This calzone was the second course for a dinner we hosted last week. Thomas had a day off work so he did all the cooking!
The calzone was made and assembled before-hand so all we had to do was pop it in the oven, which meant no running in and out of the kitchen and more time to sit and talk with friends (and drink wine!).
The bread was golden and crusty and the filling had a lovely tart taste due to a combination of olives and feta.
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 tsps active yeast
- 4 cups ‘strong’ bread flour
- 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- extra flour (for kneading)
- extra olive oil
Prove the yeast by putting the warm water into a small bowl, dissolving the sugar into it and then adding the yeast. Leave in a warm place and the yeast should start bubbling and frothing within 5-10 minutes. If not – you need to start again with better yeast.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the olive oil and the yeast/water mixture. Mix to combine into a dough. Remove the dough and knead for five minutes on a flat, floured surface.
Put a dribble of olive oil into the bowl and coat the bottom and sides with it. Put in the kneaded ball of dough and move it around so it too has a fine coating of olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and leave in a warm place. It should rise to 2-3 times the size in an hour or two.
Optional – knead the dough again and then let it rise again.
Briefly reknead the dough and then divide into two. Roll/spin/press the first half into a flat sheet. Either flour or oil the tray/pizza-stone you’re going to cook it on and put the dough on it. Then it’s time to start adding ingredients.
Filling Ingredients (adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp basil pesto
- 1 head broccoli – chopped into small florets
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 100gms feta, crumbled
- 20 kalamata olives, pitted and cut into two
- 150gm roasted capsicum, chopped
- 100gms mozzarella, grated
- 50gms cheddar cheese, grated
Spread the pesto over the base. Add the rest of the ingredients in roughly the order given, finishing off with the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses on top.
Take the rest of the dough and roll/spin/press out into a second flat sheet and use it to cover the other one. It needs to go all the way to the sides so you can seal the calzone by pressing down on the edges.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp rosemary and/or oregano (fresh is best, dried is ok)
Coat the top with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper.
Make three 5-10cm diagonal cuts in the top of the calzone. This lets steam escape while it’s cooking.
Put into a hot oven (220c) until done – approximately 20-30 minutes. Cooking time is fairly imprecise as it’s going to depend on the size and composition of the calzone. Towards the end of the cooking time you may wish to remove the calzone and tip it slightly – any excess liquid should drain out – return to the oven to finish.
Let cool for a few minutes and then cut into long slices (it looks more dramatic that way) and serve. (serves 5)
New Improved Mushrooms on Toast
You might have seen my earlier post about the problems I have with cooking mushrooms. Things had improved, but I knew there was room to do better…and today I found it (with the help of a little pointer from a magazine).
For this technique you need:
- mushrooms (say 20 brown caps)
- a good non-stick frying pan
- a little bit of butter (about 1tsp)
And for serving/eating I I also suggest having:
- salt and
- hot buttered toast
1. Remove any obvious grit from the mushrooms and chop into thick slices.
2. Put the frying pan on to a high heat (don’t leave it there too long, they tend to buckle).
3. Put the mushrooms in and stir occasionally.They’ll heat up and generate their own juice.
4. When they look a bit browner/smaller and nearly cooked, add in the butter. You’ll need less than you think.
5. Quickly stir the mushrooms around to absorb the melted butter.
6. Leave in for another minute or two, stirring.
Serve on hot buttered toast and sprinkle with shaved parmesan.
Vegetarian Hash Stack
A vegetarian hash stack is a great Sunday brunch idea, especially when you’re trying to find the middle ground between fruit salad and a full on heart attack producing traditional big breakfast.
Ingredients (per person)
Layer the ingredients, trail a line of pesto and aioli sauce across the stack. Serve with avocado pieces on the side.
My parents were disappointed when I overcame my childhood aversion to eating mushrooms . It wasn’t that they had something against the consumption of fungus by young people – it’s just that they’d have to share.
Now I live with Kim and we both like mushrooms on pizza and in hamburgers, but I can’t get her to appreciate the simple beauty of mushrooms on hot buttered toast. Sadly I think that the fault might be mine as I seem to have an inability to cook them consistently. There seem to be three possible outcomes whether I fry or grill them:
1. Too dry – burnt and leathery
2. Too wet – soft and slimy
3. Just right – hot and juicy and tasty
Today’s effort was one of the better ones and I’m going to keep using this technique until I learn a better one (tips greatly appreciated!).
Take sufficient portobello mushrooms. Shake off the dirt and slice thickly. Heat a large (in relation to the amount of mushrooms) frying pan with a little bit of canola oil. Put the mushrooms in and shake/stir them fairly continuously. Put the toast on when the mushrooms are starting to sweat. Butter the toast and put the (with any luck) cooked mushrooms on top. Eat with a knife and fork.
Broccoli or Mushroom Simple Pizza
Damn that was a good pizza. I really like the pizzas that Thomas and I cook now, and they’re simple, tasty and cheap. We tend to alternate between mushroom and broccoli pizzas. The lemon works surprisingly well.
- Plain commercial pizza bases (brand: Romanos)
- Pesto (brand: Genovese)
- Mozzarella cheese (about a grated handful)
- Mild or tasty cheddar cheese (about a grated handful)
- Parmesan cheese (about two tbsp of fine grated)
For mushroom pizzas
- About 125gm Portobello mushrooms
For Broccoli Pizzas
- Head of broccoli
- One lemon
- Approx 50gm of feta cheese
- Pizza stone
- Cheese grater (coarse and fine)
- Lemon zester (or fine grater)
1. Turn oven on to fanbake at 230c.
2. Insert pizza stone.
3. Spread pesto on pizza base.
For Mushroom Pizzas
a. Roughly chop mushrooms.
b. Cover pizza with chopped mushrooms.
For Broccoli Pizzas
a. Grate about 1tsp lemon zest.
b. Sprinkle lemon zest over pizza.
c. Chop broccoli into small pieces.
d. Sprinkle broccoli over pizza.
e. Chop feta into small pieces.
f. Distribute feta pieces over pizza.
4. Sprinkle mozzarella over the pizza.
5. Sprinkle cheddar over the pizza.
6. Sprinkle parmesan over the pizza.
7. Put pizza on the pizza stone into oven.
8. Cook until the top is bubbling and golden brown.
9. Remove pizza and leave for a couple of minutes.
10. Slice and serve.