On the menu – The Magic Fridge plus some Nigella and Lorraine Pascale

Friday

This is the Sorrento Pizza from The Magic Fridge, a lovely book that has a collection of recipes that you can make in bulk, stick in the fridge or freezer and then use as a base for other recipes in the book. There’s a pizza chapter, with various recipes you can use your very quick to defrost pizza bases and one of the recipes is the Sorrento pizza. The pizza bases themselves are really quick and easy to make. The tomato topping for the Sorrento pizza is quite interesting, I usually use passata for pizza sauces (if I can, I will use passata for everything, I’m not that keen on actual tomatoes, too watery and not that much taste) but in this case I thought I would trust the recipe and go for actual tomatoes. You deseed the tomatoes, chop them up and then let them drain in a sieve for 20 minutes with salt, sugar and a little bit of cayenne pepper. I wasn’t totally convinced I’d like this but oh my goodness, the tomatoes, once cooked on the pizza were gorgeous, so flavourful! The pizza base was lovely too and just the simple mozzarella and basil, yum! I am a happy person that I’ve got five more pizza bases in the freezer!

Sunday

This is the Tomato Chilli Relish from The Magic Fridge, made as I had bought too many tomatoes for the pizza and I wanted to use them up. I only had 500g (well, actually I had a bit more, I saved some tomatoes as I had a feeling I may be having some more Sorrento pizza), so I made half the amount of the recipe, which turns out to be not that much, just a small, not totally full, jar.

I had to try some and it is delicious; smokey (as I used smoked paprika, you could use chilli powder or cayenne pepper) and with a distinct Thai vibe. It goes amazingly well with cheese.

I can definitely see me making this recipe again, I think it’s particularly great if you have excess tomatoes laying around but I think this stretches the concept of The Magic Fridge a bit because although it’s great to have in the fridge, it’s a very minor thing to build a meal around. The relish lasts two to three days in the fridge, so I can see lots of cheese, bread and relish combos coming up.

Monday

This was one of the suggestions for using the tomato relish, rocket salad with shavings of Parmesan and a olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing (with the relish flung on liberally of course). I added some veggie sausage to make it more filling and the whole thing was really nice.

The last of my tomato relish *sob* (I will definitely have to make some more). This was ‘fancy’ cheese on toast made with a lovely layer of the relish between the cheese and the rather nice sour dough granary demi baguette I got from Waitrose.

Tuesday

Doesn’t look like much but this was actually quite nice. It’s my Eggless Tortilla Pie, adapted from Nigella’s latest book (she cooked it this week on TV, hence the link to the recipe). My version didn’t exactly come out looking like Nigella’s, I think that she must have been using bigger tortillas because my household’s shallowish round dishes, basically two Victoria Sponge tins and a pie tin (I made three), my tortillas fitted exactly, so I couldn’t push up the edges to make the ‘tortilla bowl’. So what I ended up with, was crispier, slightly more fancy quesadillas, but still, the tortilla pies did have the fact that I could cook all three at once, going for them and it would be a bit tricky doing the cheese and chilli sauce topping too and I like how you can potentially play around with the fillings, sooo I think I probably will be making these again, just with I could find bigger tortillas.

Christmas to me equals ginger and spice, so I’ve been craving heavily spiced biscuits for a week or two now. In fact I’m not sure what I was craving more, the actual biscuits or the wonderful process of melting together all the sugar, butter and spice on the hob, in the process of making them, ooh that always smells so good.

Anyway, I settled on Lorraine Pascale’s Lebkuchen Style Cookies from her book, Bake. These were lovely to make and very delicious to eat, with that magic, often hard to reach combo of being both crisp and slightly chewy plus extremely spicy in a Christmas-y way. There’s meant to be a lemon icing, which I can imagine would be delicious too but I ran out of time and besides, I do not have a kitchen big enough to ice and then dry, that many biscuits (I made 29 in total).

Thursday – pizza bases updated

So, when I made pizza last Friday I made another five bases and stuck them in the freezer, almost as instructed (the only difference being that I ran out of baking parchment for the last three bases, so improvised with cling film). I then kept meaning to take the bases out, once frozen and repacking them separately before putting back in the freezer but I didn’t. So, when I finally got round to doing it, the pizza bases were one big frozen, very hard to separate, lump, particularly (unsurprisingly) the three bases separated by cling film. I did manage to rescue the other two bases (which was lucky, as that was how many I needed for my meal) but the cling filmed bases had to be consigned to the bin. Of the two bases I rescued, one split in two, as I was separating it from the frozen lump (but was still edible) and it was very noticeable that whereas one pizza base was nice and thin, the other was definitely a bit deep pan. When/if I make these bases again, I will have to triple check that I have enough baking parchment and possibly be Great British Bake Off level of accurate and weigh my dough to make sure the pizza bases are all the same size. As for the actual pizzas, this time I did just use passata for the tomato base and yes, using actual tomatoes as in the Sorrento recipe is actually much nicer.

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