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Step-By-Step, Great Pizza Dough.

12 January 2012 in Italian Food

Over the years I’ve tried various recipes for pizza dough, some have been moderately successful and others downright disgusting, so I confess that I felt no guilt about lobbing various toppings onto Woolies bases. Then at Christmas my daughter-in-law was raving about the wonderful thin based pizza’s she’s been making and so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve no idea where she got the recipe, but it’s not difficult to make and I was very happy with the results.

15ml dry yeast (1 sachet)

5 ml sugar

250ml lukewarm water

375g flour ( I used bread flour)

5ml salt

15ml oil

Place the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and stir, put in a warm place for about 5 minutes until it rises like this….

In a good sized bowl put the flour and the salt, make a well in the centre, add the oil followed by the yeast mixture. Using your floured hands mix until you form a dough.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic which should take you about 5 minutes.

Split the dough into 6 equal sized balls.

Place on a lightly floured tray under a clean damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the balls have doubled in size (it should take about half an hour)

On a floured surface roll each ball into a round and place on your pan/tray, mine is 30cm in diameter.

I make my tomato base using a tin of Italian tomatoes in thick sauce, which I chop up. Fry half an onion add the tomatoes, a little sugar, fresh basil and seasoning. (Italian dried herbs also work well) and simmer for 5/10 minutes.

I made two pizza’s one with pancetta, mushrooms, green pepper, cheddar and blue cheese ( I was all out of mozzarella) The second one was salami, banana, cheddar and parmesan cheese.

I only used 2 balls, the rest I put in the freezer individually wrapped. I have since used two and once thawed, they roll perfectly and taste great.

 

 

Italian Mashed Potato with Baked Onion

29 November 2011 in Italian Food

Readers of my previous post will know that I won a copy of  Marcella Says from Pesto Princess, now this is a big-girl-panty type of book…..there are very few photographs, none of which feature the food.  Marcella is a doyen of Italian cooking and you can tell she is old school, no short cuts here!

This is not fancy cooking, it’s honest cooking, Marcella says “ I am never bored by a good old dish and I wouldn’t shrink from making something that I first made fifty years ago and my mother, perhaps, fifty years before then.” I like her style!

Marcella however, doesn’t seem to have gone metric, luckily my digital scale can do pounds and ounces.

3 lbs onions (9 medium onions)

Sea salt

black pepper ground fresh from the mill

3 TBSP oil

3 or 4 medium unpeeled potatoes (potatoes tend to be much larger in Europe so I used 10 smaller ones)

2 TBSP butter cut into cubes

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 TSP chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Peel your onions *sob* and cut them in half like so….

Onions, sliced and ready for the oven

You will notice that there is a cross cut into each half, Kippy here didn’t read the recipe properly, the cross is not meant to go right to the edge of the onion, just make an incision that doesn’t go through to the bottom of the onion and not to the edge either (duh!).

Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper, bake for about an hour, until they are soft to the touch.

Remove any stiff or charred layers but don’t worry about a little charring (see photo), it all adds to the taste.

Place in a colander over another bowl and leave for at least 2 hours to drain, I left mine overnight.

Drain the onions in a colander over another bowl to catch the liquid

The onions must then be placed in a food processor & chopped, Marcella didn’t say if they should be processed to a pulp, I decided to go with a more rustic texture.

Chopped 'rustic' onions

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop your potatoes in (do not peel them)

Boil until a sharp knife will go through the potato with ease.

Drain and peel whilst as hot as you can bear it!

Pop into your potato ricer, if you haven’t got one, do yourself a favour, I bought mine at Boardmans for R89.00 and I haven’t had lumpy mash since.

Potatoes about to be 'riced'

Now at this point Marcella goes on about mashing the potatoes and  double boilers, I don’t possess such a beast, and it seemed to me that it was really all about mashing the potatoes in a warm environment, so I boiled a bit of water in a large pan, drained it, and added the riced potatoes, the butter, the cheese and finally the onions.Season to taste.

Potatoes, butter and parmesan

I served this very simply with fillet steaks and spinach, it was absolutely awesome! My daughter-in-law Mel and her pal Bronwyn sampled some when they were visiting and they loved it, I have been instructed to put it on the Christmas menu.

Mashed Potatoes with Baked Onions

By the way, don’t throw away the liquid from draining the onions, it’s pure onion nectar, I used some in a marinade and I’m going to try some in a salad dressing.

The drained onion elixir

Yikes this post has taken me forever, I’m sure I will get used to the new Word Press platform in time, meanwhile I am off to hunt for the blog home page and all my foodie friends……hellooooo…..where are you guys?!