More simple recipes

4 November 2010
What could be better on a cool and rainy Spring day than to have the aroma of delicious food baking in the oven for the evening meal. I made our two course dinner by cherry picking from the stockpile, fridge and garden: pizza with caramelised onions and bocconcini accompanied by a dessert of raspberry jam roly-poly; a real old fashioned favourite.

Being able to cook day in and day out from what is already on hand in the kitchen and garden is one of the invaluable simple skills that improve the longer you do it. This might be simple food but it's delicious and healthy and it fills us up. As an added bonus, it doesn't cost much in dollars or time.


PIZZA BASE WITH WHATEVER ON TOP

Made in the bread maker. This will make three bases.

This pizza base dough is almost the same as my white bread dough, with the addition of olive oil to make it more pliable. You don't have to use white flour, it can be made with wholemeal, wholegrain, corn and barley or rye flour. Use whatever you have on hand and what your family enjoys.

4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup warm water, plus some more - depending on the weather and your flour.

Put all the dry ingredients and the oil into the bread maker and add one cup of water. Turn on to the pizza dough setting and start. Stay with the machine, keep the lid open and watch. Get a half cup of water and add a little at a time, wait until it's incorporated into the mix and if the dough is still too dry, add some more. You might have to add the half cup, you may add a quarter. Flours and weather all differ and they made a difference to how much water your flour needs. Watch the mix and use your common sense. When you have a dough that has come together nicely, close the lid and go on to something else, like cooking the onions.

CARAMELISED ONIONS
a version of Annabel Langbein's recipe from here.


Cut four medium onions into circles and add them to a lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir the onions as they start to cook. Break up the onion rings a little with your spoon. When the onions are cooking, add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and one tablespoon of brown sugar and stir in. Finally add about a cup of water and bring to the boil. When it's boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it cook slowly for about an hour. Watch it carefully in the last 15 minutes because all the water will have evaporated off and now you'll need to stir it every couple of minutes. You'll notice a sticky brown gooeyness on the bottom of the pan. That is your concentrated flavour. Stir it in and don't let it burn. When you're happy with the taste, turn off the heat and let the onions cool.

You can also make caramelised onions by slowly frying them in a little oil but I usually burn them when I do it that way. This method will allow you to go on with other things while it develops it's deep rich flavour, with little chance of burning.



When the dough is kneaded, remove it from the machine and divide it into three. Two portions can be frozen if you don't need to use them straight away. With your hands or your rolling pin, flatten the dough into a rectangle or a circle, depending on the shape of your baking tray. Now the fun begins, start adding your topping. I used caramelised onions, bocconcini, strips of ham, diced red capsicum/pepper and finely grated parmesan, but any topping you like is fine.

JAM ROLY-POLY
This is an old favourite from my childhood. My grandma made it using suet, I use butter instead. It's very similar to a scone dough.

2 cups self raising flour OR plain/all purpose flour with two teaspoons of baking powder sifted in
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Enough milk to make a firm dough


Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour. When it's combined, add the milk and mix in. You want your dough to look like the following photo.


When it's mixed, cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to firm up. About 30 minutes should do it.


Onto a lightly floured board or bench, roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut off any bits that poke out too far so you have a neat shape. Cover the dough with raspberry jam (or any jam of your liking) and carefully roll the dough into a sausage shape. You might need the help of a pallet knife or egg lifter. Brush with egg wash and place into an oven proof baking dish. You can curl it around to fit the dish. You need a dish with sides because this will spread out if cooked on a flat tray.

Cook at 180C/350F for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with warm custard or, like I did, with the cream from the top of the milk. Delicious!

I hope you have a beautiful weekend with people you love. Thank you visiting me this week.