Tag: mozzarella

Buffalo Mozzarella, Cuore Di Bue Tomato and Mint Salad

Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato + Mint Salad

When I saw these beautiful Cuore Di Bue Tomatoes in the vegetable department of my local organic shop I had to buy them. I know these tomatoes from Malta where farmers sell them from their vegetable trucks at every street corner in the towns. These mobile shops are piled high with ripe, colourful fruits  and vegetables from the island, surrounded by women chatting and exchanging the latest gossip while waiting to have their vegetables weighed. Many of them have been going to the same farmer for years and I gladly follow this tradition. Whenever I’m there I buy my groceries from my vegetable man, Leli, twice a week he parks his truck under pink oleander trees in the middle of Msida. He is one of the most friendly, calm and humble people I know, he doesn’t talk much but he always has a little smile on his face. Before we leave the island at the end of our holidays, we visit him one last time to say good-bye, I never know who is more sad, him or us!

Back to the Cuore Di Bue Tomatoes, I buy and eat them in bulk when I’m Malta. Their taste is far away from most of the tomatoes you can buy in the cities, they are strong and sweet, very intense, they taste like real tomatoes! Their name comes from their shape and size which is similar to an ox heart but I thought that the Italian name, Cuore Di Bue sounds a bit nicer than Oxheart Tomatoes!

I had a buffalo mozzarella in my fridge which had to be used soon, a quick salad mixed with my beautiful tomatoes was the first idea that came into my mind. I still love this Italian classic which can be a delicious starter or snack when it’s made with good quality ingredients. Unfortunately, lots of restaurants offer it made with tasteless tomatoes and mozzarella, which has damaged its image a little over the years. Buffalo milk however creates a very strong mozzarella which is great for this salad, to add a green taste as strong as this cheese, I replaced the traditionally used basil with mint. Our salad for 2 was ready within seconds, 125g / 4.5 ounces of buffalo mozzarella roughly torn into bite sized pieces mixed with 2 ripe Cuore Di Bue tomatoes sliced thinly and a few leaves from my mint plant. The dressing was as easy, 3 tablespoons of olive oil whisked with 2 tablespoons of Balsamico vinegar, salt and pepper.

Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato + Mint Salad

 

Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato + Mint Salad

Serrano, Mozzarella di Bufala and Pesto Focaccia

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

When my brother in law stayed with us 2 weeks ago I asked him about his favourite sandwich. I often ask friends as it’s a great inspiration for my Sandwich Wednesday but it’s also interesting to find out about different sandwich preferences. It may sound silly, but a favourite sandwich says a lot about a person! He answered quick and with a smile on his face, Serrano, mozzarella and pesto sandwich with toasted pine nuts on top. He is a true gourmet, I know and appreciate his sense for fine food, so I didn’t wait too long to get all the ingredients, I was curious!

I chose an Italian Focaccia bun from my bakery for this sandwich, juicy and baked with lots of olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I bought 8 thin slices of Serrano and one Mozzarella di Bufala of 125g / 4.5 ounces which I cut into thick slices. I made a quick pesto, a handful of basil leaves chopped finely with a big knife, mixed with a tablespoon of good olive oil and some salt. While I cut the 2 buns open and filled them with the prosciutto and mozzarella, I toasted the pine nuts in a sauce pan without oil on medium heat for a couple minutes until golden. I drizzled the pesto and pine nuts on top, took the first bite and smiled like my brother in law did when he told me about this absolutely delicious sandwich! It’s great!

If you would like to share your favourite sandwich with me, just get in touch! I would love to try different sandwiches from all over the world, quick ones, complicated ones, exotic, puristic or sumptuous, whatever your taste buds like! Just get in touch here,

Meike xx

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

 

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

 

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

Umbrian Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

Torta al Testo

This week’s sandwich is my version of Torta al Testo – the Umbrian flatbread – stuffed with rucola and mozzarella together with a dressing of olive oil and balsamico. Originally, this bread is unleavened, just made with flour, salt and water. I add some dry yeast, some use baking soda or sourdough. The name Torta al Testo comes from the fact that, traditionally, it is cooked on a hot disc of clay or metal – al testo – over the open fire, as I don’t have that I use a skillet on a normal cooker.

Torta al Testo has everything a good sandwich needs: amazing bread and a tasty filling. What I also like about it, is the way it’s cooked. It’s fun to see the flat disc of dough rising and cooking in the hot pan within a couple minutes. It’s very entertaining! I recently had friends over for dinner and Torta al Testo was the starter. We gathered in the kitchen, crowded as always, I cooked the bread and we all watched it rise. The kitchen was packed with people and food, I cooked one batch of flatbread after the other (I had to make quite a few of them) and the room got more and more smokey from the hot pan. Thankfully no one left, even though you could barely see anymore after I had left one in too long. We were all kind of mesmerized by the rising bread but don’t worry, if you watch your bread it will be fine, no need for a fire alarm!

