I do love Bruschetta, in fact anything Italian, it has to be my 2nd favourite cuisine, next to Scottish Cooking, of course!
This is a classic recipe that never fails to satisfy the taste buds. Bruschetta is an antipasto starter consisting of toasted bread with oil and garlic, topped with tomatoes & basil. It’s light & refreshing, a perfect snack, starter or party food dish.
1 Baguette or any crusty bread- sliced diagonally (try Tiger bread, its delicious too)
250g Cherry Tomatoes – sliced into quarters
1-2 Garlic Cloves – crushed
Fresh Basil leaves – chopped or 2 tsp dried basil
30ml Balsamic Vinegar (use a good quality one – you’ll taste the difference)
60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a good quality one)
1/2 Small red onion – chopped finely
1 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tsp Cracked Rainbow Pepper
Place the diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar & olive oil into a bowl & mix through. Season with salt & pepper. Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavours to infuse.
When ready to serve, brush the bread with a little olive oil & garlic, grill lightly under a medium grill heat until lightly toasted.
Spoon mixture onto the bread, sprinkle a little basil & serve. Enjoy!
I do Love Pizza! Pizza originated from Italy and is usually a round or flattened wheat base with cheese and tomatoes. Through the years pizza has had many a different toppings, such as onions, olives, mushrooms, meat and dare I say Pineapple even! Pineapple in our house is very debatable whether it is a good topping or not what’s your take on it? Lol!
I just found out that the term PIZZA was first recorded in the 10th Century in a Latin manuscript from the Italian town of Gaeta, Lazio. Pizza has became one of the most popular foods in the world, especially in Europe and North America. The Baking/Cooking of Pizza varies around the world, with the most popular being a wood fired oven. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of these….yet! lol! I did invest in a Pizza Stone which to me is the next best thing for that perfect crusty base.
Although I am a fan of Traditional Foods, I also do like to experiment and decided to take a look at how I could make Pizza a bit different. Taking the traditional shape dough and filling only the middle then bringing up the sides and over like a calzone almost, this was my creation…..a Braided Style Pizza Wrap.
To be honest this is entirely up to your own tastes, this is what I used:-
1 Ball Mozzarella, sliced
100g Grated Cheddar Cheese
Mushrooms, washed, sliced
125g Sliced Hungarian Smoked Sausage (or any smoked sausage) I love the Gyulai Kolbasz as it has a lovely smoked paprika flavour. I recently purchased from the Transylvania Shop in Glasgow, they have amazing foodie finds. https://www.transylvaniashopandcoffee.co.uk/
To prepare the dough, sift flour into a mixer bowl with sugar and salt. Put the lukewarm water into a measuring jug and add the dried yeast, allow the yeast to start to bubble and react, approx 5-10 minutes.
Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add in the olive oil and the yeast mixture and slowly using a dough hook bring the dough together and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough bounces back when pressed. (alternatively use your hands in a bowl and knead on a floured work surface) Allow to rise at room temperature or in your oven and 40 deg C until it doubles in size, approx 1-2 hours. Once doubled in size, punch back air and shape.
If you have a pizza stone, place on the oven rack and preheat your oven to its highest temperature, usually 250deg C. If not, preheat a baking tray or pizza tray in oven at 220 deg C.
To make the sauce put everything into a pot and heat through for about 5 minutes, using a blender blitz into a smooth sauce.
Meanwhile prepare your pizza wrap. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle shape.
Spoon some of the pizza sauce down the middle, I measured dough into 3 equal sections. Then add your toppings onto the sauce, starting with the mozzarella first, then the rest.
With a sharp knife make horizontal cuts at either side in the pastry, then one by one and alternating each side, wrap up the pizza, securing the ends.
Reduce your oven temperature to 220 deg C before putting pizza in, slide onto pizza stone or tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove and serve. This is also a good sharing idea as you can cut each section into pieces for everyone, great for parties.
