The next morning DVN and I got up early and went to the
The night we got back I made a delicious mushroom stroganoff (The Scientist had had a large pub lunch so was eating toast), based on a recipe from Veganomicon, which I had on some of my soda bread. The next day for lunch I had grilled mushrooms on toasted soda bread. The day after that I had my lovely salad, and last night, I went for a mushroom pizza. I’ve been reading about different types of wholegrains in my Wholegrains diet miracle book, and decided that spelt was a bit of a winner. It’s high in protein, soluble fibre (good for lowering blood cholesterol) and riboflavin (which can reduce the frequency of migraines). It’s low in gluten, though not gluten free. There was a recipe for wholegrain pizza dough in the book, so I gave that a go using spelt flour. I also made a back-up dough with white flour, just in case The Scientist didn’t want to be experimented on. The two recipes were very similar, although the spelt one used a bit more water. I put mixed mushrooms, goats cheese, sunflower seeds and rocket on my spelt one, and The Scientist substituted cured ham instead of the shrooms on his.
Spelty yeast monster dwarfs inferior strangely non-rising white flour dough
For plain and simple comfort food, his white flour base was probably the winner. For a nuttier, more wholesome taste though, mine was ahead, and I was really pleased with it. The Scientist tried a corner with no mushrooms on it and also gave it a thumbs up. I’ll let him have one of his own next time! I’ve been slowly improving my pizza dough making skills, and this time I combined several earlier tweaks: I made sure that the baking sheets were hot, and then coated them in a bit of cornmeal to help the dough crisp up, and I also made several smaller pizzas rather than one larger one each, as the bigger ones are sometimes a bit soggy in the middle. It seems to be working!
Lots of the ingredients in this meal are rich in calcium, and I’m sending my spelty shroomy pizza over to Susan of Food Blogga for her ‘Beautiful Bones’ osteoporosis awareness event. Osteoporosis is a disease particularly prevalent among women, and results in weak bones. Susan suffers from it herself, and has posted lots of amazingly tasty-sounding recipes which are high in calcium. The goat’s cheese, the spelt and the seeds in my pizza are all good foods to help bone density. I have several more spelt recipes stored up to try, so we’ll be revisiting this little super-grain (and keeping our bones healthy too, I hope)!
I was also very chuffed yesterday to discover that my cousin Pauly has been reading my blog (hello!). He’s on the lookout for simple-yet-impressive student dinner party food, and I say: what could be more impressive than home-made pizza?! The white flour dough recipe below doesn’t need any rising time, and you can posh it up by using fancy toppings. You could fit three in the oven at one time and keep them coming out as people share them. And for dessert, I’d recommend the chocolate and chestnut mousse I made for seder – v quick, v tasty and v decadent!
Spelty shroomy pizza (adapted from Wholegrain diet miracle)
Serves 6 [I halved it and then froze half of the dough]
1 sachet (7g) easy-blend dried yeast
About 550g wholegrain flour plus extra for kneading [spelt, in my case]
Oil cooking spray
1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp fine sea salt
Toppings of your choice (I used tomato sauce, mixed mushrooms, rocket, goat’s cheese and sunflower seeds)
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the yeast and 315ml warm water. Leave to stand for 10 mins or until the yeast softens. In a large bowl, add the flour. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture into the well. Stir vigorously with a spoon until smooth. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for 8 mins or until smooth and slightly springy. Rub the dough with half a tbsp of oil. Place in a large bowl. Cover tightly with cling film and let the dough rise for 1 ½ hours.
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 9. Coat a large ovenproof non-stick tin or pizza tin with oil cooking spray. Add salt to the dough and knead to distribute the salt and form a dough ball. Press the dough ball into a 35cm round in the tin [I just rolled it out into an oblong which would fit on the baking tray].
Top the pizza with sauce and toppings (I just used tinned tomatoes which I seasoned with basil and oregano, and cut the others directly onto the pizza.). Bake for 10 mins or until the pizza dough is brown and crisp.
Regular (but very tasty) white pizza dough for people who don’t like being experimented on (from Good Food magazine)
Serves 4 (makes 2 pizzas)
300g strong bread flour [I’ve seen (and used) other pizza recipes which use regular plain flour if that’s all you have in a student kitchen!]
1 tsp instant yeast [the kind you get in a little tub or sachets]
1 tsp salt
1tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Tomato sauce and toppings of your choice
Put the flour in a large bowl and stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well, pour in 200ml warm water and the olive oil [I warm tap water in the microwave. It should be warm but not so hot you can’t comfortably put your finger in it]. Bring together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, fairly wet dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and set aside. You can leave the dough to rise if you like but it’s not essential for a thin crust.
Roll out the dough into two rounds. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise in the oven. Lift the rounds onto two floured baking sheets. [You get a crispier base if you let the baking sheets heat up in the oven in advance]
Top with sauce and toppings and bake 8-10 mins at 240C/Gas 8.