To make up for my temporary insanity in posting a vegan recipe last week, I’m making up for it this week in the most un-vegan recipe I could muster. A triple whammy of animal products- cheese, egg and bacon!
Don’t get me wrong I have no problem eating vegan food every now and then, and those vegan chickpea burgers were yum. But try and separate me from my beloved cheese, eggs and bacon for more than a few days? We’ll have issues.
I was home last weekend in West Cork and stocked up on some of my favourite Cork produce: Gubbeen smoked streaky bacon, and Toonsbridge buffalo Mozzarella. I combined these with some local organic eggs and was pleasantly surprised at how much cheese I could stomach first thing in the morning! You could always leave out the egg and it would be equally nice but please don’t skimp on the garlic butter. This is so delicious and indulgent, it would make the perfect weekend brunch for friends.
1 handful fresh mozzarella (about 1 large ball- I used Toonsbridge)
4 tbsp soft butter
2 crushed garlic cloves
First off you may as well make your garlic butter, just mix together your butter and crushed garlic, add as little or much as you like. My breakfast guest was a wuss so just had plain butter.
Grill you bacon pieces on a medium high heat for a few minutes on each size- you want them well cooked but not crispy. If they’re very oily after cooking dab them a little with some kitchen paper- don’t dry them out though.
Fry your eggs in a little oil while the bacon is cooking, do them to your taste runny or set.
Toast your bread and smear with some garlic butter. Tear up the mozzarella and lay out on the bread and pop under the grill for a few minutes until melted and gooey. Then top with your bacon and egg and serve!
Every now and then you make a super quick dish for dinner out of the few ingredients lying around your kitchen, and it ends up being so good people think it must have taken more time and effort than it did. I love those dishes. This salad was prepared in literally less than 5 minutes, maybe it was 3 minutes. I had a ball of Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozzarella in the fridge that I had picked up in the market that weekend, a few figs (you could use peaches, apricots, plums or any other soft fruit or berry that you have handy) that never got used in a dessert I was planning, and the rest of the ingredients were just stuff I would always have lying around in my fridge and cupboard.
I wasn’t even planning on blogging this, as it was a spur of the moment dish, but I put a picture of it up on instagram, and people seemed to like it so much, that I thought I would share it on my blog, so sorry for less photos than usual! I had this as a main for dinner, but it would also make a great, stress-free starter for a dinner party. Just double up the ingredients as you need. I highly encourage you to make this, I have yet to eat another meal that took this quick to make, but tasted so mouth-wateringly delicious!
Ingredients (Serves 1 as a main course):
1 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella
3 fresh figs
1 handful of mixed dark green salad leaves
1 tbsp flaked almonds
1 glug of balsamic vinegar (I used Llewellyn’s Irish Apple Balsamic which had a lovely sweetness to it)
1 tsp honey
Put a dry frying pan on a high heat, add almonds and toss until golden, about 45 seconds (they burn quickly so be careful)
Toss your leaves in a glug of the balsamic vinegar until they are just coated.
Cut two of your figs into quarters and lay them out over the leaves. Quarter the third fig only half way down so they fig is still attached together, place this in the centre of your salad.
Roughly tear up your ball of mozzarella and scatter over the salad, place one chunk of mozzarella within the fig in the centre of the salad.
Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and drizzle with the tsp runny honey. It’s that easy!
Last Friday I decided to be very good and make a home-made pizza from scratch! The dough and everything! It always seemed so difficult, but in fact it’s really easy. While you do have to leave the dough for an hour or so to rise, you can make a big batch and it will hold in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively you could freeze individual portions of the dough and defrost them when you need. Don’t let the long instructions put you off, it’s actually easy.
I decided to make mine whole wheat as I was being healthy (well.. kind of, a made this after a few mojitos), but if the thought of whole wheat pizza dough feels sacrilegious to you, just use plain white flour in the exact same way.
I decided to keep my topping simple, but it was really tasty. I made a light tomato sauce, added some Gubbeen Smokehouse Chorizo, Toonsbridge dairy mozzarella and basil. By now most people are aware of my obsession of all things from Gubbeen, especially their chorizo and smoked cheese, but not many people are aware of Toonsbridge Dairy. It’s an amazing dairy set up by the people who run The Real Olive Stall in The English Market, Cork. They basically imported a herd of buffalo and are making Irish mozzarella and ricotta and it’s the nicest mozzarella I have ever had! I think all our rain must make the grass really juicy and the milk really milky!
Of course you can just put whatever toppings you want on your pizza, but I recommend trying the pizza sauce.
Ingredients (makes two big pizzas):
For the dough base:
400g Whole-wheat flour
40g Plain Flour (for kneading)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
10g active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
350ml warm water
Handful chopped fresh basil
For the sauce:
Large handful cherry tomatoes
pinch black pepper
1/2 tsp honey
handful chopped fresh basil
1 ball Toonsbridge mozerlla
Chopped chorizo (allow about an index finger sized piece per person)
Fresh basil leaves
1. In a large bowl, mix the honey with warm water until melted and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let stand for about 15 minutes, until it’s foamy on top.
2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the water and then gradually add all your whole wheat flour until it starts to resemble a dough. At this point add in your fresh basil. Use the white flour to cover the surface you are using to form your pizza dough. Knead your dough on this until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth. You can add more white dough if you need too. At this point you may begin to wonder why you bothered, but I promise it comes together very well.. just be patient!
3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I went for cocktails, came back 3 hours later and it was still perfect!
4. When the dough is doubled, place it back out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for two pizza bases. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
5. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further, you don’t want it too thick or it will be bready, make the bases thin. Place on a well oiled pizza pan. I advise letting it cook for about 5 minutes and then take it out and put on the toppings before putting back in to cook.
6. For the sauce, just blitz all the ingredients in a blender and pour on to the pizza base.
7. Lightly fry chorizo before putting it on the pizza, and chop up the mozzarella and sprinkle over the top. I poured the oil from the chorizo on top of the sauce for added flavour.
8. Put back in oven and let cook for about 15 minutes depending on thickness etc. Serve with the fresh basil on top.