Beer and Cheese Bread

I’m always wary of flavoured breads; whether store-bought or home-made, quite often the loaf ends up too dry, too dense, too bland, too intense or just too weird to be a success. I keep on trying them out though, I used to make an incredible sun-dried tomato loaf, I must dig that recipe out…

I wouldn’t be sharing this recipe if it wasn’t impressive; I have only made it once and half of it is still in the freezer, but my wife made me promise that we would never, ever be without some of this on hand. She doesn’t praise easily, so I take that as a big thumbs-up.

Perfect alongside soup, or as an accompaniment to cheese, the flavours are interesting enough to enhance whatever you serve it with, while not being so dominant that they will be overpowering. It’s got great texture too; the secret is in a long, slow prove followed by a blisteringly hot oven so you get lovely aeration throughout the loaf.

Your choice of ale will have the biggest effect on the flavour. Stout will bring with it a rich, treacly darkness, while a pale ale or lager will be softer and more subtle. I tend to use whatever I have to hand – in this case a rather good home-brewed stout – but feel free to experiment.

beercheese.jpg


RECIPE 

250ml ale

4 tsp caster sugar

1 tbsp dry yeast

600g white bread flour

320g wholemeal flour

200g cheddar, grated

75g Parmesan, grated

50g milk powder

1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/2 tsp English mustard powder

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tsp fennel seeds

egg white, to glaze (optional)


METHOD

Gently warm the ale to blood temperature – any hotter and you run the risk of killing your yeast – add the sugar and the yeast, stir and set aside to activate while you prepare everything else.

Combine all the other ingredients in a very large bowl, using your hands mix it well and start to bring it together – it will be heavy and stiff at first because of the cheese. Now start to add the yeasted ale, a little at a time, bringing it together and kneading as you go. You may well need to add more than 250ml ale, so if the dough is still too dry once you have used what you measured out, just keep on adding more from the bottle until the dough is stiff and holds together.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly oiled work surface and knead for around 20 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Work it into a ball.

This dough only requires one prove, so make it worth while.

Either use a round banetton, well-dusted with flour and covered by a large plastic bag that is in no danger of touching the dough as it rises. The loaf pictured was proved in a banetton. Leave the dough alone in a warm, still place to rise for between 1 and 2 hours, or until at least doubled in size and springy to the touch.

Alternatively, place the dough on a piece of baking parchment and glaze the unproven dough with the white of an egg. Put a bag over it, ensuring that it is in no danger of touching the dough as it rises and leave the dough alone in a warm, still place to rise for between 1 and 2 hours, or until at least doubled in size and springy to the touch.

Heat the oven to 250C, or as hot as your oven will go, with a baking sheet and a baking tray in the bottom of the oven to heat up. Turn the dough in the banetton onto the hot baking sheet (very carefully! Don’t burn yourself, or deflate the dough by being too rough), slash the loaf a few times with a razor blade or very sharp knife. Throw a cup of water into the hot baking tray in the bottom of the oven to make steam, and quickly put the dough on the baking sheet into the middle of the oven. Close the oven door and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 200C and bake 30-40 minutes in the falling oven until the temperature in the middle is 90C (I use an instant-read thermometer) or a skewer inserted comes out clean.

If you have proved your dough on a piece of parchment and glazed it, then carefully slide the parchment and dough onto the hot baking sheet. Slash the dough, make steam in the oven and bake as above.

Garlic Butter and Garlic Bread

It’s the little things that matter when you are cooking; whether it is the choice of oil, the freshness of the ingredients or the judicious selection of side dishes.

I guess everyone knows how to make garlic butter: take some butter and mash some garlic into it. Yes? Well okay, yes, but add a few little extra things and you will experience garlic butter that will make you cry with joy. Simon Hopkinson, restaurateur and writer, is responsible for this, and he has my eternal thanks.

