Thursday, May 15, 2008

Za'atar pizza

This is one of our favourite breakfast recipes in my house. It is easy to make, tastes delicious and reminds me of being home with my parents. I know you don't often associate pizza with breakfast (except possibly when the pizza is cold and you are supporting the effects of a big night), but try this and I know you will love it. My favourite thing about this is that it is so easy that my partner offers to make it on Saturday mornings!

Za'atar is a middle-eastern spice mix rich in thyme, with sesame seeds and sumac. You can buy it ready mixed from many stores (I got mine from Herbie's in Rozelle) but I always find that I need to mix in extra sumac to get the right taste. The sumac gives it a lovely tangy, lemony taste, that is essential in this pizza.

Basic Pizza Dough

300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
7g easy blend yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
225ml warm water

Place flour, yeast and salt in bowl. Combine water and oil (as much as this is possible!) in a jug.
Slowly pour oil mix into flour, and stir until you have a soft stretchy dough. Knead by hand for 10 minutes on a floured work surface.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, rub a little extra oil on top, and cover with a clean damp tea towel. Set aside at room temperature to rise for 1 hour (or until dough has doubled in size).
Punch the dough down with a clenched fist. Remove from bowl and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth. Cut in half, and roll each half out to
a 25cm circle. Place on lightly oiled baking tray.

Za'atar topping

4 tbsp za'atar
extra sumac
(this really depends on your taste - have a play and see)
olive oil to blend

Combine za'atar, extra sumac and olive oil in a bowl to a slightly runny paste. Spread mixture evenly over pizza bases (you may need a little more or less mixture depending on how strong you like it!). Using your fingertips, make small indents all over the pizza dough. This helps stop the dough from puffing up whilst it is cooking.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the base is crisp and cooked through. Za'atar can burn quickly so keep a close eye on it.

Take from the oven and enjoy whilst hot with a strong cup of black coffee!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chocolate and Raspberry Tarts

I thought I'd start with something indulgent. These tarts are brilliantly rich and bittersweet. Unfortunately I made them before raspberries were in season, so used frozen berries. I would definately recommend using fresh berries when available, as the chocolate is very bitter, and the fresh berries stop this from being overbearing.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

1 cup plain flour
1/8 cup icing sugar

a pinch of salt
90g unsalted butter

Place flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add butter and rub through with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and cut with a knife until
the dough comes together in a ball.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Divide pastry into 4 portions and roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface until 3mm thick. Press pastry lightly into four individual tart tins and freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C.

Line pastry shells with baking paper and baking weights or rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until pastry is golden and thoroughly cooked. Allow to cool on wire racks.

Increase oven temperature to 190C.


125g unsalted butter
200g good quality dark chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
1 and 1/2 cups raspberries
whipped cream to serve

Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water over low heat and warm until both have melted. Stir, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Place eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Pour into pastry cases.
Bake tarts for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange raspberries on top of the tarts. Leave to cool and serve with whipped cream.
Recipe from Bill Granger's "Bill's Sydney Food".

I found these tarts amazing, however my sister thought they were a bit rich and was only able to eat half. Not something that I am known for doing!

First time for everything

I am very new to the world of blogs. So new that I'm not really sure what I am doing. But basically I wanted a place to put pictures, recipes and to vent when things in the kitchen don't go the way I had planned. And the title comes from the simple fact that I love dessert and will always ask for the dessert menu. Even when I am way too full to even think about it.