Tag: pizza

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I got my first KitchenAid and I feel like a little girl on Christmas Eve. To call the current mood in my kitchen excitement would be a serious understatement.

After years of seeing – and admiring – these sparkly, polished beauties in the kitchens of my friends and family (my sister has two!), the time had come to get my own. At a certain age, one deserves these special treats. I’m a strong believer that it’s good to wait for things in life, it strengthens your character and makes you deeply appreciate what you have. But 20 years of waiting was more than enough, that’s how long it took me to finally see this powerful stand mixer on my marble counter tops.

In every period of my life, I had my favourite KitchenAid colour. In my young twenties, I loved the creamy white surface, followed by a fascination for the 50s and their soft pastels. Light blue, mint, or pink, I would have taken any of them. Then I got into puristic minimalism and only a black mixer would have made it into my kitchen. In my thirties, I fell for light yellow, but now, all of a sudden, I had to make a decision and decide which colour I would finally get and see for the rest of my life. It wasn’t easy and it took a few visits to various appliance shops. In the end, I had to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cream, yellow, black, copper (which looks really hot), and brushed stainless steel. This process brought back lots of memories of the different eras of my life connected to each colour. After a couple weeks, my decision was made: brushed stainless steel is the winner! When the large package arrived I couldn’t wait to see my object of desire on my counter tops – I was almost hysterical, which is excusable in my eyes, it’s been 20 years after all. So here it is and it looks amazing. The mixer’s metallic surface fits perfectly to my white marble and brushed aluminium wall panels. I’m totally in love and can’t stop looking at it.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Testing its functionality was the next step, I had never used a KitchenAid before. My unbreakable hand mixer, a gift from my mother when I moved into my first flat two decades ago, has been a loyal partner during all my kitchen adventures. I was a little nervous and decided to start with two easy recipes – Sunday morning pancakes and Sunday evening pizza. This allowed me to get used to the three different attachments. My hand mixer only has two, but my new beauty offers a whisk, a paddle, and a hook –  I needed a conference call with my sister to figure out when to use what.

Before I switched on the power, I had to call my boyfriend for this special moment. And this was our maiden voyage: I – rather the mixer – started beating the egg whites with such calm, persistence, and firm perfection that I thought I’d never touch my hand mixer ever again (sorry hand mixer). My next project – pizza dough – gave me the same satisfaction. The yeast dough was well mixed, smooth, and ready to be kneaded with my hands for a few minutes, which I always do to turn it into a soft and silky ball. I thought I’d use the time while the dough was getting mixed in the machine to prepare the toppings, however, I couldn’t help but sit next to it with a glass of rosé wine in my hand and watch it work with elated enthusiasm.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Our first KitchenAid pizza was such a great success that I made another one only three days later, but this time it was an oily pizza bianca topped with green asparagus, Italian salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala. On our latest Saturday leisure trip, we went to the food market at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg in Berlin and enjoyed a luscious piece of very oily pizza bianca at Sironi. The baker, Mr. Sironi, went for a topping of broccoli, sausage, and mozzarella. It was very minimal and very good and a reminder that it’s time for a white pizza in my kitchen. I find it lighter and quicker to prepare and it tastes just as good when it’s cold, which makes it perfect for summer picnics or easy dinners on the balcony or in the garden. I’m really impressed by the simple combination of greens, mozzarella, and sausage. Asparagus is in season at the moment, but feel free to replace it with broccoli, leek, zucchini or whatever veg comes to your mind. You could also add a little garlic oil, which I don’t find necessary. But we’re talking about pizza, so everybody should just follow their personal preferences. Enjoy!

Click here for more pizza inspiration.

Thank you KitchenAid for helping me make my little kitchen dream come true!

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake the pizza to give it enough time to rise and I bake it on a hot baking sheet, which has a similar effect to a pizza stone.

