Recipe: pizza with asparagus and wild garlic pesto

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I actually had the intention to make a sourdough pizza with this topping but didn’t have enough time in the end, so used my tried and tested Italian pizza dough recipe, courtesy of Gennaro Contaldo, Jamie Oliver’s Italian mentor.

I also used my go-to simple tomato sauce that I use for everything and my homemade wild garlic pesto. My best tip is to pick lots of wild garlic leaves when in season and blanch some of it, squeeze out the liquid and freeze in little parcels. Perfect to use for pesto or mayonnaise.

The all you need is a good buffalo mozzarella, some asparagus, parmesan and olive oil.

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I promise it’s like tasting spring. Delicious!

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Italian pizza dough, 2 pizzas

500 g 00-flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried yeast

325 ml lukewarm water

Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast. Add the water bit by bit while stirring with a wooden fork. Knead the dough until elastic. Cut the dough into two and shape to round balls. Put the dough balls back in the mixing bowl, sprinkle with flour and cover. Place somewhere warm and let it rise for 90 minutes.

Shape the dough into round pizzas or use a rolling pin to roll it out thinly. Add the toppings you like and bake in 225C, in a low oven, for 8-10 minutes.

Tomato sauce, for one batch pizza dough

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 can (400 g) chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

Fry the garlic in the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes, some water and the tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Season to taste and put aside. 

Wild garlic pesto, approx 250 ml pesto

ca 50-70 g wild garlic (about a bunch as stick as a small banana)

30 g almonds

40 g parmesan

1/2 lemon, juice only 

mild oil, approx 100-150 ml 

salt & pepper

Mix wild garlic, almonds, lemon juice and parmesan with a bit of oil to a paste in a food processor or with a stick blender. Keep adding oil until you have the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keeps in the fridge for 5-7 days. 

Topping per pizza:

1/2 batch tomato sauce

olive oil

1 buffalo mozzarella

4-5 asparagus, blanched and cut into smaller pieces

3-4 tbsp wild garlic pesto

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Roll out the dough and drizzle some olive oil on it. Spread out the tomato sauce. Shred the mozzarella into chunks and place on the pizza. Add the asparagus pieces and dollops of wild garlic pesto. Grate over parmesan. Add a little more olive oil and put it in the oven on 225C, middle to low oven for 8-10 minutes.

Recipe: Langos (Hungarian fried bread)

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This Hungarian speciality of yummy deep-fried bread is interestingly quite popular in Sweden. As a child I came across langos stalls at Festivals and markets and when I was in my early twenties and sailed in the archipelago on the West Coast of Sweden I discovered langos stalls everywhere, so you could grab one on your way home from the nightclub. (A brilliant idea by the way!)

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In Hungary langos are usually topped with garlic butter, smetana and cheese, among other toppings, but in Sweden we tend to use prawns, fish roe and creme fraiche. Both are delicious and you can use anything you want really. Thankfully, crispy deep-fried bread goes with most things.

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Langos, maked 8 (which easily serves 4, maybe more)

Translated from and adapted after Jennys Matblogg’s recipe.

25 g fresh yeast (or 2 tsp dry yeast)

300 ml finger warm water

1 tsp salt

1 medium cold boiled potato, pressed

approx 420 g plain flour

1 litre neutral oil for deep-frying 

Toppings:

50 g melted salted butter + 1 small garlic clove, pressed

300 ml smetana, sour cream or creme fraiche 

1 large red onion, finely chopped

500-600 g Atlantic prawns, peeled

1 jar red or black (lump)fish roe

Add the flour to a bowl. Add the pressed potato. Pour in yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other. Mix in the finger warm water and work into a loose dough. Cover and leave to rise for approx 40 minutes. 

Pour out the dough on a floured work surface. Cut into eight even pieces and roll them out thinly, using more flour if the dough is sticky. Leave to rise again, on a floured parchment paper, for approx 10-15 minutes. (This last step can be omitted). 

Pour the oil into a large saucepan and heat it up until 180C (try by putting in a small piece of bread – when it turns golden brown the oil has the right temperature). Deep-fry the breads a few at the time (depending on the size of the saucepan) until golden on both sides and crispy. Drain on kitchen towel, then brush on some of the garlic butter and add the toppings. Eat while hot. 

Pizza with fillet of beef and bearnaise sauce

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It may seem a strange pizza topping, but I assure you it’s not. Most pizzerias in Sweden offer this and it’s probably the best hangover cure in the world, right up there with a kebab pizza. Yes, that’s also a thing in Sweden!

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You see, most pizzeras in Sweden are not authentic Italian ones but conveniently located in small towns, even villages and the go-to place for a takeaway. The menu is often eclectic and most have one called ‘pizzeria name’ + special, which is their take on the beef and bearnaise sauce pizza. It’s rarely you get nice beef though, it’s more similar to kebab meat but it’s still nice.

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Since bearnaise sauce on pizza is not a thing in the UK (sob), I made my own the other day. With proper rare fillet of beef. It was so delicious and I can’t wait to have it again. Because although the Swedish pizza with beef and bearnaise sauce have a special place in my heart and something I have to have at least once a year when I go home, this was SO much better.

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I was tempted to make my own bearnaise sauce to put on the pizza, but was afraid it might split on the hot pizza base so I decided to play it safe and use a store bought, more stable version.

Homemade pizza with fillet of beef and bearnaise sauce, per pizza

1 batch pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas, or halve it if you only want to make 1) 

Tomato sauce:

1 garliv clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 can (400 g) chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 buffelo mozzarella

oregano

70 g fillet of beef

butter for frying

a few spoonfuls good quality bearnaise sauce (I imported mine from Sweden)

Make the dough. When it’s raising, make the tomato sauce: Fry the garlic in the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes, some water and the tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Season to taste and put aside. 

