Margherita Pizzas

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

This is a thin-based pizza, sparingly spread with a simple tomato sauce and baked until the base is invitingly crisp and the cheese is bubbling.

Margherita pizzaServes:  3-4

Ingredients for the Pizza Base:-

70g sorghum flour; 10g fresh yeast (or 3g quick dried)
140g potato starch
40g tapioca starch
25ml olive oil
1 large egg
1 scant tsp sea salt
1 tsp light Muscovado sugar
1 tsp xanthum gum or 2 tsp ground psyllium husk
1 tsp cider vinegar
Fine polenta or rice flour

Ingredients for the Topping:

400g tin plum tomatoes
2-3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Few drops wine vinegar (optional)
2-3 mozzarella balls, each about 125g
Thyme, or oregano leaves for sprinkling (optional)
Rocket leaves and Parmesan shavings

Step One: For the pizza base, mix the sorghum flour, yeast and 120g tepid water in a bowl until smooth, then cover.  Set aside at room temperature for an hour to ferment.

Step Two: For the tomato sauce, chop the tomatoes and put in a pan with the juice from the tin.  Add the garlic and cook, covered, over a medium heat, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt, a few good grinds of pepper, a pinch of sugar and a little vinegar if you think the flavour needs lifting.  The oil will take a bit of stirring to get it to emulsify with the tomato.  If the sauce is too thin, cook uncovered for a few minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Step Three: When you are ready to make the dough, beat the remaining pizza base ingredients, except the polenta or rice flour, into the sorghum mixture, until smooth.

Step Four:  Sprinkle flat baking sheets and work-surface with fine polenta or rice flour.  Scoop up a quarter of the dough with floured fingers, roll into a ball, then roll out on your floured surface into a thin circle, about 5mm thick.  Pick up an edge gently and slide a floured rolling pin underneath to help you transfer the delicate dough to the baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Step Five:  Spread the sauce between the pizzas using the back of a spoon.  Slice mozzarella and lay on top.  Sprinkle with thyme or oregano and drizzle any exposed dough with a little olive oil.  Leave to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, until the dough looks puffy.  Preheat the oven to 250oC /Fan 230oC/Gas 10, or as high as it will go and bake for 6-8 minutes.  Add rocket and Parmesan, and serve.

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Sticky Chicken Wings

Even a complete beginner can make these – they’re so easy and delicious.

Serves: 8; Prep: 5 mins; Cook: 25 mins; Cals per portion: 218

Ingredients: 16 large chicken wings; 8 tblsp runny honey; 1 tsp English mustard powder; 8 tblsp sesame seeds

  • Preheat oven to Mark 6/400oF/200oC. Arrange chicken wings in a large roasting tin. Season them generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  • Brush chicken wings with honey to coat them, then sprinkle them with mustard powder and sesame seeds.
  • Bake wings for 25 mins, turning and basting once until golden and tender..

Courgette and Bacon Calzoni

Courgettes, basil and smoked streaky bacon make a really delicious filling for this Italian pasty known as calzone.

Serves: 4; Prep: 15 mins plus proving time; Cook: 15 mins; Cals per portion: 617

Ingredients: 30ml ( 2tbsp) olive oil; 2 cloves of garlic, crushed; 350g (12oz) courgettes, thinly sliced; 15ml (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar; 30ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh basil; 280g (10 ½ oz) wholemeal pizza base mix; 225g (8oz) streaky bacon, crisply grilled and roughly chopped; 175g (6oz) gruyere cheese, thinly sliced.

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic and courgettes until tender. Add the white wine vinegar and chopped basil and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until all the excess moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
2. Make up pizza dough according to the instructions. Divide into four and roll into circles measuring 15cm (6in) in diameter.
3. Preheat the oven to Mark 6 (200oC/400oF). Place the courgette mixture on half of each base. Top with 175g (6oz) bacon and gruyere cheese. Wet the edge of the base with water, fold over and seal together.
4. Place on a greased baking tray and cover with greased clingfilm. Leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes to prove.
5. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Place the remaining bacon on top of each calzone. Return to the oven and cook for 5 minutes until piping hot and golden brown.

Lamb Stir Fry

Serves: 4;  Preparation:  30 mins;  Calories/Fat:  256 cals/13.3g;
Sodium/added sugar:  0.4g/0.4g

Ingredients:  2 tbsp vegetable oil; 1 pack lamb escalopes, weighing about 350g (12oz) shredded; 2 large carrots, halved lengthways and thinly sliced; 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced; 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced; 2.5cm (1 in) piece fresh root ginger, grated; 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped; 1 x 150g pack mangetout and sugar snap peas, mangetout cut in half lengthways; 2 tbsp oyster sauce; 1 tbsp lemon juice.

  • Heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat and add 1 tbsp oil.  Stir-fry the lamb for 1 min until browned then remove from pan with any juices.
  • Reheat the wok.  Add 1 tbsp oil and stirfry the carrots, onions, pepper, ginger and chilli for 2 mins. Return the meat and its juices to the pan.  Add the peas and stir-fry for 1 min.
  • Stir in the oyster sauce and lemon juice and toss well until heated.  Season and serve with coconut rice or noodles.

Beef and Veg Stir-Fry

Serves:  4;  Prep:  10 mins;  Cook:  15 mins;  Cals per portion:  270

Strips of beef in a sweet and sour sauce – better than a takeaway any day!

Ingredients:  1 lb/450g steak, suitable for grilling or frying; 1 tbsp/15ml sunflower oil; 2 sticks celery, sliced; 1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced; 1 red pepper, deseeded, and thinly sliced; 4oz/125g large flat mushrooms, thinly sliced; 1 tsp/5ml salt; 1 tsp/5ml sugar; 1 tbsp/15ml tomato puree; 1 tbsp/15ml dark soy sauce; 1 tbsp/15ml cornflour; 1 tbsp/15ml vinegar; 4oz/125g mangetout

  • Cut the beef into thin strips.  Heat oil in a frying pan and fry beef for 4-5 minutes.  Add celery, peppers and mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes.  Stir in salt, sugar, puree and soy sauce.
  • Blend the cornflour with the vinegar and stir into the pan.  Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until it thickens.  Add the mangetout and heat through for 1 minute.  Serve immediately.
  • Tip:  Rump steak is best for stir frys, other more economical cuts which are equally suitable for this dish are silverside or topside.

Fried Pork With Ginger and Sweet and Sour Rice

A recipe by Gary Rhodes

Wok to it with this tasty, Chinese-style stir-fry and rice dish.

This is a great recipe that takes hardly any preparation.  And, apart from the fresh ginger, you’ll probably find all the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard.  Boiled rice is ideal for the sweet and sour rice dish and I like to use pork tenderloin or fillet – when cubed or cut into strips, both these cuts fry quickly.  Vegetarians can use mushrooms, peppers and courgettes instead of pork.  Anything goes!

Serves:  4

Ingredients:  Sweet & Sour Rice:  Olive oil, for frying; 1 onion, chopped; 2 tsp brown sugar; 2 tblsp malt vinegar; 1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce; ¼ tsp Tabasco sauce; 1 dsp tomato ketchup; 1 x 14oz (400g) tin chopped tomatoes; salt, black pepper; 4 fresh tomatoes, optional; 12oz – 1 lb (350-450g) boiled rice.

Pork:  1 – 1 ½ lb (450-675g) pork tenderloin or fillet; 2 tblsp olive oil; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 1 tsp freshly chopped ginger

  • To make the sweet and sour rice, heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for a few minutes.  Take care that it doesn’t brown.  Add the brown sugar and the malt vinegar and bring to the boil.  Add the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
  • Stir in the tomato ketchup and tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Make sure you add all the juice from the tinned tomatoes, as it helps create the sauce.  Simmer until the liquid thickens and it has reduced in volume by about one-third.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • If you are using the fresh tomatoes, blanch, skin and dice them.  Add them to the sauce at this stage.  Add the boiled rice to the sauce and check seasoning.  Put to one side in a warm place.
  • Season the pork with salt and pepper and cut it into cubes or strips.  Heat the olive oil in a wok or frying pan until it’s very hot.  Add the pork, garlic and ginger.  Fry on a high flame until the pork is well coloured and tender.  To serve, dish out the rice on to plates and place a portion of the pork on top of each.
  • Tip:  If you add a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of caster cane sugar at the end of the cooking time, this gives the pork and rice even more of an authentic Chinese flavour.

Red Thai Chicken

A subtle blend of spices combine perfectly with coconut milk and chicken for a wonderfully fragrant mild and creamy curry.

Serves 4; Prep 15 mins; cook: 50 mins; Cals per portion: 333

Ingredients:-  Red curry paste:-  2 red chillies, chopped; 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped; 2.5cm / 1in root ginger, peeled and chopped; 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped; 1 tsp ground cumin; 1 tsp ground coriander; 2 tbsp stirfry oil
Chicken curry:-  4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, sliced; 1 onion sliced; 400ml can Thai coconut milk; 1 tbsp mango chutney; 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped; 225g/8oz potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped; handful of freeze dried Kaffir lime leaves

  • Put the chopped chillies, lemongrass, root ginger and garlic cloves with the cumin, coriander and stirfry oil into a pestle and mortar or food processor, and work the mixture to a paste.
  • Fry the curry paste for about three minutes, stirring it continuously.  Then add the sliced chicken breasts and sliced onions, and stirfry until all the chicken pieces have turned white.
  • Gradually pour the Thai coconut milk into the chicken mixture and then stir in the mango chutney.  Lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chopped peppers and potatoes, and the Kaffir lime leaves, then simmer for a further 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Serve immediately with Thai fragrant rice.

