Cakes & Bakes: Piadina

Piadina with olives, hummus and rocket | H is for Home

Prior to making these flatbreads, I’d never heard of piadina. That’s strange really, seeing as flatbreads from other countries are so well known – pitta, tortilla, chapati, roti…

Ball of piadina dough | H is for Home

Piadina is from the Emilia-Romagna region of north eastern Italy. It’s an area renowned for its food; the same area that produces Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and the origin of pastas such as tortellini, lasagne and tagliatelle.

Stack of freshly-made piadina | H is for Home

This basic flatbread is traditionally made of plain white flour, lard or olive oil, salt and water and served as a street food. It’s eaten as an accompaniment to cheeses, cold meats and vegetables or with sweet fillings such as jam or chocolate spread.

These are quick, easy and delicious – devour them while they’re still warm with a selection of dips!

Piadina
Yields 4
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp salt
  3. 15ml/1tbsp olive oil
  4. 105ml/7tbsp lukewarm waterHome-made piadina ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl; make a well in the centre
  2. Add the oil and water to the centre of the flour and gradually mix in to form a dough
  3. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 4-5 minutes until smooth and elastic
  4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oild cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes
  5. Heat a griddle over a medium heat
  6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each into 18cm/7-inch round
  7. Cover until ready to cook
  8. Lightly oil the hot griddle, add one or two piadine and cook for about 2 minutes or until they are starting to brown
  9. Turn the piadine over and cook for a further 1-1½ minutes
  10. Serve warm
Notes
  1. If you don't have a griddle, a large heavy frying pan will work just as well
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Adapted from Bread
Adapted from Bread
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Piadina recipe | H is for Home

Home-made tomato sauce

Home-made tomato sauce | H is for Home

Justin doesn’t normally get involved with the Thursday recipes – well, apart from taking the photos! However, this week, he’s actually done the cooking too. Don’t worry though, you’re in safe hands – as he was a chef for about 15 years before re-inventing himself as Mr H is for Home – and he does most of the savoury dishes in our household anyway.

Finely sliced garlic and olive oil in a saucepan | H is for Home Finely sliced garlic, tomato pureé and olive oil in a saucepan | H is for Home

We mentioned this lovely all-purpose tomato sauce in last week’s pizza post. Most people list tinned tomatoes in their store cupboard essentials, but we always have batches of this home-made tomato sauce in the fridge or freezer.

Home-made tomato sauce with basil | H is for Home

It’s quick – only taking about an hour – and very straightforward too.

Home-made tomato sauce being sieved through a colander | H is dfor Home Sieved home-made tomato sauce | H is for Home

It’s so flexible. The addition of ground black pepper and Parmesan makes for a simple yet delicious pasta sauce. It also provides the base for a myriad of other recipes. You can add all sorts of ingredients to it for some wonderful dishes – meatballs, chicken, fish, olives, roasted aubergines & peppers to name but a few. If you reduce it down and concentrate it a little further it makes the perfect tomato sauce for pizza topping. The recipe can be scaled up to suit requirements. You can also tweek quantities to suit your own taste – more garlicky, more olive oily etc… and add other herbs if you like too.

Storing home-made tomato sauce for freezing | H is for Home

We make up a batch of home-made tomato sauce every few weeks and put a couple of two-portion containers into the freezer – ready to grab as required.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Cakes & Bakes: Italian cheesecake with almond crumb base

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Slice of home-made Italian cheesecake with almond crumb base | H is for Home

Lidl had a ‘Taste of Italy‘ special this week so I stocked up on a few Mediterranean bits & bobs when I popped in. I bought a couple of tubs of ricotta, not quite knowing what I was going to do with them. Of course… Italian Cheesecake!

Ground almonds, sugar and butter in a saucepan

I fancied making it with a crunchy base using amaretti biscuits but I couldn’t find any in the shops. No need to panic, I improvised and made my own almond crumb base.

Almond crumb cheesecake base

ricotta and sugar mixture

I’ve made a fair few different cheesecakes in the past. I think this is almost up there with the all-time favourite Gordon Ramsey version.

making Italian cheesecake mixture

uncooked Italian cheesecake

It’s best served cold, straight from the fridge, perhaps with an after-dinner espresso.

Italian cheesecake straight from the oven

Home-made Italian cheesecake

Fancy giving it a try? Pin the recipe for later!

Italian cheesecake with almond crumb base
Serves 6
Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
For the base
  1. 40g/1½oz butter
  2. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  3. 30g/1oz caster sugar
  4. pinch of salt
For the cake
  1. 500g/1lb 2oz ricotta cheese
  2. 150g/5oz caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. juice from ½ lemon
  6. 25g/1oz plain flour
  7. 15g/½oz flaked almonds, toasted (optional)Italian cheesecake with almond crumb base ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF
  2. Grease an 18cm/7-inch loose-bottomed cake tin
  3. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and put over a low heat until melted
  4. Remove from the heat add the almonds and sugar and combine well
  5. Tip the mix out into the cake tin and press uniformly into the base using the back of a spoon
  6. Bake the base for 10 minutes, set aside and allow to cool
  7. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and caster sugar until smooth
  8. Gently beat the eggs in a measuring jug before adding gradually to the cheese & sugar mix. Stir well after each addition
  9. Mix in the vanilla extract and then the lemon juice
  10. Sift the flour into the mix and combine well
  11. Pour the mixture on to the almond crumb base and bake for a hour
  12. After the hour, turn the oven off and leave the door ajar allowing the cake to cool in the oven
  13. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the toasted flaked almonds over the top
  14. Allow to cool in the tin completely before removing
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Crescia

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Slices of crescia with mini chick decorations | H is for Home

It’s Easter week, so we thought that we should make something that’s traditionally eaten at this time of year for this edition of Cakes & Bakes. We plumped for Crescia – an Italian cheese loaf.

