Recipe: pizza bianco with potatoes, rosemary and pickled red onions

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One night in Sweden this happened; pizza night. With the BBQ ban in full swing mamma and I find it so hard to think of summery things to cook, so one night we settled on pizza. Mainly because of one GREAT idea for topping (I promise I will blog about it soon!), and that spiralled into four lovely pizzas.

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This one with a white base (bianco), potatoes, rosemary and pickled red onions was amazing. The combination of flavours really work and the smell that filled the house was delicious too. A must try, despite double carbs. It’s SO worth it!

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Pizza bianco with potatoes, rosemary and pickled red onions, 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) 

4-5 boiled but not overdone potatoes, cooled and cut into 1-2 mm slices

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

sea salt and black pepper

pickled red onions (using the below recipe) 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 Präst cheese. Add the potato slices and scatter with rosemary. 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 the pickled red onions and cut into slices. 

Pickled red onions, a small jar

2 red onions, peeled, cut into half and sliced thinly into half moons 

1 part matättika (already diluted acetic acid)  to 4 parts water 

3 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp salt

Mix one part matättika with 4 parts water so you have enough to cover the onions (approx 200 ml depending on the size of the jar). Add 2-3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt and stir util it has dissolved. Leave for at least 30 minutes before serving. Keeps for five days in the fridge if covered. 

 

Pasta Bolognese in Bologna!

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After our pre-dinner snacks on the Saturday evening we had dinner at Drogheria della Rosa, a very old school restaurant in Bologna. When we arrived, we were shown to our table and after ordering water and wine a starter arrived. We hadn’t seen a menu or ordered anything, and we soon realised they gave everyone the same antipasti, we just didn’t expect it. But the tender guinea fowl vegetables and delicious buffalo mozzarella was lovely. I would never have thought to try this combination myself, but it really worked; I guess you can have mozzarella with everything.

After finishing the starter the waitress came and told us about the menu that day. As I said, old school.

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One of my food goals for this trip  was of course to have a proper pasta Bolognese when I was visiting the very city it’s from, and this place seemed to be a good bet to have just that. And it was. The lovely tagliatelle was coated sparingly with sauce but the flavours were amazing. It was just right and I’m so glad I had it here. Caroline, who doesn’t even like Bolognese, enjoyed it too and that’s probably the best praise you can get!

Her pasta with artichokes was delicious too! Plenty of flavours, quite salty and just yummy. I definitely recommend a visit here when you’re in Bologna.

As expected we were more than full after all the food this evening, so we declined pudding and walked to a bar by the main square and enjoyed a glass of wine outside under the heaters.

Drogheria della Rosa, via Cartoleria 10, 40124 Bologna, Italy

Homemade pinxtos

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Mother and I made pinxtos for our guests at two separate occasions this summer. I often serve crostini or bruschetta at dinner parties and this is obviously similar. Only difference is that you usually don’t toast the bread for pinxtos (which we did) and the toothpick securing the toppings. In Spain you can serve almost anything on or as pinxtos, but most common are crab and mayonnaise, prawns with mayonnaise, baby eels, morcilla or jamon.

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Ours were pretty simple, like tomato (from my parents’ garden), basil (also from the garden), buffalo mozzarella and olive oil.

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Cold-smoked ham with grilled peppers in olive oil.

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And one with crayfish, dill and rosé pepper. At the second dinner party we varied ourselves with toast Öjeby, which also worked really well.

Crayfish pinxtos with dill and rosé pepper, makes about 8

8 slices baguette

olive oil

1 tub crayfish tails, drained 

100 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 tsp crushed rosé peppercorns 

chopped dill

salt, white pepper

lemon and dill to decorate

Place the bread slices on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 200C for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool. Mix creme fraiche and mayo in a bowl. Chop the crayfish tails and add to the mixture. Then add in rosé pepper and dill. Season to taste. Divide between the baguette slices. Decorate with lemon and dill and serve immediately. 

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). 

Chicken breasts with smoked ham and mozzarella

Chicken breast. Probably the most commonly bought item in the Swedish meat counters. And no wonder, the meat is lean, contains no bone and can be seasoned with almost anything.

The only problem I have with chicken breasts is that a lot of people don’t know how to cook it, so they end up dry.

My besy tip to avoid the dryness is to brown it in a skillet and then fry it until just done in the oven. Having the heat from all around the meat than just below is a more tender cooking process, which gives you juicy meat. Providing you don’t over cook it.

This recipe is very simple, and basically just thrown together, but still nice enough to cook for friends. I served the chicken breasts with potato wedges, fried courgettes, carrots and leek and a simple creamy sauce.

Chicken breasts with smoked ham and mozzarella, serves 4

4 chicken fillets

2-4 slices of nice smoked ham (depending on size)

2 tsp dijon mustard

4 basil leaves

1 buffalo mozzarella, sliced

salt, black pepper

butter for frying

Start by flattening the chicken breasts. I do this by placing them one at the time on a (plastic) chopping board, cover it with clingfilm and bash at it with a wooden rolling pin. A great way to take out your anger btw. Then make a little incision to create a pocket where you can put the ham. Place 1/2 to a whole slice of ham, rolled up or folded, in each pocket. Fry the fillets in butter until golden brown. Season.  Place ‘ham side’ up in a greased ovenproof dish. Spread dijon on top and place a basil leaf on top. Cover with mozzarella and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 200C until clear juices. 

Aubergine gratin with mozzarella and pancetta

Before I made the absolutely gorgeous aubergine lasagne, I came up with this – its predecessor. And boy, this was good too! Can it be anything but delicious when combining aubergines with buffalo mozzarella and pancetta, I wonder? NO!

I really enjoyed this calorific dish, but on its own it was not enough. At least my body was craving carbs and not just salad. I would recommend perhaps a mixed bean salad, garlic bread or rice with this, although it is lovely on its own as well.

Aubergine gratin with pancetta and mozzarella, serves 2

2 aubergines

olive oil

100 g pancetta

400 g chopped tomatoes

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

plenty of Italian herbs

a pinch of brown sugar

salt, pepper

1 buffalo mozzarella

cheddar

Peel the aubergines and slice them lengthways. Fry them until soft in plenty of olive oil. Make a tomato sauce by letting chopped tomatoes, balsamic, sugar and herbs reduce. Fry the pancetta crisp and drain on kitchen towel. Slice the mozzarella. Pour some tomato sauce into a gratin dish, place a layer of aubergines at the bottom, then mozzarella and pancetta. Continue layering, topping it with tomato sauce and cheddar. Bake for 25 mins, 200 C.