Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breakfast pizza with pico di gallo

Holy crap you guys.  This pizza is in the oven right now and I'm so excited about eating it that I thought I'd start blogging about it while I waited....  I can't help but feel that weekend breakfasts have just about reached their zenith!

Pizza dough (for two small-medium pizzas):
  •  2 cups strong or wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • teaspoon each of yeast, sugar and salt


  • 8 eggs
  • 6 rashers bacon
  • parmesan cheese
  • mozzerella cheese
Pico di Gallo
  • 1 firm red tomato
  • 1 small spanish onion
  • coriander
  • mint
  • 1lime
  • 1 small red chilli

Turn the oven up as high as it will go.  Then mix the warm water, yeast, sugar and salt in a jug, cover and leave for five minutes so that foamy bubbles form on the top.  In another bowl, put the flour and semolina and make a well in the middle.  I found this Atta flour, a wholemeal flour used for Indian flatbreads, and decided to try it out for pizza.  Mix the yeasty water in and tip the whole lot out onto a floured bench and knead for about 3 minutes or until the dough starts to get stretchy.  Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place (such as on top of the oven) for about 30 minutes.  This will give you time to prepare all your toppings.

Cut the rind off your bacon and chop into chunky strips.  Fry in a non-stick pan, there's no need to add oil, until crispy.

Make the pico di gallo by finely chopping the tomato, chilli, onion, coriander and mint and mix them in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice of the lime over the top.  You can add a pinch of salt if you like.  The more finely you chop the ingredients, the more delicious the pico di gallo is.  I don't understand that science of this, but trust me, it is true.  So sharpen your knife and use a firm tomato!

Finally, grate your cheeses.

By this time, the dough should have doubled in size.  Punch it down, tear it in half, and press or roll it out into the size of your base.  It will puff up so make it as thin as you can.  Then dress your pizza!  I started by scattering the cheeses, then the bacon, and finally cracking four eggs on top.  Put the whole lot in the oven for 8 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are cooked.

When the pizza is cooked, scatter the pico di gallo over the top and serve with Tabasco sauce.  Then hop aboard the breakfast pizza train, destination: Nomtown.  Because it's pizza you can eat it in front of the telly.  We chose to catch up on episodes of The Daily Show. It might just have been one of the more perfect Saturday mornings.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hedgehog slice

More chocolately treats for me and my workmates and this blog. Um, hands up if you're menstruating.

Meanwhile, this little puppy needs no introduction.  It's hedgehog slice bitches!  Being my turn to bake for my workmates at our weekly WIP, and with Leith waxing lyrical around the house about hedgehog there was really no question. But then I started considering various recipes online and fell into a deep 'to condensed milk or not to condensed milk' quandary.  So I called Mum, she referred to her high school recipe book, and we ascertained that hedgehog as we know it does not have condensed milk.  Bummer.  I mean, I LOVE condensed milk so I bought some anyway and will make something with it or just drink it from the tin sometime soon.  But here is how I made some of the best hedgehog ever*!

  •  2 packets (500g) Marie biscuits (or other plain biscuits)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hazlenut meal
  • 200g chocolate (mixture milk and dark)
  • 200g butter
  • 2 large tablespoons golden syrup
  • vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  •  200g chocolate
  • 50g butter

 Line a large rectangular dish with baking paper.  Put the chocolate, butter, golden syrup and vanilla in a saucepan on a low heat until melted, and stir for about 5 minutes until thick and shiny.  Turn off the heat and leave to cool while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Put the sugar, cocoa and meal in a very large mixing bowl.  Take your biscuits and a large heavy rolling pin - it's time to get smashy smashy!  You want some crumbs and some larger pieces of biscuit, so smash away until you're happy.  Mix through with the other dry ingredients.

Add the eggs to the wet chocolate and mix thoroughly.  Then add the whole lot to the dry mix and stir through until evenly combined.  Push the whole lot into the paper-lined dish and smoosh down hard with the spoon so it sets firm.  Put in the fridge to chill. 