Torta al Testo

Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

For 6 Torta al Testo you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces plus more for mixing
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other flour)
dry yeast 1 1/2 teaspoons
water, lukewarm, 140ml
salt 1/4 teaspoon
for the filling:
mozzarella, cut into cubes, 125g / 4.5 ounces
rucola around 100g / 3.5 ounces
olive oil (6 tablespoons) mixed with balsamico vinegar (3 tablespoons) and seasoned with salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the dough with the hooks of your mixer. Add some more flour if the mixture is too sticky. After 5 minutes continue mixing with your hands for a couple minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place or the warm oven (35°C / 95°F, top/ bottom heat, no fan) for 40 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a well floured working surface, roll each one out into a flat disc. Leave the discs on the floured  surface, cover with a tea towel and let them rise for another 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet on highest temperature (no oil!). Cook the bread on one side for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, turn and cook on the other side for another minute, at that point it will start to rise rapidly. You might have to cook it for a few seconds more or less – but keep an eye on it so as not to burn it.

Take the bread out and let it cool for a minute. Cut your flatbread in half and fill with the mozzarella and rucola. Drizzle some dressing on top and close your Torta al Testo.

Torta al Testo

 

Torta al Testo

My Sunday Pizza Tradition

Pizza Aubergine + Pecorin

Another tradition of mine – I always bake pizza on Sundays, always. My friends joke about my unwavering dedication (I barely break this tradition) but to me pizza is the ultimate cosy mood food. Nothing beats an evening on my sofa with a nice big piece of pizza in my hands and a good movie. It’s the perfect preparation for a smooth transition into a new week. So why change it.  The only variation is what’s on top which depends on the season, my appetite and spontaneous inspiration. So far, my Sunday tradition has never seemed boring.

For today, my pizza gets a topping with aubergine slices (grilled with garlic and oregano oil), Pecorino slices and one part with ricotta. A very concentrated tomato sauce with lots of oregano and slices of organic Mozzarella go with it, that’s all it needs. I make the pizza dough with olive oil which makes it richer and very tasty. A very easy recipe, it takes its time to rise but it’s worth it. Nothing beats homemade pizza dough! It makes such a big difference to the taste – and kneading the dough with your own hands is great stress relief!

For years I made my pizza base the same way. First I let it rise in a bowl and then, a second time, on a baking sheet before I put the topping on. This summer I got a great tip from a friend of mine from Switzerland. He told me to put the baking sheet for the pizza on the bottom of the oven while the oven is heating up. As soon as the baking sheet is hot you take it out of the oven and flip it over. You take the well risen pizza dough (which has been rolled out) and place it on the hot baking sheet. The dough will start to rise and bake straight away which makes an amazing crust – like pizza stone. Once the topping is on, bake it in the oven for a few minutes and you will get the crispiest pizza you can imagine!

Pizza Aubergine + Pecorin

Pizza with Aubergine and Pecorino

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake it to give it enough time to rise.

For 1 big pizza (size of 1 baking sheet) you need

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 12.5 ounces plus more for mixing
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
water, lukewarm,  190ml
olive oil 3 tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the olive oil and the lukewarm water, slowly, not all at once (you might not need all of it). Mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. The dough shouldn’t be moist and sticky at all, more on the dry side. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball, not too hard, not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in the warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 40 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

When the dough is well risen, roll it out on a very well floured (this is very important!) working surface. It should be a bit smaller than the size of your baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 10-15 minutes

For the tomato sauce

tinned tomatoes 400g / 14 ounces
oregano, dried or fresh, 1 tablespoon plus more for topping
salt (1 teaspoon) and pepper

Mix the ingredients in a small sauce pan, chop the tomatoes and let everything cook down until very concentrated and thick. If you leave the sauce too liquid it will be soaked up by your pizza base.

For the topping

I prepared the grilled aubergine a day before. You can keep it in the fridge for days and use it for other recipes as well, or enjoy it as antipasti.

aubergine, cut in thick slices, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
olive oil to brush the aubergine and to drizzle on top of the pizza
salt and pepper
Pecorino cheese, cut in thin slices, 100g / 3.5 ounces
mozzarella, cut in cubes, 125g / 4.5 ounces
ricotta, 100g / 3.5 ounces
(I sprinkled just 1/4 of the pizza with ricotta)

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Grill in the oven until golden brown and soft and cut in long strips.

The pizza

Set your oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Put the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to heat it.

Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, flip it over and place it carefully on two stable wooden boards or mats as it will be very hot. Place your risen dough carefully but quickly (best done by two people) on the baking sheet, push it gently into place if necessary. Spread the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with oregano, continue with the aubergine, Pecorino, mozzarella and ricotta. Put the baking sheet back into the oven, on the bottom again, and bake for a few minutes until the pizza is golden brown, bubbling and crisp!

Pizza Aubergine + Pecorin

 

Pizza Aubergine + Pecorino