Tag Archives: pizza

The Italian Job – Day 3

Day three will be ingrained in my memory for more than any of the delicious pizza. it’s just so sticky. And really for me, with my complete aversion to anything sticky (note- anyone spills juice on the floor in my house- kids run for cover- they KNOW) it was a real mental challenge.

Italian Bread Making

Rolling out Pizza

At this stage I’d like to say that mixing the ingredients and the doughs is second nature- but sadly not.  But it is getting easier as the muscle memory is starting to kick in.  And they we started mixing the ciabatta (slipper) dough. Not the oldest of breads, which is unusual, I feel for something Italian (as everything there- so they’ll tell you- is over 2000 years old!), ciabatta was first baked in Verona, in 1976.

Ciabatta is something I’ve only made in my trusty Kenwood, it always makes a mess too.  I think I might try it by hand.  But only on a good day when I’m not under pressure.  As really ciabatta should be the Italian for patience.

Some Bread for the display

Some Bread for the display

We made other Italian bread too- and I especially liked the “inclusion” breads where we added two different types of pesto- walnut & rocket was really good. But by now, my favourite time of the day is when we all sit down and eat our lunch together.  And by day 3 we know each other quite well- so there’s a fair bit of slagging.

But it’s a great way to reinforce together what we’ve learnt.  It’s a change of pace from the frantic running around checking rising, turning dough, and keeping under the radar from those French Masters eyes!



Things I learnt today:

Ciabatta dough is stickier than you could ever imagine

Walnuts can be nice in pesto (who’d have thought?)

Follow the method religiously and you (hopefully) won’t fail!


Tomorrow is, well, I’ve no idea- I’m dreaming of doughnuts- so you never know!







Lots of Waffles- my topping recipes

If you are a certain age in Ireland, if you hear the word “waffles” you will break out into the corniest American Accent, singing accolades of a well known brand of potato waffles.

Which probably gets a little tiring for my kids…. but while we had copious amounts of waffle batter made up from a Sunday breakfast, I decided to try out some alternative toppings!

I decided to make savoury and sweet.  And no, it’s not going to be another pancake parade.  Thankfully.


250g Plain Flour

1 Teaspoon of Baking powder

20g Caster sugar

1 teaspoon of Salt

475ml Milk

2 Eggs

30ml Vegetable oil


Weigh all the dry ingredients, place in a large mixing bowl. Break the eggs into the milk and beat the mixture.

Add the egg and milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and mix all ingredients together until all the large lumps have been broken up. Do not over mix otherwise the waffles will be heavy when cooked.

Chia Seeds and Yogurt Waffles-

In a bid to be healthy, and because Chia Bia are just down the road, this was the first one to try.  With some soft fruit.  So lots of Omega 3 into the diet.  And some anti oxidents which is good news.


Waffles with yoghurt and Chia Seeds

Waffles with yoghurt and Chia Seeds

Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Pizza Waffles

Pizza Waffles

Secondly, with pizza toppings.  A bit kitsch I know but my youngest loves waffles, and pizza, so it’s worth a try.  Good Quality basil to tear on top and mozzarella are essential.  

And last but not least, avocado and poached egg.  As who doesn’t love avocado!  (And I was in the enviably position of having two PERFECTLY RIPE ones!)  This was, without a shadow of a doubt my absolute favourite.  Of course the obligatory salt and pepper are an absolute must.


Waffles with Avocado and Fried Egg

Waffles with Avocado and Fried Egg

I have to say it was a great night’s eating! And of course, the youngest insisted on her own choice of toppings….


Waffles with Nutella & Ice Cream

Waffles with Nutella & Ice Cream- Styled by Jords Pim


You had me at – Pizza

I’m getting far too enthusiastic planning our Demonstration next week of Pizza and dough.  Dough is the basis of all breads, and pizza dough is one of the most versatile.  Toppings are always varied, but the favourite in our house is roasted duck, sliced, then added to the base with passata. Then topped with brie and mozzerella.  We had a similar one in Fat Freddy’s in Galway years back, and it’s stuck.

Pizza night

Pizza night

However it starts off very simply…

Pizza dough proving away nicely

Dough proving away nicely

I simply use a white yeast dough with a little olive oil added. *disclaimer* I make this in my kenwood.  Nigel makes it by hand. It doesn’t really make a difference which method is used.  The most important thing is to leave the dough to rest.

