Sunday, March 27, 2011

Margherita Pizza

Adapted from the world's most treasured pizza recipe shared by John Lanzafame, the Australia's foremost pizza chef and World Pizza Champion in his Pizza modo mio.  According to John's pizza philosophy - less is more.  Concentrate on one flavour rather than a bunch of different ones. 

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:  Makes 160g dough - enough for one 30cm pizza

1 tsp dried active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
100ml warm water
2 tsp olive oil
160g OO strong flour, sifted

  • Put yeast, salt, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then leave in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until the mixture starts to bubble.
  • Place flour into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached.  Turn mixer on to low speed and add in yeast mixture.  Mix for about 5 - 6  minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  • Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive oil.  Roll the dough around the bowl to coat it with oil, then place in the bowl.  Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise until doubled in size (it will take about 1 - 1 1/2 hours).
  • Punch down the dough to expel trapped air.  **
  • Place the dough on a baking tray, cover and set aside for 15 minutes, or until risen by half again.  
  • The dough is now ready to use.

** At this stage, the dough can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or frozen.  Bring back to room temperature before continuing.

Ingredients for Margherita toppings:

semolina (for dusting) or you can use flour
garlic oil (enough for brushing the pizza base)
basil leaves
100g proscuitto, tear into pieces
grated mozzarella cheese
grated parmesan cheese
cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced

  •  Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Lightly dust your workbench with semolina, then roll out the dough into a 30cm circle.  
  • Place pizza on a tray and prick all over with a fork.  Spread garlic oil over the base and scatter the basil leaves, grated mozzarella and tomatoes.  
  • Place the tray on the preheated stone and bake for about 6 - 7 minutes, or until the base is golden and crisp.
  • Remove pizza from the oven, top with basil leaves and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Cake


125g butter, softened
3 eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cold mashed sweet potato
190g self-raising flour, sifted
1/3 cup yoghurt
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Grease and line a 14cm x 21cm loaf pan.
  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Beat egg whites until firm peaks form.
  • Stir in mashed sweet potato with 1/3 of the sifted flour and half of the yoghurt.  Then stir in remaining flour and yoghurt.  
  • Fold in beaten egg whites.  
  • Spoon 1/3 of the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in cocoa powder.  Combine well.
  • Place the cake mixtures into the prepared pan by alternating layers of the vanilla batter with the chocolate batter.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until cake is done.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eggless Apple-Raisin Cake

Finally, I found a recipe for an egg-free cake which tastes (surprisingly) delicious and moist.  This is for you, Maddy - the adorable little girl who is  allergic to eggs.  Hope you will enjoy this Apple-Raisin Cake.

(Makes 16 cupcakes)

125g butter
90g brown sugar
1 cup cooked apple puree *
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
300g self-raising flour
1/2 cup chopped raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all-spice
  • Preheat oven at 160 degrees C.  Line muffin pans with patty cases.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in all the ingredients and mix well.
  • Spoon batter into patty cases.
  • Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean and dry.

*  Apple puree:  

2 Granny Smith apples (about 400g)
60g raw sugar
200ml water

  • Core and slice apples. 
  • Place apples, sugar, water and strip of lemon rind  into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and cook gently until tender (about 10 minutes)
  • Cool.  
  • Mash with a fork. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Choc Chip Cookies

Whilst these cookies are not the healthiest of snack, they taste absolutely fantastic - crunchy around the edge and gooey and 'chocolatey' in the centre.... so, what's not to love?


200g butter, softened
200g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
340g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
220g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
150g walnuts, toasted and chopped

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius.
  • Line two baking trays with baking paper.  
  • Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time.  Beat until well combined.  Add in vanilla extract.
  • Fold in sifted flour, baking powder and baking soda. Then, gently mix in chocolate chunks and nuts and stir until well combined.
  • Take tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls. Place them onto the baking tray, making sure you leave enough space in between to allow the cookies to spread.
  • Bake for about 11 - 12 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden but still very soft (they will firm up upon cooling). 
  • Cool the cookies on the tray for about 3 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container.

These are best eaten when they are warm out of the oven.
If you want cookies to be crunchy, extend the baking time.
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