Soppressata

I was really starting to crave pizza yesterday having not had any for a good couple of days, so I decided to make some. I did my favourite skillet-broiler method (first time with my cast iron pan) and it was all so lovely and easy. I used loads of semolina flour on the outside of the crust so it really crisped up and was glorious.

But of course the real exciting addition this time was the soppressata I topped it with. Soppressata is an Italian salami that makes a pretty great pepperoni alternative, and I’ve been looking for it for aaages so I was super excited to see it in Waitrose.

Here are all the recipes I used:

Rajasthani Red Meat

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Sometime soon I might stop banging on about Madhur Jaffrey, but that day is not today. This time we had some leftover lamb so I found this recipe in Curry Easy – it wasn’t a super saucy curry but it was pretty spicy, pretty (very) delicious, and pretty easy to make, so this one is definitely being added to the roster.

Oven Pizza

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For a while now I’ve thought that either a frying pan or a BBQ are the best things to cook a pizza in, so I haven’t made pizza in the oven for quite a while now.

I thought it was time to give it another go, so I used a piece of steel that I preheated for a very long time, and cooked the pizza on that on the top shelf of the oven before moving it to the grill to finish it off.

This one is the second one I made – the first was a bit less photogenic after I made quite a big hole in it as I was getting it into the oven!

Daily Dinner – Prawn Pasta

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This one is a quick photo from a few nights ago when my brother cooked this amazing summery seafood spaghetti with prawns and clams and a garlicky white wine sauce. A great idea for a quick weeknight dinner now the evenings are getting longer and sunnier.

Pasta Sauce

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This is one of my favourite pasta dishes; it’s super easy to make but rich and gorgeous and tasty – all it needs is plenty of time to bubble away.

I originally got the recipe from the Leon Ingredients & Recipes book (it’s called Leon’s Spaghetti Milanese), but have now changed it a bit, mostly because I rarely have all the ingredients I need and also because it’s such a faff studying a recipe book while you’re making dinner.

So here’s how I make it but it’s really just a gist – as long as the basic ingredients are there and you have plenty of time to cook it then it won’t matter if the quantities are exact, or if you’ve missed bits out.

SERVES 6
2 mini packs diced pancetta
A big white onion
A clove of garlic (or cheat and use garlic puree if you don’t fancy your hands smelling of garlic for a couple of days!)
2 tiny tins of tomato puree
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Spoonful of sugar
Splash of wine vinegar
Dried oregano
2 or 3 bay leaves

Put the pancetta in a saucepan over a medium heat and chop up the onions and garlic. When there’s a bit of bacon fat running around in the pan, put in the onions and garlic and keep cooking it all for a couple of minutes until the bacon is firm.

Put all the other ingredients into the pan and bring it to the boil, then turn the heat right down, put the lid on, and leave it for as long as you’ve got (a couple of hours is good).

Serve the sauce tossed with spaghetti (or settle for some other pasta like I did if you can’t find any in the cupboard!) and don’t forget to save some of the cooking water from the pasta to mix in with the sauce so it sticks to the pasta nicely.

And if you have leftovers – don’t throw them away! I will let you know what I did with my leftover sauce in the next post…

Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi with a Panzanella(ish) salad

IMG_7073 IMG_7079 IMG_7080There was a very delicious looking ricotta gnocchi recipe in the amazing Pizza Pilgrims book, but having never had gnocchi before I thought I should have something halfway to traditional gnocchi, so I sort of used their recipe but made it half with potato and half with ricotta instead. I wanted to do it with spicy sausage but couldn’t find any so I went with these Boerewors instead which were bloomin’ tasty.

Anyway, here’s a recipe.

For the gnocchi:
-250g potatoes
-200g ricotta
-1 egg
-180g plain flour
-Handful of parmesan cheese
-4 big sausages
-300g cherry tomatoes
-Juice of half a lemon
For the salad:
-A couple of handfuls of pine kernels
-100g babyleaf lettuce
-125g pancetta
-2 ciabatta rolls, torn into pieces
-200g cherry tomatoes
-2 sticks celery
  • Drain the ricotta while you boil the potatoes and then mash them.
  • Mix together the potatoes, ricotta, egg, parmesan, flour, plus salt and pepper, and then knead until you have a smooth dough.
  • In a frying pan, heat some oil and then chop your sausages into small pieces (I took the skin off mine but they didn’t keep their shape very well), then put them in the pan with 300g tomatoes.
  • While they are cooking, split your gnocchi dough into six, and roll each bit into a long sausage a couple of centimetres thick, and cut each sausage into 2cm pieces.
  • In another frying pan, start frying the pancetta and ciabatta pieces.
  • Drop the gnocchi into a pan of boiling salted water, and leave for 3 or 4 minutes, until they have risen to the top.
  • In the meantime, squeeze the lemon juice into the sausage and tomatoes, and then chop up the celery. Put the pine kernels and tomatoes in the frying pan with the pancetta and ciabatta (they only need a minute or two).
  • Drain the gnocchi when it’s ready and put them in with the sausage and tomato. Let them brown in the pan for a minute while you assemble the salad (just mix everything in the ciabatta/pancetta frying pan in with the lettuce and celery in a lovely big bowl).
  • When the gnocchi has browned a little and the tomatoes have crushed a bit and are making the whole thing a bit juicy, plate it up with a little chopped basil on top.

 

Lamb

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I decided it was time to practice cooking meat because I’m a bit rubbish at it, and I really fancied something Indian tonight. So I did lamb leg steaks with a rogan josh sauce and vegetable biryani (which wasn’t amazing due to a yoghurt-based misunderstanding). I spent ages doing a lovely spicy dry rub for the lamb which you literally couldn’t taste at all when I put the sauce over it. Anyway it was alright really and I feel a teensy bit proud of it actually. Who knows, I might even try it again and get a recipe up.