Thursday, 25 September 2014

Perfect Mid-Week Pizza

Pizza is probably my favourite comfort food. Thin, crispy base, a hit of hot, and oozy, melted cheese. You can't beat it. When I saw this recipe for 'cheats pizza' in Jamie's 30 Minute Meals my heart literally jumped for joy and I thought it was high time I shared it with all of you. You can make this dough in under 5 minutes and it doesn't need time to rise or anything. You can bang the whole thing out in 20 minutes.

Play around with toppings... Try red pesto instead of tomato sauce and add all manner of veg and meats. You are guaranteed a delicious, indulgent dinner every time.

For the base:

  • 1/3rd cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour

Weight doesn't matter much with this recipe, just as long as you get the ratio right. If you find that the dough is too wet, add more flour, or too dry, add more water. Simple as that. You should end up with a ball of dough that is easy to roll out without sticking to your worktop.

Once you've combined the water and flour to make your dough, dust a work surface lightly in flour and roll out. The dough should end up about half a cm thick. If you find you've made too much, just wrap the excess in clingfilm and keep in the freezer for a rainy day.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Fold the dough (lightly) in half, or quarters, and then transfer to the pan (this means the dough is less likely to break) and then fold back out. Spread a spoonful of your tomato base on the pizza. I always find a Lloyd Grossman pasta sauce works well. Then go mad with your toppings.

Fry lightly for about 5-10 minutes. The dough shouldn't stick to the pan at all and you can peak underneath to check it's not burning. Once the cheese/tomato base start bubbling slightly, transfer the pan to under the grill and grill for a further 5-10 minutes.

Once the cheese is golden brown, remove from the pan and sprinkle with plenty of basil and spinach. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lust List: Recipe Inspiration

My name is Sophie, and I'm a bookaholic. Cookbooks to be precise. I have over 30, including 6 Jamie Oliver's and 8 of the BBC Good Food mini series, and am ever expanding the collection (most recently with The Little Book of Lunch by Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing). It's just something about the glossy pages and incredible photography, I just can't get enough. Here's what's on my wishlist at the moment:

The Art of Eating Well - Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley

The Art of Eating Well is packed full of sweet and savoury recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a few drinks and snacks in between. All the recipes focus on 'clean eating', free from gluten, grain and refined sugar. The Hemsley sisters believe by focusing on nutrient rich, organic foods you can reset your body and banish cravings, changing the way you feel for the better. I've never been one to focus on gluten or sugar-free meals but when they look as mouthwatering as this I can't wait to get stuck in!

Death by Burrito - Shay Ola

Shay Ola is the undisputed king of Mexican street food. Based in Hoxton, under the guise of the Rebel Dining Society, he creates burritos and tacos with filings more adventurous that the standard meat, rice, beans, guac combos alongside some stunning cocktails. This book shows you how to show to create the perfect mexican at home - and not a tex-mex selection in sight!  

Fast, Fresh and Easy Food - Lorraine Pascale

I've come late to the Lorraine Pascale party. This is the model-come-chef's third book that makes decadent dishes like chocolate mousse with raspberries and Moroccan pesto fish with caramelised onion look effortless. Sign me up.

The Islands of Greece - Rebecca Seal

Mediterranean, specifically Greek, is without a doubt my favourite cuisine but it's not something I've ever attempted at home. This book contains all the classics: calamari, grilled aubergines and polenta cake. Simple and delicious photography, this book has me drooling at the first recipe. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Best Burrito in Wimbledon

I love a burrito. That's no secret. When I worked in Richmond, Whole Foods was my burrito of choice but sadly they haven't reached Wimbledon yet. That said, Wimbledon has plenty to offer. I headed down to just a couple to find the best one for you guys. Just doing a public service really....

