Homemade pizza time!

You know how they say you have to try everything once? Well, I’m not sure that it has to be literally ‘everything’, but some stuff is definitely worth trying. And as this is only a food blog here, I won’t be saying that ‘some stuff’ includes things like snuggling a panda, living in a different country, going on a road trip or whatever other things these ’50 things-you-have-to-do-before-you-die’ lists suggest (to be honest, I do want to make my own bucket list and mark it all as ‘done’).

Still, there are some culinary experiences that I think everyone should live through. And yesterday I took one of these off my culinary bucket list. Together with my friend Nastya (who is equally obsessed with food and cooking as I am) and my fiance (who is not obsessed with cooking at all, however is not averse to degustating and thus agreed to take the pictures of the cooking process) we made our first-ever super delicious homemade pizza!

Pizza_3

For the topping we used 3 types of cheese (mozza, semi-soft cheese and curd cheese) + pear bits + honey-caramelized king prawns. The process turned out to be way easier than I’d assumed + it was super fun! So we ‘bindingly confirm’ (I love the word!) that pizza-making is super simple and you should really give it a try if you’ve never done it before!

Pizza people

For the dough of your own super delicious homemade pizza you will need:

  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 ml filtered water
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the topping of your own super delicious homemade pizza you will need:

  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 250 g mozzarella, grated
  • 150 g curd cheese
  • 100 g semi-soft cheese, grated
  • 1/2 pear, diced
  • 12-15 king prawns, shells off
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • some fresh basil and thyme leaves
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper and dried herbs to season

Pizza_ingredients

Prepare the dough. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder, then add oil and water and stir until well mixed (if the dough is too stiff, add some more water). On a surface sprinkled with flour knead the dough for several minutes until smooth. Roll out the dough (till it’s 2-3 mm thick) and put it on a grill.

Pizza dough_MN

 

Prepare the sauce. In a large pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil and then add canned chopped tomatoes, sugar and chopped basil leaves. Cook for 2-3 min till the sugar is fully dissolved. Season with dried herbs, pepper and salt, to taste. Take off the heat and set aside to cool for 5-7 min.

Prepare the honey-caramelized prawns. In a small pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil, then add shell-free king prawns and honey. Cook for 2-4 min until golden brown. Season with salt, to taste.

Spread the sauce over the dough, then scatter over the cheese evenly, then add pears and caramelized prawns, put some thyme and minced garlic on top and give the pizza a final season with salt and pepper.

Pizza process

Bake for 15-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden and looks something like this:

Pizza_2

Enjoy momentarily while still hot… and while there’s still any pizza left (we ate ours in just a couple of minutes =) ).

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Oh autumn! Part 2: One happy camembert story

Being ‘sanctioned’ from most of the cheeses we like best (we literally don’t have them in our supermarkets here in Moscow), we were grocery-shopping like crazy during our trip to Austria and Italy. I believe it was quite a shock for local people making their everyday purchases to see our shopping basket loaded with what seemed like TONS of different kinds of cheese and ‘wurst’. Still, believe me, the effect on the airport guys was even stronger, especially when they had to check our backpacks filled with all the yummy camembert-parmesan-salami stuff =).

Anyway, when we got home I realised that I got sooo much cheese in that bout of esurience, that eating it just as a chaser while drinking wine would definitely not be enough to use it up before it goes bad (we don’t drink THAT much). So yesterday I decided to use some of the cheese up while cooking dinner. The idea was to use a fusion of eggplants (seriously, what’s wrong with me with all the eggplants?) and camembert to make a warm salad – I also added some sweet pepper and cilantro and it worked out really well! The mix is definitely something new – eggplants come all sweet and creamy making a great complement to crispy though tender fried camembert, with cilantro and pepper shaping it all in a nice, rich fusion!

You will need:

Eggplant and brie salad ingr

You will also need 1 tbsp sugar, a handful of breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 2 tbsp olive oil, some sesame seeds and a small sweet long pepper

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Peel most of the skin off the eggplant (I say ‘most’, but you may of course leave it all if you like eggplant skin, it’s just that in this recipe I think it’s best to make the eggplants as tender and creamy as they can get and the skin just won’t be like that no matter how you cook it, but leaving some of it makes the eggplant look prettier), cut it into 4 stripes lengthwise, arrange the stripes on a baking sheet or a large plate, season with salt and leave them like that for 30 min. Then dab the eggplant stripes dry with a paper towel and cut them into 6-7 cm sticks. Cut the pepper in large pieces. Arrange the eggplant sticks and pepper on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet, season them with salt. Roast in the oven for 15-20 min until the veggies just start to shrivel and become tender.

