Friday, May 11, 2007

La pizza rossa

Oh man- what can I say about this pizza?
Last night before I went to sleep, I was muttering to cucciolo mio, about my plans for adapting the recipe to suit every meal of the day..
"You know.. I could do dessert pizza.. like pizza hut's 'apple pie' pizza.. except not disgusting.. in fact yummy.. with apples.. and cinnamon.. and oh!.."

For me, this was pizza dough nirvana.
Squish the baked pie between your fingers, and it slowly rises back to it's original fluffy shape.
And it was quick to make too. I have been searching for this here recipe, for a long time.

I was intending to use the recipe straight out of Tess Kiros' "Apples for Jam" book, but after starting, saw that it called for much more rising time than I was prepared for..
So.. I winged it..

Tessa was right on, when she said:
The dough must be sticky (this is what gives a nice texture to the cooked pizza), so don't feel you've done something wrong or be tempted to add any more flour.... It takes about five minutes to get the dough unstuck from my hands and find my ring.

Recipe for one large pie
1 3/4 cups warm water
10g dry active yeast
1 tsp agave or honey
1 Tbs olive oil
600g (1LB 5oz) flour (I didn't use all of this)

Tomato Topping:
4 Tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove, pressed and minced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3 basil leaves, chopped, or a liberal sprinkling of dried basil

1.Put the water, yeast, agave, olive oil and 3 fistfuls of the flour in a the bowl of a food processor.
Mix until smooth. Cover and leave for about 15 minutes, or until it has a nice layer of froth on top.
2.Place olive oil & garlic in a medium sized frypan, on medium-high heat, and cook until you begin to smell the garlic. Add the tomatoes and basil, and reduce heat slightly.
3.Add flour, in small portions at a time, mixing well in between. Continue adding flour, until dough gets a good consistency- it should be still super sticky.. Mix for a good 4 minutes.
4.Remove dough, and place in a well greased (olive oil) large bowl, and cover with a cloth. Leave in a warm place to rise (about 20 minutes).
5.With well floured hands, and some flour on hand to add to dough, if too sticky.. Turn out dough onto a lined, pizza baking tray. Squish out, until it meets the edges of the pan, and is uniform in thickness. Leaving a nice width crust, use your fingers to make indentations over the remaining pizza.
6.Pour tomato sauce over pizza dough (saving space for the crust). Place pizza in a pre-heated 200C (350F) oven, for about 15-20 minutes, or until crust is nice and golden brown.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Purple food

This past weekend I went to one of my favourite food stores-

Had some delicious lunch- pumpkin & dahl casserole, with brown rice, and bought some organic goodies.

Among the goodies, were a few purple potatoes. I'd never even heard of them, they didn't look that purple on the outside, still the thought of purple potato was too intriguing to pass up..
What a shock of intense purple, that greeted me, as I cut them in quarters!
They taste quite similar to regular potatoes though.
I simply steamed them, and tossed them with chopped parsley, sea salt & olive oil.
I also picked up some purple cabbage.
My brow chakra must be screaming for attention, me thinks.. all this purple.. and wasn't there that grade school tagline- liking purple meant you were sexually frustrated?? hmmn

I made Tessa's cabbage on sourdough toast recipe, from twelve.
Her recipe calls for the use of numerous different cabbages, I just stuck with the purple one.
You basically infuse a fry pan of evo with rosemary. Add garlic & chilli. Some water. The cabbage. Cook, cook, cook & serve on sourdough slices.
I don't know how something so simple can taste so damn good, but this is the best thing I have eaten in a long time..

The salad is a staple favourite of mine (seasonal)..
I love the contrast in textures and flavours it provides.
Baby spinach, avocado, walnuts, dried cranberries, and olive oil.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spinach Canneloni

Ahh how frustrating- I just wrote the post, and suddenly, it was gone.
Ahh well. In it, I confessed that I hate measuring. That even when I follow a recipe, there is a lot of eyeballing & guesstimation. And that I'm sorry, if you've made one of my recipes, and what I said was 1/2 cup of water, was actually 2 :D

So this was one of my own inventions.
Where I just put enough ingredients, til it looks, about right..
Last night I had a girls night in, with my mum & grandma. I made spinach & tofu stuffed canneloni, and a mixed green salad, with apples, walnuts & pine nuts.
We ate it, and watched "Johnny Stecchino".

So there's some: tofu, spinach, 'fried' onion & garlic, nutritional yeast, and pepper in there..
All stuffed in pre-cooked canneloni shells, and then smothered in pasta sauce and baked..

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Patent for a Pig

Yesterday, just hours after receiving an email from Greenpeace, urging me to take action on GE foods, I watched a startling documentary relating to the problematic issue of bio-technology.

