Recipe: Lockdown Courgette Quesadillas Two Ways

I cooked with courgette a lot during lockdown, as it’s such an inexpensive versatile vegetable. And it turns out, it really works in bulking out your quesadillas.

I made the first version, with fried courgette and coriander, served with soured cream and guacamole, when I was alone in London and liked them so much I made a similar version for lunch a few weeks later.

But this time I also added some ham, spring onions and fresh coriander, simply because I had it to hand, and served the quesadillas with a yummy sauce with creme fraiche and basil I made up on the spot, and lime wedges on the side.

Both versions are equally delicious so why not try both and see which you like better?!

Also, a note on frying quesadillas. For an every day lunch I prefer to fry them in a dry pan, as I think the addition of butter is then too much. But if you make quesadillas as nibbles for a party, when you eat much less of them, they’re wonderful fried in butter (and drained on kitchen towel to stay crispy!).

Courgette and coriander quesadillas with guacamole, serves 1

2 tortilla breads, either corn or flour

1 small courgette, cut in half lengthways and sliced

1-2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tbsp olive oil for frying

salt and pepper

75 ml grated cheddar

To serve:

guacamole (scale down to 1 avocado)

a large dollop soured cream

a few drops hot sauce

Fry the courgette until soft and golden in the oil on medium heat for approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the coriander and chilli flakes towards the end of cooking. Season well and set aside.

Place one tortilla bread on a flat surface and scatter half of the grated cheese on top. Add the fried courgettes and top with remaining cheese. Place the other tortilla bread on top and press down to flatten with your hands.

Heat up a clean frying pan on medium heat and add the quesadilla. Fry until side until golden brown while pressing down with a spatula. It only takes a few minutes! Flip the quesadilla over and fry the other side golden brown. Make sure the cheese inside has melted otherwise lower the heat and fry for a bit longer, making sure it doesn’t burn. Remove to a chopping board and cut into six triangles. Serve immediately with guacamole, soured cream and a little hot sauce.

Courgette, coriander and ham quesadillas, serves 3

6 tortilla breads, either corn or flour

1 1/2 medium courgettes, cut in half lengthways and sliced

1-2 tbsp olive oil for frying

salt and pepper

1/2 bunch fresh coriander

3 spring onions, chopped

2 slices cooked ham, chopped

200 g grated cheddar

To serve:

3 lime wedges

creamy basil sauce (recipe below)

Fry the courgette until soft and golden in the oil on medium heat for approximately 5-10 minutes. Season well and set aside.

Place three tortilla breads on a flat surface and divide half of the grated cheese between them. Add the fried courgettes, coriander, spring onions and ham and top with the remaining cheese. Place the other tortilla breads on top and press down to flatten with your hands.

Heat up a clean frying pan on medium heat and add a quesadilla. Fry until side until golden brown while pressing down with a spatula. It only takes a few minutes! Flip the quesadilla over and fry the other side golden brown. Make sure the cheese inside has melted otherwise lower the heat and fry for a bit longer, making sure it doesn’t burn. Repeat with the other two quesadillas. Remove to a chopping board and cut into six triangles. Serve immediately with lime wedges and the basil sauce (recipe below).

Creamy basil and lime sauce, serve 4

200 ml soured cream

finely grated zest from 1/2 lime

2 tbsp roughly chopped basil

salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together with a bowl. Season to taste.

Recipe: weeknight puff pastry pizza

As much as I love to make and eat proper Italian pizzas, it’s usually not something I make on a weeknight for just myself. But to avoid buying the inferior supermarket pizzas I often make tortilla pizzas or use store-bought puff pastry as my pizza base.

I have posted a recipe for puff pastry pizza here before, but that was a weekend version with brown butter and salmon roe. The weeknight version is much less refined, but just as yummy.

If you want to use a tomato base, then please make your own tomato sauce instead of using a store-bought jar. You will taste the difference I promise. I used a white base of creme fraiche (cream cheese works well too) instead, which is definitely the quickest option unless you already have tomato sauce to hand.

Weeknight puff pastry pizza, serves 2

1 roll store-bought all butter puff pastry

3-4 tbsp full fat creme fraiche

2-3 handfuls grated cheddar

salt and pepper

8-10 slices of salami (or whatever topping you like)

Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper and roll out your puff pastry. Spread an even layer of creme fraiche on top. Add the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add the salami or other topping and bake in a 200C oven (220C without fan) for approx 10-15 minutes. The top should be golden and the pastry cooked through. Divide into two. Any leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated in a low oven (not microwave).

Recipe: Puff Pastry Pizza with Browned Butter, Creme Fraiche, Red Onions, Salmon Roe and Herbs

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Puff pastry pizza seems to be trending in my native Sweden and inspired by Swedish foodie Tuvessonskan I thought I would give it a try too!

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A adapted her recipe slightly but kept the idea of spreading a browned butter mixture over store-bought puff pastry, scatter with grated cheddar and bake it before adding the rest of the (very Scandinavian) toppings.

