Sunday 22 July 2018

Marks Meat Feast Pizza

Marks Meat Feast Pizza
  • 450g plain flour
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Tomato purée
  • Mozzarella pearls
  • Grated mozzarella
  • Pepper, sliced
  • Parma ham
  • Sliced chorizo
  • Sliced salami
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Pizza stone
  • Handful of sliced black olives
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl, make a dip in the centre and pour in the oil and 300ml of warm water.  You need to bring the mix together to form a slightly wet dough.  Put the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, this takes around ten minutes or so.  Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size.

Place the pizza stone into a cold oven and heat at 230 degrees.  Remove the dough from the bowl, to make a 12" pizza you will need about half of the dough mixture, you can freeze the other half of the dough and use within about 6 weeks. Place onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a size just short of the size of the pizza stone.  Remove the hot pizza stone from the oven and place the dough on top.  Add a few squirts of the tomato purée onto the top of the dough and spread across the dough using the back of a spoon, top this with a couple of handfuls of the grated mozzarella and then place your meats around the pizza along with the pepper strips and the artichoke hearts. Dot the mozzarella balls around the pizza, along with the olives and cook in the oven for around 10-15 minutes.  Once removed from the oven, scatter over some rocket leaves and serve.

I can honestly say there is nothing better than homemade pizza, the topping choices are endless so use what you want or what you have in the fridge, they taste so much better than anything you can buy from the store and they don't really take all that long.  We had this in the garden with a nice glass of chilled white wine and sat and enjoyed the last of the evening sun, perfect.

Sunday 15 July 2018

Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and green olive tapenade wrapped in Parma ham

Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and green olive tapenade wrapped in Parma ham
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 slices Parma ham
  • Handful of grated mozzarella
  • 3 tsp of tapenade
  • Cracked black pepper

With a sharp knife, put a slit through the side of each chicken breast, careful not to go all the way through, you want to make a pocket in which to stuff your filling.  In a small bowl combine the mozzarella and tapenade and the stuff half of the mixture into each of the pockets in the chicken breasts.  Place 3 slices of Parma ham onto a chopping board, overlapping each slice slightly, place the chicken on top and pull up the sides of the ham so it wraps the chicken and then repeat with the second breast.  Place the chicken breasts into a small oven proof dish, you want them to be quite snug, this minimises any leakage of the stuffing mix during cooking.  Place the dish into a preheated oven (180 degrees) and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (no pink bits!).  

I served this dish with a nice fresh rainbow salad, perfect for eating outside with a nice chilled glass of rose.  There are a number of different tapenades available, obviously you can make your own but for this one I went for the lemon, coriander and green olive tapenade, for that extra hit of flavour.  The Parma ham whilst keeping the stuffing in the chicken it also serves to keep the chicken breast nice and moist.  Enjoy!

Monday 9 July 2018

Garlic, basil chicken with a tomato, chilli and butter sauce

Garlic, basil chicken with a tomato, chilli and butter sauce

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 55g of salted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film and give them a good bashing with a rolling pin or the base of a heavy pan, basically we need to flatten them somewhat in order that they cook quicker.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper and fry in the hot oil for around 15 minutes or until cooked through, you want to get some good colour on each side of the breast.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil to cool slightly, otherwise if the oil is too hot when you add the tomatoes they will spit all over the place!  Place the pan back onto your hob on a lowish heat, add the chilli and garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes.  Increase the heat slightly, season with salt and pepper and give everything a good stir.  You want to get the tomatoes bubbling as we need to reduce them down somewhat in order to get a chunky sauce, this should take around ten or 15 minutes.  Once the sauce is at the desired consistency add the butter, return the chicken breasts to the pan and add the chopped basil and stir through, cooking for a further couple of minutes.
I served this dish on a bed of spaghetti and also a bed of courghetti spaghetti, as the other half is watching his carbs!  With this dish you can leave out the chilli if you don't like a kick or add more if you like a big kick!  I think next time I would add some chopped olives to the dish to give it an extra texture and that briney olive taste, but on the whole a good dish which we both enjoyed, I might also bread the chicken as well with my lemon, Parmesan breadcrumbs, watch this space.
Garlic, basil chicken with a tomato, chilli and butter sauce on a bed of courghetti spaghetti