Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tandoori chicken pizza

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Tandoori chicken pizza - Steph's Kitchen

Growing up in a very English household, I didn't experience too much Indian food other than the occasional curry. I've made tandoori chicken in kitchens I've worked in before, but I was never really interested enough to make it at home until a friend of ours made some for us last year.

If you haven't had traditional Indian before, you're missing out! Using yoghurt, tandoori paste and additional spices, he changed my perspective completely. It might have been that he marinated it almost all day before cooking the chicken, or just the fact that adding in the extra spices brought out the flavour ten-fold - but Mr Steph and I still talk about that meal.

From that moment I've had a little bit of a soft spot for tandoori chicken. After Mr Steph loved a tandoori chicken pizza he ordered a few months ago, I decided to recreate it at home one night. It was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment sort of thing, so it's by no means traditional but more my twist according to what I had in the fridge.

During our pizza making, I also perfected how to make crispy pizza base like that of a wood-fire pizza. Tips on how to do this is in the recipe below!

Tandoori pizza up close and personal - Steph's Kitchen

Tandoori chicken pizza.

Makes two thin crust pizzas

For the tandoori chicken

2 chicken breasts, cut into small strips
2 heaped Tbsp mild tandoori paste
1/3 cup sour cream

For the pizza dough

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp yeast
2/3 cup warm water

For the pizza sauce

1/2 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp minced garlic

For the pizza topping

1 1/2 cups  grated cheese
Small handful of baby spinach (around 25 - 30g)

For the garlic sauce (my twist on the traditional)

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Mix the tandoori paste and sour cream together, tossing the chicken pieces through until they are well coated. Pop the chicken in the fridge to marinate. I like to marinate it for at least 40 mins (while my dough is rising), but if you're short on time 15 mins or none at all is fine.

2. Next, onto the dough. Add the flour, salt and yeast to a medium sized bowl, creating a well in the centre for the liquids. Pour in the oil and slowly add your water. I usually add in half the water and start mixing, slowly adding more bit by bit. I find it easier this way as sometimes you don't need all the water. You're looking for the dough to be slightly sticky but not wet.

3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it's smooth (around 3 - 5 mins). Place the dough in a greased bowl (using spray oil or spreading a drizzle of oil around the edges), cover the bowl with cling wrap and tea towel, and place in a warm draft-free place. Allow to rise for 40 mins or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Divide the dough in half, roughly kneading it for 30 or so seconds before thinly rolling out each base - aiming for no more than 3mm. Place each base onto a large sheet of baking paper, large enough for the base with a little bit extra handing over for you to easy hold.

5. Turn your oven on to 180 C / 350 F and place the pizza trays in to heat up with the oven. I've found this is the trick to having that crispy, wood-fire like base.

6. Cook the tandoori chicken on a medium heat until cooked through and the chicken appears dark in places. Try not to cook the chicken any higher than medium as otherwise the tandoori coating will simply burn before the chicken is cooked.

7. Mix up the pizza sauce and spread thinly across both bases. Avoid having it too think as you don't want the pizza to be all sauce!

8. Sprinkle a small amount of your cheese on the bottom, followed by spinach, chicken and then the rest of the cheese. You'll notice that the cheese is quite sparse, but this is the way it should be. The key is to have a small amount of toppings.

Tandoori pizza ready for the oven - Steph's Kitchen

9. Take the pizza trays out of the oven one at a time, and, using the sides of the baking paper, carefully place the pizza (still on top of the baking paper) onto the tray. Slip the pizza back into the oven  and cook for 10 mins, then careful slip the pizza off the paper and onto the tray for another 5 - 10 mins until the cheese and edges are nice and crispy.

10. Mix the garlic sauce ingredients together, drizzling it over the top of the pizza just before serving. Again, definitely not traditional, but it goes together so well!

Steph xo

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Four easy ways to jazz up the simple pancake

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Everyone loves a good pancake. However, maple syrup and butter can get a bit boring after a while! With today being International Pancake Day, here's four ways to make your next pancake a little more interesting.

Flavour with your favourite spread

You can easily put a twist on your usual pancake batter by adding a sweet spread like peanut butter, Nutella or chocolate spread, or your favourite jam. If you're not sure how much spread to add, start by mixing a couple of tablespoons to your mixture then taste to see how much more you need or would like. If you're a Nutella lover, you'll love my Nutella pancakes to take the guess work out of it.

Spreads are also great to simply spread over each pancake. A favourite combination for us lately is cream cheese and strawberry jam. Delicious and easy!

Add a spiced twist

Sweet spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are a great addition to your batter. For those that like to bake, you'd also know these are spices are often found together in recipes. They are also the signature spices in apple pie. I often like to change my white sugar in recipes with brown sugar and add a little cinnamon, just like in my Apple Pie Pancakes.

Go fruity

No, I'm not saying add some sliced fruit (even though this is good!) but get inspired to create a topping with fruit. Create a simple berry compote with mixed berries, pitted cherries or strawberries, using fresh or frozen fruit. For those worried, compote is pretty much just a fruit sauce made with fruit, water and sugar. My PB and J pancakes use a strawberry compote on top for the jelly or jam component.

Another easy idea is stewing up some fruit such as apples or peaches with some spices, water and sugar. Nutmeg and peaches go great together, and cinnamon and apples are perfect partners. I use stewed apples for my Apple Pie pancakes.

Bananas are another great pancake fruit. We love to fry ours off in a generous amount of butter before sprinkling them with brown sugar and cinnamon, creating bananas in a sort of caramel sauce you can drizzle over your pancakes. Bacon goes great with caramelised bananas as well.

Sauce it up

Yes, you could simply add an ice cream topping - but I'm referring to adding sauces such as a chocolate, Nutella or even butterscotch that you make yourself. Trust me, it's so much better! 

If making a sauce sounds a little daunting, try my Nutella pouring sauce or butterscotch sauce. You'll surprise yourself with how easily you'll throw it together.

Steph xo

Friday, 2 January 2015

Top five recipes of 2014

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Well, another year has passed and hasn't it been an exhausting year! (or is it just me?!) Since my little blog started in January 2013, it's had over 70,000 visits to date and I've shared 62 recipes with food lovers like yourself. Thank you for every time you stopped by; liked, commented or shared my recipes and posts on facebook, twitter or instagram; or pinned one of my recipes on Pinterest.

I know you didn't come here to listen to my rambling - so here's the top five, most viewed recipes of 2014! 5: Banana and pear loaf

Unlike some banana breads, my banana and pear loaf recipe was made specifically to put into the average, everyday toaster without falling apart.

>> View banana and pear loaf recipe
Number 4: Sticky carbonara

I'm so happy this recipe made it, as it's still one of my favourite recipes! (But don't tell the other ones that!)

Number 3: Basic pizza dough

This is still a recipe I use on a regular basis, and it never disappoints. 

Also keep an eye out for a pizza recipe coming very soon that will give you tips for wood-fire like pizza bases. 2: Nutella pancakes with Nutella pouring sauce

This one I'm not surprised about at all as there are a lot of Nutella lovers out there! 1: Creamy garlic sauce (for reef and beef)

Not only has this recipe held the number one spot for two years now, it also takes out the spot for the most viewed recipe of all time!
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