Peperoncino & Fennel rounds.

imageThese little biscuits are so delicious and perfect at this time of year. I first tried these from a Nigella recipe which calls for only handfulls of parmesan in the dough resulting in a soft, crumbly cheesey shortbread. I loved them and couldn’t believe how easy they were! I added my own little twist here by adding chilli flakes and fennel seeds. I love the spicy kick it gives. Enjoy these on their own with a glass of prosecco in hand or with some nice cheeses and chutney.

Makes 35-40

Ingredients

150g plain flour

100g soft butter

1 free range egg yolk

1tbsp fennel seeds

1tbsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

 

Put all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until it forms a clump.

Turn it out and give it a kneed for only around 30 seconds, until smooth, then divide into two.

Take the first half and roll into a sausage shape about 3cm in diameter. Make sure ends are flat so the cylinder resembles a roll of coins. Roll this in in cling film so it resembles a christmas cracker and put in the fridge. Do the same with the other half and leave to rest in the fridge for 45mins.

Pre heat the oven to 180 degreesC. Cut the cylinders into pound coin rounds and arrange on lined baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are a soft golden colour around the edges. Leave to cool and enjoy!

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Gruyere, creme fraiche and salami pizza.

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This is one of my favourite pizzas, this is not our recipe so we don’t want to take any credit for it. It’s from The Greedy Italians first book “Two Greedy Italians”. I absolutely loved their series that this book followed. They travelled all around Italy making beautiful food. Antonio Carluccio really is the best man in the world, don’t you think?
This pizza does not have the normal tomato base. Instead it uses grated gruyere or fontina cheese mixed together with creme fraiche ooosht! Then the luxurious cheesiness is spread over the pizza base and topped with red onion, salami and marjoram. It’s absolutely delicious!
Since we have been living in Italy, creme fraiche is very hard to come by. It is hardly ever used by Italians or so it seems. I have came across sour cream on rare occasion so when I see it I buy a few tubs to make this pizza and it works just the same. We have also tried adding mushrooms to this and it’s delicious too. You can really put anything you like on top using the cheesy base. Oh and no mozzarella on the top, it’s perfect the way it it and it really wouldn’t add anything to it.
This is how they make it then I will show you the very gluttonous adaptations I have made!

FOR THE DOUGH: ( makes two large pizzas )
500g/1lb 2oz strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
320ml/11fl oz lukewarm water
dried breadcrumbs or semolina, for dusting

FOR THE TOPPING:
80g/3oz Gruyere cheese, grated
250g/9oz Creme fraiche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
140g/5oz Salami, cut into strips
Marjoram leaves, to finish

HOW TO MAKE IT:
For the pizza dough, combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Gradually add the water, mixing well with your hands to obtain a dough. If you find the dough too sticky, simply add a little more flour. Shape into a ball, cover with a cloth and leave to rest for five minutes.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes and split it in half. Sprinkle some flour on a clean kitchen cloth and place the pieces of dough on it. Cover with a slightly damp cloth and leave to rise for at least 30 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat your oven to the highest setting 250 degrees C.

Meanwhile, for the topping, combine the gruyère and crème fraîche in a bowl, adding some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Once the dough has risen, sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and spread one dough ball into a circle about 30cm/12in in diameter, making it as thin as possible (without tearing it), with the border slightly thicker. Repeat with the other dough ball. Sprinkle two flat baking trays with breadcrumbs or semolina and place the pizza bases on them.

Spread the crème fraîche mixture over each base. Top with the onions and salami. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the marjoram and serve.

THE REALLY GREEDY VERSION:

FOR THE DOUGH:
I use the same as above although I use fresh yeast as it’s the main type of yeast available to me. I use around 20g of fresh yeast. I also add a tsp of sugar into the mix.

NOW THE TOPPING:
200g Fontina or Gruyere cheese, grated
250g Creme fraiche or Sour cream
1 packet of fennel salami ( if you can’t find this I use a normal Milano salami and scatter fennel seeds over the pizza )
Half a red onion, thinly sliced
Basil leaves, to finish

I make mine with the exact same method. There is something very pleasurable about grating cheese. When cooking as a family, everyone knows I’m the cheese grater. I love it, you can eat all the thick chunky pieces that fall to the side.
I absolutely love putting this pizza together because I know how it’s going to taste, I get so excited and of course a nice glass of smooth, warming red wine to go with it. Some people think pizza is children’s food ( they don’t know what they’re talking about ) but for me it can be as casual or sophisticated as you like. This one however I would say everyone must try!

P.s This is my first ever attempt at a blog so guys any feedback you have is much appreciated. Thanks.