Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two flavours PIZZA - and the best dough base!

One flavour is booooooring but two pizzas is too much.....Why not make two in one?
I love spicy chicken and garlicky mushroom!
What are your favourite flavours?

RECIPE for one pizza



180 g white pizza flour (00 strong white flour) + 30 g when kneading
125 ml lukewarm water
10 g fresh yeast(room temperature) or 5g instant
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, one pinch
oregano(dry), one pinch
basil(dry), one pinch
sugar, one pinch

1.Crumble fresh/dry yeast with pinch of sugar, 40 ml lukewarm water and a 1 tbsp flour.Stir and leave to foam for 10-15 minutes

2.Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add olive oil, oregano and basil.Add yeast mixture and the rest of lukewarm water.Mix with a wooden spoon, when the mixture comes together start kneading it using your hands.Add some more flour if the dough is too sticky.Knead for around 5-10 minutes until the dough is very soft.(trust me you will feel the difference). Cover the bowl with a cotton tea towel and put to rise somewhere warm, but NOT hot, until dough has doubled in size - it takes around 1 hour.(remember dough doesn't like draughts!)

3.Preheat the oven 190 C/170 C fan /Gas 5

4.When the dough doubled in size, put it on a lightly floured surface and knead for another 2-3 minutes,roll it out into a large circle and place on a well greased baking tray.

5.Spread with the sauces(one sauce for one half). Sprinkle with cheese and add the toppings for each half.

6.Bake for 30 minutes(I put it on fan for the last 5 minutes)


90g grated cheese
tomato sauce
yellow pepper, 3 slices
1 chicken breast, grilled and chopped
1 red chilli
fresh thyme
sea salt, freshly grounded

TOMATO SAUCE:(ingredients for half a pizza base)

6-7 tbsp tomato purée
1/2 tsp sugar
sea salt, freshly grounded
black pepper, freshly grounded

1.Mix all the ingredients together

Alternatively: use a good quality tomato ketchup


90g grated cheese
garlic sauce
5 mushrooms,sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
 fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, sliced
sea salt, freshly grounded

GARLIC SAUCE:(ingredients for half a pizza base)
6 tbsp double cream
1 and 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
fresh dill, chopped
black pepper, freshly grounded

1.Mix all the ingredients together until you get a nice and smooth consistency

This last piece didn't last for long ;-)

Monday, May 27, 2013


French classic -  BRIOCHE is nothing else than bread enriched with eggs and butter with a very thin crust and tender crumb.''Light and airy'' are the two perfect words to describe it.

RECIPE for 24 small croissants



15 g fresh yeast(room temperature)or 7 g instant (go fresh!fresh!fresh!)
70 ml lukewarm milk
300-350 g bread flour
2 eggs(room temperature)
3 tbsp sugar
100 g butter,soft
strawberries,cut in quarters
strawberry jam(optional)

1 egg, beaten,
almond flakes, handful

1.Crumble yeast into a  bowl add 2 pinches of sugar, lukewarm milk and 2 tbsp flour.Mix until smooth and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.It should be bubbling and foamy after that amount of time.

2.Sift 300g of flour into a large bowl and add yeast mixture ,combine using a wooden spoon.Add lightly beaten eggs and sugar.Mix till the dough comes together.Add a little flour onto a flat surface and knead the dough for around 3 minutes adding just a little flour at a time.The dough should be quite sticky.

3.Place dough back into the bowl and add soft butter.Mix the butter into a dough using your hands until it's completely incorporated and knead for about 10 minutes.Cover the bowl with a cling film and place in the fridge for around 10 hours or overnight.

4.Next day ( or after 10 hours ) sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface and place dough on top. Cut dough in half.Roll out first half into a circle. Using a sharp knife cut dough into 12 pieces.Add a teaspoon of strawberry jam(optional) and a piece of fresh strawberry to the base of the triangle. Start from the base of the triangle roll each one up and curve into a crescent shape, pinch the ends closed.Place (seam-side down) onto a parchment lined baking sheet.Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each croissant, sprinkle with almond flakes.
Let it ''grow'' for 30 minutes.Do the same with the second half of the dough.

5.Preheat the oven to 180 C/160 fan/Gas 4.Bake for 18 minutes.When they get too ''brown'' I cover them with aluminium foil and carry on baking.


Friday, May 24, 2013


Have I mentioned in my last post that we had a gorgeous weather last Sunday?Yep!It WAS gorgeous!And it WAS (by the look of it) the last day of our ''summer''.......it has never stoped raining since then.
The temperature dropped to 7 C(I'm just reminding - it's May!!!I used to like May.....)
but with this horrible and freezing wind it feels like -10 at least!

