Sunday, 25 April 2021

Pizza Dough

I have been making this for years and have never intended to post it, but I have been persuaded otherwise, by requests. I have perfected it over many, many years and if you follow every stage it never ever fails, is light and crisp and just heavenly. There are no short cuts or substitutes if you want perfection. But it is very easy, with little effort once you get the knack!! And so much better than anything bought.

The wetter the dough, the lighter the pizza and this dough is fairly wet. It can be made by hand, but it’s a messy affair, so a dough hook with your mixer is ideal. For some reason, I know not why, a slow rise in your fridge is best, so for an early evening meal, I make it mid or late morning.

A word on toppings. I often think less is more. My daughter thinks the opposite and piles it up with everything except the kitchen sink! A slight exaggeration of course, but you know what I mean. But the topping is your choice after spooning over the tomato passata.

Dough first: I will give you the quantities for two large, slightly thicker 12 inch pizzas, or three thinner.

1lb 2oz of plain flour [or 00, but ordinary plain is fine]

12 fl oz of warm, tepid water 

2 teaspoonfuls of quick dried yeast [I always use Dove’s Farm]

1 level teaspoonful salt

1 level tablespoonful caster sugar

2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil

In your mixer bowl, weigh in the flour, then add the yeast, salt, sugar and oil. Switch on, then as it is mixing, slowly add the water. Knead for about 8-9 minutes.

While that is happening, oil a bowl [I always use a medium plastic one] and one side of some cling film. It is a good idea to lightly oil your hands too.

Transfer the wet dough to the oiled bowl, using a scraper or spatula or hands. Cover with the film and place in your fridge. That’s it. Easy peasy. Done in ten mins.

You will need two or three metal pizza round trays, lightly oiled. Available just about everywhere. No need to faff around with pizza stones or special ovens.

But you do need a very very hot oven. Pre heat your fan oven to 230C at least 20 mins before placing them in the oven. I can cook two at once in either of my ovens, but the baking temp is even throughout  [I have Neff] If you have a variation of temp in any part of your oven you may be able to cook only one.

Prep your veg/meat choices. Get everything assembled around you. I will give you my usual ingredients but the choices are endless. 

Passata - I like Napolina with added basil, but whatever

grated mozzarella 

a mozzarella ball

thinly sliced mushrooms

cubed pancetta and pepperoni

finely sliced red onions [a very small amount]

olive oil

[sometimes some thinly sliced red pepper]


Dredge with work surface with a little extra flour and plenty of semolina.  Ditto your rolling pin. Tip out the dough from your bowl and lightly knead, then cut in half or three. Roll out the dough as best you can then place on the baking tray and stretch out to fill it up, making sure there is plenty of semolina under the dough. Use the heel of your hand and fingers to stretch it to the edges. Repeat.

Allow them to settle for ten minutes then brush the pizza tops, sparingly with olive oil. I leave it another 5-10 mins now. Spoon over the passata, almost to the edges then a generous sprinkling of grated mozzarella. Now add the veg and/or pepperoni etc. Then the torn mozzarella. I quite like adding some dried oregano too. Whatever. No rules for this bit.

Allow to rest while the oven heats up.

Bake in the very hot oven for about 20 mins. The smell is wonderful.

That’s it. You will have cracked it!! Heaven on a plate. Nothing Cornish or even English. And an Italian would go bonkers with all the ingredients. I don’t care, we love it.

But the dough is perfect.

Saturday, 17 April 2021


Ginger and Coconut Flapjacks

Well, another ginger bake and if you follow this page you know how I absolutely love stem or crystallised ginger in bakes! A very simple bake, so yummy, that I have adapted from a NT recipe.

You will need a Swiss Roll tin about 11 x 7 inches, well buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

6 oz butter

1 oz golden syrup

4 oz soft light brown sugar

8 oz porridge oats

3 oz desiccated coconut

a heaped tablespoonful stem ginger 

1 teaspoonful ground ginger

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and syrup  then stir in the oats, ground ginger, chopped stem or crystallised ginger and coconut. Mix until well combined then tip into your prepared tin.

Level off as best as you can then bake for about 20 mins, until golden.

Leave to cool in the tin for a while, meanwhile make a delish topping.

6 oz icing sugar

about 1-2 tablespoonfuls of the ginger syrup

½ teaspoonful ground ginger

Mix together in a basin, until not too runny but thick enough to spread.

When the flapjacks are just about cool, spread with the topping and leave until set, then cut into squares.

Heaven on a plate. Yum.

Note: you can use crystallised ginger if you wish. Then if you have no syrup, use water with a small squirt of golden syrup too mix the topping.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021


A scrumptious, yummy, easy recipe for you and your family!! Served on a bed of oodles of mashed potato, it truly is a winner. A cousin passed this recipe on to me and when I tried it, I know I would be making it regularly. It is equally good cold, with pickles etc.

There is no method, just chuck it all together!! You will need a suitable baking sheet with a lip to retain the juices. Pre heat your fan oven to 180C and get going.

You can use fresh or dried herbs, but bear in mind, that, eg 1 teaspoonful dried oregano = 1 tablespoonful fresh. I have a pot of it outside my back door. Ditto parsley. But used dried basil.

This loaf serves about 6

In a large bowl, place:

1 kg lean [5% fat] steak mince

2 very finely chopped, large shallots

3 oz stale white breadcrumbs from a whole loaf

½ teaspoonful garlic powder 

Season well with sea salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoonfuls Worcester sauce

1 teaspoonful each of dried basil, oregano and parsley [or fresh as above]

½ teaspoonful chilli powder [or slightly less or more as you wish]

4 fl oz of whole milk

Get your hands in, and bring it all together until well incorporated. Place on your work surface and make into the loaf shape of your choice. *see note. Place on your oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45-50 mins.


Make a sticky coating:

In a small basin place:

2 tablespoonfuls tomato ketchup

2 tablespoonfuls brown fruit sauce eg Daddies or HP

½ teaspoonful sweet smoked paprika

a heaped teaspoonful of dark soft brown sugar

dash of Worcester sauce

Turn your oven up to about 200C. Mix the above together, then take the loaf out of the oven and using a pastry brush, slather the mix over your loaf. Return to your oven and bake for a further 15  mins. If you have enough left over, brush once more after about 8 mins.

Let it rest for a short while before slicing, serving over the mash, then some lovely gravy and a green veg!  I used a mash with caramelised fried onion and sweet potato stirred in, if you are wondering what the bits are!!

Note: A handy hint.  I use a 2lb loaf cake tin, lined with tin foil, tucked into the corners. Lightly oil the foil. Fill the tin with the meatloaf then chill the mixture. When you are ready to bake, take the foil holding the meatloaf out of the tin and place it on your baking sheet. Carefully take away the foil and flatten it and with a your fingers gently smooth out the edges. Your meatloaf will be even and neat.

Enjoy. Easy peasy.