with fresh #strawberries and strawberry rum sauce #delicious

Cooked a bit of a retro dinner last night starting with Pumpkin Soup, then individual beef Wellington’s and finished with these crepes.

I hadn’t made crepes for a long time and had forgotten how easy it is and how perfect they are for entertaining because you can make them ahead and just reheat in the microwave before serving.

I used Martha Stewart’s crepe recipe which is super easy because it’s made in a blender. Thanks Martha! https://www.marthastewart.com/921813/how-make-crepes?slide=3380816

The strawberry rum sauce is absolutely delicious!!

And both make fabulous leftovers for breakfast or brunch the next morning.

We had Messina passionfruit gelato and fresh strawberries but you can add whatever toppings you like. Fresh cream of course is the classic friend for this dish.

Preparation time: 45 minutes incl 15 minutes to rest batter

Crepes

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Method:

Put all the ingredients in the blender.

Blend until smooth for 2-3 minutes and bubbles form at the top.

Leave to rest for at least 15 minutes.

Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat, coat with a film of butter. I use kitchen paper dipped in melted butter to coat the pan.

Using a ladle, scoop batter into pan, just enough to cover the bottom. Cook until golden on the underside, then flip to cook the other side, maybe 30 seconds.

Repeat until batter is finished. Makes about 15 crepes depending on size of your pan.

Strawberry Rum Sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 small carton of strawberries, about 10 strawberries
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1.5 tablespoons dark or white rum
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

Blend strawberries until smooth

Place water and sugar in pan and bring to a boil, simmer until just clear

Add strawberry pulp, zest, salt and rum, bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes or longer to thicken to a sauce consistency.

Will keep in fridge or freeze well.

Reheat crepes in microwave, add fresh strawberries, topping of choice – ice cream, fresh cream, and strawberry rum sauce! Serve and enjoy!