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!

#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!

Indian #Thali and Sweets at #Maya Indian Sweets, #Sydney

Indian vegetarian Thali at Maya Indian Sweets on Cleveland St, Surry Hills has been a favourite comfort food spot for our family for years. As well as the famous Indian Sweets on offer, Maya offers dhosas and Thalis.

A few weeks ago on an unseasonably chilly day, when the “kids” were visiting us from Canberra, we went for Sunday lunch.

Thali means “chain” and refer to the chain of small dishes served on a tray with rice, bread, pickle and papadums. The restaurant is primarily an Indian take-away sweet shop but eating in is cheap and cheerful.

They also have traditional Indian street food snacks such as samosas, aloo boonda, chaat and vhada as starters.

At Maya Sweets you can choose from a number of Thali versions including either a South Indian or Punjabi version…the first comes with Rasam (South Indian tamarinds and pepper water soup) and Poori bread and the second with a bean dhal and naan bread.

Both are just as satisfying the variety of vegetable curries and dhals that are on offer depends on the season. They are consistently good and very filling.

This visit we also shared the Vhada which are fluffy Urad Dhal fritters served with coconut chutney and a tangy sambar on the side which were delicious.

Finishing the meal with an Indian sweet is always tempting and there is a very wide range to choose from….but we managed to resist.

Consistently good food. Doesn’t open until midday so brunch is sadly not an option. There a number of other more formal Maya restaurants including a vegetarian restaurant next door and a non-veg across the road. So make sure you fo to the right one if you are looking for the street food and Thalis.

Maya Indian Sweets

468-472 Cleveland St

Roasted #Brussel sprouts, #brocollini and #pepito salad with #Tahini and lemon dressing

Roast some Brussel sprouts and slivers of garlic

Steam or microwave some broccolini

Quick fry some pumpkin seed in a tablespoon of olive oil

Add the Brussel sprouts and broccolini

Add salt to taste

Pour in juice of lemon

Mix

Transfer to salad bowl

Grind some black pepper

Drizzle over tahini paste

Enjoy

#Sweet.. #Cannelini Beans and #Peas

A delicious quick braise with garlic, onions, tomato, olive oil, white wine, lots of black pepper, a can of cannelini beans, some peas, a sprinkling of salt and parsley.

A tasty side and great as an accompaniment if you are trying to cut down carbs but want something a bit susbstantial!

Went well with roasted Brussel sprout and spinach salad.

Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal

This is such a delicious accompaniment to roast meats. The combination of sweet pineapple, green chilli, mustard seeds and desiccated coconut is brilliant.

We had it with roast pork belly with crackling tonight and it was a great substitute for the usual apple sauce or red braised cabbage.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:1 small can of pineapple pieces

1/2 onion finely chopped

2 green chillies sliced lengthwise

5-6 curry leaves (optional)

1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon of cummin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

1/2 cup of water

Method:

Heat oil in pan over medium heat, add cummin seeds and mustard seeds and cook until just fragrant, watch not to burn seeds, then add onions and chillies and cook until onion is translucent.

Add crushed ginger, pinch of salt, sugar and pineapple and heat, then add water and desiccated coconut, cooking until water reduces.

Take off heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving as an accompaniment…ideal with roast or cold meats.