Monthly Archives: January 2012

How to make Pizza Dough

Wanna make a pizza?

This is how to make pizza dough. I’ve taken photos, but bear in mind I don’t have a tripod, and it was a Sunday morning so I couldn’t get any of my housemates to help me so please excuse how awkward looking they are…

For a pizza that serves one, you need FOUR obligatory Ingredients:

-180g /1.5 cups of flour, plus extra for dusting.

-125 ml of WARM water

-1/2 7g sachet of yeast (I only use this yeast, so I can’t offer advice for the yeast that is bought in tins, which seems less refined)

-3 tbsp oil (45 ml).

AND two extra ingredients, which simply help to enhance the flavour, but they aren’t necessary:

-1 tsp dried herbs

-1/2 tsp of sugar

Okay, let’s go…Method

1. Wash hands

2. Wash and dry a surface.

3. Mix Yeast, Oil and Water(YOW) in a jar and shake up. Or just put in a beaker and mix well. Set aside.

4. Put flour in a mixing bowl.

5. Add herbs and sugar

6. Add half of the YOW, and stir with a fork, until the mixture starts to collect into clumps.

7. Add the rest of the YOW and continue to stir with fork. As you can see, your mixtuer should be starting to form into one mass. When the fork seems to prove redundant, use your hands to make sure all the flour and water are well combined. You should been able to form one dough ball that is soft and elastic.

8. However, you might have added too much YOW, and your mixture will be very runny like this(click image to enlarge), it is too sticky to touch and is more like a liquid:

9. If so, add about 3 tsp of flour, and mix with your hands until the mixture is stretchy like so. If your mixture is too dry and not elastic. Add a tsp of oil and mix with your hands.

10. Take out of bowl. Your dough should be sticky, but can pull apart from your palm without leaving crap all over it.

11. If not don’t worry just yet, dust your hands and surface with flour (very liberally if your dough is still a bit too sticky to handle) and start to knead.

12. Put the palm of your hand in the middle of the dough, pushing it away from you.

 

Imagine the dough as a clock. Bring 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock, i.e fold the back of the dough back over to the front.

Schmush down and flatten with your palm. You’re trying to get as much air into the mixture as possible.

(Mole-y arms. Must learn to put on sun-cream this summer.)

Continue with the process of constantly folding the mixture.

Just fold and flatten. Do this for 3-5 minutes.

13. The dough should have a lot of elasticity and be very soft to touch.

14. Place back in the mixing bowl. Cover with cling film and place in a warm area for 2-4 hours. Alternatively you could use it straight away.  But let it rise, it’s more authentic that way.

Preferably use cling film THAT IS NOT UNDER £1. Like mine is, and evidently is not clinging at all.

USING YOUR DOUGH

-Sorry for the awful photo, just wanted to show the dough in action.

-When ready to use, preheat oven to 180 c.

-When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a floured surface, and use rolling pin to roll into some sort of shape.

-Using your hands, or whatever utensils you can get your hands on, lift your rolled dough and place on a greased piece of foil or on some greaseproof paper.

-Then top with your favourite toppings. Tomato purée, mozzarella, mushrooms etc. and cook in oven for 30-40 minutes until the crusts are brown. Enjoy!

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Filed under Bread, Pastries and Pizza, Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Olives, but Nicer.

I have never laid claim to being the most open eater. Let me tell you, as I child I was awful. I still have my friends’ mums telling me how hard it was for them to cater for me when I came round. I think they tell me their stories with quite a happy retrospect, but I know deep down they’re screaming “DAMN IT THAT GIRL WAS SO RIDICULOUS”. The favourite story for my friend and her mum to tell me and everyone over and over is when the mum asked what I like to eat, I said I like eating chicken dippers. So she made me chicken dippers and I said, “I said I like chicken dippers, I didn’t say I wanted them”. I still vow that THIS NEVER HAPPENED. Fussy eating is fun to laugh at by many (I know, I do it now), but I didn’t enjoy being a fussy eater. Dinner scared me a lot when going to relatives’ and friends’ houses,  it wasn’t fun for me either. It’s easy to tell someone “just have some of the sweetcorn”, when that person is mortified they’re going to throw up. I was evidently a very dramatic child. But something happened, I went to my cousin’s wedding at the age of 12, and was made to eat a set menu which I had no control over. And that did it. I loved the food they gave me and from then on I tried everything I was given.

