I’m not Ottolenghi, but: Farinata Pizza

This is a recipe inspired by Jack Monroe over at www.cookingonabootstrap.com.  Jack is one of my foodie inspirations.  I bought their book for my sister when she started at university because I reckon it’s as good as any student cookbook out there.  Jack is also a massive campaigner against poverty and LGBT rights and all round good egg.  Check them out.

When I started this blog I promised myself I wouldn’t turn into those foodie bloggers that uses loads of ridiculous ingredients that you can only buy if you live in North London. Yotam Ottolenghi’s food is beautiful to look at, but a little tricky to actually make, or that’s what I think anyway (that being said, if anyone wants to take me out to Nopi or Ottolenghi I will not stand in your way!) I love him, but I don’t want to be him.  So I was a little reticent about this post because it uses something you have to buy in the World Food aisle.  But I really don’t think this goes too far.  It’s not Za’atar.  It’s not Dukkah.

Farinata is a pancake made from gram flour (also known as Besan) which is made from ground chickpeas.  I’m fairly confident you can find it in most average sized supermarkets and a bag costs about £1.50.  I’ve used the pancake as a base for a pizza-type thing, topped with my imaginatively named Red Sauce and a little cream cheese.

The nice thing about this recipe is that because it’s made from ground chickpeas, it’s full of protein and really filling.  I packed mine out with spinach and carrot which increases the flavour and the veg content.  It can be knocked up in no time, and I actually think it might be fairly healthy.  It’s perfect for a midweek supper.

farinata pizza.jpegFarinata Pizza: no it’s not perfectly round.  But it’s real life.  And real life is full of wobbliness and wonky corners. 

Serves 1 (easily doubled if you’re cooking for more than one).

Ingredients:

Pancake bit:

  • 50g gram flour
  • 100mls milk (or water, or a mixture of the two)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • A shake of cumin
  • A shake of cayenne pepper
  • Half a carrot, finely grated
  • 2-3 handfuls spinach (or whatever you have spare)
  • Oil for frying

Red Sauce bit:

  • An onion, red or white, chopped as finely as you can.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A splash of vinegar, (red wine, apple cider, balsamic)
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes (I generally find that Basics/Value tinned toms are too watery, but they will still work if that’s all you have to hand)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • A good pinch of sugar

Other toppings:

  • A good dollop of cream cheese, or if you’re feeling fancy you could try goat’s cheese.
  • Anything you fancy – grilled peppers, sauteed mushrooms, steamed courgette ribbons.

Method:

  • Ideally the batter for the pancake needs to sit for 30mins before you cook it, so start by making this.  (If you don’t have 30 mins, leave it for as long as you can and then cook according to the instructions.  It will be ok.  Jack Monroe says so.)
  • Pop your spinach in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of water.  Over a medium high heat, cook until the spinach is completely wilted.  Remove from the pan and put on a chopping.  Chop up the wilted spinach, ready to add to the batter.
  • Mix the gram flour with a little milk/water to make a paste.
  • Add the rest of the liquid.
  • Add the cumin, cayenne and salt and give it all a good beat with a fork.
  • Leave to stand for 30 mins and then stir in your chopped, wilted spinach and finely grated carrot.
  • Meanwhile, make your Red Sauce:
  • Heat a glug of oil over a medium heat in a medium sized saucepan.
  • Put your finely sliced onion and garlic in the pan and turn the heat down to allow them to soften.  Do not rush your onions.
  • After about 6-7 mins they should be soft.  Add your vinegar and give a little stir.
  • Add your tomatoes, salt and sugar.
  • Turn the heat up so it comes to the boil, then turn down to simmer for about 15-20 mins.
  • Back to the pancake base:
  • After 30 mins of standing, heat a glug of oil in a frying pan to a medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, pour your batter into the frying pan and squiggle it around the pan so it covers the base evenly.
  • After about 4-5 minutes, the underneath should be cooked.  Use a fish-slice or spatula to slide all the way underneath the pancake and deftly flip it over.  It should be a gorgeous golden brown.
  • After flipping, it should take a further 3 mins or so to cook the bottom.
  • Turn out onto a nice big plate.
  • Spoon as much tomato sauce onto the base as you’d like (I generally use about half the sauce for one person)
  • Spoon your other toppings (cream cheese, veg etc) on to look as artful or messy as you wish.  This is your meal.  Own it.
  • Photograph and upload to Instagram.  Or not.
  • Devour.

