Tag Archives: italian

Make your own organic cheese, then put it on pizza toasts!

It’s really easy to make fresh cheese just with whole milk and lemon juice, a pan and a teatowel- that’s it! Follow my tutorial here to make the cheese, then before you hang it up to dry fully and shape it for cutting, nick some of the curds out to enjoy it straight away with these quick and easy pizza toasts. They’re made extra delicious with the rewarding feeling of having made the cheese yourself.

1. Take your cheese curds freshly rinsed and squeezed dry from the cheese cloth, they should look like this…

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2. Spoon some into a bowl and mix with chilli flakes, herbs and olive oil. This is also great with chopped capers and lemon zest!

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3. Cut large slices of bread

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4.  Top with tomato paste

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5. Add fresh tomato slices and sprinkle with sea salt

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6. Top with your fresh, homemade organic chilli and herb cheese

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7. Add olives then place under a hot grill for a few minutes, the cheese won’t melt but the top of the bread will toast, the cheese will brown a little and the olives will smell devine.

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8. Add fresh basil and enjoy!

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Asparagus Bread

 

Lots of people have signature dishes, one of mine is definitely Asparagus Bread. It’s a warm savoury accompaniment when baked fresh to go with pasta or pizza and just as good as a sandwich for munching on at lunch time the day after baking.

To make it I just make a normal 1/2 kilo white bread batch (500g flour, 300ml water, 5g dried yeast, 10g salt and a good slug of olive oil), knead, rise, knock back and shape the bread as normal and then push the dough into a roasting tray lined with baking paper, like focaccia. Rub all over with olive oil and garlic crushed and mixed with butter, then press in stalks of fresh asparagus, push them right into the dough, and sprinkle with grated parmesan (the cheap grated hard cheese in a canister is fine, the fine salty granules taste great and don’t melt in the oven). Bake at the highest temperature your oven will go (around 220C) until golden and makes a hollow sound when knocked. Lift out to cool on a wire rack…Voila!

I’ve found the best guide to getting perfect bread (with loads of great recipes) is the River Cottage  Handbook No.3 ‘Bread’  by Daniel Stevens- a beautiful and invaluable guide.

 

 

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Gnocchi with Chargrilled Marinated Aubergine

For tonight’s dinner I made gnocchi in a red wine tomato sauce with chargrilled marinated aubergine and green olives. I’ll put the gnocchi and ragu recipes up here shortly but wanted to write a quick post about the aubergine because it was pretty spectacular if I don’t say so myself!

So I sliced the aubergine into long strips then marinated it in a marinade of 4 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of chopped chillies and a good glug of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar (quite a lot of balsamic and soy is required to get a rich flavour) and olive oil, half a teaspoon of dried sage and half a teaspoon of dried basil. I then added some water to make this into a sloshy marinade, and poured over the aubergine strips. They didn’t marinade for long only about 15 mins as I was pottering around the kitchen preparing the other items.

I heated my cast iron chargrill pan and coated it in olive oil.

I seared the aubergine strips on each side before pouring over some of the marinade into the hot pan, letting is steam and bubble off then allowing the aubergine to sear again. I took the aubergine out of the pan as I cooked the gnocchi.

Chargrill!

Cooking off the marinade!

Very delicious!

The final dish!

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