Spanish Pizza

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Tuesday night 6pm, staring into the fridge, no dinner prepared. In fridge, a ball of mozzarella just about to go over its use by date, half a length of Chorizo and a small bowl of leftover cold new potatoes. In the other room one hungry teenage daughter, who loves pizza and has just completed the choosing of her GCSE language…Spanish!
Oh yes and one very tired Mama needing to soak her very cold bones in a hot bath and who has also forgotten to buy bread for breakfast.

The solution

1. Make up a batch of strong white bread dough. I did use my kenwood mixer bread hook as time was tight. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place.

2. While this is rising get yourself a frying pan and add to it…

A slosh of oil
1 sliced red onion
Sliced cooked potatoes
Sliced chorizo

3. Very gently fry so that the chorizo oils start to release and coat the potatoes and onion, tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

4. In the empty frying pan add the following…

I tin of tomatoes
Tablespoon of tomatoe purée
A glove of crushed garlic
Herbs of your choice
Splash of olive oil
Salt and black pepper
A little chilli might be good too

5. Simmer this mixture over a medium hit until it starts to reduce and get nice and thick. Take off heat and leave to cool.

6. Take a good long bath and if you have a little shelf beside the bath, light candles and just to finish off, place a large glass of wine there too.

7. When your spirits have risen, go and see if the same has happened to the bread. It should have doubled in size.

8. On a floured work top knead the dough for a few minutes and then roll out a piece to fit both your stomach and your pizza tin. I like my pizza dough on the thin side, don’t forget this will rise again and probably double it’s thickness.

9. With the left over extra dough, place in a small bread tin, cover and leave to rise till it doubles it size. That’s breakfast bread sorted.

10. Spread some of the tomato mix over the pizza base. Then add…

1 torn up mozzarella ball

11. Spread the potato and chorizo mix out on top of the pizza and then top with…

1 sliced red pepper
A little grated cheese.

12. Leave in a warm place to allow the dough to double it’s size.

13. When ready cook in a hot oven 230c, gas 8 for around 20 mins. Keep an eye on it, lower its position in the oven if the top is browning too quickly. Make sure the underneath of the pizza is cooked and not soggy. Metal tins are usually the best for this.

14. Sit and enjoy while you bread goes into the oven (35mins approx).

15. Fall into bed with a full stomach and the smell of freshly baked bread wafting around the house. Feel as smug as you like.

Eccles cakes

It’s Saturday morning and I have a block of good quality puff pastry needing to be used up in the fridge. It’s a big day for the Rugby and my Dad will be sitting glued to the screen this afternoon. I know exactly how to turn this pastry into a mouthwatering treat that could put a smile on my Dads face no matter the score. Please do not compare these with any shop bought versions, they simple don’t compare. You will be amazed how easy they are to make… Come on ENGLAND!

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60g (2oz)butter
300g (11oz) dried currants
4 tablespoons chopped apricots (or candied peel)
100g (4oz) demerara sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
Grated zest of an orange
500g (18oz) packet of quality puff pastry.
1 egg white, beaten
4 tablespoons caster sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas mark 7. Sprinkle a baking tray with water.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in currants, mixed peel, demerara sugar, mixed spice and orange zest. Stir until sugar is dissolved and fruit is well coated. Remove from heat.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 5mm thickness. Cut out eight 13cm circles, using a saucer as a guide. Divide the fruit mixture evenly between the circles. Moisten the edges of the pastry, pull the edges to the centre and pinch to seal. Invert filled cakes on the floured surface and roll out gently to make a wider, flatter circle, but do not break the pastry.

4. Brush each cake with egg white and sprinkle generously with caster sugar. Make three parallel cuts across the top of each cake, then place them on the prepared baking tray.

5. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until golden.
6. Best eaten while still warm. Freeze the rest and thaw and warm in the oven when needed.

Rhubarb and Sticky Stem Ginger Crumble

1 kg rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into large chunks
200 g soft brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
100 g plain flour
100 g butter
100 g oats
2 pieces stem ginger, chopped

1.Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
2. Put the rhubarb and half the sugar into a pan. Add the orange juice and zest, put a lid on top, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for around 5 more minutes, until the rhubarb has softened slightly. Spoon into an ovenproof baking dish or individual dishes and spread out evenly across the bottom.

3. To make your crumble topping, use your fingers to lightly rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the oats, the rest of the sugar and the stem ginger. (If you like, you can make the crumble topping in a food processor. Just whack in the flour, butter, sugar and stem ginger and whiz up. Add the oats for the last 10 seconds.) Sprinkle the crumbs over the rhubarb and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rhubarb is bubbling up and the crumble is golden.

Another one of Jamie Oliver’s little gems!