Happy 2011! When I was a kid I remember my Aunt telling me the older she got the faster the years seemed to go, at the time I think I was waiting for Christmas and the days seemed interminable. I figured she was so old she was a bit confused (she would have been all of 50 at the time..), but I think I get it now.
Each new year brings that very slight feeling of well concealed panic. Did I achieve anything last year? Am I a better person? What was on my list to do? As per I cant actually find my 2010 resolutions, I think they were in the back of the diary that was in my handbag when it got nicked , but in line with the 15 years before that they probably ran something along the lines of losing 15 kg, drinking less, exercising more (probably with something like the Auckland 1/2 marathon pencilled hopefully in), learn a new language (non non non!)......Actually I did start a supperclub, and my cooking classes, so I am chuffed with that, but they probably were not even ON the list....
A new approach for 2011, as clearly the old one isn't working, and committed to cyberspace so I cant actually lose them.......
Take my lunch to work in my nifty new sandwich bag, so I always have something yummy, instead of spending a fortune I food I can do better myself.....
Appreciate all the good things that come my way. It will be a challenging year I think, so it will be good to remember all the good stuff (I am so lucky, there is so much good stuff)
Drink more red wine..and maybe a little less Chardonnay.
Be bold. Especially when I don't feel like it.
Stick to my food budget, eat well, and save the rest for a lovely holiday in Europe at the end of they year. Even if it means visiting WWI battlefields with people old enough to be my father........
Remind Mr PK what a star he is, even on days when he watches WWII marathons on the History channel, or Quintin Tarantino box sets.
Go for a walk every day.
OK, that's me. Enough of the navel gazing, how about some food?
I had some goat cheese left over from Christmas, and lovely salad greens. In my London days we would sometimes go to Pizza Express at Canary Wharf for work lunches, people leaving etc. I always had the Goat Cheese salad with Dough Balls. Little balls of bread with garlic butter to dip, yum. I am not sure these are exactly right, to be honest I cant really remember , but they were tasty, and a nice change from croutons.
Goat cheese and bacon salad with "dough balls" - with apologies to Pizza Express
For the salad I used baby salad greens with some pea shoots, then added some sweet little baby tomato's (needless to say not grown by me), crispy fried bacon and a crumble of fresh sweet goat cheese. If you don't like goat cheese then use a soft blue, or even a crumble of cheddar. The dressing was made in seconds, shake the following in a small jar
3 tbsp really good olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp of runny honey
salt and pepper
For the dough balls I use my go to pizza base recipe, which is based on one from Dish mag, the Italian issue
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil (use the good stuff, it adds flavour here)
Put your water in a jug and stir in the sugar & yeast. Leave in a warm place to froth for 10 minutes or so. If it does not froth your yeast is dead (RIP yeast) and is no good, get a new jar.
Put your flour, salt, and rosemary in a bowl, and add the olive oil and about ¾ of your water yeast mix. Stir by hand, or use the dough hook on your food mixer. If working by hand, add as much water as necessary for most of the flour to come together, but don’t over wet it. Turn the whole mess onto a floured bench, bring it together with your hands and begin kneading. This is simply the action of pushing the dough outward with one hand, turning it with the other hand and repeating the process. The whole manoeuvre, besides being a great workout for your bingo wings, is designed to stretch the gluten in the flour, making it springy and elastic. You can feel the dough changing as you knead, it will feel ‘short’ and tight when you begin, but gradually become more elastic, you will know it is done when you can press your finger lightly on the dough and it will spring back.
Wipe the inside of your bowl lightly with oil, and put the dough back in to rise, again in a warm spot covered with some cling film. It will double in size in about 1-1 ½ hours. Punch the dough with your fist (deeply satisfying) and turn out again onto a lightly floured bench. You can now roll out into one large pizza or several smaller ones, and either freeze, or cook.
For the dough balls I shaped half the dough into little walnut sized balls (the rest I popped in the freezer, ready to whip out for potato pizza.) Cover the balls with a tea towel and let them rest for 20 minutes or so, then brush with milk, sprinkle on some sea salt and pop into a 200C oven for 15 minutes.
Serve with garlic butter, made by mixing softened butter with chopped fresh garlic. OK, not the healthiest of dips, and you could use any dip you liked, but I wanted my little taste of London, so garlic butter it had to be. These are moreish, tasty, cheap and cute to look at, next time I will add some grated cheese to the dough, for even more savoury yumminess.
Off to the garden centre now, I shall add one more thing to my goals for 2011. To grow a decent tomato. I wont be making a lot of sauce with this years crop..........