 

 

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Liquid Gold Slow Cooker Stock: Domestic Goddessicity with Virtually Zero Effort

Stock or bone broth is all the rage, dontchaknow.  Everyone’s talking about it.  You can get tote bags that say ‘Boil your bones’ to carry around the Farmers Market.

I never used to think it was worth it.  All that standing over a hot stove, skimming off scum.  Not able to leave the house.

And then I discovered the slow cooker method.  And it CHANGED MY LIFE.  Now I have a freezer fully stocked with the stuff, ready to whip up a risotto or sauce or soup made with MY OWN STOCK.  Like a veritable domestic goddess.

And it takes less than half an hour of actual work.

So next time you make a Boursin Roast Chicken, why not save the bones and make this? Soon you can have a freezer stocked with liquid gold too.  And feel like a domestic goddess.

I usually pop the stock on after a Sunday lunch to give it a good 4 hours or so on high power, then turn it down to low when I go to bed and leave it on low until I get back from work the following day.  That gives it about 20 hrs in the slow cooker.  I think it needs a good 12 hours in total, and I am of a view that the longer you cook it the better the stock, but if you’re time limited just cook it overnight.

stock

 

makes about 1.6 litres of stock.

  • A roast chicken carcass, stripped of all its meat (save that for any number of left over chicken recipes.) (Any really dry or chewy looking bits of meat can go in the stock for extra flavour)
  • One white onion, skin left on for colour, halved.
  • 1-2 sticks of celery, rinsed of any grit.
  • 1-2 carrots, scrubbed but not peeled.
  • 2 litres cold water (or as much as you can get in the slow cooker)

Nice additions, but by no means essential:

  • other left over veggies (leek tops, cabbage – NOT potatoes.)
  • Parsley sprigs
  • a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.  (The Hemsley sisters claim that this helps to break down the bones so it releases their flavour and goodness better.  I have absolutely no idea if this is actually the case, but it doesn’t effect the taste of the stock and the Hemsley’s are absolutely beautiful, so it clearly isn’t doing them any harm…)
  • 6 pepper corns.
  • 3-4 raw garlic cloves.
  • 2-3 bay leaves.

Method:

  • Put all of the above in your slow cooker. Put the lid on the slow cooker.
  • Turn the slow cooker on high for about 4 hours.
  • Turn it down low for a further 8 – 16 hrs, depending on how long you have and what your schedule is like.
  • Once you have decided your stock has had sufficient time, turn the slow cooker off and let the straining begin!
  • I use a ladle and pour the stock through a sieve into a big mixing bowl, squidging the bones and veg in the sieve with the ladle to get all the liquid out.
  • I usually strain it again through a sieve into a measuring jug.
  • Pour into freezer bags.  (I usually portion out 500 mls per bag as this seems to be about right for most recipes.
  • HANDY HINT FOR FILLING FREEZER BAGS WITH HOT LIQUID:  stand the freezer bag up in a pint glass, folding the sides over the rim of the glass.
  • Leave the stock to cool and then lie it flat in the freezer (takes up less space that way.
  • When I need the stock I either take it out a few hours before hand and leave it to defrost, or cut away the freezer bag and put the giant stock ice cube in a sauce pan and defrost over a low heat.
  • Now you’re a domestic goddess. Well done.

 

A Bowlful of Dreams: Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach Dhal

When I’m feeling a bit rubbishy I want a bowl full of something bright to look at, fragrant to smell and bursting with bold flavours to taste.  And if it’s chock full of veg and low fat protein then that’s a bonus. There is one meal that ticks all those boxes: A Bowlful of Dreams.

And it can be in a bowl and in your belly in about 25 minutes.

So if you’re feeling a little below par and need something to lift you up then maybe try this.

 

dhal2.jpeg

 

Serves 2, easily doubled.  Reheats nicely if stored in the fridge for 3 days.

Ingredients:

  • A glug of oil
  • One onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 -1 red chilli (start small! You can always add more later!)
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2tsp garam masala
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 100g red lentils
  • 500mls hot stock (veg is fine, but if you have some chicken stock that needs using, you could do so here)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • As much handfuls of spinach as you can spare (about half a bag)

Nice bonus ingredients (the recipe will totally work without these, but they sort of elevate it if you have them to hand):

  • 2 tsp butter
  • juice of half a lime
  • a handful of coriander leaves.

