Tuesday, 24 May 2011

On a roll

Baked brie.

I have to be feeling really, really self-indulgent to do a baked brie. This one was done on a Friday after a particularly feral week at work.

This is double brie made by the King Island Dairy and I bake it in its little wooden box (although the side-band popped open in the oven and all you can see in the picture is a bit of the base). I stud it with cloves of garlic and drizzle it with good olive oil and into the oven it goes. Don't forget the rosemary on top - it steams in the oven and makes everything aromatic and wonderful. The honey (southernwood honey) goes on when it comes out.

I like grissini or melba toasts to dip into this. Sometimes I will toast hazelnuts and sprinkle them around the brie but this occasion was no dinner party, this was pure necessity, so no nuts, no delay. Just eating.

Baked brie is just glorious the way it melts to perfect creaminess and coats your grissini (and your arteries. Everything in moderation, people!)

I remember I had this with a very good local red wine (but I don't remember what the wine was). It was all a bit of a blur.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Tomato pie

A (very) long time ago, one my my uni lecturers ventured the generalisation that 'A pizza without anchovies is just a tomato pie'. As an anchovy-lover, I couldn't have agreed more. If I order a pizza from one the more prominent pizza chains, I always order anchovies as an extra topping. There's normally a silence on the end of the phone and then a whispered conversation, probably as they send their most junior employee off to locate some. Sometimes, the shop is generous and the pizza arrives with whole anchovies arranged on the pizza like spokes on a bicycle-wheel. Sometimes, the shop is stingy and you would hardly know that they had put any on at all if it weren't for the occasional salty surprise in a bite.

So, for your delectation today, I have four pizzas. Or, if you prefer, one pizza and three 'tomato pies', although, ironically, the 'pizza' has no tomato on it...

Pizza One - The Black Pizza

Can you see the anchovies swimming through the sea of fried onion?

I stole this recipe from Gypsy Tapas House in Fremantle. They used to make little onion, anchovy and olive pizzas as part of their tapas menu. Talk about a slice of heaven. Sticky, caramelised onions, tart kalamata olives and glorious anchovies. I had to go one better and make it BIG. Sometimes, I use a little mozzarella on the base to keep the black ingredients in place. I like this pizza because my children are not so fond of it so my partner and I get half each whenever I make it.

Pizza Two - The White Pizza

Don't tell me that you have never had potato on a pizza! Don't tell me that you think it's 'weird'!

This is my take on the classic 'Roman' pizza. It is completely easy to do and has nothing that will frighten the kiddies (unless they chomp down on a rosemary twig by accident). I use chats potatoes which I microwave until just cooked but still firm, then slice them thinly onto a base which has been sprinkled with mozzarella and little bit of fresh-grated parmesan. Onto that goes fresh rosemary (from the garden), olive oil (from the shops) and salt and pepper. I've seen some recipes that use leeks in the mix, or that use a mandolin (which I don't own) to slice the potatoes but I'm in this for the speed at which I can get it to the table.

Pizza Three - The Kids Pizza

The rocket was not at its best, okay?

Two children, two different palates to please. Number One Son is more adventurous - on his half of the pizza (from roughly 11 o'clock to 5 o'clock), you will find hot salami, diced chorizo, ham. Number Two Son is more conservative, less into the hot stuff - he has ham and he has olives. The rocket is so they can claim to have had 'something green' and I can feel like a responsible parent. Tomato base here, no anchovies.

Pizza Four - The Adult Pizza

Hell yeah.

Here on a tomato base that has been pimped with a blast of Fountain-brand Hot Chilli Sauce, we have super-hot Hungarian salami, pickled jalapenos and a scattering of orange habanero chilli that really, really hurts (but in a good way).

Sometimes, when I can be bothered, I make my own bases. The kids help and they love messing about with packets of yeast and getting involved with the kneading and bashing of dough. Most of the time, I buy my bases. There are plenty of good ones out there and I'm a busy working mother, you know?