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Pan-fried fish with lentils and roasted tomatoes

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Pizza dough

Pizza dough

Mr Fare Sage missed his calling as a baker. He has a real flair for bread. This is his pizza dough recipe, perfected over the course of the last few years. Using wholemeal flour is a relatively new tweak but we’ll never go back. It gives the end result so much more flavour, and makes it a much more substantial meal.

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This recipe works equally well if you make it by hand, or using a stand mixer. I’ve included instructions for both options in the recipe. Making bread by hand is a very satisfying experience – but it can be time consuming, and quite frankly, a bit of a workout! Using a stand mixer isn’t quite as romantic, but it does give very good results. With minimal effort too!


This is a fantastic pizza dough – flavourful, light and fluffy, and with a wonderful crisp edge.  And using my tip for achieving a crispy base means you can now make the perfect pizza at home.

 Pizza dough

When we make this dough by hand, we usually make the dough mid-morning on pizza day and let it spend the day happily proving away in the hot-water cupboard. If using a mixer, this lovely pizza dough could be ready for the oven in as little as 90 minutes. As with any bread making, air temperature and humidity have an impact on proving time/speed, so allow more time if making this in colder climates or winter months.

Once you’ve made it once, you’ll never buy bases again.

Pizza

Pizza Dough


Course Dinner, Lunch, Party food
Cuisine Italian, Pizza
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp active dried yeast granules
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water approximately
  • cups plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour. If you don't wish to use wholemeal, just use 2½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil

Instructions

To make this dough by hand:

  1. Dissolve the sugar in about ¼ cup of the water, then sprinkle the yeast granules over. Leave them to froth for about 15 minutes.
  2. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl, then mix through the oil. Pour on the yeast mixture and stir through.
  3. Add the rest of the water a little at a time, mixing with your hands after each addition, until a soft dough forms. The exact amount of water you use will vary every time. I believe the outside temperature, humidity and age of your flour all have something to do with how much water it will absorb - who knew!
  4. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and start to knead it. It should feel quite sticky to start with but it will gradually start to feel softer and easier to knead. Knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is soft and springs back when you touch it with your finger. Form the dough into a ball.

    A ball of pizza dough
  5. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and place in a warm area, like your hot water cupboard, to prove for at least two hours or until the dough has at least doubled in size.

  6. Once the dough has proved, pull it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and form it in to a ball again. Gently pat it down and shape it into a round, then lightly flour the top and roll it out to your desired shape and thickness.

To make this dough with a stand mixer:

  1. Add one cup of warm water, the sugar and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Stir on low speed for a minute to dissolve the sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast froth.

  2. Once the yeast is frothy, sift on the flours and salt, and pour in the oil. Mix on low speed for a minute to combine, then increase the speed one notch. Knead the dough at this speed for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the mixer and form the dough into a ball.

  3. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and place in a warm area, like your hot water cupboard, to prove for at least an hour or until the dough has at least doubled in size.

  4. Once the dough has proved, pull it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and form it in to a ball again. Gently pat it down and shape it into a round, then lightly flour the top and roll it out to your desired shape and thickness.

Recipe Notes

To bake the perfect pizza base:

Place a flat baking tray in your oven and turn it up as hot as possible - I usually crank mine up to about 240C Fan Bake. Let the oven and tray heat for at least 10 minutes. Take a sheet of greaseproof paper as big as your rolled out pizza base and lay it on the bench. You may need to use two sheets of paper laid in a X to get it big enough. Gently roll your base around your rolling pin, then carefully lift it up and unroll it on to your greaseproof paper. Now top it with your chosen topping (some of our favourites are noted below). Very very carefully using a thick tea towel or oven mitt, take the heated baking tray out of the oven and take it over to your prepared pizza. Carefully lift the edge of the baking paper and pull the pizza and the paper on to the hot baking tray (the first few times we did this it took two of us). Place the pizza in to the oven. After its been cooking for a couple of minutes, use a spatula to lift the edge of the pizza and carefully slide the greaseproof paper out from underneath it so the pizza is now directly on the baking tray. Cook for around 8-10 minutes until the pizza is golden and the edges are crisp.

Suggested toppings: I prefer to spread my bases thinly with mayonnaise rather than tomato because I think it allows the toppings to shine and not be overpowered by the sauce. I also like to be fairly stally with the cheese on top, adding just enough to make the topping stick. Pizza toppings really are only limited by your imagination so put whatever takes your fancy on it. Some of our favourites include:

  • Pepperoni (who doesn’t love a pepperoni pizza!)
  • Smoked salmon, red onion and capers with dollop of herbed sour cream mixed with chives after cooking
  • Smoked chicken, brie and cranberry sauce
  • Cumin rubbed lamb rump (roasted, cooled, then sliced) with finely chopped rosemary, cubes of feta, red onion and slivers of garlic
  • Prawns with crushed garlic and parsley
  • Thick-cut bone ham, cut into cubes, with fresh pineapple and smoked cheese