But because of this fussy past, there are still some foods which retain awful memories, which I will eat but unhappily. Boiled eggs for example. And olives, I just knew I didn’t like them, and I constantly tried to eat them and it just didn’t work, they weren’t nice. However, I begun, in time, to be able to palate them. My very good friend told me “I hated olives too, but just make yourself like them”. There is still something GEURGH about them, but after realising they’re so cheap I’m not going to let them pass me.

So these olives are for the person who was/is like me. Palatable olives, or NICE OLIVES. Stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes or cheese, covered in breadcrumbs and fried. They’re completely malleable to your tastes, add Stilton, peppers, or jalapeños!  Alternatively, you could buy your olives pre-stuffed. 

Analysis of Stuffed Olives:

  • Olives, not just olive oil, are healthy. When eaten in moderation these are little bombs of anti-oxidants, brilliant for the stomach and most definitely reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • If stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, you’re benefiting from the super-food benefits of tomatoes.
  • These are oily and rich, due to being lightly coated in bread and because olives themselves are filling, they are therefore effective as a snack that you wont eat tonnes of.

Ingredients-Adapted from Lisa is Cooking (thank you Lisa!)

-Olives without the stone, however many you want of whatever kind. I’m convinced that black olives are my favourite.

-1 egg whisked with a fork, in a bowl

-1 cup of bread crumbs, in a bowl

-1 tbsp of plain flour, in a bowl

-the filling of your choice, cut slim so you can push it into the olives.

-4 tbsp oil Olive oil

Method

-With a tooth pick, poke your fillings into the olive.

-Dip the olives into the flour, then in the egg and then into the breadcrumbs. Another method (if you’re interested, which I was cos I don’t like egg so like to use as little possible) which might collect more breadcrumbs is dipping the olives into the EGG FIRST, then the flour and then THE EGG again, and then into the breadcrumbs. Both worked fine, I think it all depends on how much egg and flour you’re coating the olives with.

-In a deepish frying pan, if available, heat up the olive oil. Place the breaded olives into the oil, and with a utensil of some sort make sure the whole olive is covered in oil. Gently fry the olives into they are brown and place on a kitchen towel to drain them of the oil.

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Mediterranean, Other, Snacks and Starters, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast cookies? That doesn’t sound healthy…WELL IT IS OKAY. There is nothing bad in these little orange puffs. Except maybe you’ll end up the lot! LOL…

This is the first recipe of how you can make easy, not obscure, changes to your diet without having to substitute happiness. However, healthy eating is down to knowledge. You have to know why something is unhealthy, why certain substitutes are going to benefit you. Don’t just buy a diet meal because it says it’s good for you. Otherwise you’ll never learn. I’m gonna attempt to instruct on how to have fun with meals, with ease, whilst maintaining your health…

These breakfast cookies have oats, apricots, honey, carrot… Just lovely. They have the texture of those coconut macaroons, but don’t have: Sugar, butter, flour OR eggs! Does that even mean they’re cookies?

I don’t know. Replacements are key to being healthy and having fun. These took no time and don’t use obscure ingredients, apart from coconut oil, which is fairly easy to get your hands on in the international isle, international supermarkets or in whole food shops and is about £1.50 for 500g. A food processor or blender makes this process really easy in order to process the porridge oats, alternatively just buy oat flour and make these the old fashioned way with a spoon and bowl.

