Archive for July, 2010

walnut cannoli with marscapone

last night i was presented with a number of horrifyingly dull ways to pass the time…sit and read a tome entitled ‘marxism and the french left’, do some school-related things that are too boring to utter, re-read the american food blogs that make me mad and indignant, indulge in voyeuristic facebook related activities and numb my ever diminishing humanity, or dematerialise into the void between four computer screens. so the only real option then, as far as i was aware, was to make some cannoli. this recipe was taught to me by the master giorgio locatelli…and from my first sighting (and subsequent eating) it was burned into my minds eye. and last night it flashed in front of me…like a dream recalled. actually these arent quite cannoli…because not even i am prepared to use lard and/or (probably or) duck fat. i would re-title it walnut tuiles with marscapone but that just sounds like a lot of wank. so cannoli. with marscapone. very very lovely indeed.


70g butter

250g sugar

4 egg whites

60g flour

190g walnuts ground

tsp (or 6) of vanilla


300g marscapone

20g icing sugar

tsp vanilla

(also optional, i added a shot of espresso and i feel some shards of chocolate would have been a very elegant solution to the problem of a complete absence of chocolate. alternatively some candied peel because, while i find it to be deeply offensive to my tastebuds, i do recognise its place in the world and mostly in the world of cream which needs an edge. some chopped walnuts, mixed into the marscapone, would be good too to echo whats going on around it.)

first melt the butter. then beat the eggs and sugar. slowly add the flour and beat well for about 5 minutes until thick and creamy looking. slowly drizzle in the melted butter. finally add the vanilla and the walnuts and mix to combine. cover this with glad wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (preferably over night).

to make the filling, mix the marscapone with the vanilla and the sugar.

if you are using some espresson just add a few tsps of a shot to the mix and stir to combine. cover and put in the fridge until you need it.

preheat the oven to 180 degrees. the cooking requires some craft work…not my thing but its just cutting a whole in a piece of cardboard, about 12ish cm in diameter. place the cardboard circle down on a baking tray lined with baking paper and spread very very thinly the walnut mix in the middle of the circle. (spread it so thinly that you can see the baking paper through it).

put the tray in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until lightly brown. as soon as they are out you need to roll them up. you can wrap them around the handle of a wooden spoon. if you got those fingers that can touch fire then just roll them up with your hands. they need to be rolled when they are still very hot, because as soon as they start to cool they will harden.

then put your marscapone mix into a piping bag and pipe it into the centre.

et voila.

p.s. i also made some chocolate ones. i made it up as i went along so im not too sure what i did…its all a bit of a dark brown chocolatey blur. but i melted 100g of chocolate and a few knobs of butter to make a chocolate gnache. then i simply and gleefully mixed that through the marscapone mix.

actually if i had my time again i would have added equal chocolate to marscapone. it was too subtle a chocolate taste. but after eating a block of it during the journey, that may well have been a good thing

pizza bianca

pizza thinner. people happier. rosemary garlic and olive oil as a base is a very good place to start anything you do in your day. and this, the macbook of pizzas, is sexy and lovely and cant ever be wrong. sure there were a few bumps in the road, photographical ones mainly, but in the immortal words of churchill… keep buggering on. so here it is…better than the last, pizza bianca.


1 pizza base

garlic, olive oil, pinch of sea salt, sprig of rosemary (this bashed in a mortar and pestle will be spread on the base of your pizza. call it a flavoured oil if you must.)

1 waxy potato sliced as fine as humanly possible

some fresh peccorino (and/or some mozzarella. i went with and)

some rosemary

pinch of salt and pepper

olive oil

first finely slice your potatoes. rinse them in cold water and then pat them dry with some kitchen paper. place in a bowl with 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper and some rosemary. make sure they are all coated. set aside

in a mortar and pestle bash up one clove of garlic, with some salt, rosemary and 4 tbsp olive oil. set aside. thinly slice (as thin as the potato if possible) some peccorino and tear up your mozzarella if using.

preheat oven to hottest it will go. then smear the pizza base with the garlic oil, then lay out potatoes, then place the peccorino in the gaps and put some mozzarella on top. then give it some rosemary. season with salt and pepper and give it a final drizzle with the garlic oil if you are so incline.