Method:

  • Heat a glug of oil in a medium sized pan.
  • Finely chop your onion, garlic and chilli and add to the pan, turning the heat down nice and low.  Allow the onions to soften for about 5 minutes.
  • Chop your sweet potato.  (I rarely bother to peel mine, but you can if you choose.  If there are any ‘hairy bits’ on the sweet potato then do chop these off as they are touch to eat.)
  • Add your spices, stirring through the onion/garlic/chilli.
  • Add your lentils and chopped sweet potatoes.  Stir it all together so the spices and oil coats the lentils and sweet potatoes.
  • Pour the hot stock in and add the tbsp tomato puree, giving it all a good stir.
  • Bring to the boil, then pop a lid on the pan and turn the heat right down again.
  • Leave covered, stirring periodically (as lentils can catch really easily on the bottom of the pan), for about 15 minutes.
  • Check that the lentils and sweet potato are soft and ready to eat.
  • Throw in your spinach and stir through until it’s wilted.
  • Now you can add your bonus bits, if you want to.
  • Check for consistency and flavour.  If it’s too watery you can simply leave the dhal to bubble very gently on the hob with the lid off to reduce down a bit.  Depending on whether you’ve used stock cubes or homemade stock, you might want to add a little salt to really make the flavours sing.  Not spicy enough?  Add a little more chilli, cayenne pepper or even a bit of Tabasco to give it some kick.
  • Serve in deep bowls with a dollop of yoghurt, mango chutney and rice or naan (or both! I won’t tell anyone!).  I generally find this is a meal best eaten on the sofa, in your PJ’s, whilst watching something questionable on telly.  But that’s just me…

 

The step-by-step guide to making a Roast Chicken Dinner to Impress Your Mum and still have time to put on some make up and hoover the flat…

So I was going to post all of these with photos.  But it seems my SD card is corrupted…GAH!…I’m just posting the recipes for now and am setting about either rescuing the SD card, or just cooking everything again to photograph it.  So watch this space. 

So this post does not contain any new recipes.

It is, if you will, a synoptic that gives timings for how you would put together all the various elements of the Roast Chicken to Impress Your Mum series so that you can really impress her.

A lot of people (The Boy, I’m looking at you) find that timing things is the most stressful part of cooking, and with so many elements in an impressive roast, that is a valid concern. But fear not.  I’ve done it all for you.

The following is based on a roast made with a 2kg chicken and eaten at roughly 2pm  and gives you time to pop a bit of make up on and send your beloved running around the flat with a hoover and a duster.  Of course if you want to eat at a different time just add or subtract the timings accordingly.  (So if you’re eating at 1pm subtract an hour from each time.  If you want to eat at 3pm, add an hour.  You’re not an idiot.  You don’t really need me to tell you that.)

The roast includes the following recipes (with links to their stand-alone page):

Boursin Roast Chicken

Beaumont’s Signature Roast Potatoes

Thyme and time Roast Carrots and Onions

Barely-needs-a-recipe Leek Confit

Courgettes with Lemon and Chilli

 

SO! On y vas!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • One chicken, free range, 2kg
  • One lump of Boursin cheese (or half a tub of Garlic and Herb cream cheese)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A lemon

For the Carrots and Onions:

  • 4 good sized carrots
  • 3 white onions
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the Courgettes:

  • 2 courgettes
  • Olive oil
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • A good shake of chilli flakes
  • 3-4 tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size (optional)
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt

For the Potatoes:

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, a handful

For the Leek Confit:

  • 3 big leeks or 4 smaller ones (not baby leeks though, obvs)
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 

Method:

To eat at 2pm:

10:30 Take the chicken out the fridge.

11:00 The chicken:

  • Snip the string holding the chicken‘s legs together and unhook her legs.
  • Pop half a lemon in the cavity.
  •  Now for the stuffing.  Take off your rings, unless you want your diamonds encrusted with Boursin or raw chicken. Trust me.  Gently prise the skin from the chicken’s breast, starting at the neck end.  You may need to use a sharp knife to snip the membrane slightly.  Make sure you can slide your hand all the way to the other end.
  • Take about a sixth if the lump of Boursin in you hand and slide it between the skin and the breast,  getting it as far down towards the end as you can.
  • Keep adding the cheese until you’ve used it all, or you can’t possibly get any more in.  It’s not the nicest sensation ever, but it’s worth it.  Trust.
  •  Once it’s all in, smooth it out by sliding your hand over the skin, towards the legs, to really smooth the cheese into the end if the breast.
  • Drizzle the top of the breast and legs in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give it all a good rub in.
  • Pop in a roasting tray and preheat your oven to 200’C ready to put her in at 12:00.