Makes 2 pizzas

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 2 2/3 cups
fast-acting yeast 1 (7g / 1/4 ounce) envelope
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
water, lukewarm, 180ml / 3/4 cup
olive oil 6 tablespoons

For the topping

olive oil
green asparagus, trimmed, 14 young stalks
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
large Italian salsiccia sausage (or any other coarse sausage), skin removed and cut into chunks, 1
mozzarella di bufala, torn into chunks, 125 g / 4 1/5 ounces

For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and olive oil and knead on medium-high speed for a few minutes until well combined. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Transfer the dough to a table or countertop and continue kneading and punching it down with your hands for about 4 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 35°C / 100°F warm oven, for about 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, prepare the topping: Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy pan and sauté the asparagus, turning occasionally, on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes. Season with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper to taste and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and divide into 2 parts. On a well-floured work surface or pizza peel, stretch or roll each piece of dough into a 28cm / 11″ disc. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes or until puffy.

Place a baking sheet (or pizza stone) on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest temperature, 260°C / 500°F or higher.

Once the baking sheet is hot, carefully take it out of the oven, flip it over, and place it on a trivet or other heat-safe surface. Arrange 1 of the risen dough discs on the baking sheet and spread half the asparagus, salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala on top. Push the asparagus gently into the dough. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a little flaky sea salt, and crushed pepper and bake on the bottom of the oven for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the mozzarella is golden. Repeat to make the second pizza and serve hot or cold.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

asparagussalsicciapizzabianca11

 

asparagussalsicciapizzabianca21

 

asparagussalsicciapizzabianca19

 

asparagussalsicciapizzabianca12

meet in your kitchen | Somer Sivrioglu’s ‘Anatolia’, Sydney, and Cheese and Egg Pizza

Cheese and Egg Pizza

Some books make you fall in love with its captivating pages from the moment you lay your hands on it. Anatolia, by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale, is one of them. This outstandingly beautiful cookbook is rich in pictures, stories, and recipes. It takes you to another world of flavours, ingredients, and unknown combinations and it makes you want to go straight to your kitchen to bring this exciting new discovery right into your home – or at least a bite of it.

The first recipe I tried from this book, was pide, thin Turkish pizza. Somer makes it with an aromatic minced lamb topping, which is divine, however, when I gave it a second go, I sneaked in a dark Provençal olive tapenade, and shared it on eat in my kitchen. Somer liked my version so much that he shared it on Facebook, we started chatting, and here’s the result: Our cross-continental Berlin-Sydney meet in your kitchen feature!

Cheese and Egg Pizza

My guest grew up in Turkey, in Istanbul, where he lived with his family until he was 25. But one day, the young man decided to explore life on the other side of the world and moved to Sydney. His dream came true and he started an impressive career in food that led to two fantastic restaurants and an award-winning cookbook. Somer runs the popular Efendy that opened in 2007, featuring contemporary Turkish cuisine in the Balmain district. Anason his second ‘baby’ – was next, which only just opened its doors to the public world, but it’s already one of Sydney’s new culinary hot spots.

This man is busy and I don’t know how he managed to write a cookbook on top of his packed schedule as a chef, but he did, and the result takes the globe by storm: Anatolia: Adventures in Turkish Cooking won the prestigious international IACP award (former winners are luminaries such as Thomas Keller, Claudia Roden and Julia Child). I’m sure it will keep its place in the front row of my book shelf for quite a while. Somer is a passionate chef, he loves food, and this shines through in every project that he pulls onto his table. Congratulations!

My weak spot for Turkish pizza made me go for another pide recipe from Somer’s book, which I share with you today: slim pide filled with an aromatic cheese mixture of 4 different cheeses, green pepper, tomato, and a baked egg. This dish calls for a relaxed dinner on the balcony or in the garden, with a glass of chilled crisp white or rosé wine and a fresh salad on the side. May only the temperatures rise and summer begin!

Cheese and Egg Pizza

Pide with Four Cheeses

Serves 4

For the dough

dry yeast 1 tablespoon
water, lukewarm, 50 – 100ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons – 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 1 teaspoon
plain flour 300g / 2 1/3 cups
strong flour 150g / 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
milk, lukewarm, 50ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon

For the cheese filling

4 cheese-mixture, grated or crumbled, 100 – 140g / 3 1/2 – 5 ounces (depending on how rich you’d like your pide)
(such as feta, aged ricotta, blue cheese, and mozzarella or provolone)
egg 1
chopped fresh oregano 2 teaspoons
(or about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried oregano)

For the topping

large tomatoes, thinly sliced, 2
large green pepper, cut in half, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced, 2
eggs 4
vegetable oil 2 tablespoons (I used olive oil)

Dissolve the yeast in 50ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons of the water. Stir in the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. It should start to form bubbles.