I finished work at 1pm today,run from the car to the house(nearly blown away by the wind), put my pyjamas on and I've been pottering around in my kitchen all day,poking around in the cupboards...
PLAN FOR TODAY: create a little bit of SUNSHINE ON THE PLATE ;-)

The recipe has been inspired by Asia from www.kwestiasmaku.com,one of my favourite ''food paradise'' with super tasty eats and beautiful photos.You must go and have a look ;-)




2 chicken fillets,diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
400 g pineapple, peeled and diced
1or 2 (if you dare) eye bird chillies, chopped or 1tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil

200 g rice
spring onions,chopped

1.Mix the chicken fillets with red pepper and add chilli.Leave  for 15 minutes.

2.Mix pineapple with honey and also leave it for 15 minutes.

3.In the meantime cook the rice.

4.Pour the olive oil into a pan, warm it up and add chicken and pepper mix.Stir-fry until cooked and add pineapple mix.Cook together for another 3-5 minutes.

5.Serve with rice and sprinkle spring onions on the top.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


What a beautiful day it was!At last we had some sunshine here in the UK!I didn't even mind to water my veg today ;-) .After the last cold and rainy two weeks I was absolutely desperate to get a bit of sun on my bones.And it was just nice to relax in the garden.About a year ago I didn't even now how it felt to have a garden so I make the most of it now.(which in the UK means it's about once a month-if we are lucky) ;-)

I LOVE making yeast dough!Whether it is bread, sweet buns or challah.There is something really magical about the whole process.Like Gordon Ramsey said '' You can switch of and loose yourself in it''.And I might be weird but I find it relaxing.....although kneading is blo*** hard work!!

RECIPE for 2 challahs


250 ml tepid water 
25 g fresh yeast or 8 g instant (I highly recommend fresh!), room temperature
5 egg yolks, room temperature
2 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
4 tbsp sugar
550 g  white bread flour
1 tsp salt

beaten egg
sesame or poppy seeds

1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in sugar, oil,egg yolks, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into six and roll into long strands about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the six strands together firmly and braid a challah.Grease two baking trays and place finished braid on it. Cover with towel and let rise about half an hour.

3.Preheat oven to 180 C/Fan 160 C/Gas 4

4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.

5. Bake for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack before slicing.

I do recommend go on to YOU TUBE and look for some videos how to braid a challah.
My husband even try to make a video of me braiding a challah and............ it is sooo funny and EMBARASSING, so I'm going to keep it to myself ;-)

photo by hubby

photo by hubby

Braided in the same way,somehow they look completely different.???Oh well.....It was my artistic day!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Camera!What an amazing tool!I have never really thought what abilities a camera gives you until I got my first DSLR.I bought it only to take nicer photos of my family and when going on holiday,but it quick became my best friend and a companion in everyday life.It thought me to observe the world not only to look.Photographing food came as a natural choice.And I can't really explain why.The same as I can't explain why I always end up buying a new cookbook every time I walk pass a bookshop.Same as I can't really explain why I endlessly flick through food magazines staring at beautiful images of food on their pages. Food is just mesmerising!

I came across PINKLADY FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR competition by chance, 2 days before the closing date.
''I will enter into this competition next year''I said to my husband,''Why next year?''he asked''You should enter this year, your work is very good''.
''Why not?''I thought.

Few weeks later I received a congratulation email with the information that my photo had been shortlisted!I was over the moon!As I'm at the beginning of my photographic journey I feel honoured and chuffed to be chosen from 5500 images.

The winners reception took place on the 23rd of April at Mall Galleries in London.
It was an amazing day.Truly AMAZING!I had the most important person in my life,my husband accompanying me that day and the atmosphere in Mall Galleries was absolutely magical.It was so exciting to be there and to see other people's work.The images were absolutely outstanding and to see my picture on the wall among the best food shots made me feel really proud.Every single photograph was special, told a different story,made me stop by, look and appreciate it!This is what truly good art should do, intentionally and unintentionally.

To take part in such an amazing event, meet so many great people and to have a chance to speak to my idol, and greatest food photographer, David Loftus  had already made me feel like a winner.And to come 2nd in my category made me believe....believe in me.

I would like to say  THANK YOU to Pinklady Food Photographer of the year team for organizing such an incredible event.
And also a BIG THANK YOU to all my family and friends for all your support, beautiful words, card and flowers.
Love you!

Congratulations to the finalist!!!Great work guys!

For more information go to http://www.pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com/2013/

Friday, May 17, 2013


Every time I cook this soup the smell of fresh basil dances around the house stimulating our taste buds.
I serve it with cheese and basil pancakes if we fancy something different for a change.
 It's a very tasteful ''experience''.




FOR THE STOCK(if you decide to cook a fresh one)

 2 free range chicken legs(leave out for vegetable stock)
1 onion (small)
celeriac,(cut 1/4 of medium sized)
1 stalk celery
2 medium carrots
1 parsnip
3 dried bay leaves
allspice(5 berries)
6 black peppercorns

1 Put all the ingredients into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that has formed. Cover and simmer very gently for 1-2 hours.

2. Strain, put cooked carrots and chicken legs aside(you can use it in this recipe)


2 litres stock(vegetable or chicken)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 jar tomato puree(310 g)
fresh basil, chopped
sea salt, freshly grounded
black pepper, freshly grounded

1.Bring stock to boil and add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.Season well with basil,salt and pepper.

