It's been a month since we moved and I'm getting used to life as a baby barrister. One things for sure, I have less time for cooking and even less time to write about it so I'm afraid that these posts are unlikely to be that regular while things find an equilibrium. That said, a girl's gotta eat and if there's one thing I can't abide, it's a bland and boring supper. So I'm on the look out for quick options and preferably ones that aren't going to cost the earth (contrary to popular opinion, barristers aren't all raking it in, particularly at the junior end in a legal aid practice). So that's what you can expect going forward, quick and cheap meals that you can make mid week. Well, mostly... I'm sure that I'll still be a bit adventurous on the weekends.
So to last nights supper, homemade pizza certainly doesn't sound like a "quick option" but this isn't really too bad if you make the dough in advance. This dough can be made and then frozen in portions. Take out your portion in the morning and you'll have the dough for a pizza base, ready and defrosted by tea time.
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Veg Everyday contains a wonderfully versatile recipe for his "magic" bread dough. It's a mix of plain and strong flour so you get a crisp pizza crust out of it and similarly there's sufficient gluten content for a few hearty rolls too. It's precisely this dough that I used last night for a rather tasty, if a little unusual pizza.
I didn't have any kale for HFW's kale and onion topping so I improvised with spring greens and mushrooms. The result was exceptionally tasty, rich and moorish. It was a welcome change to the usual tomato and mozzarella loaded affair.
Green Onion Pizza
For the dough
This is a job for the weekend, the quantities below make three pizzas or six rolls. I freeze in three portions since there are only two of us. You could of course make more or freeze in larger portions should you be feeding a hungry hoard.
250g each of strong white flour and plain flour
1 tsp fast action instant yeast
1 and a half tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Tip the flour into a mixing bowl, lay the yeast on one side and the salt on another. You don't want them directly touching as salt tends to kill off yeast. Drizzle over the olive oil and make a well in the centre.
Measure out 375ml of water and pour about 80% of it into the well. Get your hands into the bowl and mix into a dough, if it needs a little more water to get it to a soft but not sticky consistency then add some more. You might even need more than the 375ml, it tends to depend on the flour.
Tip out the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead, knead, knead for about 10-15 minutes. The dough will take on a soft yet elastic quality. To check it's needed enough, pull into a tight ball and give the dough a poke. If the indent starts to even out then it's done, if you can still see the impression of your finger I'm afraid that more kneading will be required.
Pop the dough ball back into the mixing bowl and leave covered with a damp tea towel to rise to double it's size. It will take about 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Kick back the dough and split into three portions. Each portion will make either one pizza or two hearty rolls (you'll need to allow the defrosted dough time to prove again if you go for this option).
Pop the portions you don't want to use in a plastic bag (make sure to squeeze out any air), seal and then into the freezer.
*** This also makes an ideal base for my Smoked Tofu Lahmacun ***
Green onion topping
1 tbsp olive oil
1 finely sliced onion
4-6 leaves of finely sliced greens (depends on their size)
6 mushrooms, diced into small chunks
1 clove garlic, crushed
30g strong and tangy cheddar cheese, finely grated
First things first, get your oven nice and hot. I tend to get mine as high as it will go, which is 250deg C in the new house.
Fry the onion in the olive oil over a medium heat until they take on a translucent quality. A pinch of salt in the pan will help to curb any browning. Add in the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, followed by the greens and garlic in quick succession.
Keep the contents of the pan moving, given five minutes the greens will wilt and the mushrooms will shrink. Season with salt and pepper at this stage.
Roll out one of the portions of your dough into a thin pizza base. You'll see from my picture that I'm hardly looking for a perfectly round final product! While you're rolling, pick up the dough every now and then to "relax" it.
Lay the base on a non stick baking sheet. Scatter over the green onion topping and follow with a smattering of the cheese.
Put the pizza into the oven (which should be pretty scorching hot by now) until it's wonderfully crispy. This will depend entirely on your oven, mine took about 7 minutes.