Sift the flours into a large bowl, make a well in the middle, and pour in the yeast mixture and the milk. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until it reaches earlobe softness. Add more of the water if necessary (I used all of the water). Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and let it rest and rise for 30 minutes.

Add the salt to the dough and knead for 3 minutes. Place the dough on a floured work surface and form it into a cylinder, then cut it into 4 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. If you have a pizza stone or tile, place it in the oven. Or leave a baking sheet in the oven so it will preheat.

Combine the crumbled cheeses in a large bowl. Add the egg and fold and mix until combined; stir in the oregano.

On a floured working surface, stretch the pieces of dough into ovals, about 30 x 20cm / 12 x 8″ and 5mm / 1/4″ thick; or use a rolling pin.

Transfer the 4 pides to 2 pieces of parchment paper. Spoon a strip of the cheese mixture in the middle of each oval, leaving a 5cm / 2″ rim all around the edges. Fold over the 2 longer sides so they touch the filling but don’t cover it. Join the folded edges at the top and bottom to make a boat shape. Press each into a point and twist to close tightly. Arrange 6 slices of tomato and 4 slices of pepper on each pide and break an egg into the middle. If you don’t want the egg to be cooked through, bake the pides without the egg for 7 minutes, then add the egg, and bake for another 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Brush the tops of the dough with oil.

If you’re using a baking sheet preheated in the oven, take it out of the oven and pull 1 parchment paper with 2 pides over onto the hot baking sheet; or transfer 2 pides with the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone or tile in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy warm.

Cheese and Egg Pizza

Growing up in Istanbul, Turkey, in the 1970s and 1980s, during a time of severe political unrest, how would you describe your life as a child and teenager? What are your memories of those days?

I was born and raised in Kadikoy, Istanbul, one of the last multicultural suburbs of Istanbul, where the few of the last descendants of Greek, Armenian and other non-muslim population lived after the rise of nationalist policies drove them out of the city they lived in for many generations. Although the 1970s were chaotic, we felt safe on the streets as the community values were very strong back then, everyone knew and looked after each other.

Why did you leave Turkey in your twenties and move to Sydney?

I came to study for my MBA degree and to live in another country to find my own voice.

What does having your own restaurants – Efendy and Anason – mean to you, is it a dream come true? 

My restaurant, Efendy, and the amazing team gave me the chance to represent Turkish food in a country where it was only known as kebaps and Turkish bread before we opened.

Your mother worked as a restaurant consultant, do both of you share a similar philosophy when it comes to food, cooking, and running a restaurant? Does she give you advice and do you listen?

She ran a number of restaurants /meze bars and I learned a lot from working with her, as to sharing the same philosophy fundamentally, yes, but I challenge myself to progress and she is a bit more conservative. I think we are both challenging each other in that aspect. She gives me advice, typically I would ignore, or pretend to ignore, but do it later on anyway (laughing).

Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen?

My grandma, Akife, was my childhood influence, as she was one of the first modern females to complete a home economics degree and she took cooking classes as part of it. She was a great example of how to create excellence from scarcity.

How did the Turkish cuisine influence your perspective as a chef? How do you develop new recipes?

Turkish food is all about seasonality, abundance and variety. As a chef, it made me think about using the right produce at the right season and applying various drying, pickling, and preserving techniques to my cooking. I used to create the recipes and get my chefs to cook them at Efendy, but now I ask them to create recipes that means something to them, from their heritage, and I learn and coach them to fine tune them to put in our seasonal menus at Efendy and Anason.

How long did you work on your cookbook Anatolia? Can you describe the creative process of this wonderful book, which you wrote together with David Dale?

