Roasted Fennel ‘Chorizo’ Calzone

Calzone is a folded over pizza and it’s hard to find the origins other than it being from Naples but I believe it was was created to be an efficient street/workers food, much like a British pork pie. Like pizza, the filling list is endless but I’m pretty pleased with this roasted fennel, mozzarella and chorizo shroomdog combo (I got the sausages from Sainsburys but any veggie sausage plus smoked paprika will do) adapted from Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite. This could serve 2 as a heavier meal or 4 with a side salad.

Serves 2/4

Ingredients

  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chorizo shroomdog sausages
  • 250g mozzarella
  • pinch fennel seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 200g pizza sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 300g white bread flour
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 300ml tepid water

Method

1.) Preheat the oven as far as it will go (around 220 degrees C or more)

2.) Finely slice the fennel and place in a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper

3.) Roast for 20 minutes, turn the fennel over after 10. Set aside.

4.) Make the dough. Measure out 300ml tepid water and add the yeast. Let it brew for at least 10 minutes. In another large bowl, measure out the flour. Add the liquid to the yeast and mix it up and knead to form a smooth dough. Oil the large bowl and place the dough back in there. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it rise for 2 hours.

5.) Slice up the sausages and fry in a frying pan with a tbsp oil. Slice up the mozzarella and set aside.

6.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

7.) Knock back the dough. Divide the dough into half then lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll the half into a ball then roll out with a rolling pin to a thin circle (as best you can).

8.) Spread out half the pizza sauce, sprinkle with half the chilli flakes and fennel seeds, sprinkle one half of the dough with half of the roasted fennel, half of the sausages and half of the mozzarella.

9.) Fold over the half of the calzone without the mozzarella and crimp the edges together to seal. Place on a pizza baking tray.

10.) Repeat with the rest of the dough and ingredients.

11.) Bake for 10 minutes.

Tom YUM Goong

Tom Yum derives from the Thai word for the boiling process ‘Tom’ and ‘Yam’ – mixed. Everyone loves a Thai rice noodle dish and this one is fairly quick to put together once you’ve sorted out the curry paste which could be done in advance and even frozen. I have a Kenwood mixer plus spice blender attachment but I had to split the ingredients into smaller portions to get them to blend properly. Once you’re done you have a vibrant green paste which is very appetising. Don’t be tempted to add any more shrimp paste than stated in the recipe, the smallest amount of that overpowers everything. This was supposed to be a soup but for me ended up more like a noodle in sauce dish which was just as tasty. This was another recipe from ‘Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite’.

Ingredients

Serves 4

Curry paste

  • 3 shallots
  • 3 lemon grass sticks / 1tbsp paste
  • 4cm piece galangal/ginger 1 1/2 tsp paste
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (I used dried but use fresh if you can get them)
  • 3 chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 20g coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste/1 stick
  • 1 cm ginger/ 1/2 tsp paste
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • 350g plum tomatoes
  • 400ml stock (Massel chicken flavour or vegetarian)
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 12 raw tiger prawns
  • 3 fillets white fish
  • salt
  • 10g basil
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • crispy shallots
  • rice noodles for 4 people

Method

1.) Make the curry paste by peeling and chopping the ingredients and crushing down into a smooth paste.

2.) Peel and finely chop the other lemongrass, ginger and garlic

3.) Heat the oil in the pan and add the ginger, lemongrass and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes then add the paste. Cook for another 3 minutes.

4.) In the meantime, chop up the plum tomatoes. Add them to the pan and cook down for 3 minutes.

5.) Make up the stock, chop the lime in half.

6.) Boil some water, add the noodles to another pan, pour over the water and cook until soft.

7.) Add the stock to the tomatoes then squeeze in the juice of each lime half. Add the fish sauce and the kaffir lime leaves. Cook for another few minutes to let the tomatoes break down.

8.) Chop up the white fish into cubes and add to the pan with the prawns. Cook until the fish is done.

