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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pizza Homemade Recipes

Written by : Bel

Pizza is a winner in our house.  We eat it quite often.

Get the kids involved. 
Its not as messy as you think. Let them make their own flavour combinations. 
Its fun and its a good way for them to try new foods.

Here is how we do it

1kg  Greek Style Natural Yoghurt (i usually get the less fat one)
4 cups Plain Flour
plus have an extra cup on hand for rolling and sometimes mine needs a bit more i think because of the variables in the yoghurt
2 teaspoons  Ground Paprika mild
(optional just gives the base a little more flavour you could use another spice or herb if preferred)

I dont usually add salt to the base because i have meats and cheeses that have salt in them so i dont think we need the extra.  But you can :)

This base doesnt need time to rise as it doesnt have yeast. If you make it in advance keep it in the fridge but it will be sooooo much easier to work with and roll out when it is at room temperature so dont forget to take it out with enough time.

I make my dough into serving size weights balls first then i know they'll all be even sized pizzas.
I go on about 320g
(this is a hand felt measure from years of experience not on scales but its pretty close )

This dough will give you 6-7, "medium" 20cm diameter really thin bases. So you can make them thicker if you want you'll just get less of them.

Pizza Sauce
250ml Passata. (If you can only find large bottles seperate it evenly into zip lock bags and freeze.)
2 Tblsp Tomato Paste
1 Tblsp Dried Oregano 
(I dry and crush my own but you can use the jars no probs.)
1 Tblsp Crushed Garlic (I use the jar stuff )

I love to experiment with the toppings.
I have a great Deli near by and i try anything Charlie the Deli man suggests to me :)
Here's some of our regular pizzas :

Salami, Finely sliced Spanish Onion, Chopped tomato & Fetta

Potato (as thin as possible) with Primma Donna or Parmesan

Mortadella Mel de Olise (olives) and Egg. Just one egg whisked and poured over grated tasty.

 Sliced Tomato, Halloumi and Mint (my favourite)

Hot Salami, cooked beef mince, chopped tomato and fetta. 

Potato, a little grated zucchini, garlic and panchetta

Ham, egg & grated zucchini

Anchovies, sopressa and tomato

Ham, salami, capsicum, mushroom and onion

Metwhurst, mushrooms and spanish onion

Ham, capsicum, mushroom and anchovies

My general layering works for overall even cooking these are just the way we do it i learnt this from when i made pizzas as a second job for many fun years.

1. sauce all the way to the edge.
2. cheese on first
3. meats
4. mushrooms
5. all other toppings
6 only a little cheese on top

If using potato slice with a mandolin or really really thin. dont overlap.

make sure everything is cut evenly.

Less is more :)   If you put too many toppings the base may not cook and it'll be too heavy to pick up to eat.

If you're bases are thick put them in the oven a few mins to start cooking before you put toppings on them.

If you pull your pizza out and the base hasn't cooked enough but the top is done i have a couple of times put the tray straight on a hotplate on the stove.  This will cook really fast so don't take your eyes off it.

If i'm making alot and i only have four trays i put the pizzas on baking paper then i can slide them on and off trays and onto cutting boards and plates with ease.

Happy Pizza Making

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Filo Pastry - Three ways - Lamb, Spinach or Chicken

written by : Bel

These little filo fingers are great. You can make them in a big batch and then freeze them till needed they take up no room in the freezer and little time to bake.

You'll need a pack of Filo Pastry, Oil spray and the ingredients below to which ones you want to make. Read the instructions on your pastry well before you want to make these. the pastry needs a lot of time to thaw and rest.

Your filling must be made ahead of time.  It must be cold when wrapping in the pastry.

Preheat your oven 200 degrees Celsius fan forced.

Lamb (30+fingers)
1 kg Lamb Mince
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Brown onions chopped fine
2 tsp ground Cumin
2 tsp ground Cardamon
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Fennel seeds slightly crushed
2 Tbsp Fennel seeds whole (to sprinkle on the tops)

In fry pan or large saucepan. Heat your oil then add your onions. Once they have softened add your mince till almost cooked through. Turn off the heat and mix your spices in well.  transfer to bowl and refrigerate till cold.

Spinach, Ricotta and Basil (30+fingers)
2 box of  frozen Spinach
1 kg Ricotta
1/4 cup crushed pine nuts or almonds
(you can toast prior. i put mine in the mixer)
1/4 cup grated Prima Donna Cheese
(or shaved Parmesan)
1/3 cup finely chopped Basil. (i use scissors)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Defrost your spinach. Instruction options are usually on the pack i defrost mine on the stove top. drain really well, squeeze all the moisture out. Leave to cool or put in fridge to cool before going further. Then once cooled in large bowl mix your Spinach with the Ricotta, Cheese, Nuts and Basil.

Chicken and Zucchini  (18-20 fingers)
500gm Chicken Mince
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cup Grated Raw Zucchini
2 Tbsp Almond Meal
1 cup chopped spring onions
salt & pepper

Grate your Zucchini and leave 1/2 hr to drain. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  In a fry pan or saucepan heat your oil and add the garlic.  Add Chicken mince and stir until nearly cooked add the zucchini stir through well until chicken is definitely cooked.  Take off heat and stir through Almond Meal and spring onions. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate till cold. Season and before you use give it all another squeeze to get rid of any moisture it should be a dry crumbly mixture. 


Filo is one of those avoided by many pastries.  Its OK, give it a go.  
Be gentle and follow the instructions on the pack and it should be OK.  

The pastry does dry fast and this is a little fiddly if you haven't done them before - wait till the kids are in bed.  I always make them late at night so I'm interruption free.

Use two sheets at a time.  lay them out flat and slice once down the middle and then into thirds.  
Start with the two rectangles closest to you.

 Add some filling leaving a space either side. 
Roll one rectangle by taking the two corner folding them toward the middle and then roll the middle bit and fold it over.  try and tuck it in tight.  

Continue to roll and fold in the sides as you go.
 When you get to the end. Move it to a clear part of your bench or plate - not where you are rolling and folding and give it a spray with your cooking oil. Turn it over so the end is on the bottom.

Give the whole thing a spray and put it on a baking paper lined tray.

If I'm making more than one flavour i coat the top so i can distinguish easily which ones are which. After you've sprayed them turn them top down into a bowl of herb. For my Chicken ones i top with Almond Meal and dried Tarragon, Spinach & Ricotta i use dried Basil leave or Fennel seeds and Lamb i use Fennel seeds and Paprika.

If you are going to freeze pop them in an airtight container with a layer of baking paper between the layers for easy removal.

Cook on baking paper lined tray at 200 degrees Celsius for approx 20 mins till they are nice and golden.