Analysis of Breakfast Cookies:

  • Porridge oats are jam packed full of fibre. Why do we need fibre?  It slowly releases energy so you stay fuller for longer, whilst helping digestion and expelling toxins as well.
  • The carrots will help you see in the dark.
  • No seriously, carrots are jam packed full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
  • Dried apricots are also a good source of fibre and serve as a replacement to sugar.
  • Honey boosts immunity and is a natural energy booster, and also replaces sugar.

Ingredients

-1 cup of porridge oats OR oat flour

-1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 cup of dried apricots, chopped roughly or VERY FINELY IF NOT USING A FOOD PROCESSOR

-1 carrot, peeled and grated

-1/4 cup honey

-1 tsp of cinnamon

-2 tsp lemon juice (don’t worry if 

you can’t find these last two)

Method

-Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5, 190 c. Grease a cup cake tray or a baking tray with a bit of vegetable oil.

-Ground the porridge oats in a food processor.

-Add baking powder, coconut oil,  apricots, carrot and process/mix very thoroughly until the mixture is combined and starting to get quite sticky.

-Add honey, cinnamon and lemon juice and process/mix well until the mixture is very well combined and can  hold well together in balls.

-Put a heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the cake tray or baking tray, and cook until the base  and top is brown, about 27-30 minutes. Leave to cool before eating PLEASE.

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Filed under Healthy Sweets, How to be Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Coconut Date Squares

Well, you can’t get much better than dates. Well, you can actually. But as sweet things go, you can’t get much better than this. Please tell what is unhealthy about something that has: oats, dates, coconut all in one? Did you know dates are used in sticky toffee pudding too? It’s INSANE. They are amazing because they are so goddamn sweet, and yes they have sugar in them. BUT they’re natural sugars. Let’s stop talking about dates.

What we have here is a porridge, coconut and date base, with a date and water topping and then a bit more of the base crumbled on top.

I’ve just finished my January university exams. I revised (attempted) all winter at home which was crap, and it was worsened by the constant pain of my back injury. I then returned to Leeds, revised for 10 days, 10am-7pm whilst sitting 4 exams in 4 of those 10 days (with one on a Saturday morning might I add). Finishing felt good. But I had a free week before lectures started, so decided to have a proper holiday, with no work and a bit more running. Thus I have lots of spare time to make things like this. Enjoy.  OH YEAH MAKE SURE THE DATES ARE SEEDLESS

Ingredients-Makes 6 filling squares -Adapted from Oh She Glows

Base-

-1 cup of porridge oats

-1/2 cup of dessicated coconut

-1/2 cup of coconut oil, or vegetable oil(obviously unhealthier though)

-5 Dates

Topping

-25 dates, maybe more.

-1 cup of water

Method

For the base

In a food processor, combine the porridge and coconut until it has a bit of a floury texture

-Add the dates, and process until it resembles crumble, a bit like rubble.

-Then melt the coconut oil , but if using vegetable oil you don’t need to, then add to the mixture and process until the mixture is sticky and looks like it could bind well without falling apart.

-Prepare a small container, about 3×5 inch, with a sheet of baking paper covering all sides.

-Place the base mixture into the container and push down firmly. It’s not rocket science. Reserving some to place on top later.

For the topping

-Process the dates with the water until it’s like a thick paste, adding more dates or more water when needed.

-Scoop out mixture and spread on top of base, then sprinkle the remaining of the base mixture on top. Or if you like, with more oats and coconut, uncombined.

-Leave to set in the fridge for 3 hours minimum.


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Filed under Healthy Sweets, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

Happy New Year

This has been my life for the past 5 weeks.

Eat.

Work.

Eat.

Work.

Eat.

TV.

Sleep.

Exams finish in two days. Then 2012 will bring lots more recipes.

Meanwhile i’ve been able to throw in some runs, as my discs heal.

This what my injury is (i.e this is how I see it when I speak to the osteopath):

It get’s better every day. BUT VERY, VERY, VERY SLOWLY. I’ve had to rebuild all the muscles in my left hip. Oh the anatomy of the body.

Best wishes, see in you in  a bit!

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