Garlic bread is a must-have when I am serving meatballs, lasagne or spaghetti Bolognese. It is so easy to make you will never reach for the ready-made supermarket version again.

buytter.jpg


RECIPE – Sufficient to make a baguette into garlic bread 

125g unsalted butter

4 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tsp Pernod

a pinch of flaky sea salt

a twist of freshly ground black pepper

a pinch of cayenne pepper

3 drops of tabasco

1 long French baguette


METHOD

Put all of the ingredients (except the baguette, of course) into a bowl and mash together until fully combined. Roll out a 30cm square piece of cling film and place the butter mix in the middle, then using the cling film to shield your hands, mould and roll out into a sausage. Wrap the cling film tightly around it and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

To make the garlic bread: heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7. Cut the baguette 3/4 of the way through in slices 1cm thick; the baguette will still hold together but is easily torn apart when served.

Take the chilled sausage of butter and cut thin slices, place a slice of butter in between each slice that you made in the baguette.

Take a length of baking parchment, long enough to wrap the baguette. Scrunch it up and wet it under a tap. Shake it so there is no excess water, then place the baguette into it and wrap tightly so it is sealed. Doing this ensures that your baguette (which has already been baked) steams as it heats and remains moist. Place onto a large baking tray and bake for between 10 and 20 minutes until it is done to your liking – keep an eye on it!

Vanilla Extract

First, a word of warning: never, Never, NEVER buy vanilla essence. It’s a nasty chemical substitute for the real thing.

Second: make your own vanilla extract. It is ridiculously simple and involves nothing more than two ingredients. Even the most pure and expensive commercially-produced vanilla extract contains a number of additional elements, including sugar. You don’t need them in your life. What you DO need are two kinds of vanilla extract: made with vodka for a clean vanilla taste, and made with dark rum for a darker, more complex caramel flavour. Experiment with both kinds in your baking and you will soon be turning out cakes so good you would swear they had been made by Mary Berry.

vanilla_extract.jpg


RECIPE – makes 100ml

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

100ml of vodka or dark rum


METHOD 

It doesn’t get any easier than this: put both halves of the split vanilla pod into a 100ml bottle (the exact size is largely immaterial, anything between 50ml and 120ml will produce perfect vanilla extract). Top up with the vodka or rum, then put the lid on and set it aside for at least a month. It will last for as long as you need it to, but if my experience is anything to go by you will use it up pretty quickly once you discover just how good it is.

Pide Bread

Pide is to Turkey as focaccia is to Italy: a simple, delicious, tear ‘n’ share accompaniment to… just about anything.

Many people are scared of making bread, I really can’t see why. There is a time element involved in making bread, but the actual hands-on time is mere minutes, the rest of the time is spent either leaving the dough alone to do its thing, or leaving it in the oven to cook while you do something else. There are few simpler breads than this, so if you are a bread-making novice this is a very rewarding place to start.

pide.jpg


RECIPE – serves 4 to 6 people

2 tsp dried yeast

1 tsp sugar

450ml tepid tap water

700g white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting

1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp polenta or semolina, for dusting

For the topping:

1 fat clove of garlic, bruised with the back of a knife

50ml olive oil

1 sprig of rosemary, leaves only

1 tsp flaky sea salt


METHOD 

Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a jug and leave it in a warm place until it begins to froth. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt, then add the olive oil and gradually add the yeast mixture. Using your hand as a claw, gradually work the liquid into the flour as you add it, stop adding liquid when the dough comes together and starts to clean itself off the sides of the bowl. The hydration that flour requires can vary enormously depending on the manufacturer, its age and the atmospheric conditions, so you may have some liquid left over, or you may require a little more – let your fingers be your guide.

Knead the dough, still in the bowl, for a couple of minutes, then turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead with the whole of your hand for twenty seconds, bringing the dough to a tight ball. Leave to rest for ten minutes, then knead for another twenty seconds, again bringing the dough back to a tight ball – add a little more oil if you need to. Leave to rest for another ten minutes, then knead for a final twenty seconds, bringing the dough back to a tight ball and placing it into a large, lightly-oiled, bowl. At this stage your dough should be silky, springy and pliable – that means the gluten has formed strong strands so your bread will hold the carbon dioxide given off by the yeast as it feeds off the sugar, and it will rise.

Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, combine the garlic and oil for the topping in a small pan and heat gently until the oil is warm. Turn off the heat, add the rosemary leaves and set aside to infuse.

Heat your oven to 240C/ gas 9, or as hot as your oven will go (if it will go higher than get the temperature right up – my oven gets close to 300C, bread LOVES heat!). Leave two baking trays or pizza stones in the oven to heat up.

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and push the air out of the dough using your fingers and hands. Divide the dough into equal pieces as you wish; you can divide it into 2, 4 or 6 depending how large you want your breads to be. You can also divide off some of the dough and put it into a sealed ziplock bag, leaving it in the fridge for up to a week and it will awaken when brought back into the warm. The dough will also freeze for a month or more.

Flatten the divided dough balls into rough ovals using your hands or a rolling pin. Dust the baking trays or stones with semolina or polenta then place the dough on them. Make indentations with your fingers all over the surface of each and drizzle over the infused oil (not the garlic and rosemary leaves though). Sprinkle over the flaky sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden – a little less if you have divided the dough into more pieces.

Allow to cool a little but eat it fresh from the oven. So simple, so delicious!

You can also top these breads with a dusting of za’atar or dukkah, nigella seeds, sesame seeds, whatever takes your fancy.

Za’atar and Goats’ Cheese Puffs

I have a wide array of canapes, light bites, side dishes and snacks in my notebook, they’re always handy to have because you never know when somebody will ask you to make something for a party, drop in out of the blue for a cuppa or just for those times when you think a meal requires something else to complete it.

These puff pastry rolls are absolutely delicious and though they do require just a little forethought in that you need to have some defrosted puff pastry to hand, they are quick to put together and quick to cook.

They come courtesy of Sabrina Ghayour, whose books ‘Persiana’ and ‘Sirocco’ come chock-full of delicious Middle-Eastern flavours. I have not modified this recipe at all, it is perfect just as it is. I am not a fan of ready-rolled puff pastry but it does make it even easier – if you prefer to use half a block of frozen puff, as I do, then you won’t need quite so much cheese and za’atar. The quantities are not crucial anyway, just follow your instincts and use less or more as your tastes dictate.

Za’atar is a deeply aromatic Middle-Eastern herb and spice mix. These go well as an alternative to bread rolls when making a spicy soup, or pretty much anything made with butternut squash. They also make a brilliant snack and reheat well in a 180C/ 160C fan/ Gas 4 oven for 5 minutes.

IMG_0592.JPG


RECIPE – makes 15-20

250g puff pastry (half a block), or a sheet of ready-rolled (320g)

olive oil, for brushing

2 heaped tbsp za’atar

300g soft goats’ cheese

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


METHOD 

Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C fan/ Gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

If using block pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle of around 30cm x 20cm. Brush the pastry lightly and evenly with a little olive oil, like so:

IMG_0587.JPG

You can see that my pastry is not quite straight, it doesn’t matter. Now sprinkle 1 tbsp of the za’atar evenly over the pastry:

IMG_0588.JPG

Crumble the goats’ cheese evenly across the pastry, leaving a 2.5cm border on the long edge of the pastry furthest away from you, like so:

IMG_0589.JPG

Season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle the remaining za’atar over the cheese:

IMG_0590.JPG

It might look like rather a lot, but don’t worry. Now, starting with the long edge of the pastry that is closest to you, roll the pastry as tightly as you can without tearing or crushing it. You will end with something resembling a Swiss roll.

Cut the roll in half, then using a serrated knife cut each half into rounds approximately 1cm thick. Trim away the scruffy ends. Pat each whirl lightly to slightly flatten them so they stay together while they cook, and place them on the baking tray leaving sufficient space between them to allow them to rise:

IMG_0591.JPG

There is no need to glaze, just bake for approximately 15 minutes until well-risen and golden. Be prepared to immediately lose half of what you have baked – grasping fingers are a real danger when these come out of the oven!

img_0592

Mushroom, Ale and Celeriac Pie

I spotted this recipe in a copy of Vegetarian Living, a monthly magazine I can heartily recommend as it has some of the most amazing recipes, giving the lie to the perception that vegetarian food is boring. This recipe was crafted by Rachel Demuth, who runs a cookery school – I keep dropping hints to my wife that a course there would be a good present…

She might take more notice now, we had this last night and all she kept saying was: “This is delicious!”

