Monday, March 28, 2011
I’ve set myself a goal for this week; to finish the handwritten cookbook I’ve been making for my Dad over the past year-or-so. With not a whole lot else to occupy my time over here, indoors, hiding from the heat, car-less and without my usual pantry full of gluten-free flours, I figured it was about time I completed the book that initially started out as his birthday present... last year! In this new world of computers, google, ipads and iphones some people may think of me as daft for wanting to spend all that time hand-writing a cookbook. But for me it is something that I love doing, and have done for both my younger brother’s also. Call it a family tradition if you will :-)
Just now I was just writing a pizza dough recipe in Dads book, when I realized I hadn’t shared my gf pizza recipe with you yet. Remember? The one I was all set to cook on the Good Morning show last month, before it got cancelled? So sorry about that...
When my brother Ben first left home, I thought it would be nice to write out a small black book of base recipes. It contained recipes mum used to cooked when we were growing up along with a few of my favourites for him to use as he ventured out into the big bad grown-up world. He received my book in the post all the way from Sydney, only to screw up his nose and go “hmmpf. Gee, um, thanks Emm?” It was only a few years later, when he discovered the joys of cooking while serving a course at the Vipassana centre, that he appreciated how much information lay between those little black covers. You can well imagine how pleased I was when two years later my youngest brother Louie left home, putting in a request for his very own little black cookbook.
That was over 10 years ago, since then those little black books have traveled many a mile over land and sea, jumping around in backpacks all over the world. They're now lovingly named “the bibles” and if I remember rightly Louie had a mini heart attack when he realized he’d accidentally left his somewhere in England late last year. Thankfully he was able to track it down and had a friend post it back home to NZ. Phew!
I flicked through its pages this Christmas just gone, while waiting for lunch to cook. It made me so happy to see its pages all splattered with food, loved as much as I had first hoped. I purposely left a handful of pages blank at the end of each chapter, ready and waiting for new recipes to be discovered and added. In there I skim-read over Louie's hand written recipes for best ever Vegetarian Haggis (it really is delicious), Nana's easiest in the world scones, Dierdre's brown bread ice-cream, Rempeyek, killer spinach curry and coconut halva.
My cookbook for Dad will come in handy when he sets off to sail around the world later this year or early next year. He’s mad I know, but for the past year or so he’s been building his yacht. It’s the second yacht he’s helped build now, the first took over 7 years if I remember rightly? He and his partner Marie plan to set off around the world, getting as far as Australia or Indonesia in their first leg. They are going to write a blog about their travels, so if anyone is interested I will post a link to it later on once it’s fully set up.
I’ve been trying to think of recipes they will be able to use at sea. Easily made with minimal ingredients, and ones they can adapt easily to use whatever local ingredients they may have at hand. As usual, I have almost filled the “sweetness” chapter, while the “snack” chapter lays almost bare. One can only hope they have plenty of time to bake, flat seas and friends to share it with ;-) I have my fingers crossed we will be able to meet them somewhere along their first leg of the trip, possibly in Bali, or South East Asia the following year?
As far as this gluten-free pizza dough recipe goes, it’s all rather straight forward. Because there is no gluten, there is no need for lengthy kneading times, or proving times for that matter. Simply ferment the yeast initially, add the flours etc, knead until it just comes together, roll then prove briefly before pre-baking in a hot oven. They can be prepared in advance up to this stage, making it super easy to simply toss on some toppings and bake come dinner time. I’ve left the toppings up to you, but I cannot stress the importance of a good rich tomato sauce as your base. We use my simple rustic tomato sauce recipe that I posted a wee while back. Which could easily be made using whole tinned tomatoes if you are struggling to find good tomatoes this late in the season. Make in large batches and freeze for later use. These pizza bases are made light and crisp with the addition of Quinoa flour and hold together as good as any gluten-filled version. It's my best gluten-free version so far and while I have subjected the family to some pretty um, er, hideous renditions, this ones a winner. Si loves it (that's huge) and Ada will happily eat a whole pizza by herself!
Lastly, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has been voting frantically for me over at Babble’s top 100 mom food blog's this past week. I am gob smacked at the response, and humbled by your votes. Number 2 spot is really quite amazing. Xxx
Gluten-free pizza dough recipe
This pizza dough recipe is also dairy-free. I know some people will be saying “but yeah, what’s a pizza without cheese?” I hear ya, I really do. But if you can’t tolerate dairy at all, I’ve found if you just make sure all your toppings are absolutely beautiful, you won’t even notice the lack of cheese on top. I promise. If you can however eat dairy (I now eat feta), ignore everything I’ve just written and pile on the cheese, any kind you like, mozzarella, feta or cheddars all good. Serves 4.
· 1 teaspoon raw sugar
· 225ml lukewarm water
· 2 sachets (4 teaspoons/14g) instant dry yeast
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 egg
· 1 ½ cups (235g) brown rice flour
· ½ cup (75g) potato starch (known as potato flour in NZ)
· ½ cup (75g) quinoa flour
· 2 tablespoons (25g) corn starch (known as corn flour in NZ)
· 1 ½ teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
· 1 teaspoon guar gum
· 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
· Toppings of your choice; I like to use a nice, thick, flavoursome tomato sauce, topped with pitted kalamata olives, slices of red onion, mushroom and pickled jalapenos, and a little feta (we tolerate it nowadays).
Combine sugar, water and yeast in a medium bowl, mix to combine then set aside with a tea towel draped over top to ferment 5 minutes.
Add olive oil and egg and stir briefly before adding all of the remaining ingredients. Mix dough until it comes together, using your hands is the easiest way to go at this stage. Turn the dough out onto a bench and knead 2-3 minutes until the dough forms one smooth mass of dough.
Divide the dough into four equal portions and form each into a round ball. Take a sheet of baking paper and roll out one of the balls to form a 20cm circle, approx 3-4mm thick. Repeat with remaining three pieces of dough, then cover all with clean tea towels and allow them to rise in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 200 C/400 F.
Bake each base for 8-10 minutes before adding toppings. Then bake a further 10-15 minutes until bases are golden around the edges and toppings are cooked through.
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