Number 1 on the hit list is of course pizza! Pizza is easy to make, costs very little to make and you can put almost anything as a topping. Just remember to always keep some dried yeast at home. The main problem you face with pizza is to keep the dough at a warm place for about 1 hour. What I usually do is to pre-heat the oven and keep the dough bowl in the after-heat of the switched off oven. You could also try hugging it while you read a book ;)
1 sachet of easy-blend yeast
2 tsp salt
25ml olive oil
50ml warm milk
325ml warm water
Mix all ingredients, cover bowl and let dough rise in a warm place for about 45- 60 mins. Take out and shape into thin pizzas. You can now either let it rise for a bit until you put the topping on or put the topping on straight away.
For the tomato sauce you go as basic or fancy as you like. You can use tomato puree with spices, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, or you can just use tomato puree or some left-over pasta sauce from a jar. Some people just brush garlic oil over their pizzas. What else you put on is left up to you or your kitchen contents.
Here are some tried out combinations from left-overs:
‘Green Garden’: Courgette, onions, green peppers, mushrooms.
‘Hot & Sweet’: Red peppers, pineapple, chillies, onions.
‘Spicy & Nutty’: Onions, chopped nuts, raisins, red & yellow peppers, chillies.
‘Goat cheese & Berries’: Goat cheese, berries (blueberries, cranberries), rocket. (This is a pizza I created at work, because we did not have the ingredients that were originally required by the recipe…).
A friend just e-mailed me that he has eaten a pizza with kiwi and chocolate, so really anything is possible!
Don’t forget to grate cheese over your pizza if you’ve got any…
Pasties are great for using left-overs and other random food bits. You can make different types of dough for them. The most basic (short crust) dough requires
Lard or vegetable shortening
That’s it. You can go more fancy and do a yeast dough or puff pastry if you’ve got time and patience. Shortcrust dough is also used for making quiche. Here is an example recipe:
Cheese and Spring Onion Quiche
180 g Flour
125 g Butter
1-2 tbsp Water
Mix ingredients. Roll resulting dough into a ball and leave in fridge for 30 min.
Mould dough to quiche dish. Pre-bake for about 15 mins (about 180-190 degrees celsius).
1 bunch of spring oninons, washed and chopped
1-2 Shallots or normal’ onions, fried (optional)
about 150g grated Cheddar, Red Leicester or any cheese you fancy
Chives, chopped (optional)
125 ml Milk
180 ml Cream
Mix all. Pour onto pre-baked dough. Bake for approx. 35 mins (at about 160 degrees celsius) until the filling is firm and the surface slightly browned.
Pasta is cheap, but you can also make home-made pasta such as ravioli or gnocci. I always make a type of German pasta called ‘Spaetzle’. They can be used in a variety of ways. You can layer them with grated cheese, bake them and serve them with fried onions. You can eat them with hot sauerkraut (add lots of majoram or caraway, vegetable stock and butter) for some hearty tanginess. Or you can accompany dishes such as ratatouille, goulash, or fricassee with them. The dough is easily made. Your only problem will be to drop the dough into the saltwater without the little grater thingy they sell in German shops. Your next best thing is to try to squeeze the dough through a large-holed colander or scrape it off a wooden board like the ‘purists’ do. Apparently an Australian site has the best spaetzle recipes.
My recipe for basic spaetzle is
½ tsp salt
125 sparkling (or still) water
To make ‘krautspaetzle’, fry some onions in butter in a separate pot, add sauerkraut from a jar, pour in some vegetable stock with plenty or marjoram and/or caraway seeds. Leave to simmer for a bit. Add the spaetzle and some more butter before serving. Carnivores eat this as an accompaniment to warm meat.
Other things you can do with flour are sweet or savoury pancakes and waffles. I once received a waffle iron as a present, so when I’ve got visitors, I either make sweet waffles with fruit sauce and ice cream or I make cheese waffles with dips. I use different recipes for cheese waffles, and my favourite one is so labour-intensive (and the ingredients are difficult to get in Britain) that I won’t bother writing it down here. Instead, here is an easier recipe that can serve as a basis for experimentation:
1 tsp baking powder
50g cheddar, 50g parmesan cheese or 100g of whatever cheese you’ve got
4 tbsp milk
160 g butter
Spices such as paprika, chilli, Cajun
Mix all ingredients and pour dough into waffle iron. Wait till crisp. Eat straight away.
As for pancakes, there is also huge variety out there! I love the small puffy Scotch pancakes (with golden or maple syrup), but I also love savoury crepes, ‘pizza pancakes’ or the Austrian pancake soup. My mum is famous for her apple pancakes and my grandmother used to make stacks of cranberry or jam pancakes for lunch. The scariest pancakes I’ve ever seen were at a restaurant near Cologne. They were so puffy that they were nearly the same height as their width!
Pancakes can be made with very basic ingredients such as flour, water and eggs. Everything else (such as using milk instead of water) is up to what you like and what you’ve got.
Here is a recipe for Scotch pancakes/drop scones
1 pint of milk
about 12 oz self raising flour
Optional: some softened or melted butter
Mix above ingredients, heat some butter in a pan and drop in some of the dough. Turn over, when underside is brown and surface is bubbly. You can also add some ‘fancy bits’ to the recipe such as lemon peel, spices or raisins.
Great with syrup.
Here is a recipe for a savoury pancake:
Approx. 100g flour
180-200 ml milk
Oil or olive oil
Herbs such as chives
Mix above ingredients. Fry pancakes from mixtures. Serve with fillings such as creamy mushrooms, or make pizza pancakes out of them.