put in the oven for about ten minutes until spectacular.


my photographer was eaten by a giant pizza. now there are some extremely serious problems, including but not exclusive to: does anyone know how to turn this thing on? to name a few others, white balance, zoom, digital zoom (never to be used or touched), focus, manual focus, autofocus, i cant focus, i hate this thing, why is it flashing, who cares about a light source, and i just want to make my art. sadly the camera self destruct button turned out to be a jammie dodger biscuit and though delicious, solved none of the aforementioned problems. to make matters worse there was this little conceptual nugget i had to grapple with: how do i pour water into a well of flour at the same time as taking an in-focus shot of proceedings with a highly caffeinated, shaky hand? well the results are apparent here. apologies in advance for the quality of the images but im just one man, one man with a remarkable inability to use a camera. given that this troubled mind found itself cooking in troubled circumstances the results were not all i had dreamt them to be. yes, what you see here is a base that is simply too fat. there i said it. i fucked up. and im sorry. better pizza, better photos and better quality control coming soon…so please hang about.


500g ’00’ flour

tsp salt

7g dried yeast

tsp sugar

2tbsp olive oil

325ml luke warm water


whatever you (jam)fancy. one here was made with:

thinly spread tomato sauce

thinly sliced zucchini

thinly sliced chorizo

handful of basil

some mozzarella torn over the top

for those less meat inclined there was also

thin smearing of tomato sauce

sliced cherry tomatoes

handful of basil

torn mozzarella

olive oil

first sieve the flour and salt onto your bench (work bench if you are so lucky). make a well in the centre. then put the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil into a jug and mix to combine. let this sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. then pour the yeast mixture into the centre of the well and slowly, with a fork, bring in the flour until it is all incorporated. knead until the dough is springy and smooth to the touch. then place dough in oiled and floured bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it prove for an hour until it has doubled in sized.

after an hour turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knock it back (bang the air out of it). divide it into 4 little balls and roll out your pizzas. about .5cm thick. place the base on an oiled and floured piece of tin foil (or a pizza stone if you have one) and then put whatever you like on top. give it some salt and pepper and drizzle some olive oil over the top. put it into an oven preheated to as hot as it will go and cook for about ten minutes until crispy and golden.


well thats no way to say goodbye. i dont even like fish. and i dont go fishing. harmonious, still, silent lakes are not place for a child of mtv. gone into hibernation might have been a more appropriate sign off. gone to see about a doctor would have been a more honest representation of reality. and if i were to be completely, boldly, offensively frank, ‘uninspired….gone to watch five series of dr who under a blanket’ would have been the most apt explanation of my absence. but you tugged at my heart strings (smoo, im talking to you) and i couldnt help myself. i realised as i began to re-watch an entire series in the hope of “picking up on things i might have missed the first time round” that there are more important things to be doing and eating. over the past month i was introduced to the world of the chip – hot and cold. and it had such an impact that for a brief moment there, never turning on the oven again became a conceivable possibility. but like all good things, it started to take its toll, first around the hips, then around the heart. besides, chips are very loud. i cant hear the doctor talk with the chip crunching and the bag scrunching and the munching and the bunching and i was missing vital plot developments. so i decided it was time to return because the jagged little chips were tearing a hole in the diaphanous fabric of my reality. and all the while i heard the sweet dulcet tones of the doctor whispering to me “be magnificent”. magnificent was a bit much to ask but i did make some hummus. (yes, into which chips were dipped). i made too much but so it goes. and it was good.


500g chickpeas

250g tahini paste

50ml lemon juice

6 garlic cloves crushed


put chickpeas into a food processor (keeping a few aside for end presentational purposes) and add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and some salt. blend until its completely smooth. it should be very soft and verging on runny. taste and add more salt if you think it deserves it. drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. finally tumble some chickpeas atop. or pine nuts. whatever floats your boat. you can serve it with some of your homemade sourdough (unless you went and got so hibernatory that you killed your starter…in which case, chips will do fine.)