In Scotland, before the 19th century, bannocks were cooked on a bannock stane (Scots for stone), a large, flat, rounded piece of sandstone, placed directly onto a fire, used as a cooking surface. Most modern bannocks are cooked in a pan or skillet and made with baking powder as a leavening agent, giving them a light and airy texture. Bannocks were known as flat cakes or bread baked from grains, although if you visit the town of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders their Bannocks are more like fruit loaves.
120g of Scottish Oats – I blitz Scottish Porridge Oats into a fine flour.
80g Plain Flour
2 tsps Baking Powder
In a bowl or mixer combine the flour, oats, salt and baking powder
Slowly mix in the Buttermilk, little at a time until the flour has combined, lay on a floured surface and shape the dough to about 1″ thick and about the same circular diameter as your pan. Indent the dough about 0.5 – 1cm in, as if you were cutting a pizza shape.
Heat a little oil in a pan or skillet on medium heat (you don’t want it too hot or it won’t cook through properly), place dough into pan and cook gently for about 15 minutes on 1 side then flip over and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Remove and place on a bread board, allow to cool for a few minutes then serve.
I usually have this bread with Soup but you could also spread a little butter or Jam and would be just as nice.
I am always looking for healthier options but without compromise on flavour so I decided to try Chickpea flour to make my Chapati’s. This recipe was so much better than my traditional one, so much more flavour and healthier too. These Chapati’s are much lighter on the tummy too. Chickpea Flour or known as Gram Flour or Besan is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber & Magnesium.
100g Gram Flour
100g Plain Flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
Mix the flours & salt together, then slowly add in the milk then the olive oil and bring together to a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
To bake, heat a little olive oil in a hot pan. Cut the dough into six equal sections and roll out with a rolling pin. Place into the pan a cook until you see the bubbles appear then flip over to the other side and cook for a further minute. If you are like my other half and like it a bit well done, keep your pan on a very high heat. (Beware the smokey room…lol!)
Sunday for me is a chillout day and normally a baking day, so today I decided to give these a go for our Sunday Brunch picnic at home. Sugar & Spice & all things nice……so yummy!
150g Strong White Bread Flour
1 packet 7g Dried Yeast
15g Caster Sugar (plus 40g for Topping)
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Bicarbonate Soda
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
40g Butter (plus 30g melted for coating)
50g Chocolate (if using a dip)
Melt butter and milk in pan on low heat, do not boil, needs to be lukewarm about 40 deg.
Place strong white flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix. Make a well and pour in the melted butter and milk mixture.
Mix everything together until a soft dough forms and knead either using a stand mixer with dough hook or on a work surface with your hands for about 8-10 minutes. Grease a bowl and place the dough in, leave to rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough and cut into 4 equal sections. Roll each section into a long rope approx 50cm long.
To make the Pretzel shape, curve the rope into an upside down U Shape, then twist the ends together twice, each time left over right. Bring the ends of the rope up to the top of the curve (loop) and press down to secure.
Preheat your oven to 200 deg and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Place 1/2 tsp of Bicarbonate Soda into the pan of water for each Pretzel, 1 at a time using a slotted spoon, slowly lower the pretzel into the water on the slotted spoon, leave for about 10 secs, lift out the spoon & drain the water then place onto the baking tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile mix the caster sugar & cinnamon together in a bowl.
As soon as the Pretzels come out of the oven, brush with the melted butter and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled toss in the sugar mix and serve straight away.
Melt chocolate with a little milk to serve. (if desired)
This little recipe was from Hotpoints Website , a great little find, these were super tasty & I do love Italian flavours so was a perfect little lunch today.
I made the dough yesterday and left in fridge overnight so it was ready to use today.
For the Dough:-
400g Bread Flour
7g Dried Yeast
300ml Luke warm water (approx 35-40 deg C)
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
Pour the yeast and sugar into the luke warm water and allow to activate, approx 10 minutes or until you see it frothing.