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I love the classic combination of creme frachie, chopped red onions and fish roe and it works great on puff pastry too, especially when enhanced further with herbs and lemon.

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Puff pastry pizza with browned butter, creme fraiche, red onions, salmon roe and herbs, serves 4 as nibbles or a starter

Adapted fromTuvessonskan’s recipe.

1/2 roll all butter puff pastry 

50 g butter

50 g philadelphia

2 tbsp creme fraiche

approx 200 ml grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

100 ml creme fraiche

1 jar salmon (or other fish) roe

1/2 red onions, finely chopped

a bunch chives, finely chopped

a bunch dill, finely chopped

1/2 lemon, the juice

salt and pepper

Brown the butter 30 minutes in advance. Leave to cool in room temperature. Mix the cooled butter with philadelphia and creme fraîche in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Spread the mixture over the puff (leaving the edges bare if you like) and scatter with the cheddar. Bake in 200C fan or 220 C without fan until the puff is golden and the cheese has melted. Leave to cool. 

One the baked puff is cooled, spoon or pipe the creme fraîche onto it, then the salmon roe. Scatter with red onions and herbs. Season and finish by squeezing a bit of lemon juice over it. Cut into pieces (either cut in four and serve as a starter on plates or cut into small bites and serve on a tray or platter). 

 

Recipe: weeknight tortilla pizza

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I must admit I don’t particularly enjoy cooking for one. I think it’s because I put my energy into cooking for others. I enjoy that whole process; planning a menu, cooking it, presenting it and sharing it with loved ones. So when it’s just me I prefer something quick and simple. But something that tastes better than a ready meal!

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These tortilla pizzas actually fit that bill perfectly. Because when you buy a store-bought pizza, I always think it’s a bit dull. The dough is dry, the toppings lacking a bit in flavour and so on.

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Using a tortilla as the pizza base makes it less bread-y and heavy, and therefore perfect for a weeknight treat with a salad. To make sure I can always whip this up I keep homemade tomato sauce (so useful for other dishes as well) in portion packs in my freezer at all times, as well as tortillas. They defrost in seconds. And I always always have cheese in my fridge. And right there you have a margherita.

But I usually have ham, salami, mushrooms or something else laying around that I can put on the pizza to make it more substantial. It’s also a great way to fridge-forage and using up odd ends!

I honestly think this is the perfect weeknight supper for one. It’s warming, comforting and yummy but takes mere minutes to make!

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Tortilla pizza, per pizza

1 flour tortilla

2 tbsp tomato sauce (I make a batch and freeze it in portions) 

50 ml grated cheese or 1/2 mozzarella torn into pieces  

toppings of your choice such as ham, salami, fried mushrooms, vegetables, blur cheese, pineapple, chicken etc. 

1 tsp dried oregano

Spread tomato sauce onto the tortilla. Scatter with grated cheese. Add the toppings of your choice. Scatter with oregano. Bake in 200C for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

Recipe: puff pastry Quiche Lorraine

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Quiche Lorraine is undoubtedly my favourite quiche (closely followed by Västerbotten cheese quiche with crayfish) and until now my trusted recipe has served me well. The pastry is easy to make and it never gives a soggy bottom and the filling is delicious. But do you know what would make it EVEN better? Puff pastry! Golden, flaky buttery puff… Yes, please! Said and done.

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I made this (in Sweden quite unorthodox) quiche for my friends in the summer and children and adults alike really liked it – and had seconds. Always a good sign!

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Quiche Lorraine with puff pastry, serves 4

1 roll butter puff pastry

Filling:

1/2 onion, finely chopped

300 g smoked and cured streaky bacon (fried in pieces, then drained on kitchen towel)

butter and oil for frying

150 ml grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch chives, chopped

300 ml cream

3 eggs + 1/2 left over from the crust making

white pepper (no salt needed)

Cover a quiche dish with puff pastry. Use a fork to make holes in pastry and pre-bake in 180C oven for 10 mins.

Fry the onion soft on medium heat. Place in a mixing bowl. Fry the bacon crisp in the same pan, remove to the mixing bowl and leave to cool slightly. Add the cheese, eggs, cream, herbs and pepper. Fill the quiche and bake for 35 mins in 180C (or until set and golden in colour). Enjoy it hot or cold or in between, ideally with a nice salad.

 

Recipe: nachos with chicken and chorizo

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Sometimes I can really crave nachos. And most of the time I long for the ones I had at Yankee Stadium a few years ago. Although probably really processed the tasted divine!

But the next best thing are definitely homemade ones, and these with chicken and chorizo are absolutely delicious! Also, the secret is in the cheese sauce so although it takes a bit of labour it’s SO worth it!

