Friday, 6 January 2012

Caramelised Balsamic Onions with Tipperary Blue Cheese

I made home-made pizzas while my outlaws were visting at Christmas to use up odds and ends left from our cheeseboard. I did some with a roasted tomato and basil sauce with mozzerella and some with balsamic caramelised onions and blue cheese. Can you guess which one everyone was fighting over?

We make home-made pizza a lot in our house. They are actually really easy to put together, mostly from  ingredients in the back of the press and are a good vehicle for anything in your fridge. It's easy to ask the freestanding mixer to knead your dough for ten minutes and you will get a nice dough. But if you really want to tone your arms you can knead the dough yourself the old fashioned way, I think it gives a better result too.

We've been experimenting with various pizza doughs over time but now we are converted to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg Every Day recipe. It's really versatile and we've already used it to make amazing Indian flatbreads to have on curry night.

So wait are you waiting for....?

Pizza dough ingredients - River Cottage Veg Every Day Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Makes 2 large pizzas
250g plain flour
250g strong flour
1 1/2 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 tsp fast action yeast
325ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the flours, yeast and salt together in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix to form a dough. Knead for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth elastic dough. If you are hand kneading, resist the urge to add more flour, it's supposed to be a wet, sticky dough. Add a little oil to a bowl and rub the dough ball around it (so that has an oil film) before covering with cling film and leaving it in warm place until it has doubled in size, at least an hour. In the meantime get your toppings prepared and the oven heated. Then go straight to the assembling stage below.

Topping ingredients
Cheese of your choice, I find a good strong cheese works really well against the sweetness of the onions here. I'm really impressed with Aldi's Tipperary Blue or I wouldn't say no to a piece of goatscheese either.

Balsamic caramelised onions- The Meat Free Monday Cookbook, I've talked about this book a little more here. Enough to cover 2 large pizzas.
2 red onions. Cut each in half and then into 6 wedges per half.
Olive oil
40g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100ml water

Place the onions into a saucpan with the olive oil over a medium heat and allow to cook until they turn brown on the edges.
Add the sugar, vinegar and water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer on a low heat until the sauce is reduced to a sweet syrupy glaze. Set aside until required.

Whack the oven up to it's highest, I think for me that's about 250 degrees or 230 degrees fan. Heat your pizza stone until it's screaming hot, if you don't have a pizza stone use a heavy non stick oven rack. When you have knocked back the dough, roll out thinly. I can rarely get it into a perfect circle, so don't feel bad if you can't either. Remove your very hot stone or rack from the oven and place your dough on top. Add a thin layer of onions and then add your cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is bubbling and the base is golden brown. Top with salad.

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