The email talked about research, which showed kidney and liver issues arising in rats fed GE food. The researchers deduced that GE food was not safe for rats consumption, and yet Australia has allowed foods containing GE ingredients (with no labelling laws), into our market, and is considering allowing the production of GE crops.
The production of GE crops in America, and other parts of the world is already prolific.

George Bush, a big Monsanto fan and ally, believes that quite directly, those that oppose bio-technology are baby killers, and preventing food from entering the mouths of babes.
Clearly, this is not a production issue though. The world already has enough food to feed the world, and too, if anything GE crops produce a smaller yield than regular crops.

Monsanto, the multinational bio-technology giant behind the massive push(and it has come to shove) towards GE food, began making pesticides. They realised, if they simultaneously engineered crops that would be more resistant to the pesticides, they could at least double their money. So they did.
Their self claimed goal, is to control the global food supply.
This is not a movie, as far as I know, Austin Powers is not planning on saving the day.

I knew a lot of this, but the documentary strung it altogether, illuminating how insidious the deception and greed is.
I felt sick to my stomach. And cried out many times to a bemused cucciolo mio- Those bastards! How do they sleep at night!? How can they get away with this!?

They have already patented the gene maps of their particular crops.
They sell the seed to farmers, and the farmers actually have to pay Monsanto each year, to sow the seeds produced from the previous years crop! -Monsanto sets the price each year.
Further more, the farmers that hold out against Monsanto, and do not buy their seed, are being threatened by cross contamination from GE farms. Monsanto is subsequently suing these guys, for patent breaches, because their crops contain the patented genes!!?
They are planning to patent a pig soon.

The other worrying thing, when taking a pig gene, and placing it in a corn pool, or a jellyfish gene into a cows gene pool- you never quite know how it will turn out.
In cotton as an example- whole new, never seen before proteins have been found.. I don't quite understand the science of it- but it sounds bloody alarming to me!

Monsanto has also been waging a vicious campaign against it's opposition.
People are quickly sacked, silenced or sued.
So the real concerns with GE food are just not getting out- so people can't even make up their own minds!

There is strong anecdotal evidence of animals fed GE feed, suffering fertility issues.
The conception rate has been showed, to often go down to just 30% , with some farmers claiming their entire stock became barren and sterile.

So what to do..
With Monsanto and such businesses being so aggressive and calculating, it can seem like a losing battle..
Their reach and clout, so big, that it seems impossible to escape it's influence altogether..

Buy organic/non-GE (there are hardly any non-GE soy beans crops, globally today)
Support small,independent & local (organic/non-GE) farms
Support organisations fighting against GE food
Write to your Politicians urging for change
While you're at it- vote to impeach Bush & Cheney (hey it couldn't hurt)
Write to companies using GE ingredients, urging change (I know Hormel does!)
Write to Monsanto & tell em where to stick it!
Spread the word!-
Tell anyone that will listen, that you don't eat GE foods, and why
Hey, you could even host your own True food party like I did (this years one is coming soon!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Orange cheesecake with chocolate base

I got the idea for this from one of Tessa Kiros's books (again!)..
I think it was Twelve.. She had a recipe for a blood orange ricotta tart, with a chocolate base.

The combination of chocolate & orange, while not new, appeals to my senses-
The contrast of colours, smells & of course tastes..

I didn't want to use any vegan cream cheese, hydrogenation and all that..
I've never made a tofu baked cheesecake before.. so I looked to"The New Farm" vegetarian cookbook for the basic structure of one.
So far as the base, I basically winged it.

This is tasty- the orange flavour intensified with cooking, while the chocolate softened, overall a lovely combination..
Out of the oven, the tofu went pancake thin though!- next time I'll probably 1/2 the base recipe, and double the cheesecake one. Anyone else had similar problems with tofu cheesecake?

Recipe for one small cheesecake
2Tbs earth balance margarine or similar
4Tbs maple syrup
1/2 cup plain organic flour
3Tbs unsweetened cocoa
Teeny pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla essence
2Tbs orange juice

1 cup silken tofu
2Tbs granulated raw sugar
2Tbs orange juice
Zest of one orange (zest the orange before juicing it!)
1Tbs canola oil

1.In a medium mixing bowl, cream together margarine and maple syrup.
2.Add remaining ingredients, and beat well to combine.
3.Spoon in to a greased pie dish, and put in a pre-heated 180C(350F) oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and place in the freezer until cool to the touch.
4.Meanwhile place all cheesecake ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth and creamy.
5.Pour cheesecake mixture over cooled base, and return to oven for about 30 minutes.