Jesurgislac’s Journal

February 23, 2010

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Real Pizza With Love

Filed under: Food,Tuesday Recipe Blogging — jesurgislac @ 8:25 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Pizza literally means pie. A pizza is, originally, an open-topped pie with a bread-dough crust. Naples claims to have invented the original pizza (and this year had their traditionally-made pizzas trademarked as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) but real pizza really is… a method of finishing up left-over bread dough with a bit of flavour.

(If you don’t make your own bread routinely, of course you can make a batch of dough specially to make pizzas.)

Because you are making your pizzas with left-over dough, the dough won’t be thin and go crispy – but then you probably don’t have a pizza oven, either. Spread out the dough as thin as you can get it using just your hands. I have a couple of 4-at-a-time mini-pie baking trays I use, because I like mini-pizzas. They’re about two and a half inches across and a quarter of an inch deep, and I divide the dough into 4 or 8 pieces, grease the pie trays, and spread the dough into a rough pie-crust shape for each.

Spread the inside of the pizza pie with your sauce: something sharp and full of flavour. (Or you can make a white pizza with no sauce.) Besides the standard tomato sauces, I like salsa or pesto. (Anchovies are perfectly traditional for pizza, if you were wondering.)

Add your bits and pieces, sliced thin. Mushrooms, garlic, baby aubergines… anything you like, really. (I got to this stage of mini-pizza making and asked the child what she wanted – daughter of a friend, an alarmingly picky eater – and finally the only thing she actually agreed to was chips. She grew up quite normal however. Don’t be discouraged.)

Add the cheese! Or skip it, if someone’s allergic to dairy.

Leave to rise for half an hour to an hour: bake till the cheese is melty and the edges are crispy: and then let cool for ten minutes before you eat, because burning your mouth on hot sauce and hot cheese is really going to spoil the whole rest of the evening. If you don’t pay attention to the pizza of my experience, then it helps to have ice-cream in the freezer.

But then of what situation is that not true?

February 10, 2009

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Cheese and Potato Pie

In its simplest form, this isn’t even a pie. It’s just the fastest way to get three hungry kids fed, presuming that you routinely have potatoes and cheese in the house. This was my dad’s fast food meal for us.


January 27, 2009

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: flying food

Via, via, the open letter on Virgin Airlines food, inspired me to this week’s Tuesday Recipe:

I used to fly from Heathrow to Scotland on the BMI earlybird flight more often than I like to remember. In theory, you could get a breakfast on the flight: in practice, getting a vegetarian breakfast required booking it at least 48 hours in advance. (The flight was one of those you can book 12 hours in advance – I don’t know if they still exist, but on at least one occasion I decided to go to Edinburgh if I could get a seat, rang up BMI in the afternoon, booked myself on the next day’s flight… and found I was 36 hours too late to get a vegetarian breakfast.)

The one time I managed to book in advance and navigate their special meal booking system to get a vegetarian breakfast on the plane, another vegetarian was sitting several rows ahead of me, so when he asked could he have a vegie breakfast, he got mine: and no, the flight attendant did not apologise for the mistake.

Food on short flights exists mainly to give the passengers something to do. (Actually, I suppose the practice of serving meals probably initially began because flight attendants, whose primary duty is to save the passengers lives in the event of disaster, were always mostly female, and what do you have women do when they’re not saving lives? Serve food.)

On long flights, though, you do need to eat something – even if you’re not doing anything: and of course the crew need to be fed: they’re working. The only problem is, and particularly if you’re vegetarian: the food is usually vile, where it isn’t inedible.

My solution is baked cheese on bread. (more…)

September 23, 2008

Tuesday Recipe blogging: mushroom roast

Apologies for taking so long to find this. It’s been years since I made mushroom roast: it works best (in my opinion) as the main dish in a festive dinner. It’s a considerable amount of work to make, unless you have a food processor, and even if you do – don’t try to process the mushrooms in it. Slice them properly. I’m not just being pickily low-tech: you can make the breadcrumbs any way that suits you (my parents used to use child labour), you can slice the onions perfectly well in a food processor: but mushrooms turn to mush too easily if they’re fed through a processor.

The basic ingredients are: mushrooms, breadcrumb, onions, and cheese. You may also want: garlic, herbs, vegetable stock, and an egg or two.

The basic process is: cook onions in butter to a savoury, soft mess (with herbs and garlic). Add mushrooms, and cook over a low heat until the mushrooms are cooked enough to suit you. You want a fairly soft and semi-liquid paste of onions and mushrooms. Stir in the breadcrumb. If it’s too dry, add some vegetable stock – you want a fairly moist mixture. Stir in grated cheese. When you are ready to bake the roast, add an egg or two (depending on the size of the roast) and put the whole mixture in a deep, greased casserole dish and bake until it’s crusty on top.

Proportions are important.

For every kilo of mushrooms, you want a kilo of breadcrumb, 500-750 grammes of onions, and 500-750 grammes of hard cheese. This size of roast will take about 90 minutes to bake in a medium hot oven. [Update: Yes, this is a LOT of mushrooms: it makes a big savoury for a festive meal. You can always halve or even quarter the amount for a smaller dish… just keep the proportions, by weight, the same.]

I like garlic… lots of garlic… and do the obvious: subtract the weight of the garlic from the weight of the onions. See the nut roast recipe for thoughts about herbs. (There is also the foodpairing website, though I find it more fun than useful.) Instead of regular vegetable stock, you can use Marmite, a couple of teaspoonfuls in about 150ml of boiling water – do not add the whole quantity, just mix it up and stir it in until the texture looks right: you’re after a glopping consistency, soft and moist, not liquid).

This is not a vegan recipe. The cheese in the mushroom roast isn’t just there to make it coherent: the combination of cheese and mushroom is what makes this a rich, glorious dish. Figure on about one egg to every half-kilo of breadcrumb – but add the eggs one at a time, to make sure the texture stays right. You don’t want to over-egg the pudding.

August 5, 2008

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: cauliflower cheese

If you like rich, creamy, cheese dishes, this is for you. It’s an innocent vegetable excuse for dressing up cheese with cream. It is not made with flour or milk or anything else: it has three ingredients. Cauliflower, cheese, and cream.

Blog at