Cheat’s Chicken Biryani

A mildly spiced dish that cunningly combines two ready-cooked convenience foods to create a delicious meal.  It will look as through it’s taken ages to prepare – hide the packets and nobody will ever know!

Serves:  2;  Prep:  3 mins;  Cook: 8 mins;  Cals per portion:  400

Ingredients:  45ml / 3 tbsp sunflower oil; 2 onions, sliced;  1 clove of garlic, crushed; 225g (8oz) chunks of cooked chicken tikka, sliced into strips; juice of half a lemon; 25g (1oz) flaked almonds; 400g (14oz) packet ready-cooked Indian-style pilau rice (see tip below); 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh chopped mint; 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh chopped coriander; 25g (1oz) sultanas

  • Heat the oil, add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the chicken tikka strips and then squeeze over the lemon juice.  Cook for a further 3 minutes.
  • Add the almonds, rice, mint, coriander and sultanas.  Cook, stirring from time to time until just warmed through.  Serve with warm naan bread.

Cheesy Crust Pizza

Forget the takeaway, now you can create your own extra special pizza at home – just follow these four simple steps.  For a fish topping, replace the pepperoni sausage with chunks of tuna fish and prawns – or add extra veg for a veggie version.

Serves 4:   Time to Prepare:  25 mins plus rising time; Time to Cook:  15-20 mins

Cals per portion:  500

Ingredients:  2 x 148g packets pizza base mix; 75g (3oz) grated mozzarella cheese; 2 spring onions, finely chopped; 100g (4oz) mushrooms, wiped and sliced; 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil; 60ml (4 tbsp) sun-dried tomato paste; 1/2 green and 1/2 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced into rings; 50g (2oz) pepperoni sausage, thinly sliced; 100g (4oz) mozzarella cheese, sliced; few fresh basil sprigs to garnish

  • Make up the pizza base mixes together according to the packet instructions.  Turn out on to a lightly floured surface, then knead for 5 mins to form a smooth dough.  Roll out to a 33cm (13in) circle and then transfer to a greased and floured baking sheet.
  • Mix together the grated mozzarella cheese and the spring onions and season with salt and freshly grown black pepper.  Spread the cheese mixture in a thin ring on the pizza base, about 2.5 cm (1 in) in from the edge.  Lightly brush the edge with water.
  • Fold in edge of the pizza base to completely enclose the cheese filling.  Press down well to seal.  Cover loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place for 40 mins until dough has risen.  Fry the  mushrooms in the oil for 3-4 mins until browned.
  • Spread tomato paste over pizza, then top with peppers, pepperoni sausage and mushrooms.  Bake at 220oC, 425oF, Gas 7 for 10 mins, then top with sliced mozzarella cheese and bake for a further 5 mins.serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.
  • Tip:  Most large supermarkets now sell jars of sun-dried tomato paste – but if you can’t find it you could use a jar of ready-made tomato and herb pizza topping instead.

Chicken Korma

Serves:  4;  Prep:  20 mins;  Cook:  40 mins;  Cals per portion:  267

This simple curry dish is mildly spicy with a delicious creaminess

Ingredients:  1 tsp/5ml cumin seeds; 1 tsp/5ml coriander seeds; 10 cardamom pods; 3 tbsp/45ml vegetable oil; 6 large boneless chicken thighs, halved; 2 large onions, sliced; 4 cloves garlic, crushed; 2 in/5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated; 2 in/5cm cinnamon stick; 1/4 tsp/1.25ml turmeric; 10 cloves; 1/2 pt/300ml chicken stock; 2 tsp/10ml cornflour; 4 tbsp/60ml double cream; salt and pepper; 1 tbsp;/15ml chopped fresh coriander

  • Lightly crush cumin, coriander and cardamom using a pestle and mortar.  Heat the oil in a pan.  Add chicken and fry, stirring for 2 minutes. Add onions, garlic, ginger, spices and stock and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, then bring to boil.  Cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes, until tender.
  • Mix cornflour with 1 tbsp/15ml liquid from pan and stir into curry.  Simmer for 1 minute, stir in cream, seasoning and fresh coriander and heat for 1 minute.  Serve with rice.