It is. It is one of those recipes that must use alchemy, it is very much more than the sum of its delicious parts. The gravy that results is also fantastic; I have made a note to myself to make this the next time we have a roast beef dinner, the pairing will be sublime.

Curiously, for such a ‘beefy’ dish, it is very easily made vegan-friendly. Just use vegan ale (yes, there is such a thing) and vegan puff pastry, use water rather than egg to stick the pastry on, and brush the top of the pastry with soy milk.

cel.jpg


RECIPE – serves 4

10g dried porcini mushrooms
300ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
1 large carrot, sliced
150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
150g mixed mushrooms, sliced
200ml Guinness or similar ale
1x 400g tin tomatoes
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp Marmite
½ tsp cornflour
2 bay leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
500g puff pastry or flaky pastry
1 egg, beaten


METHOD 

In a pan, heat the vegetable stock until boiling then add the dried porcini and allow to sit in the cooling stock for 30 minutes. Prepare all your other ingredients.

Strain the re-hydrated porcini through muslin, saving the stock for use later. Finely dice the porcini and set aside for now.

In a large deep-sided frying pan or wok, fry the sliced onion in sunflower oil for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the diced celeriac and carrot and fry on a high heat, stirring often. Add the crushed garlic and the mushrooms (not the porcini) and cook for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms have given up their liquor and most of it has cooked off. Add the bay leaves.

Pour in the ale and bring it to a simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of cold water and mix to a paste.

Add the tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, chopped porcini, coarse grain mustard and Marmite, bring to the boil then add the cornflour paste. Stir thoroughly and keep stirring until the sauce has thickened, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich

Add the chopped thyme and parsley and season well. Leave it to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 7.

Pour the cold mushroom filling into a 1 litre pie dish. Roll the pastry out to the thickness of a pound coin (4 or 5 mm) large enough to cover your pie dish with some to spare. If your pie dish has a flat edge then cut a ring of pastry to the thickness of the flat edge and stick it on with a brush of beaten egg.

Carefully lift the pastry and place it over the pie dish. Press down the edges to form a good seal and trim off any excess with a sharp knife. Reserve the trimmings to decorate the pie. Knock up and flute the edges of the pie and cut a small cross in the middle to let out the steam. Brush the top with beaten egg.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and golden.

I served this with creamy potato mash with a couple of tablespoonfuls of horseradish cream whipped into it, alongside seasonal vegetables.

Quick and Easy Flaky Pastry

I fancied making a pie yesterday, so I set out shopping in the morning and was quite perplexed to find that in all the shops I visited not a single one stocked any blocks of all-butter puff pastry. Now, a block of ready-made all-butter puff pastry is one of the few processed ingredients that I am happy to use, but though they all had the ready-rolled stuff it’s not quite the same.

I make rough-puff pastry quite a lot, but it does take a fair bit of time and attention – to be more accurate, you need to be around at various times during the day to roll and turn the pastry between chilling it. I didn’t have that freedom yesterday, but I really fancied that pie…

The answer was this: a super-quick and stupidly easy way to make flaky pastry. It doesn’t rise anywhere near as much as puff, but it laminates beautifully and is incredibly buttery. You do need to work quickly though, keeping the butter very cold is the key to success here so follow the instructions closely.


RECIPE – makes 450g of pastry

225g plain flour, sifted

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

170g unsalted butter

120 ml water


METHOD 

One hour before you will make the pastry, put the flour, butter and water in the freezer. Keep an eye on the water as it might freeze solid, which you don’t want. What you DO want are ice-cold ingredients.

