Goodbye to Summer

Loving this long hot summer and have cooked up pizza and salads for some photographer friends coming over this evening for dinner. Pizza is always fun and I often let guests put their own flavours together if they want to have a go. On my 2013 Christmas wish list is an outdoor pizza oven. Would have loved a wood fired one, but due to council regs I'll have to do with a gas one. Hope you're reading my blog Father Christmas!

Adapted from recipes by Katie Quinn Davies and Pete Evans
Pizza Base
250 g 00 flour
small pinch caster sugar
small pinch salt
30 ml olive oil
125 ml water 
1 1/4 tspns instant dried yeast
Pizza Topping
400 -  500 g pumpkin - diced
sea salt & ground black pepper
1/3 c caramelised onion
2 small zucchini - sliced into ribbons
100 g gorgonzola
80 g grated mozzarella
4 tspns pine nuts - lightly toasted
sea salt & black pepper
12 sage leaves
250 g proscuitto
rocket to serve
To make the pizza base, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the remaining ingredients. Whisk them togther gently with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour. Using clean hands, bring the mixture togther to form a dough. Transfer to a well floured work top. Knead firmly for 5 mins, stretching the dough as you go. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work top and cut in half, then roll each piece into a round anout 28 cm in diameter. Transfer the pizza bases onto baking paper before adding the topping. Prick the bases all over with a fork or docker. Place a baking tray or pizza stone in the oven and pre heat to 180 C. Place the diced pumpkin on a baking tray, sprinkle with sea  salt and freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 12 mins or until tender.

Increase the oven temperature to 250 C. Once the temperature is reached leave the oven for 15 mins until pizza stone or baking tray heat up. Brush the bases with olive oil, followed by the caramelised onion. Top with the zucchini, pumpkin, gorgonzola, mozzarella, and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone/baking tray, and cook the pizza for 5 - 10 mins until the base is golden and crisp. While the pizza is cooking fry the sage leaves in a little vegetable oil until crisp (30 - 60 secs). Drain on kitchen paper.

Remove the pizza from the oven and top with sage leaves, proscuitto & rocket and serve.

Makes 2 x 28cm pizzas.


2 limes - zested & then juiced
1 small watermelon (approx 1 kg)
250 g feta cheese
4 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

Remove the rind from the watermelon, and cut into small chunks and place in a bowl. Cut the feta to a similar size and add to the watermelon. Pour the lime juice and olive oil over the salad, top with lime zest and a grinding of black pepper.

Serves 6. 


Recipe by Donna Hay
300 g cherry tomatoes 
 c olive oil 
¼ c sherry vinegar 
½ c italian parsley 
shaved pecorino
200g baby green beans - trimmed & blanched
4 gloves garlic - finely sliced
2 anchovy fillets - finely chopped
sea salt & black pepper
Place the tomatoes and beans in a large ceramic dish, sprinkle with salt & pepper and set aside. Place oil, garlic, & anchovy in a non stick frying pan, and cook over medium heat until garlic is golden. Remove from heat, add vinegar and stir to combine. Spoon over the tomatoes & beans, and allow to marinate for 30 mins. Add parsley & pecorino and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 4 - 6.


Recipe by Ruth Pretty
130 g bulgur wheat 
2 corn cobs
1 red chilli
¼ c dill - finely chopped 
¼ c lemon juice 
1 tspn sea salt
1 litre boiling water
2 zucchini 
½ red onion 
½ c italian parsley - finely chopped
¼ c olive oil 
½ tspn black pepper - freshly ground 

Put the wheat in a large bowl and add boiling water. Stir, cover, and set aside to soak for 45 mins. Drain the wheat through a large sieve discarding the water. Transfer the wheat to a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess water, then tip into a large bowl.

Blanch & refresh the corn, then slice the kernels from the cobs and add to the wheat.  Finely slice the zucchini into diagonal matchsticks, and add to the wheat with the deseeded & finely chopped chilli, finely diced red onion, dill and parsley. Pour the lemon juice and oil into a jug with salt & pepper, and whisk well. Pour dressing over the salad, and toss ingredients together.  Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight for flavours to develop. Serve the salad at room temperature.  

Serves 6 - 8.


 All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2013


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