Wahaca was my first port of call, having been to the one on Charlotte Street. The creation of Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, it really changed the landscape of mexican food from soggy nachos with plastic cheese to fresh, vibrant and flavoursome food. It's always reliable. Perfect food and served quickly too - ideal if you want to have a sit down lunch then get back to the office within an hour.
Cost: £6.95

Just across the road from Wahaca is Tortilla. Seemingly unassuming on the outside I was pleasantly surprised by the inside. Retro posters on the wall that reminded me of my early teens and an inviting burrito bar. Yes, there was quite a long queue but it went down quickly and what was to come was definitely worth the wait. You can choose from chicken, beef, pork or veggies and all manner of toppings, rice, beans, peppers and onions. And (so the napkin told me) all their burritos have less fat and calories than most high street sandwiches. We settled down at a table inside and tucked in.
Cost: £5.00 (+70p for guacamole)

Walk up towards Wimbledon village and you come across Chipotle. Bit fancier from the outside, possibly with not much reason to be. Plainer, on the whole, than Tortilla and not that inviting to sit inside, Chipotle still does a damn tasty burrito (even if it does fall apart near the bottom).
Cost: £6.95 (+£1.40 for guacamole)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lust List: Just A Small Thing

I have tiny feet. There, I said it. I can easily get away with browsing in the kids section and often always have trouble walking in size 3 heels even after an insole or two. Flats are fine in a size 3 but when it comes to a heel I've always stuck with a caged/strap option so they don't fall off. But no more my friend. I have decided that from now on I am only going to buy size 2 heels. Yes, they do exist. And no, they are not horrendous granny shoes. You just need to look for them. Places like Zara, ASOS and Kurt Geiger do a limited range in a size 2 and for work shoes don't rule out places like Clarks. They've come a long way in recent years. Here are a few of my favourites.

ASOS - £30

ASOS - £35

Clarks - £44.99

Kurt Geiger - £99

Kurt Geiger - £250

Zara - £49.99

Zara - £29.99

Thursday, 4 September 2014

One Castle, One Dress, One Wedding

On August bank holiday weekend I had the pleasure of spending the entire weekend at Walton Castle for my sisters wedding. (Forget for a moment that my sister was getting married... we were staying in a friggin castle!) Rich and I decided to make a long weekend of it and took Friday off work as well. We drove down to Clevedon and (after an emergency stop at Cribbs to buy swim shorts) arrived at about 3pm. If anyone has ever been to Clevedon you will know that it is one of the most stunning places on the planet. With private beaches and a picturesque pier (yes, this was where the One Direction video was filmed) and cute little cafes serving cream teas, there aren't many other places I'd rather spend a weekend. After a quick stop to take in the sea air we headed straight up to the castle. Not one to do things by halves, my sister and Graham kicked things off on the Friday night with a BBQ and pool party.

The Saturday we woke up bright and early (well 10am...) to organise that days entertainment. More friends and family came down and after a quick round of archery and a soggy game of rounders we settled down to chomp on the biggest picnic I've ever seen. No photos of this... I was, of course, stuffing my face, worries about fitting into my bridesmaid dress apparently forgotten.

At 4:30 we headed back to my sisters house (equally stunning views) and chowed down on yet more treats - homemade croissants courtesy of Carl and ginger biscuits courtesy of Alice.

After an earlish night it was the big day! Preparation started at 6am... Pip (of course) went for a run. Look at that view! I like to think that if I have a view like this I would go running more... The hairdresser came at 7, make-up at 10 and before we knew it it was time to set off for the church.

Pip had hired this gorgeous vintage car to take us to the church - it was just a 15 minute (bumpy) drive away and there we waited for the beautiful bride to make her entrance.

After the (slightly tear-jerking) ceremony we headed back to Walton Castle for the proper photos. Bridesmaids duty officially over it was time to relax with just one (okay maybe two..) glasses of champagne. The salmon en-croute and sticky toffee pudding dinner was incredible - it always amazes me how catering companies can pull something like that off in just a marquee. Teary speeches and cutting of the cake ensued and after the first dance (your song by Elton John, sung by Pip's incredibly talented friend Hattie) the night was well and truely underway. Past 8pm there aren't many photos but of course we had to have a round or two in the photobooth...

Monday, 1 September 2014

August according to Instagram

As many of you know, I am an avid instagrammer. I can't get enough of it. So why not share them with you all over again, you lucky people.

In August I went to Ibiza, was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid and ate an awful lot of food. There were birthdays, dinners, drinks and of course, a beautiful, beautiful wedding (more on that soon...). And just like that, Summer is over. I am curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a cup of tea, watching the making of university challenge.

Rock and roll. Excited to see what September will bring!