9.) Dice the herbs finely. Drain the noodles and move into the pan with the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Season with salt and stir.

10.) Garnish with the shallots and the herbs and serve.

Squid ink Spaghetti with mussels

I’m always tempted by the black squid ink spaghetti you can always find in the deli section of TK Maxx but have resisted until now. To use it I adapted a recipe from Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite by Gizzi Erskine. Gizzi is a well-known chef in the UK who used to do this great TV series where they took people’s favourite take-away dishes and made them healthier and easy to make at home. Her recipe here uses clams and N’Duja. Clams are a pain to find except at the fishmonger so I got mussels instead. N’juda is a spicy sausage so I replaced this with chorizo shroomdogs. These are stuffed with paprika and are perfect for any recipe where chorizo is used to flavour the meal. As I learnt this weekend, there are many rules when it comes to using mussels, discard any broken mussels, any mussels that are open that don’t close with gentle pressure, and any mussels that haven’t opened after cooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 400g squid ink spaghetti
  • 1kg mussels
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 chorizo shroomdog sausages (or vegetarian sausages + paprika)
  • 300ml wine white
  • 1 lemon
  • bunch parsley
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Prepare the mussels, wash off any sand, discard any with broken shells or that won’t close after a tap.

2.) Boil some water, place the spaghetti in a pan and pour over the water, cook until soft.

3.) Peel and finely chop the garlic, slice the lemon in half, cut the sausages into slices. Dice up the parsley.

4.) In a frying pan, heat up the oil then add the garlic and chilli and fry gently for a minute.

5.) Add the sausages and fry until cooked.

6.) Add the wine and reduce to half.

7.) Add the mussels and cook for 2-3 minutes until they open.

8.) Drain the spaghetti, retaining one tbsp of water. Tip the spaghetti into the frying pan and stir.

9.) Garnish with parsley.

Watermelon sushi

It seems very festive to be posting a sushi recipe on the closing day of the Tokyo Olympics. I did used to be a bit sceptical of vegetarian sushi until I had some watermelon sashimi at Vegan Restaurant ‘The Allotment’ in Manchester. I always used to have sushi for lunch when working in London with 2 Itsus and a Wasabi nearby so I have missed it a lot when working from home. Home-made sushi is infinitely better than the horrible pressed rice sushi you get at the supermarket and also infinitely more adaptable. I tend to stay away from raw fish sushi just because I’m a bit wary of using sashimi-grade fish. I have tended to opt for smoked salmon and avocado in the past but some of my favourites were tempura prawn and the tuna-mustard ongiri you get from Wasabi which also avoid using sashimi. But anyway, back to this recipe as for this I used watermelon sashimi, sriracha mayo and cucumber.

Makes about 24

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup/400ml sushi rice
  • 7 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 sheets nori sheets
  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 100g mayo
  • 1 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/3 watermelon
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • soy sauce and pickled ginger to serve

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, chop off the watermelon peel and slice up the watermelon into 1 cm slices (thinner than mine below I think works better). Put the watermelon onto the baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.

3.) Bake for 1 hr 15, flip the slices over, then bake for another 1hr 15. Leave to cool. You could do this the day before and put the watermelon in the fridge as I did.

4.) Cook the rice with about 460ml/2 cups of water. When ready, add the sugar, some salt and pepper and 3 tbsp of the vinegar and let cool to room temperature. I find that this is the most important step in making sushi, if your rice is too hot or you haven’t used sushi rice, it’s not going to work! Even though you can see below I haven’t really spread out the rice as well as I could, my sushi have still been reasonably successful.

5.) The watermelon should have shrunk down a bit in the oven but you may need to slice it more thinly.

6.) Chop up the cucumber into sticks

7.) Mix the sriracha with the mayo in a bowl

8.) Make a water bowl with the rest of the vinegar and the 250ml water. This is really helpful for working with the rice as it’s so sticky.