Sift the flour and salt into a large, cold mixing bowl. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, quickly grate the butter into the flour – as fast as you can so that it doesn’t have time to warm up. Using a knife, stir the butter and flour around until each strand of butter is coated with flour and the butter is spread evenly throughout the flour. Add the ice-cold water and use the knife to bind the pastry together; a good way to do this is to act as if you are cutting with the knife, dragging the blade through the mixture three or four times, then giving the bowl a quarter turn and dragging the blade through another three or four times, until the water is all taken up with the flour. Once again, you need to move quickly while the mixture is ice cold.

Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together into a ball. Try to minimise the amount that you handle it, because you don’t want the butter strands to melt together, and handling pastry too much tends to make it tough.

Roll the pastry out into a long oblong, then fold one third of it into the centre of the pastry, and then fold the other third over the top of that. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you need to use it, at which point you can roll it out and use it as you would a ready-made pastry.

Christmas Cake

I know, Christmas is seven weeks away so why post a recipe for Christmas cake now? Well, the truth is that if you haven’t already made yours, you’re in danger of it not being as good as it can be.

A good Christmas cake needs time to sit and develop, and you need time to ‘feed’ it. Feeding your Christmas cake is simply brushing it with alcohol several times before the big day. More details below, so let’s get cracking with this luscious recipe that is the culmination of years of experiments. This is the one that always gets eaten, and eaten fast!

xmascake.jpg


RECIPE 

250g sultanas

100g currants

400g raisins

75g mixed peel

zest of a lemon, finely grated

juice of 1/2 a lemon

zest of an orange, finely grated

80ml sherry

175g butter, room temperature

175g dark muscovado sugar

25g black treacle

3 medium eggs, room temperature, beaten

225g plain flour

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

40g ground almonds

165g glace cherries

25g glycerine


METHOD 

The day before you plan to make the cake, place the sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel, finely grated lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, the finely grated zest of an orange and the sherry into a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly to combine, cover with cling film and set aside for 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 140C/ gas 1. Line the base and sides of a 20cm spring-form cake tin with baking parchment, leaving at least four inches of parchment standing above the level of the tin. Also, put baking parchment around the outside of the tin, also standing about 4 inches proud of the top of the tin and tied off with string. This prevents the top of the cake from drying out and burning.

In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to beat the butter, muscovado and treacle until it forms a smooth paste. Mixing with a spoon prevents air being beaten into the mix, air in the mix of a fruit cake is a disaster as it allows the fruit to all sink to the bottom.

Now gradually add the beaten eggs to the butter mix, a little at a time to prevent the mixture from curdling. If it does curdle, just add a spoonful of your flour and beat it in.

When all the egg has been incorporated, mix the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and ground almonds in a separate bowl. Drop the glace cherries into the flour and ensure they are fully coated – this gives them a coating that provides enough friction to prevent them from dropping to the bottom of the mix while it is baking. Now add the flour mix, with the cherries, to the butter and eggs. Fold in gently with a large metal spoon.

Add the glycerine to the soaked fruit and stir well, this will help to keep the cake moist. Add the fruit to the cake batter and gently fold it through until it is evenly mixed.

You will now have quite a stiff batter – don’t panic, this is as it should be. Spoon it into your lined cake tin and level it off with a spatula.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately two hours. Check it is cooked by inserting a skewer in to the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean then your cake is ready. If it comes out with some cake mix stuck to it then cook for a further 15 minutes, repeat the process if necessary, but do not cook your cake for longer than 2 1/2 hours.

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, in the tin.When the tin is warm to the touch you can remove it, but leave the parchment on the cake and the cake on the rack until it is fully cold.

When the cake is fully cold, use a pastry brush to generously brush the top and sides of the cake with sherry, Cointreau, rum, brandy, Calvados or any spirit of your choice. Don’t drown the cake, but don’t be frugal either. Here is the important bit:

DO NOT PIERCE YOUR CAKE!

It is the single biggest reason for dry, inedible fruit cakes. The alcohol will soak in quite happily – there is no need to dig holes in your cake so all of its moisture can evaporate more easily.

Wrap the cake in a large sheet of baking parchment, then cover that with a large sheet of baking foil and wrap it tightly. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

To feed your cake, brush it as above, A MAXIMUM OF THREE MORE TIMES using your preferred fortified wine or spirit. Leave at least a week between each feed, and allow at least seven days after the last feed before you decorate the cake.