Three years from concept to print. As a first time book author, I was lucky enough to work with one of the best food journalists, David Dale, and he coached me thorough the whole process. We have been to Turkey twice together visiting cities all over the country, talking to masters of craft and adapting the recipes to Australian and European readers where they can cook with common ingredients that can be found at any farmers’ market.

What is your favourite Turkish and your favourite Australian dish?

Turkish: Kalkan – Black-Sea turbot.

Australian: Mud crabs cooked over the BBQ.

What do you miss about Istanbul?

I am lucky enough to go back every year. Eating seasonal fish and drinking raki on the Bosphorus with family and friends is one thing I yearn for and do every time I am back. In fact, I am in Istanbul at the moment.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

I remember helping my grandma buttering the layers of her lamb borek, she had the scariest looking electrical round oven where all the cables and elements were exposed.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Sydney? 

My favourite shopping spot was at Growers Market at Pyrmont, unfortunately they closed, so currently it’s Eveleigh Markets every Saturday.

Favourite cafés: Le Cafeier in Balmain and Edition Coffee pop-up at Barangaroo, both located next to my restaurants and keep me going all day and night.

So many restaurants to mention but I love the next-gen Turkish restaurants in Sydney like Pazar Food Collective, Stanbuli and Sefa Kitchen.

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

I would love my babaanne (paternal grandmother) to cook something from her Albanian heritage, as we lost her when I was very young and never learned that part of my culinary culture.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

It won’t be on the table but the spring lamb on a spit would be next to the table and complemented with some mezes and seasonal salad accompanied by raki or a few nice bottles of Öküzgözü (Turkish red wine variety).

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

I loved my anneanne’s karniyarik and borek, nowadays, I love having a simple grilled fish or a nice steak on a charcoal BBQ.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Of course cooking with others, I don’t like cooking by myself or eating by myself.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Improvised, as it has an element of surprise and spontaneity.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Bombe Alaska (Baked Alaska). Many years ago, when I was working in banquets at a hotel, I made it for a wedding of 1000 people not knowing how it is made. Lesson learnt.

Thank you Somer!

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

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Gozitan Pizza with Ricotta, Goat Cheese and Potatoes

Gozitan Pizza

This is one of my favourite summer treats whenever we visit the island Gozo in the Mediterranean: the fabulous local pizza! It’s shaped like an open galette, the rim fold up to hold the richest filling a pizza has ever seen: ricotta mixed with goat cheese and eggs, topped with potatoes and crushed black pepper. I love it!

Every year, when I pick up my first Gozitan pizza of the summer from my beloved Maxokk Bakery in Nadur I open the box with hungry impatience to start the feast. We always drive to a near-by park above San Blas beach to savour our pizzas, it’s tiny but full of pine trees and oleander. The few wooden benches allow the most amazing view of the bay! While they others wait to get there, I’m often the only one nibbling on the first piece. No matter how hot is, it can be noon, the sun at its peak turning the inside of the jeep into a sauna, but nothing can stop me from enjoying this moment that I always long for like a child. The bakery calls this pizza a Ftira, not to be confused with the popular Maltese Ftira sandwich that I wrote about in July while we stayed on the islands. The bread for this sandwich and the pizza are made of the same dough, hence the same name.

Back to the pizza, I decided that the time had come to give this recipe a try, here at my home, to have  some sunshine on our plates at least – and it worked! I used my normal pizza dough and baking technique, I just folded up the sides for the authentic look and to hold it all together. The filling is rich, there is no way around it, it needs lots of ricotta and it doesn’t make sense to spare on calories in the wrong situation (and here, it would be wrong!). Luckily, my Maltese sister Emma had just given us a package of Gozitan cheese while she was here to visit us, the strong peppered Gbejna made from local goat milk. As long as you don’t live on the Islands of Malta, you will have to miss out on this treat but you can use any other strong, firm substitute.

If you get in the mood for pizza, here are some more recipes:

Pizza Bianca with Preserved Lemons, Chèvre and Rosemary

Spinach Pizza

Pizza with Grilled Aubergine and Pecorino

Gozitan Pizza

 Gozitan Pizza with Ricotta, Goat Cheese and Potatoes

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake the pizza to give it enough time to rise and I bake it on a hot baking sheet which has a similar effect to a pizza stone.

