Posts Tagged 'mozzarella'

tomato and twice cheese tart

well i never did done make a savoury tart. never wanted to. except that bits a lie. i did make one once before. and it was the same tart. different recipe. it was unpleasant from start to the very bitter, messy end. i followed a recipe about which i had serious doubts. it was a pastry that was neither chilled nor blind baked – and into this inevitable disastrous pastry i was told to place a lot of tomatoes. tomatoes. the most soggifying food stuff i ever known. the entire time i muttered under my breath that this is not going to work. that it simply coudnt work. i had no faith whatsoever that this pastry wouldnt be a soggy mess. being the indefatigable empiricist i am however, i continued on. and being the self-congratulatory pedant i am, i was proven right. this time, rather than wading through the miasmic marsh of food blogs – i decided to make it up myself. i used my usual shortcrust pasty but omitted the sugar. i added a lot of salt, pepper and some oregano. and it worked like a dream. thank you to the good people of the river cafe. i chilled it. i blind baked it. and then i even brushed the base with some egg and put it back into the oven for 1 minute to seal it…so burned i was by my previous experience. it was good and tasted like summer in the dead of winter. it made me happy and self-satisfied.

ingredients

1 quatity shortcrust pastry (leave out the sugar and add 2tsp oregano, good pinch or two of salt, and pepper)

10 tomatoes – whatever you can get. i like them on the vine. and i like ones i can truss to be good. sigh.

2-3 garlic cloves finely sliced

bunch of basil

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1tsp dried oregano

pinch salt and pepper

250g mozzarella and goats cheese respectively (or whatever cheese you want. haloumi could be very interesting)

i also threw in a handful of sundried tomatoes. im not scared of hepatitis and i like them.

slice tomatoes into rounds. put into a bowl. add sundried tomatoes if you are using them. add the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano. tear in some basil. i also put about a quarter of the cheese in too – to let it marinade for a while in the juices and i think i did a good thing. add olive oil and stir to combine. i let this sit while i did my pastry so it could get better and better and then better again.

then i pulled out my chilling pastry – which looked like it was going to be a bit of a disaster. i blind baked it. at the last minute i took it out of the oven, brushed it with some egg wash and put it back in the oven for a minute. its meant to seal it so things dont leak out and get soggy. didnt really work but i tried…and thats all anyone can ask of me.

then i put the first tomato on.

and then some. dotted with cheese.

into oven. 200 degrees. 20 minutes. pizza pie tart. tots delicious.

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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.

ingredients

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.

pizza

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.

ingredients

500g ’00’ flour

tsp salt

7g dried yeast

tsp sugar

2tbsp olive oil

325ml luke warm water

topping…

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.

mozzarella in carrozza

sometimes people come home from a hateful night at a hateful job and have nothing left inside. this emptiness can only really be alleviated with mozzarella. moreover, mozzarella sandwiched between two slices of the worst, most unutterably bad white bread available in your unutterably bad local supermarket.* nigella taught me this one and though i dont really endorse her late night eating-in-bed philosophy, she certainly knows how to do that sort of food well (this also came from her nigella bites series, which came before nigella feasts, the series in which she went from a little whack to certifiably stupid and therefore is an acceptable adaptation..not that i watch any of these stories regularly. certainly not repeatedly). apparently this is what the chambermaids in florence eat when theyre feeling alienated. and in its strange, unappealing way – its really a very good thing.

ingredients

4 slices of whitebread, crusts removed (no nutritional value here thank you very much)

1 ball of mozzarella (or several little ones)

125ml milk

3tbsp flour

1 egg lightly beaten

salt and pepper

2tbsp olive oil

make sandwiches out of the bread and mozzarella. leave a bit of room around the edge and press the edges together (as lady n quite rightly points out, one of the benefits of plastic bread is its crappiness makes it easy to squash together).

then pour milk into one bowl and the flour into another.

put the egg into a third bowl, and beat with some salt and pepper.

heat a little oil in a fry pan. first put the sandwiches into the milk, then into the flour, and finally into the beaten egg.

stodgy? yes. claggy? yes. cloying? my word. my cup of tea? not so much. why am i posting it? because the idea of it moves me, its origins, my own nostalgia, my imaginings of cities and beauty elsewhere, but mainly because its a toastie – and my most significant critic liked it immensely. so what else matters?

nb. bread pictured has a bit of sourdough to its white and is entirely inappropriate. it was all i had on hand. but if you are going to do things, do them properly and so i recommend white pap…the crappiest pap you can find.

* just a disclaimer for anyone who has trouble with literal and non-literal use of language: mozzarella, wonderful though it is, acts here as a placebo. ultimately, that palpable unhappiness which settles somewhere between your heart and your wasted mind never leaves you.

postscript: to see a charming italian rendition of this bastardisation i direct you here: http://www.italianfoodnet.com/ita/video/mozzarella-in-carrozza. deep, or even shallow frying of bread, glued together with cheese, is not necessarily something i encourage. but he does have a way with words, ones i dont understand but like to hear never the less.