No Bread Pizza – for healthy days

No Bread Pizza – for healthy days

It is one of those days where you’ve spent the past weekend being inundated with free food and drink (in my case choir tour) and consequently eat a lot of cake because it’s free and you’re a student so your brain is always programmed to stock up with free food wherever you go. On top of that you are exhausted so end up buying a lot of chocolate on top of this because chocolate (while bad for your voice) is the best thing to sustain you through a long day. Finally you are also a food blogger so can’t possibly say no to eating three courses when you have already obliged yourself (and promised those around you) that you will blog about it. (see the Italian Isle of Man post.) Right about now you are where I am now, feeling like I’ve eaten an elephant over the weekend, caffeine withdrawal headache, hangover and sleep deprivation. In order to counteract this I have decided to have a day of abstinence/early night/detox, but abstinence doesn’t mean it can’t be tasty!
Here is the recipe for what I cooked myself for dinner, admittedly I have just gone and taken one of the best bits out of a pizza, BUT trust me it is still very filling, low calorie, nutrient rich etc, plus I woke up after this day feeling healthier, happier and ready to get back to the rich foods that normally fill up this blog.

Serves 1
3 tomatoes, chopped in to quarters
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 small courgette, cut into circles
150g Portobello mushrooms (ideal) or chestnut (chea

per)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
(NB If you like you could also add red onion or aubergine or sweet potato to bulk it up)
salt
pepper lemon juice
basil (ideally fresh but I used dried and it was fine)
(I added smoked paprika to this the other day as well and trust me mind was blown!)
1/2 ball low-fat mozzarella

Place the veg and garlic in a flat dish and sprinkle liberally with salt, a dash of lemon juice, some black pepper and LOTS of Basil. Now I’m not sure how long to cook this in the oven (I only have a microwave), but feel free to experiment, I expect you are looking about 15mins at 180oC. In the microwave, cook the veg on high for about 7-8mins. Scatter with torn bits of mozzarella and put back in the microwave or oven for about 2mins, until melted, enjoy…..

Of course this isn’t an exclusively healthy dish. You could add more mozzarella, add goats cheese, serve with garlic bread, drizzle with olive oil or pesto, add pepperoni or chicken or even for extra decadence try four cheeses and bacon….

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For the love of Campari

For the love of Campari

            If there is one thing my mother loves in the world more than her children (although possibly not her job) it is Campari. A treat when on holiday, straight, over ice with a Mediterranean view and her children cooking the dinner. So it was inevitable when my sister and I and our 4 friends turn up at a holiday house in Croatia at 10pm after 6 hours or so of travelling, the only drink we had to offer to them on the first introduction to my parents was, Campari?

                                             

            Luckily our friends soon developed a (possibly polite) taste for Campari and we settled down into a routine of beach, card games, scrabble, aperitifs and 3-course dinners. Since this was the same place as we had visited the year before I knew exactly how the lie of the land was food wise. Each morning my mum and I (and occasional extras – although the number of volunteers diminished as the holiday went on and the nights got later-) would go down to the fish market followed by a coffee, veg market and the custard doughnut shop, a staple of every Croatian holiday. The veg market in Starigrad, Hvar is a wonderful variety of fresh fruit and veg, olive oil and honey. Except for the clouds of terrifying wasps food lovers paradise. I was especially popular by the end of the week with our chosen stall (possibly due to the mountains of fruit and veg I bought each day), so much so, we would be presented with huge handfuls of grapes, which, once shaken clean of the ravenous wasps, would be gratefully received. The lady and I, although hindered by language barriers, communicated in a lovely mix of sign language, Italian and basic English. Whatever I did, she seemed charmed, and gave me a hug at the end of the week.
            I had many glamorous assistants in the kitchen, from the actual keen cooks (who even gutted about 100 sardines at one point..) to the more occasional cameos (who discovered whipping egg whites is very time consuming..) We ended up eating a huge array of dishes. The barbecue was put to good use (the part of the cooking considered ‘man’s work’), 
                                                 
with a favourite being the grilled sardines, fresh from the morning.  The veg ran out every day as we made vats of roasted veg (oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary), cherry tomatoes (capers, onions, basil, oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper) and potatoes (oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper). One of the unusual dishes we had was Thai pork belly and egg fried rice cooked by one of my sisters friends, delicious and my dad didn’t even complain at the spiciness! We even attempted various puddings, such as tiramisu, peach tarte tatin  and honey and lavender pannacotta using local produce. We even tried to make Croatian delicacies, of which the Ajav sauce was a big hit. Roasted aubergine and blackened red pepper pureed with oil, paprika, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. Another delicious invention was the fava bean dip. A sort of chunky houmous made by boiling the beans with lemons and mashing them up with olive oil, salt and pepper.
                                               
The most interesting foodie experience in Croatia though had to be the sun dried tomatoes. One of my friends had bought her own homemade sun dried tomatoes that were so good we had polished them off by the second lunchtime. The only thing to do was make some more. So on my friend’s instruction we cut up cherry tomatoes, salted them, put rosemary on top and laid them in the sun for a couple of days. Hey Presto they shrivelled up! We washed them in white wine vinegar (or what we assumed it was – it was called alkoholic and looked like vinegar-) and jarred them with olive oil, garlic and rosemary, delicious.
It seemed such a shame when we had to go home to leave our little routine, but I held on till the very last minute and had the leftover roasted vegetables for breakfast on the ferry home while the others had pastries. I love roasted veg almost as much as my mother loves Campari.