Sift flour into a mixer bowl with the salt and make a well in the middle. Pour the yeast into the flour and on a low speed start to bring together the dough. Knead in the mixer on low speed for approx 10-15 minutes until it becomes elastic.
Put into a slightly oiled bowl and place in the oven on rising programme for 2-3 hours. (or leave at room temperature for a few hours or until doubled in size)
Remove from oven and knock back, separate into 2 or 3 batches if not making the full 6. I only made 3 and used 250g of dough which I put back into the oven to prove again for 1 hour. I put the other 2 amounts (approx 200g each) into an airtight bag and froze. You can freeze this dough for up to 3 months and use as pizza dough later.
For the Filling:-
8-10 cherry tomatoes – halved or quarted
Edam cheese – cut into cubes
2 tsps of Mixed Italian Herbs
2 tsps of olive oil
Salt & pepper
Place the tomatoes, oil, S&P & herbs into a bag (or bowl) and coat.
Spray a tin with spray oil and roll out the dough, not too thin, and press dough into the tin, allowing enough for the lid.
Spoon the mixture into the dough case and top with the Edam cheese, pull the lid over and seal.
Brush with a little milk and if you have any left over tomatoes press 2 into the top of the dough.
Bake in a preheated oven at 185 deg for approx 25-30 minutes.
Looking for something a bit more tastier and a healthier more nutritious option to go with my healthier option curry tonight, having a sweet potato left over from last weeks shopping I decided to try this……and well, it turned out amazing, super tasty and the structure held very well too.
1 large Sweet Potato
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
Start by steam cooking the sweet potato (I used my steam pot and steamed for 6 minutes by slicing into 1-2cm thick slices), do not roast as this will not give you the same flavour.
Allow potato to cool in a bowl then mash and add the spices and flour. With your hands bring to a dough.
Flour a surface a cut the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece as thin as you can.
Heat a little oil (not too much or it will burn too quickly) in a fry pan on a very high heat and cook until you see the dough start to bubble, then turn over and cook for a further minute, remove & continue with the rest.
If you have any leftovers simply vacuum pack and store either in the fridge for later of you can freeze.
I have seen Pizza Skulls on social media and gave me the idea to make these for my Horror theme Hogmany coming up. I changed it from Pizza filling to a Chilli Con Carne filling. These are amazing and so much fun too. I got my pan from Nordic Ware and opted for Black & Red dough too using Red Malt flour and Activated Charcoal powder.
For the Pizza Dough (I made extra, which I stored for later use)
3 x 350g Wholemeal Bread Flour (you can use strong white too)
3 x 1 tsp salt
3 x 1 tsp caster sugar
3 x 3 tsp baking powder
3 x 170ml warm water
20g Red Malt Flour, plus 1 tsp red food colouring for the Red
3 tbsp charcoal powder plus 1 tsp black food colouring for the Black
Mix everything using a mixer until it come together like dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Mix 3 lots ie: plain, black & Red
Once ready to use, cut amount you need and store the rest. Place on a floured surface and roll out, not too thing or too thick. It will be stretchy, just keep stretching it until you have the size you need. Approx 7 x 4″
Brush your skull pan with melted butter and lay the dough into each skull pressing gently. Place the filling in and fold over the excess dough, if you have too much just trim.
For the Chilli
350g Scottish Beef Mince
1 Red onion, finely chopped
1 Red pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (omit if you don’t like it too hot)
2 tsp chilli powder
200g Tin tomatoes
200g Kidney beans
200ml beef stock
light fry oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Grated Cheese of your choice.
Heat the fry oil on medium to high heat
Fry the onions and pepper with the garlic until softened
Add the beef and brown
Add in chilli powder, cumin, salt & pepper with chilli flakes (if using) mix through to coat
Add in the tin tomatoes, kidney beans and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes cover. The uncovered for 10 minutes to thicken sauce. Allow to cool.
Once skulls are filled, refrigerate for 30 minutes then bake at 200 deg for 25 minutes. Serve.