11:30 Leeks:

  • Run your leeks under the tap to ensure there’s not grit left on them.
  • Slice the end off each leek and then slice the white and light green bits as thinly as you can. Save the dark green tops for stock.
  • Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When melted add your leeks to the pan and give them a good stir until they are all covered in the butter and oil. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat right down and cook the leeks for around 45 mins, stirring frequently to stop them sticking or colouring too much.

When the leeks are done (12:20), turn off the heat, ready to reheat later.

11:45 Courgettes: (your leeks will still be cooking, but will only need minimal stirring now, so you can totally do this simultaneously.)

  • Slice your courgettes lengthways, and then on a diagonal slice them into 5mm thick slices
  • Heat a good slug of oil in a pan on a medium high heat.
  • Add your courgettes, garlic, salt and shake of chilli flakes to the pan.
  • Cook them on a medium high heat to give them some colour and then turn down the heat a little to soften the courgettes.  This takes about 20 mins.
  • If you’re adding tomatoes add them now, stir through and heat gently until they soften.
  • Once you have reached this stage, squeeze in half the juice of a lemon, stir then turn off the heat and leave to one side to reheat later at the same time as your leeks.

 

12:00 Put your stuffed chicken in the oven at 200’C.  

 

12:20 Turn the oven down to 180’C, the leeks and courgettes should be cooked by now, so turn off the heat.  We’ll reheat them later.

12:40 Potatoes

Pour about 3 tablespoons of oil into the roasting tray that you will cook them in.  Put the tray in the oven to get the oil nice and hot.

12:45 Meanwhile have a little look at your potatoes. You’ll want them all to be roughly the same size, so you may need to cut some of the bigger ones in half. Do not peel your spuds.

  • Pop them in a large pan with a good sprinkle of salt and pour over the kettle of boiling water.
  • Whack a lid on your pan and bring to the boil for 5 mins max.
  • After 5 mins drain your spuds.  You will be putting them in the hot oil in the oven in a few minutes.

12:50 Carrots and onions

  • Cut your carrots into batons: halve each carrot both vertically and horizontally. Cut each chunk into about three or four batons.
  • Peel your onions and cut each onion into six, keeping the layers of each segment as best as you can.
  • Arrange your carrots and onions on a baking tray. Drizzle over a good glug of oil. Squiggle your veg around on the tray to help coat it in the oil.
  • Sprinkle over some thyme and season with salt and pepper.

13:00 Put your carrots and onions in the oven, towards the bottom.

Take the tray with the hot oil in out of the oven and put in your spuds.  Give it a gentle shake to coat all the potatoes in the oil.  Whack straight back in the oven.  They need about an hour. You are going to throw in 4 cloves of garlic about 20 mins before the end.

13:05 There’s about 35 mins of down time here, where you don’t have to do anything, except maybe keep an eye on the bits in the oven.  This is when to put your make up on and run around cleaning the flat and setting the table.

13:40 Take your chicken out the and test for doneness by pricking the thigh and checking that the juices run clear (by clear we mean no sign on blood, no red, no pink).

Put the chicken on a plate and cover with foil.

13:42 (after taking chicken out) pop your garlic cloves in with the potatoes and give the tray a good shake to redistribute.

13:55 Ask someone to carve the chicken (or do it yourself if you feel confident to do it whilst reheating your other bits) and pop the slices on a plate.  Take the plate to the table.

13:57 Reheat your courgettes and leeks on a medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes.  You might want to take a few spoonfuls of the chicken juice out of the chicken roasting pan and add them to the leeks.  When warmed through, transfer them to attractive bowls (or ugly ones, there are no rules) and take them to the table.

14:00 Take the potatoes and carrots and onions out the oven. Pop them in an attractive bowl.  Garnish your spuds with sea salt and parsley and take them to the table.

14:02 You’ve done it! Hurrah! Have a glass of wine.  Sit down at the table and just look at how impressed your mum is.  Eat.  I bet you’re hungry.