Tag Archives: Italian

Day 16 – Pizza Dough

Japanese week is over. It was fun having a theme as it meant I could buy a lot of the same ingredients for several days and also gave me a chance to think up now things for after the week ended. So far I’ve come up with Pizza. That’s it.

I tried making the pizza dough yesterday and it was a disaster so I’m trying again today. It seems so basic I can’t work out what went wrong so here goes – I used Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough recipe so what’s the worst that could happen.

Ingredients

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1kg Strong White Flour

1 tsp Fine Sea Salt

2 x 7g Dried Yeast Sachets

1 Golden Caster Sugar

4 Tbsp Oil

650ml Lukewarm Water

I stopped at the store for flour as I didn’t have any Strong Flour in the house. Turns out I did. I now also have a second bag of strong flour, several magazines, a sandwich, popcorn, a phone cover and an empty purse.

Steps

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Sieve the flour and salt onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre. In a jug mix together the yeast, oil, sugar and water.

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Leave for a few minutes to dissolve and mix together. Pour the liquid mixture in to the well and gradually bring the flour in with a fork.

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It should start coming together to form a dough. When this starts, work it in to a ball using your hands. Make sure they are dusted with flour to prevent the dough sticking.

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Place the dough in a flour dusted bowl, dust with flour then cover with a damp cloth. Leave to proove for an hour in a warm room, until the dough has doubled in size. Take the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a bit to remove the air – this is called Knocking Back.

The dough is good to go.

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Top with a selection of goodies – We went for Milano Salami, Streaky Bacon, Chipolatas, Basil and Mozzarella.

I baked for 20-30 minutes, checking regularly.

I am never, ever making Pizza Dough again. Second time and it was just as bad. I’ve Googled it since and the problem is potentially yeast related. There was no froth. Neither attempts rose, and when I cooked the second attempt it was shiny and none of the toppings would stick. Tasted lovely though.

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Day 7 – Parmesan Puffs

Yesterday I spent many hours in the car on a trip from Wales to Wigan to pick up our new puppy. Yay. This meant little real food and less cooking. Today we eat.

I made up yesterday a pot of my own style bolognese which is a household favourite. Today I am making some hopefully amazing puffs to serve with it. I’m not entirely sure what ‘puffs’ are but they have a vast amount of cheese in them so it’s all good with me.

Ingredients

1/4 Cup of Milk

60g Butter

14 tsp Salt

1/2 Cup Flour

2 Large Eggs

1 Cup Grated Parmesan

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The recipe didn’t mention what sort of flour to use so I opted for plain. It didn’t turn out too bad really. The recipe is good as it’s pretty low on steps but does require some speed with the eggs and flour into a hot liquid situation.

Parmesan Puffs

1. In a saucepan combine the milk, 1/4 cup of water, butter and salt. Bring to the boil over a high heat.

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2. Once boiling reduce to a medium heat and add the flour in one go, beating it in until the mixture forms a ball.

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3. Remove from the heat. Stir in the eggs one at a time.

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4. Add the parmesan and pepper to taste.

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5. Form mix in to balls and place on a buttered baking tray. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 180 or until puffed up and golden, turning half way through so they cook evenly.

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I have to admit to trying some of the ‘batter’ left over after the balls were made. It was beyond cheesy and rather salty – I normally salt everything but this was a little too much for even me. Luckily this didn’t remain in the finished ‘puffs’.

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So that’s what a Parmesan Puff looks like.

TASTE – Cheesy, bit greasy but possibly doubled the butter by accident. Bit like a cheese scone. Came out a little doughy so I don’t necessarily agree with the cooking times.

DIFFICULTY – Simple. Bit faffy having to swap bowls all the time though. Would do it all in the one dish next time. And reduce butter.

COST – Cheese was dear at 2 quid but the rest was super cheap basic brands.

Day 6 – Bolognese

Tonight we needed an easy meal, something we had in the house and that didn’t need a hundred and one new ingredients. Bolognese was the answer. This bolognese is my bolognese. I don’t have a recipe and it’s unlikely to be accurately ‘Italian’. But it tastes good, cooks quick and fills you up better than bread.

Ingredients

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Mince

Sea Salt

Onion

Mushrooms

Garlic

Passata

Oregano

Mixed Herbs

I’d love to make a true Italian Bolognese just to see how they compare but to be honest, this tastes like bolognese to us and it tastes good so who cares if it’s not true Italian.

Steps

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Gently fry the onion and mushrooms in a frying panuntil soft.

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Drizzle with oil and add a crushed garlic clove or two. Put to one side.

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Cook off the mince until brown. Add salt and pepper. Add the oregano and mixed herbs to taste.

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Add the the mushrooms and onions back in a stir while continuing to heat.

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Add the carton on passata. Stir through.

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Leave to simmer and reduce down until the sauce becomes thicker.

And that really is it. Cook up some pasta, stir it in and serve caked in parmesan. Garlic bread optional.

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Day 2 – Risotto Ai Quattro Formaggi

If there is one thing you should know about me and food it’s this.

I. Love. Cheese.

All cheese, any cheese. White, blue, hard, soft, all cheese.

So naturally I wanted to make this – a recipe that contains not one but four cheeses.

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings.

1 medium · Onion
4 oz · Fontina cheese
5 oz · Gorganzola cheese
6 cup · Chicken stock (OR 3 cups canned chicken broth and
3 cup · Water)
5 tbsp · Butter
2 cup · Arborio rice (15 ounces)
3 tbsp · Grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp · Grated pecorino cheese
1 tbsp · Ground black pepper

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Upon searching, Fontina Cheese was not to be found. I was however recommended to use Edam as a substitute. So I did.

Here’s a fun fact – I love Hell’s Kitchen USA. Is it because of Chef Ramsey? Perhaps. The amazing food? Of course. But most of all I love the way they all say Ri-Soh-Toe. [I also found out that Coriander = Cilantro]

On with the recipe.

Risotto Ai Quattro Formaggi

1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Cut the Gorgonzola and Fontina into small cubes. In a saucepan bring the stock to the boil. Cover and keep warm.

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2. In a stock pot melt 4 tbsp of butter. Sauté the onions for 4 minutes until soft. Add the rice and cover with the butter. Sauté until translucent, for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the stock, 1/2 a cup at a time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid fully before adding any more. Stir continuously.

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4. Continue to cook until rice is creamy and tender, this should take 20-25 minutes.

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5. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining butter and add the cheeses. Stir until fully melted. Season with the black pepper and serve straight away.

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The risotto smells beautiful. The continuous stirring was a pain, I’m much more of a stick it in and leave it alone cook. I’m learning. The cheese took a lot longer to melt in than I expected too – maybe smaller chunks next time.

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TASTE – Very cheesy. Who knew Gorgonzola was so strong.

COST – Posh cheese came in at around £1.50 a piece. Made loads though.

DIFFICULTY – Easy if you remember not to stop stirring.

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