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What to do when your 8-year old nephew comes to visit? Make pizza, of course! Well, not of course, actually. I didn’t think of it until we exhausted Sorry, Monopoly, and gin rummy. But it did turn out to be a brilliant idea as dad had just received a baking stone for Christmas, and my nephew Austin loves pizza. And we both enjoyed a great dinner together.

I told him if he helped me make it and didn’t make too many faces I would put him on my website and he would be famous. That seemed to get his attention. He thought the dough was “slimy and gross” but he loved picking his own toppings, and the finished product was awesome.

The following method I patched together from recipes in both Joy of Cooking and Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe. I made two batches of dough, four pizzas in all, with varied toppings. Next time I’ll be a bit more patient with stretching out the dough so I can get it even thinner. Look to the end of this post for some excellent links about pizza from other food bloggers. You can use all purpose flour instead of the bread flour that is called for in the recipe, but bread flour is higher in gluten than all-purpose flour and will make a crispier crust for your pizza.

The term pizza was first recorded in the 10th century, in a Latin manuscript from Gaeta in Central Italy.[1] Modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish and its variants have since become popular and common in many areas of the world.[2] In 2009, upon Italy‘s request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish.[3][4] Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza Association), a non-profit organization founded in 1984 with headquarters in Naples, aims to “promote and protect… the true Neapolitan pizza”.

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Cooking time: 40 min

full breakfast is a breakfast meal that typically includes baconsausageseggs, other cooked foods and a beverage such as coffee or tea. It comes in different variants and is referred to by different names depending on the area; it is colloquially known as a “fry up” in all areas, however. It is usually referred to as a full English breakfast in England and, therefore, as a “full Irish”, “full Scottish”, “full Welsh”, and the “Ulster fry” in the Republic of IrelandScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland, respectively. It is especially popular in the British Isles, to the extent that many cafés and pubs offer the meal at any time of day as an “all-day breakfast”. It is also popular in other English-speaking countries, particularly countries that were a part of the British Empire. Long-established in British culture, about a fifth of British tourists eat a full English breakfast while on holiday overseas.

Some things are too good to mess about with, so I've kept my English breakfast pretty old-school.

The full breakfast is among the most internationally recognised British dishes along with such staples as bangers and mashshepherd’s piefish and chipsroast beefSunday roast and the Christmas dinner. The full breakfast became popular in the British Isles during the Victorian era, and appeared as one among many suggested breakfasts in home economist Isabella Beeton‘s Book of Household Management (1861). A full breakfast is often contrasted (e.g. on hotel menus) with the lighter alternative of a continental breakfast, consisting of tea, milk or coffee and fruit juices with bread, croissantsbagels, or pastries.

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Cooking time: 25 min
Risotto is one of those dishes that we love to eat, but neither my father nor mother have the patience to make often. It takes about 25 minutes of careful stirring, and every few minutes adding a half cup of hot stock to the rice, as the rice slowly absorbs the liquid it’s in. For this mushroom risotto, mushrooms are sautéed first, then cooked in brandy (or vermouth). Arborio (or any other kind of risotto rice) is cooked slowly with stock and when done, you stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Hungry yet?)

I actually don’t mind watching over risotto, it’s easy enough to do, and you can prepare other things while keeping the corner of your eye on the risotto. The result is so worth the effort!

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Reading time: 2 min