So the diet has been going well….But I just can not do it everyday. As strong and good as I am, I need my Saturday’s off. We decided to try and cut out all take away meals. Instead we have decided to make our own take away food.
We allow ourselves to have treats on Saturdays, to keep the enthusiasm and because we both love our food.
I will be showing you, home made pizza, yummy but very naughty fried chicken and a scrummy black forest hot chocolate, hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream and a cherry drizzle.
To Start we will try the Black forest hot chocolate. Yum! You can make your own hot chocolate mix. I know Jamie Oliver’s one is amazing! We used a store cupboard classic to make it easier.
Ingredients: For two people.
x 1 pot good quality instant hot chocolate
x 250 ml of milk per person
x 150 ml/half pot of whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks.
x 100 g fresh and stoned or frozen morello cherries.
x 100 g sugar, caster/granulated is fine.
x 2 teaspoon of cinnamon
water approx 100 ml, but you may need more.
To start make the sauce. Pop the cherries,cinnamon, sugar and water into a pan, bring to the boil, then reduce slightly. Cook rapidly until the cherries start to brake up and keep cooking until the liquid starts to thicken. You are looking for a reduction in the amount of liquid and the mix will take on a loose jam appearance.
Take off the heat and liquidize with a hand blender. You should have a nice thick syrup. If the mix is too wet, put back in the heat and educe more. If the mix is too ‘jammy’ then add a splash more water. Cool.
For the hot chocolate, follow product instructions, but it will generally be heat milk and add powder to the cup and mix well. We mix on the hob for through mixing.
For the whipped cream. Use a hand or electric mixer to whip cream to a soft peak but thick consistency. Do not over whip or the cream will separate.
To ‘plate’ up, fill cup 3/4 full leaving plenty of room for whipped cream on top. Pipe or spoon cream on top of the hot chocolate, then drizzle the cherry sauce on top. some will drop to the bottom, an extra treat for the end of the drink. We loved this drink and it is the perfect treat for a cold Winter evening.
Next on the agenda, PIZZA! we love pizza, but I am a bog fan of making your own. You can do them the thickness and size you want them, add your own sauce and toppings, what’s not to like.
Ingredients: For two people. You will also need a round metal pan with removable or metal handle that fits in the oven.
x 200 g Tipoo oo grade plain flour
x 200 g strong bread flour
x 10 g dry/fast yeast
x 10 g salt
x 5 g sugar
x 30 ml oil
x 320 ml water
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix, add the oil to the water and mix into the dry ingredients. Mix with a dough hook in an electric mixer for 5-10 minutes until elastic.
Cover and allow to rise for around 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
When doubled, knock back as with bread, but the dough is now ready. It does not need a second proof.
To shape and pre cook the bases. I always pre cook the bases, not only does this make the bases crisper, it means you can make them in advance and freeze.
Firstly cut into the amount of bases you want/need, and flatten slightly into a circle. Heat your pan in the oven for around a minutes, just to heat through.
Rub oil over the pan, place the flattened ball in the middle and rub with oil, have oil on your hands and push and stretch the flattened ball into a flat circle. This may take a bit of practice but keep going and after a few attempts you will be a pro. I stop the dough from shrinking back but sprinkling a little flour onto the base and smoothing over the surface.
Bake at 200 degrees for around 10-15 minutes until slightly golden on the edges. Do not over cook as you will be cooking again when the toppings are on.
Remove form pan and cool.
Toppings. The fun part!
There are so, so many. The same goes for base sauces. you do not have to stick to just tomato sauce. I love pesto and barbecue. But you could do a bechamel(white sauce), a Thai paste base, an olive tapenade, a honey and mustard sauce, sweet chilli,
As for toppings we use chicken, sausage, chirizo, spiced meats, such as pepperoni or salami, seasoned mince beef, anchovies, small amonut of these add a fantastic salty flavour, prawns, salmon, eggs, crack the egg half way though cooking.
Grilled vegetables, spinach, asparagus, peppers, olives, spring onions, go for as seasonal as possible.
Cheeses bring it all together and who doesn’t love cheese! mozzarella, feta, cheddar, parmesan, goats cheese most harder Italian cheeses work very well too.
For that extra pizazz add basil leaves, flavoured oils, such as garlic or chilli and I like to finish with some spiced seeds such as caraway, fennel and onion.
With all the pizza, load up your toppings and sauces the bake straight onto the rack. This allows heat to get to the underside of the pizza, creating a crisp, perfectly cooked base
You could also do a plain one with just some garlic butter and dry mixed herbs sprinkled on top.
Dough balls are amazing too. Instead or making a round base simply divide a small amount of dough into balls, add garlic butter and basil leaves, then bake at 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Eat straight way, nice!
Over the next few weekends I will be doing fried chicken- really bad I know, but it is just so so good!
Making our own fresh egg pasta, which tastes divine.
So remember, keep going with the diets, but allow yourself I treat now and then.
A little bit of what makes you bad, .makes you better!
As always Love Janine xxxx
Keep checking for the exquisitely short season that is asparagus! I will be wrapping it in bacon, Smothering it with buttery hollandaise and a host of other recipe ideas with the king of vegetables.