For 2 round pizzas you need

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 12.5 ounces
dry yeast 1 sachet (7g / 1/4 ounce)
water, lukewarm,  190ml
olive oil 5 tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the lukewarm water (you might not need all of it) and olive oil and mix with the dough hooks of the mixer 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. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it rise in the warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 45 minutes (top/ bottom heat and not fan-assisted!).

When the dough is well risen, divide in two parts, and roll them out in two circles on a very well floured working surface. Each should fit on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 10-15 minutes.

 

For the topping

ricotta, 500g / 1 pound
firm, aromatic goat cheese (peppered Gbejna is best), finely chopped or grated, 150g / 5.5 ounces
parmesan, grated, 70g / 2.5 ounces
organic eggs 2
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, to taste (if you don’t use peppered cheese)
medium sized potatoes, boiled, peeled and thinly sliced, 6
olive oil

Whisk the ricotta, goat cheese and parmesan and season with pepper to taste before you mix in the eggs. Add a little salt if necessary.

 

The pizza

Set your oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a pizza setting but you can also use top / bottom heat. Put the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to heat it (for about 10 minutes).

Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, turn it around and place it carefully on two stable wooden boards or mats as it will be very hot. Quickly put one of the risen dough discs on the baking sheet, spread with half the ricotta filling leaving a rim around it. Arrange the potato slices on top and fold up the rim, gently pushing it onto the outer potatoes. Sprinkle with a little pepper and olive oil and bake for about 8 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the ricotta filling is set. Repeat with the second pizza.

Gozitan Pizza

 

Gozitan Pizza

 

Gozitan Pizza

 

Gozitan Pizza

 

Gozitan Pizza

Sicilian Sfincione with Tapenade

Sfincione with Tapenade

Forget about thin and crisp, this pizza is thick and juicy! The Sicilian Sfincione is more like a focaccia, the dough is made with eggs and milk which gives it a bit of a sweet bread feeling. Its origin dates back to the late Baroque when the aristocratic Sicilian families liked to employ French chefs, the “Monzu” coming from the French Monsieur, some of them became famous Sicilian chefs. Here’s the beauty of culinary exchange between two cultures, they influence each other, they don’t confine each other but merge and evolve! If only cultural exchange was always so easy and well received!

In the beginning of the 18th century, these chefs started to influence Sicilian cuisine and left quite a few marks in the kitchen, also in the making of pizza. Eggs and milk, sometimes even butter, found their way into this famous dish and created completely different textures and tastes, like the popular Sfincione.

As there is already a French touch involved I thought I might as well continue working with it in the topping. I went for a rich Provençal tapenade made of lots of black olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil, brandy and lemon juice topped with thyme sprigs. It was great! This pizza is perfect for a picnic, as a starter or with a salad on the side. I love pizza, so much that I bake it every Sunday and this Sicilian variation is definitely a summer favourite!

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

 Sfincione with Tapenade

For 4 Sfincione (15cm / 6″) you need

For the dough

plain flour 500g / 1 pound
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
salt 1/2 teaspoon
organic egg 1
milk, lukewarm, 250ml / 8.5 ounces

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the lukewarm milk and egg and mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) oven for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4, stretch into thick 15cm / 6″ disks on a floured surface and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rise while you continue the preparation for the tapenade.

 

For the tapenade

black olives 200g / 7 ounces
capers 40
anchovy, rinsed and dried, 2 fillet
olive oil 2 tablespoons plus more for sprinkling
brandy (or cognac) 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons
mustard 1 teaspoon
pepper
thyme 16 small sprigs for topping

Mix the ingredients for the tapenade in a blender and season with pepper to taste.

 

The Sfincione

Set the oven to 250°C / 480°F, my oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread a quarter of the tapenade on each pizza, put 4 thyme sprigs on top of each and bake for 6 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with olive oil immediately and serve warm or cold.