2. I always add cooked carrots(chopped) and chicken legs(also chopped) used for stock.


400 ml milk
160 g plain flour,sifted
40 g melted butter
1 medium free range egg
150 g edam cheese,medium grated
fresh basil, chopped

1 Sift the flour into a medium mixing bowl and add small quantities of the milk still whisk

2. Next add the egg and melted butter to the mixture.Keep whisking to get rid of all the lumps.

3. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and cook your pancakes.It should take only half a minute or so to cook,flip over with a palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.

4. Prepare filling in the meantime.Grate the cheese and mix it with freshly chopped basil in a     medium bowl.

5.Spead cheese and basil filling on each pancakes(allow them to cool first) and roll.Cut each roll into small squares and thread them onto the bamboo skewers.

It looks like it's very complicated, time-consuming recipe but believe me it's easy-peasy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rhubarb and raspberry ETON MESS

Eton Mess is one of the desserts I discovered here in England and  I still wonder HOW COULD I LIVE WITHOUT IT FOR SO LONG!This all-time classic,originally served with strawberries, is another proof that British food is absolutely delicious!


Serves 4


350 g rhubarb,peeled and chopped
100 g raspberries
100 g sugar
400 ml whipping cream
4 large meringue, broken into pieces
few pistachios, crushed

1.Place rhubarb, 50 g raspberries and sugar into a sauce pan.Cook over medium heat until rhubarb and raspberries starts to release some juices and it starts to boil.Mix well and turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 15 min or until rhubarb has cooked down to a mush.

2.Whip cream until soft peaks, add the broken into pieces meringues, stir with a spoon.

3.In a tall glass layer a spoonful of compote,whipped cream,stir and add another layer of compote, remaining raspberries and crushed pistachios on the top.

A little bit of history...... Eton Mess is traditionally served on 4 of June at the prize-giving picnic at Eton College, and is reported to have been sold at the school 'sock' (tuck) shop since the 1930s.
Myth has it that the pudding came after a yellow Labrador sat on a picnic basket, crushing the strawberries and cream inside.The Eton picnickers went ahead and tucked in regardless, enjoying the end result so much that they went on to create the pud.(haha really?)


I came across the recipe couple of years ago in one of the magazines and it has been a regular ''visitor'' on our table.Great idea for a quick dinner.
This chicken is simple and full of flavor. Smoky taste of Parma ham goes so well with rich sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes and melting cheese.Beautiful!!!




5 chicken fillets
5 sun-dried tomatoes
5 stripes of cheese (edam or gouda)
5 slices of Parma ham
olive oil mixed with dried oregano,dried basil and crushed garlic(2 cloves) - I use the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, which is already with garlic and herbs

1.Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 180 C fan /Gas 6.Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a pocket.(be careful not to cut it through).

2.Fill each pocket with one stripe of cheese and one sun-dried tomato.

3.Grease each fillet with olive oil using a brush.Season with freshly ground pepper(Salt is not necessary as cheese and Parma ham is already quite salty).

4.Wrap in Parma ham and put into an oven dish.Bake for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


My favourite!The best!Luscious!The most delicious cake in the whole world!
And easy!Really!



300g plain flour                                           
250g margarine, cut into cubes                  
2 tbsp icing sugar                                        
2 tsp baking powder
3 egg yolks

600ml whipping cream(cold)
4 - 6(depending how firm you like it) gelatine leaves, cut into broad strips OR 90g lemon jelly(which I think is better version)
2-3 tbsp caster sugar (leave out if there is addition of sugar in jelly)


1 tin of caramel
almond flakes(2-3 handfuls)

1.Place all the pastry ingredients into the bowl and mix together using your hands.Divide into two balls(you can flatten them,they will be easier to roll), wrap in a cling film individually and put in a fridge for 1 hour.

2.After 1 hour preheat the oven 190 C/170 C fan/Gas 5.Grease two 20x30 baking tins with butter.Take the pastry(one part) out the fridge.Roll out and use to line one of the baking tins.Put in the oven for around 20-23 minutes(it's ready when it reaches darker biscuit colour).

3.When the first layer of your pastry is ready do the same with the other one.Set aside and let them cool.

4.Prepare the filling.Place the gelatine in a medium bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes, then drain.Pour over a couple of tablespoons of boiling water and stir to dissolve.IF you use lemon jelly,dissolve it in 200ml hot water,let it cool,and leave in the fridge until it starts to thicken.

5.Whip the cream (with sugar) until stiff peaks form.Pour dissolved gelatine(make sure it's not warm, should be lukewarm or even cold) OR pour thickening jelly. Keep whisking for around 1-2 minutes, slower this time.

6.Put the cream on the bottom layer of the pastry(still in the baking pan). Put the second layer on the top.Spread caramel all over the top layer and sprinkle with almond flakes.Chill for 4 hours(or overnight).

                                                   WARNING: IT'S ADDICTIVE!!!!