          Pizza Dough

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Scones

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Teriyaki salmon

Teriyaki salmon

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Real fruit instant ice cream

Real fruit instant ice cream

On a long hot summers day theres nothing that beats an ice-block or ice-cream to take the edge off the heat. If your kids are anything like mine, they love a cooling treat but all that sugar and food colouring makes them little terrors, so we try to avoid too many indulgences if we can.

ice cream
I started making this as an alternative to ice-cream for a dessert for the kids but its quickly become a regular feature in our freezer that we all enjoy. I don’t mind serving it up regularly because it consists only of fruit and a little optional milk or yoghurt. And the kids love it – in fact my eldest got so excited when I was trying to take the photographs for this recipe, that this happened…IMG_3543

Eaten immediately or kept in the freezer for when a sweet fix is called for, this real fruit frozen dessert is just as popular with the grown-ups as the little ones.

There are two ways to make this healthy treat – with pre-frozen fruit for an instant, frozen dessert that has a wonderful gelato-like consistency, or with fresh fruit which you then freeze for a firmer result. Both versions are fast to prepare, refreshing and nutritious.

fruit

Both versions also keep well in the freezer, so I find they make fantastic homemade popsicles for the kids (and the big kids). Popsicle moulds are everywhere these days – ours is very plain and cost $3.00 at a local discount store, but you can get them in all shapes and sizes and from basically anywhere that sells kitchen equipment.

ice cream

Yum

Real fruit instant ice cream

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Peel bananas and break them into 2 or 3 pieces then pop them in a snap-lock bag and freeze overnight to make this ice cream. They will keep in the freezer for a good couple of weeks but eventually start to discolour.
Ingredients
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 punnet of fresh strawberries, or 1 cup frozen strawberries or blueberries
  • ⅓ cup milk or natural unsweetened yoghurt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes until a smooth puree has formed.
  2. Take the lid off the blender and give the mixture a quick stir to make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Serve immediately, or pour into popsicle moulds or a freezer proof container and freeze.
Notes
To make the version using fresh fruit, simply add the same quantities of fresh fruit and the yoghurt or milk to the blender and puree, then pour into your chosen mould and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight. This will produce a much firmer dessert.

The texture of the end result really depends on whether you use fresh or frozen fruit and how much milk or yoghurt you add. Have a play, you really can't go wrong - if you find you have added too much liquid and its too soft, just call it a thick shake or smoothie!

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Coconut Spiced Pork

Coconut Spiced Pork

Succulent pork sliced thinly, coated with the warm flavours of cumin and coriander, and then swirled with a creamy, tangy coconut and lime sauce… This recipe is one of those meals you’ll make again and again.

Coconut and lime is a classic combination, and together they really make this Thai-inspired pork dish zing. The pork is lightly spiced and coated with coconut that crisps up beautifully in the pan, and then lusciously coated with a creamy, tangy sauce. Served with rice and steamed seasonal vegetables this is a delightful meal in any season.

Coconut spiced porkYum

Coconut Spiced Pork

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 600g pork
    We prefer pork scotch. You can also use pork fillet. Its best just not to use any cut that is too tough, or too fatty.
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 165ml coconut cream
  • 70ml lime juice (about the juice of two limes)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • peanut oil for frying the pork
  • extra fresh coriander leaves to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a dry fry-pan toast the cumin and coriander seeds and peppercorns gently over a medium heat (see Tip). Once fragrant, transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder. Combine with the coconut and cornflour.
  2. Slice the pork into thin strips. Coat well with spice and coconut mix. You'll need to get your hands in there to press on the spices. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok or frypan over a medium-high heat and add the peanut oil. Fry the spice coated pork in batches until golden. Set aside.
  4. Give the wok or frypan a quick wipe with a paper towel to remove any residual oil (it doesn't need to be spotlessly clean, just not have big puddles of oil in it. Be careful because it will be very hot!). Pour in the coconut cream, lime zest and juice, and add salt to taste. Let it bubble for a minute. Return the pork to the pan with the chopped coriander leaves and stir to coat the pork with the sauce. This is not a particularly saucy dish but each piece of pork should get a nice coating of the coconut cream and lime juice.
  5. Serve immediately with rice and steamed vegetables.

 

Tip: You can use pre-ground spices instead of whole spices if you wish, but if you do its still important to very gently toast them before using. Toasting spices brings out their true flavour.

When toasting spices, place them in a dry frypan over a medium heat, stirring constantly until they are fragrant. This will make more sense once you’ve tried it – the fragrance is unmistakable. Spices, particularly pre-ground spices, can burn very quickly and become bitter so its vital you keep an eye on them. It should only take a few minutes. Once toasted, immediately tip the spices into a clean bowl to stop them cooking.

 

 

Citrus puddings

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