9.) Get a sushi rolling mat and line it with cling film. Place on a sheet of nori then add 1/4 of the rice to the middle of the sheet. Spread the rice out with your fingers leaving a 1cm margin on the far side. Clean your fingers after with the vinegar water bowl. You can see I left margins on both sides which is probably why I ended up with 6 rolls. Also go right to the edge width ways.

10.) Spoon on a tbsp of sriracha mayo down the middle of the roll. On top of this, add sticks of cucumber and watermelon.

11.) Pick up the mat from the slide closest to you, roll it over to the other side and pull out the mat slightly so that the edge of the nori folds under the other edge. The join should be at the bottom and the moisture from the rice should stick it together.

12.) Repeat with the remaining nori and rice.

13.) Use a sharp knife to slice each roll into 6 pieces, trimming off the ends if they’re a bit scrappy. Dip the knife in the water vingear bowl between slices to stop it sticking.

14.) Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger/wasabi.

Roasted cauli with tomato anchovy sauce

Cauliflower is a dream for anyone looking to cut down on meat or carbs. This dish tastes so opulent due to the cauliflower leaves being fried in butter and the cream in the sauce. I really love this recipe that I found on BBC Good Food but found that with the serving of 6 recommended there wasn’t enough cauliflower so I would roast 2 cauliflowers in future. Anchovies, tomatoes and cream make a beautiful sauce and the smell will have you salivating.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 whole cauliflowers
  • spray oil
  • 2 banana shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • tin anchovies
  • 600g tomatoes
  • 75ml veg stock
  • 100ml cream
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a large baking tray. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and set to one side.

2.) Bring some water to the boil in a large pan, par boil the cauliflowers for 5 minutes.

3.) Place the cauliflowers on the baking tray, spray with the spray oil and sprinkle with salt.

4.) Roast for 40 – 50 minutes

5.) In the meantime, make the sauce. Start by peeling and finely chopping the garlic and the shallots.

6.) In a pan, tip in the oil from the tin of anchovies and heat it up. Add the shallots and cook for about 10 minutes.

7.) Chop up the tomatoes.

8.) Add half of the garlic to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the anchovies and let them break down. Add the chilli flakes.

9.) Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down then add the vegetable stock and continue to cook.

10.) In a frying pan, melt the butter then add the garlic and cook for a minute. Fry the leaves until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

11.) Measure out the cream then when the tomatoes have completely broken down, take off the hob and pour in the cream.

12.) Slice the roasted cauliflower up, serve with a side of the leaves and spoon over some of the beautiful sauce.

Quorn Avocado Pesto Salad

I’ve not had the time to post on here for a while – long working hours, fatigue because of the long working hours, a wedding and a weekend away to Liverpool have contributed in addition to the regular 4 hours of French lessons per week. Today we learnt about culture and I argued for watching football matches at a bar being cultural. This quorn and beetroot salad with an avocado and pesto dressing was a tasty recipe I found on BBC Good Food. I’ve taken the photo in the bowl as once you start mixing around beetroot, everything gets turned pink and it’s completely unpresentable, no matter how tasty the food is!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g thin-stemmed broccoli/broccolini
  • Spray oil
  • 300g quorn
  • 1 small red onion
  • 100g watercress
  • 175g beetroot (pre-cooked)
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • small pack basil (30g approx)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 25g walnuts
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 lemon

1.) Heat some spray oil in a frying pan and add the quorn. Cook until hot through.

2.) Boil some water, trim the broccoli, add to a small pan with the water and cook for about 5 minutes, until it’s just tender.

3.) Slice up the onion thinly and add to a big mixing bowl. Chop the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice from one half.

4.) Make the salad dressing. Peel the garlic clove, chop in half an add to a food processor, peel the avocado and add, add the walnuts, the oil and the other lemon halve’s juice. Blitz to a paste.

5.) Add the watercress to the bowl with the onion, chop up the beetroot and also add that. Add the drained broccoli and the quorn. Add the dressing and mix everything. Sprinkle over the nigella seeds and serve.