Nachos with chicken and chorizo, serves 2

ca 150 g salted tortilla chips

75 g chorizo, cut small

1-2 fried chicken thigh fillets, cut small

oil for frying

2-3 handfuls grated cheese

Toppings:

1 batch cheese sauce

1 batch proper guacamole

1 jar creme fraiche

Garnish:

Chopped tomato

Sliced spring onions

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Fry the chorizo in oil on medium heat until they’re crispy. Add the chicken and let it absorb the chorizo flavoured oil.

Cover the base of an oven-proof dish with a thin layer of tortilla chips, top with cheese, chorizo and chicken. Repeat with another layer. Place in the oven for the cheese to melt, approx 5-10 minutes. 

Pour the cheese sauce on top (make this while the nachos are in the oven), guacamole, creme fraîche and the chopped vegetables.

Recipe: pizza bianco with truffle salami and burrata

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I heart truffle. If I sea truffle on a menu my mouth starts watering and I have to have it. And I savour every bite. So imagine my delight (and surprise) when I found a packet (yes, packet – not even in the deli counter!!) of thinly sliced salami with truffle in my Swedish supermarket. I immediately grabbed a burrata nearby and decided on making this pizza.

Which I loved as much as I thought I would. I heart truffle. And burrata. But a nice grassy olive oil is key too.

Pizza bianco with truffle salami and burrata, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Västerbotten cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

16-20 thin slices truffle salami (I actually found mine in the supermarket)

1 burrata 

1-2 tbsp good grassy olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Västerbotten cheese.  Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown.

Remove the pizza from the oven and cover it with truffle salami. Tear the burrata into smaller pieces and scatter them on the pizza. Drizzle with nice olive oil. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of sea salt and add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. 

Recipe: pizza bianco with pears and Saint Agur

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The last one of the pizzas I made in Sweden in the summer is this one with pears and my favourite blue cheese St Agur. It’s a very classic flavour combination that works really well on the bianco base. And I can assure you it was as yummy as it looks!

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But, as I always strive towards perfection, I do think it would be even nicer with some added crunch in the form of chopped walnuts and an extra hint of sweetness with a drizzle of Acacia honey. I tried to find both these ingredients in the beach house but as it’s not as well stocked as our regular kitchen I came out empty. As you can tell I didn’t really plan all the pizza toppings beforehand, but got carried away mid-baking.

Edit 4 February 2019: I made this again on New Year’s Day, this time with the chopped walnuts and acacia honey. And it really elevated the pizza! I highly recommend it. The honey contrasted nicely against the salty cheese and the walnuts added another dimension with their crunch and bitterness. Yum! See last picture. 

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Pizza bianco with pears and Saint Agur, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Präst cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

2 pears, thinly sliced lenghtways

40 g Saint Agur, broken into smaller pieces

sea salt and black pepper

To serve:

chopped walnuts and a drizzle of acacia honey 

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Präst cheese. Add the pear slices and distribute the Saint Agur. Season. Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown. Remove from oven, add walnuts and honey and cut into slices. 

Recipe: pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese

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For once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer. It’s been warm and sunny both here in London and in Sweden. I’ve still got a tan and I swam in the sea several times. Had al fresco meals and lots of rosé. One might think I’ve had enough of summer for now, but I would happily continue the summer for another few months. But, because we had a real summer I am also, at the same time, looking forward to autumn. To cosy nights in, lit candles, blankets, darker colours and heartier dinners. And red wine instead of rosé.

And just like the trench coat and the leather jacket are good transitional pieces in our wardrobes I feel this pizza is the ultimate transitional dinner dish.

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Mushrooms always get me excited about autumn and their earthy taste is just what I’d want right now. Before the soups and stews. And, luckily – this pizza goes well with both red and rosé!

Pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Västerbotten cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

200 g girolles

2-3 tbsp butter

a splash of oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

chopped parsley

sea salt and black pepper

finely grated Västerbotten cheese for serving

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Västerbotten cheese.  Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown.

In the meantime, fry the girolles in butter and oil on medium-high heat. When the mushrooms are almost done, add the garlic and fry until golden (but no longer). Remove the pan from the heat and season well. Add the chopped parsley. 

Remove the pizza from the oven, divide the mushrooms onto the pizza, top with finely grated cheddar and cut into slices. 

Recipe: pizza bianco with prosciutto, figs and Cambozola

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Another pizza from our pizza making evening in Sweden and another hit all around. The combination of sweet and salty and creamy always works and this pizza with (mother’s homegrown!) figs, prosciutto and blue cheese was no exception!

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I realise blue cheese is sometimes an acquired taste, BUT don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I used cambozola here which is rather mild, and only a little of it as I didn’t want it to overpower the sweet and juicy figs – merely complement them!

Pizza bianco with prosciutto, figs and Cambozola, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Präst cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

3 slices prosciutto, torn into a few smaller pieces

2-3 figs, sliced lenghtways

40 g Cambozola, broken into smaller pieces

sea salt and black pepper

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Präst cheese. Add the ham and figs and distribute the Cambozola. Season. Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into slices.