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

Pizza Bianca with Moroccan Lemons, Chèvre and Rosemary

Pizza Bianco with Lemon, Chevre +Rosemary

When I wrote about my Moroccan Preserved Lemons about a month ago, Kelly from My Soulfull Home got in touch. I met Kelly through a blog tour in February which she had organised. She asked me to join the tour together with 15 other bloggers, it was carnival and I  shared my family’s  Berliner experience. A few weeks ago she told me about a delicious pizza bianca with lemons and rosemary which one of her friend’s makes and she told me that I should give it a try as soon as my lemons were ready. Here they are, sour, soft and juicy!

When I had the first piece of my own preserved lemons in my mouth, I felt a bit excited! My aunt was with me in my kitchen, she was the one who inspired me to preserve lemons in the first place. The first bite was intense, a bit salty as I forgot to rinse the slice of lemon, too much excitement! When I let some water rinse off a bit of the saltiness (for 2-3 seconds), they were perfect! The preserving liquid, concentrated juices of all the lemons, tastes as good and is great for strong sauces and stews.

For my pizza bianca, I decided to add some chèvre to mix its smooth milkiness with the lemon’s sourness and the woody rosemary. Ricotta would have worked too, but I wanted the strong aroma of this soft goat cheese. I sprinkled some olive oil on top which gave it a bit of a focaccia feeling, some sea salt and pepper and enjoyed this absolutely delicious summery snack. Thank you Kelly!

If you like pizza as much as I do, you can also try my Aubergine and Pecorino Pizza or my Spinach and Ricotta Pizza.

Pizza Bianco with Lemon, Chevre +Rosemary

Pizza Bianca with Moroccan Lemons, Chevre and Rosemary

I always start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake it to give it enough time to rise. I bake my pizza on a hot baking sheet which has a similar effect to a pizza stone.

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

For the topping

chèvre or ricotta, 200g / 7 ounces
preserved lemon, rinsed and thinly sliced, 1
(you could also use lemon zest)
rosemary, the needles of 5 sprigs
olive oil 4-6 tablespoons
salt and black pepper

 

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 lukewarm water (you might not need all of it) and olive oil. 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 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 working surface (this is very important or you’ll have problems taking it off again). 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.

 

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 (for around 10 minutes).

Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, turn it around 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. Sprinkle with the slices of lemon, rosemary and olive oil and dollop the chèvre with a tea spoon on top.

Put the baking sheet back into the oven, on the bottom again, and bake for a few minutes until the pizza is golden, season with salt and pepper.

Pizza Bianco with Lemon, Chevre +Rosemary

 

Pizza Bianco with Lemon, Chevre +Rosemary

 

Pizza Bianco with Lemon, Chevre +Rosemary

White Pizza with Spinach and Ricotta

White Pizza with Spinach

A few years ago curiosity got the better of me and I tried a “white pizza” at one of my favourite pizza restaurants. White pizza is made without tomatoes and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had my virgin white pizza moment with a spinach and ricotta topping and all my reservations melted away after the first bite. Lighter and with more space for the single ingredients, the absence of tomato sauce didn’t lessen that feel good pizza pleasure.

I wrote about my Sunday pizza tradition a few weeks ago and yesterday was no exception. It has been ages since my last white pizza and, as it’s been on my mind for a while, I bought some crisp winter spinach and ricotta. To finish it off I added some olive oil infused with garlic and some crushed black pepper. The dough was light and crisp, it soaked some oil, but not too much, a bit like a Focaccia. The spinach was crisp and had some bite as in winter it’s a bit thicker while the ricotta brought a touch of velvety smoothness.

White Pizza with Spinach

White Pizza with Winter Spinach, Ricotta and Olive Oil

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 topping

fresh spinach, rinsed, 250g / 9 ounces
fresh ricotta 250g / 9 ounces
oilve oil 4-6 tablespoons
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
salt and crushed black pepper

Warm up the olive oil together with the garlic for 2-3 minutes.

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.

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. Sprinkle the olive oil and the ricotta in lumps on top. Put the baking sheet back into the oven, on the bottom again, and bake for a few minutes until the pizza is golden. Take it out and spread the spinach on top immediately. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle some more olive oil on top if you like and enjoy!

White Pizza with Spinach

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