Once the dough has risen, roll out a pizza. Spread with tomato sauce and distribute torn chunks of mozzarella on the pizza. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with orgeano. Bake in 225C oven for approx 10 minutes until cooked through. 

Season the beef and fry it in butter while the pizza is in the oven. It only needs 1-2 minutes per side. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, then slice it thinly. 

Remove the pizza from the oven. Add the beef and bearnaise sauce. Serve immediately!  

A typical family dinner (for us anyway)

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My first evening in Sweden I just relaxed at home with my parents enjoying a lovely, yet still pretty low-key, dinner. We started off with little puff pastry quiches with girolles (love girolle season, especially as it coincides with crayfish season!) after my own recipe.

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We then had fillet of beef (we do like our meat) cooked differently for each of us (mine blue, dad’s rare, mum’s medium) served with lambs lettuce, tomato salad, roasted potatoes and homemade bearnaise sauce. SO nice!

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After a little break we finished off with an almost healthy pudding; fresh fruit and berries (blueberries, raspberries, melon, grapes and nectarines) with vanilla ice cream.

Little puff pastry quiches with mushrooms and cheddar

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These little quiches are far tastier than they look. They’re also super easy to make yet still tastes wonderful. And they’re so versatile. I had some for supper the other day with only some dressed rocket on the side. They would also work well at a brunch or picnic and can be served either warm or cold. Perfect when the weather is this unpredictable.

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Puff pastry quiches with mushrooms and cheddar, makes 6

1 roll butter puff pastry 

250 g chestnut mushrooms 

butter for frying

1 garlic clove

150 mlcreme fraiche

100 ml grated mature cheddar + more for topping

salt, black pepper

Roll out the puff and cut it into six squares. Butter six holes in a muffin tin and cover with the puff squares. Prick the bottoms with a fork and pre-bake in a 180C oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 

In the meantime, slice the mushrooms. Melt a large knob of butter in a frying pan and add the pressed garlic. Add the mushrooms and fry until golden on medium-high heat, for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. 

Mix the grated cheese with creme fraiche, salt and pepper. 

Divide the fried mushrooms between the pastry cases. Top with the cream fraiche mixture and scatter some more grated cheese on top. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold. 

Pancakes with asparagus and Parma ham

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I really enjoyed the repeat (thanks BBC!) of Simon Hopkinson’s The Good Cook, because I missed the series the first time around. I love the classic, but far from boring, dishes he cooks, and especially this dish made my mouth water instantly.

You need nice asparagus for this dish, but most importantly you need good-quality Parma ham (or prosciutto works just as well). I had this for dinner but it would work wonderfully well for brunch or lunch too.

 

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Pannkakor med sparris och parmaskinka, 4 portioner

Adapted from Simon Hopkinson’s recipe.

Pancakes:

100 g plain flour

2 eggs

pinch of salt

250 ml milk

50 g melted butter

Hollandaise sauce:

3 egg yolks, at room temperature

250 g unsalted butter, melted

½ lemon, the juice

salt and pepper

8 Parma ham slices

16 asparagus spears

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and preheat the grill to high.
  2. For the pancake batter, place the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk in the flour. Add the salt and half of the milk. Finally, whisk in the butter and remaining milk to achieve a thin, pouring cream consistency. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Melt a small knob of butter in a 20cm/8in non-stick frying pan. Once it is hot and sizzling pour in enough batter to thinly cover the base of the pan. After 30 seconds you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it’s tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over, cook the other side for a few seconds, and then slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
  4. Without greasing the pan again, repeat the process in stage three to make eight thin pancakes.
  5. For the hollandaise sauce, whisk together the egg yolks with a tablespoon of water in a stainless steel saucepan set over a very low heat, until thick and smooth.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and continue to whisk while adding the melted butter in a thin stream, leaving behind the milky residue that has settled in the bottom of the butter pan. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black peper and sharpen with lemon juice, to taste. Keep warm.
  7. Boil the asparagus in salted water until tender. Once cooked, refresh the asparagus in a bowl of iced water. Drain and pat dry.
  8. To assemble the délices, place a slice of ham on top of a pancake, then arrange two asparagus spears upon it. Roll up and place into a lightly buttered baking dish. Repeat with the remaining pancakes, parma ham and asparagus. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to crisp at the edges.
  9. Serve the délices on a serving dish and coat each one carefully with a spoonful of hollandaise sauce, running it along their length. Very briefly flash the délices under the grill until only just gilded by the heat.

Tortilla pizza with salami and mozzarella

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The days you lack energy usually coincide with the days you need a little comfort food, don’t they?!

You know which days I am referring to. The days that feel longer than a week, when one is feeling unwell or hangover (or both!) and is incredibly tired. Those days when one can’t help to feel a little sorry for oneself.

Last time this happened to me, I rustled up these darlings from what I had at hand in my fridge and freezer. (I always store soft tortillas in the freezer, that way a quesadilla is only just a few minutes away).

These ‘pizzas’ are so simple I am almost ashamed to blog about them, but let’s be honest, these everyday things are probably more useful  for you than the time consuming and difficult recipes I post.

So, place some frozen flour tortillas on a baking sheet. Slather with creme fraiche and top with salami slices. Break a ball (or two – one can never have too much cheese) of buffalo mozzarella into pieces and scatter on the pizzas. Sprinkle with oregano. Bake in 200-220C until bubbly, crispy and golden (about 5-10 minutes).