Crescia ingredients | H is for Home

You can use any hard cheese – parmesan, pecorino and so on.

Crescia dough | H is for Home

The dough is simple to make and easy to handle.

Crescia dough proving | H is for Home

It’s baked in a tall tin so it has a distinctive shape, like a panettone – the smell as it cooked was amazing!

Baked crescia loaf in tin | H is for Home

A very handsome loaf wouldn’t you agree?

Crescia loaf | H is for Home

The bread is light and airy with a wonderful flavour. It’s traditionally eaten with cold meats. I’m vegetarian, but Justin volunteered to test this combination and tried it with some of his fennel salami – a perfect match he thought. It also works really well with various cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables, oil & balsamic vinegar etc, etc, etc. 

Slices of crescia with salami, cheese and salad | H is for Home

We can highly recommend this loaf – and we certainly won’t be waiting till next Easter to make another one!

You can pin the recipe from here to try later!

Crescia
A light & cheesy Italian loaf enjoyed at Easter
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g grated hard cheese (such as Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano)
  2. 5 eggs
  3. 1tsp cracked black pepper
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 150g olive oil
  6. 150ml warm milk
  7. 1tbsp yeast
  8. ½tsp granulated sugar
  9. 600g strong bread flourHome-made crescia ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Put the grated cheese into a large mixing bowl
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl or large measuring jug. Add the salt & pepper and whisk slightly
  3. Add the egg mixture to the grated cheese, add the olive oil and combine
  4. In a measuring jug, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, add the sugar and allow to stand for 10 minutes
  5. Add ⅓ of the flour to the cheese, egg & oil mixture and combine
  6. Add ⅓ of the dissolved yeast mixture and combine
  7. Alternate adding & combining the flour and yeast mixtures until it has all been incorporated and you have a smooth paste that comes away from the edges of the bowl
  8. Cover the bowl with cling film/Saran wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size
  9. Grease a high-sided baking tin such as a panettone tin (I used the tall bottom pan from my 3-tier steamer)
  10. Generously flour a work surface, turn out the dough and knock back before putting it into the high-sided baking tin and again covering with cling film/Saran wrap
  11. Allow the dough rise again until it has doubled in size (about 45 minutes to an hour)
  12. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes away clean
  14. Remove the loaf from the tin straight away and allow to cool on a wire rack
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Pizza

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Home-made pizza sliced | H is for Home

It’s pizza for this week’s Cakes & Bakes. We’ve got a great pizzeria here in Todmorden – and we certainly can’t match their huge, wood fired oven… but we like to eat it in the house sometimes too!

There’s a very simple list of ingredients for the dough – flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, water.

yeast mixture yeast mixture next to the fire

With sub zero temperatures outside, the yeast mixture found the perfect place to come to life beside the fire.

pizza dough

The dough is simple to make and easy to work with.

risen pizza dough

Size and thickness is a matter of personal choice. In this house, Adelle has deep pan tendencies – Justin is a more thin & crispy kinda guy!

shaped pizza base

We rustled up a lovely tomato sauce. Olive oil, garlic, tomatoes & basil – cooked through, seasoned, reduced and strained.

tomato sauce being added to pizza base

This sauce was spread evenly over the pizza dough. Adelle then added roast aubergine, mozzarella and olives. Justin very similar, but he substituted Gruyère cheese for the mozzarella and also added red onion.

Adelle's pizza before being cooked Justin's pizza before being cooked

Both turned out very well – delicious in fact. We’ll continue experimenting with dough thickness, toppings and oven temperatures ’til we have absolute perfection!

Easy pizza base
Yields 3
Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp fast acting yeast
  2. 1 tsp sugar
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
  4. 300ml lukewarm water
  5. 500g strong flour
  6. ½ tsp sea saltEasy pizza base ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a measuring jug mix the oil, lukewarm water, sugar and fast acting yeast
  2. Leave in a warm place for 10 minutes for the yeast to begin foaming
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt and make a well in the middle
  4. Add the yeast mixture and combine to a smooth, firm dough
  5. On a floured work surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes and form into a ball
  6. Put the ball into the large mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove until it doubles in size - about an hour
  7. Tip the dough back out on to the floured work surface, divide into 3 equal parts and flatten each into 1cm circles
  8. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before adding toppings and cooking
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Quick panna cotta

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Quick panna cotta with blackcurrant preserve | H is for Home

This panna cotta recipe has a very good effort versus reward ratio – it’s quick, easy and utterly delicious.

Pouring hot liquid mixture into glass bowls

We once read a great quote – “panna cotta is just blancmange with a fancy accent”. That’s kind of true, but panna cotta does sound better doesn’t it? It’s the perfect dessert, particularly if you have to make something at short notice – or if you’re super busy with other jobs – Christmas week for example!!

blackcurrant preserve

You can eat it plain – but a quick fruit coulis, caramel sauce or chocolate shavings add a delicious extra dimension. For this batch we made a lovely topping from blackcurrants that we’d preserved in the summer. Honey can also be added to the cream mix which is a classic method in Italy.

Quick panna cotta
Yields 6
Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 600ml double cream
  2. 1tsp Vege-gel (or any other agar agar powder)
  3. 50g caster sugarpanna cotta ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pour the double cream into a medium-sized saucepan
  2. Before heating, add the Vege-gel/agar agar powder and combine well with a whisk
  3. Add the sugar and heat on a medium flame stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  4. Bring to simmering and pour into heat proof glass coups or bowls
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before covering with cling film/Saran wrap and putting into the fridge for at least 2 hours
  6. Serve cold with fruit compote, preserve or coulis
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/