After about an hour, melt the remaining chocolate with the butter for the icing, dollop onto the slice and smear over until evenly covered.  Then refridgerate overnight or at least for an hour.  When ready to serve, cut into squares with a super sharp knife.  Your workmates will love you.

*I made double, because hedgehog is very very good and it's imperative you don't run out. Imperative.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chocolate and beetroot bundt cake, OR How to win the affections of a 5 year old

I had dinner tonight at my dad's and step-mum's house and was pretty excited because Myra was going to be there - Myra being a serious contender for cutest five-year-old ever.  I hadn't seen her for months, and indeed hadn't seen Dad and Anne for a while, and also I had study to do today so I decided I would bake a chocolate cake to take.  And then Tristan informed me that Myra doesn't like chocolate cake and I was all "WHA...?!".  But she does like pink cakes.  And I knew I had to put beetroot in my cake and trick the the five-year-old into like my cake and liking me because of food.

Here was her verdict, in picture form.

So with no further ado:

  •  1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa 
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • vanilla essence
  • Icing sugar
  • beetroot juice
  • cardamom
  • twirl to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease your bundt tin.  Peel and grate the beetroot. Take a big handful of the beetroot and squeeze the juice into a small ramiken and put it aside for later.  

Put the cocoa and hot water in a large bowl and mix together.  Add the two eggs and stir through, the add the beetroot and mix.

In a large jug mix the milk, oil, vanilla and yoghurt. 

Fold the milk mixture and flour into the chocolate mixture in equal parts.  Then pour into the tin and bake for 55 mins.

Take the cake out of the oven to cool and prepare the icing by adding your beetroot juice you put aside earlier to four heaped tablespoons of icing sugar and a sprinkle of cardamom.  When the cake is cooled, pour over.

Finally, take the Twirl that you found in the car that is all smashed up, and smash it up further then pour the chocolatey crumbs over the cake. Ta da!  One pink(ish) chocolate cake.

Myra has declared "She LOVES beetroot." 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spicy eggplant salad with chickpeas and sunflower seeds

I had an eggplant in my fridge all week.  I've been quietly fretting over it, because between you and me, I'm never quite sure how to cook eggplant. I fear mushy eggplant, soggy eggplant and bitter eggplant.  But I decided to nut up, use the food in the house rather than go outside/buy some more, and so I made this salad.  I have to confess that roasting the chickpeas was directly inspired by my lovely friend Jess who cooked me the most incredible meal the other night, including roast chickpeas in paprika.  This salad gets big fat ticks of approval for flavour, crunch, health, ease and use of oven for an extended period on a cold night.

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • sunflower seeds
  • garlic cloves (1 per person)
  • tomatoes of some variety (I had fancy heirloom cherry ones!)
  • baby spinach (or green leaves of your preference)
  • leftover fetta you found in the fridge or any other white cheese of your preference
  • juice of half a lemon
  • olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • salt to taste

Set the oven to 180 C.  Prepare the eggplant by cutting into three fat slices, sprinkling with salt and covering with paper towels.  Then walk away.  Come back in 30 mins or so and wipe off all the salt and liquid that has oozed out of them.  Rinse the chickpeas and pick out any discoloured ones.

Then cut the eggplant into chunky cubes and throw in a bowl with the chickpeas.  Add the spices and toss through until evenly coated.  Place in a roasting pan withe garlic (skin on) and roast for about 40 mins until crunchy on the outside.  Five minutes before they're done, add a big handful of the sunflower seeds to the roasting pan to brown.

Prepare the rest of the salad by placing the spinach leaves on a plate with the tomatoes cut into small wedges.  Scatter the cheese around the plates too.  Squeeze the lemon juice over and drizzle a tiny bit more oil.

Then take out your roast vegetables and seeds and scatter them over everything.  Make sure each serve gets a piece of garlic.  When you eat the salad, smoosh the garlic out of its skin and smoosh it around over everything.   And, consume!