Prepare the sauce. Put the teriyaki sauce and honey in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for a couple of minutes, increase the heat to medium and then add sugar stirring until it fully dissolves. Take the sauce off the heat.

Remove the veggies from the oven and spread the sauce over them with a food brush. Increase the heat to 200ºC, switch the roasting mode to ‘grill’ if your oven has one. Put the veggies back in the oven on a top shelf and caramelize for just a couple of minutes. Remove them from the oven.

Cut camembert in 8 segments. In a small bowl beat up the egg, put the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Put camembert pieces first into egg and then into breadcrumbs. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and roast camembert pieces covered in breadcrumbs over medium heat for just a few minutes until golden brown and then take them out of the pan immediately.

To serve, put roasted eggplant sticks and pepper on each plate, top them with camembert pieces, sprinkle over the chopped cilantro, sweet pepper and sesame seeds.

To add extra freshness enjoy it with cucumber salad (just slice the cucumbers, season with salt and teriyaki sauce). And don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of wine – there’s camembert in this salad after all!))

Eggpland and brie salad

PS I promise I’ll stop cooking eggplants)

Eggplants are fun: another vegetarian recipe

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not a vegetarian (although I do really think those people live a way more healthier life than we ‘meat-eaters’ do and I will probably become one myself some day). Anyway, as per now, I looooove meat and eat quite a lot of it. Still, somehow, I’ve been cooking a great deal of veggies this week. This ‘somehow’ is mainly a result of the fact that I have tons of greens in my fridge that I impulsively bought at the local market this week just because I know this variety will be gone soon with the winter coming. That’s kind of my ‘seasonal vegetables carpe diem’.

So yesterday I decided that eggplants would be a nice choice for a dinner and made an ‘eggplant parmigiana’. To be honest, not exactly a ‘parmigiana’. I live in Moscow and we are kinda short of that stuff right now (you probably already know that from the news, but if you don’t, just ignore it =) ). So instead of parmesan, I used some ‘grana padana’ cheese I still have in my cheese reserve and I replaced mozarella you would normally use in this recipe with curd cheese. Well, you have to get adjusted.

Ingredients_eggplantsand cheese

You will also need 50 g of flour, 1 tbs of sugar, 2 tbs of milk, 2 eggs, 100 g of bread crumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper and dried herbs for seasoning.

The preparation process itself is quite simple, although a bit time-consuming. Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Thinly slice the eggplants into 0.5-0.8 mm rounds, arrange them on a baking sheet or a large plate, season with salt and leave them like that for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Finely chop the onions, garlic and basil. Treat fresh tomatoes with boiling water for just about 30 seconds, peel the skin off the tomatoes, then chop them. In a large pan heat the olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until they are golden brown. Add canned and fresh chopped tomatoes, basil and sugar, season with salt, pepper and dried thyme (or any other herb you like best). Cook for 10-15 min, stirring from time to time. 

By the time you prepare the sauce, your eggplants should be just ready. You will need three small bowls or plates you will dip the eggplants into. In the first bowl, put the flour, season it with salt and pepper. In the second bowl, beat up the eggs and milk and season the mixture with salt and herbs (thyme, basil, again, anything you like best). In the third bowl, put the bread crumbs and season them with salt and dried herbs. Now, put each eggplant slice in turn into flour, eggs and then bread crumbs. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and cook the eggplant slices until golden brown (1-2 min each side).

In a baking dish, put about 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom, top it with a layer of fried eggplants, put half of the boiled french carrots over the eggplants, then sprinkle a half of grated grana padana and curd cheese, then spoon another 1/3 of the sauce, then put a layer of eggplants and carrots again, then spoon the remaining sauce, end with the remaining cheese. Cook for about 35 minutes in the oven until the cheese is melted and nicely browned. Sprinkle over some fresh chopped basil before serving.

Eggplant parmegiano

Enjoy!