Now isn’t the time to give decorating tips, I will leave that until nearer the time…

Banana Oat Mini-Muffins

I hate wasting food. Okay, sometimes there will be a piece of past-its-best veg sitting in the fridge that has been forgotten because it has been buried under something else, but it’s rare that a use can’t be found for it. Vegetable peelings and trimmings, and not quite at their best leeks, celery, carrots and the like can always be pressed into service to make a stock. As for fruit, anything on the turn can be turned into cake fillings or immersed in alcohol and soaked for a few weeks to make a wicked punch, while bananas are (to my mind) at their most useful when the skins are seriously spotted with black but the fruit is still quite firm. From these you can make banoffee pie, banana bread, or these lovely little muffins.

Small enough to eat in two bites, loaded with flavour and (whisper it) they’re healthy as well. Made with a minimum amount of sugar and sunflower oil rather than butter, they are a great guilt-free treat, and are also great as part of your breakfast. They freeze well, so there’s no need to worry about eating them all in a hurry.

The ones pictured below have no topping or garnishing, but you can sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the top five minutes before they come out of the oven for a crunchy topping and a little extra indulgence.

IMG_0561.JPG


RECIPE – makes around 30 small muffins, or 15 large

100g oats

200g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

100g soft light brown sugar

4 large ripe bananas

1 large egg, beaten

60ml sunflower oil

75g chopped walnuts

demerara sugar to finish (optional)


METHOD 

Heat the oven to 180C/ gas 4. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases of the appropriate size.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar. Mix well.

In a separate large bowl, mash the bananas until smooth then add the beaten egg and sunflower oil and mix thoroughly. Now add the dry ingredients and the walnuts over the top of the banana mix, fold through until all the ingredients are just combined; take care not to overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the pastry cases then bake for 15-20 minutes (for small muffins) or 20-25 minutes for larger muffins. They are ready when the tops are browned and firm, and when you insert a skewer or cocktail stick it comes out clean.

If you wish, five minutes or so before they are finished, sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the top of each muffin to add little crunch.

Sea Salt Crackers

Every Saturday night in our house is pizza night. We make our own (of course) and you can find my recipe for pizza here. The trouble is, we’re never quite sure how many of our extended family will turn up to eat – our children have all grown up and moved out, and their plans always seem to change. As a consequence, I often have a portion or more of pizza dough left over; that’s no problem, it will happily rest in the fridge for a few days, and it freezes well but… Saturday is pizza night and I will always make a fresh batch of dough up on the day. So the unused pizza dough often gets thrown away; I find that offensive because it tastes lovely and it doesn’t deserve that fate.

Last night we had a cheese and biscuits night. It had been a long, busy and tiring day so I knocked up some Provencal biscuits then spotted a lonely portion of pizza dough in the fridge. Mmm, surely I can do something with this… I wonder.

IMG_0555.JPG


RECIPE 

a portion of pizza dough

olive oil

sea salt


METHOD 

Heat the oven to 230C/ gas 8

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pizza dough as thinly as you can, then leave it to rest for five minutes. Roll it again, then place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or on a silicon mat, in which case you can dispense with the oil). Scatter lightly with sea salt.

Using a pizza cutter, or a sharp knife, cut the pizza dough into four strips, then cut across those strips at an angle to make triangles – or something close, it doesn’t matter too much. There is no need to pull the cut pieces apart, they will pull away from each other as they cook.

Bake them in the hottest part of the oven for around 6 minutes; they will turn golden and crunchy, and puff up into little salty pillows. The picture above was taken immediately after they came out of my oven, and because they are just made of thin, crusty dough they don’t deflate.

They are delicious straight out of the oven, and almost as good a couple of hours later. They are great with cheese, good for dips and as part of a canape, mezze or tapas selection. Or you can just pick them up to nibble on, they taste great all by themselves.

I doubt they will keep well, but I didn’t get the chance to find out – we scoffed them all!