The pizza dough resting

The pizza dough resting

Pizza History

The word “pizza” was first documented in 997AD in Gaeta, Italy.  So it’s been around a while.  In fact ingredients added to dough, although maybe not just as a topping have been around longer than that.  The Ancient Greeks had a flat bread called plakous which was flavoured with toppings like herbs, onion, and garlic.  It wasn’t until the 16th Century in Naples that the tomato/ dough combination became popular. In 1889, a pizza was made in honour of Queen Margerhita of Savoy.  Made from tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, to represent the colours of the Italian Flag.  Even still, this dish was seen as “poor” food.

Purists, especially in Italy, consider the Margerhita and the Marinara (fish) types to be the only two acceptable varieties.  Mind you- the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana”(“True Neapolitan Pizza Association”), which was founded in 1984, has very specific rules that must be followed for an authentic Neapolitan pizza. These include that the pizza must be baked in a wood-fired, domed oven; that the base must be hand-kneaded and must not be rolled with a pin or prepared by any mechanical means (i pizzaioli— the pizza makers— make the pizza by rolling it with their fingers) and that the pizza must not exceed 35 centimetres in diameter or be more than one-third of a centimetre thick at the centre. The association also selects pizzerias all around the world to produce and spread the verace pizza napoletana philosophy and method.  So now!

Dough is often seen these days as the “bad” food.  Bread is not trendy, or apparently healthy.  I always proclaim the “everything in moderation”.   And when eating pizzas I tend to stick to thin bases rather than the double/ triple/ stuffed crusts.  Every once in a while this meal will not kill you! And I guarantee with so much washing up, it’s only really a meal for a weekend night.  Still, make them, don’t buy them- except in an emergency!

Homemade versus Delivery Pizza:

There is a time commitment, but the simplicity of the ingredients make it a far healthier option.

Let a margerhita with fresh basil transport you, airport hassle free, to Naples.

You can also put as many toppings on as you want without extra charges!

No soggy bottoms or luke warm pizzas to contend with.

You can eat it for breakfast!

Getting it onto the table is not dependent on the weather!

Sloppy Joe

Sloppy Joe

Contact me for information about Pizza and Dough Demos.



Pizza Night

For the first weekend in so long that I can’t remember, we have nothing that we HAVE to do to any particular timetable.

So we decided to do together what we love best. Cooking. So Nigel has made bread a la Richard Bertinet.

Fougasse to test the oven temp

Fougasse to test the oven temp

The pizza dough resting

The pizza dough resting



Jordan is making two puddings; chocolate, cardamon and strawberry swiss roll, chocolate shortbread hearts, and I am making a sloppy joe sauce for the pizza, roasting off duck breast and making fresh passata.

Sloppy Joe in progress

Sloppy Joe in progress

Fresh Passata in the making

Fresh Passata in the making


This is my sloppy joe recipe;

500g of good beef mincemeat

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 tin of unchopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons each of tomato ketchup and BBQ sauce (unusual for me I know!)

1 tablespoon each of Worchester sauce, dark brown sugar and Cider Vinegar.

Brown off the mince in a pan with the olive oil over a high heat, then lower the heat right down and add the remainder of the ingredients.

And the pizza-

Sloppy Joe Pizza

Sloppy Joe Pizza


Our other pizza’s included; Jords one, which comprised of salami, ham and cheese.

Jordan's pizza

Jordan’s pizza

Robert’s pizza had duck, ham, red onion, pesto, passata, pepper, salami, cheese and a little sloppy joe.

Robert's pizza pre-cooking and pre-sloppy joe

Robert’s pizza pre-cooking and pre-sloppy joe

Nigel and I shared a pizza, his half with sloppy joe, and mine with Sheridan’s goats cheese, and pesto added after cooking.  Delicious.

Combination pizza

Combination pizza

Desserts were really good, although we were very stuffed after the pizza!

Chocolate, cardamon and orange swiss roll with strawberries

Chocolate, cardamon and orange swiss roll with strawberries

And our first time making chocolate shortbread hearts

Chocolate strawberry hearts

Chocolate strawberry hearts

All in all we’ll all have to have a very good run in the morning!!!