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How To Make Ricotta Gnocchi

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ricotta gnocci (1 of 1)-4

Soft fluffy gnocchi are one of my favourite comfort foods so when I heard they can be made with ricotta instead of potato I couldn’t wait to try it. The principle is the same and if anything this recipe is more forgiving than potato gnocchi because the ricotta cheese seems to help bind up the gnocchi when they are cooked. I served my first batch tossed through some fresh basil pesto but next time I’m going to try a simple tomato sauce – I think they needed a bit more zing. I’ve also seen these made as spinach and …read more »

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Dried Apple Sourdough

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apple sourdough (7 of 9)

The apple season has just finished where I live. To preserve some of the fruit my parents made a big solar drier and have dried a lot of apples from their orchard. I was thinking about warm bread last night while I looked at a stack of these dried apples and had a lightbulb moment – apple sourdough! Fruit sourdough is delicious with the contrast between tangy bread and sweet fruit, and I added just a touch of spice. Although I used dried apple any fruit would work. I submitted this recipe to the yeastspotting blog too …read more »

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It’s Olive Season!

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olives (1 of 2)

I spent a day recently with a few eager family members picking olives for oil, and a few for eating. This might sound a little sadistic but I really like picking olives. It’s a much easier job than picking grapes and you end up with nice soft skin at the end of the day because of all the oil that rubs off. It was a good day, sunny bar a few heavy showers that had us sheltering in the car. Peter, the farmer who sold us the olives, had a refreshing outlook on life. He said he does what …read more »

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Sourdough Taralli

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taralli (6 of 8)

Taralli are one of those snacks that sound simple but deliver so much flavour that you can’t stop till you’ve eaten way more than you should. They are basically ring shaped bread sticks, often made with fennel seeds but also other flavours like chilli flakes or herbs. They are shaped, briefly boiled to give them a nice smooth skin, then baked until crispy. Yesterday I had some spare sourdough starter to use so I made a sourdough batch. If you don’t have sourdough handy just use a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. Ingredients 2 cups plain white flour 1/4 cup …read more »

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Walnut Pesto

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pesto (1 of 1)

Pesto is a beautiful sauce combining fresh basil, garlic and parmesan with a base of nuts and oil. Tangy and flavourful, if you need an excuse to grow some basil plants this is it! Pesto goes well on pizza or pasta and makes a great dip to serve with cheese and crackers. I use walnuts here but any nut can be used really – pine nuts are used in a lot of traditional recipes. Lightly toast the nuts first by tossing them in a pan over low-medium heat until just starting to change colour. Pine nuts burn very easily …read more »

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Basic Sourdough Bread Recipe & Technique

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sourdough bread (22 of 25)

Following from my post about making your own sourdough starter from scratch, here’s how to make a basic but delicious sourdough bread! There’s a lot of bread recipes on the internet and most of the serious ones will give ingredient weights. It is considered important to weigh ingredients because volume measurements for flour are very inaccurate – a cup of flour can weight more or less if it is humid or dry, densely packed or loosely packed, rye vs white vs wholemeal and so on. That said the more I bake the …read more »

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Nettle Green Pasta Dough

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nettle pizza pasta (1 of 1)-9

After making nettle pizza I had some blanched nettles left over, so nettle pasta seemed like the natural thing to do. I’ve used spinach to make a green pasta dough before but the nettles gave a much more vivid green colour so this is a trick worth remembering! I used the dough to make ravioli, stuffed with cheese, chard and more leftover nettles. I also made a little batch of fettucine – both dishes were lovely. And very green. Nettle Ravioli with olive oil, pepper and parmesan Ingredients 2 eggs 1 tbsp blanched nettles, very finely chopped …read more »

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Nettle pizza

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nettle pizza pasta (1 of 1)

Every year I look at the nettles growing in the weedier bits of my back yard and vaguely think about eating them. I’ve seen them used in different dishes in some of my cookbooks, usually in the same kind of place you might use spinach. I know it sounds weird but apparently cooking removes the sting completely and this year we have had a bumper crop so I bit the bullet, gloved up and brought in a bagful. The first dish I cooked was (of course) a nettle pizza. I usually match spinach with salty/sharp flavours, so I decided …read more »

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Quince Paste – an easy(ish) recipe

quince paste (1 of 1)

With their rich perfume and deep red colour when cooked, quinces are one of my favourite fruit. They are fantastic simply stewed and served  with thick cream, or in a crumble or pie, but the bulk of the roadside quinces we pick every autumn go to making quince paste. Quince paste (Membrillo in Spain or Cotagnata in Italy) is a ruby red slab of stewed, pureed and dried out quinces that is absolute heaven paired with any cheese with attitude – like parmesan, gorgonzola or goat cheese. It costs an arm and a leg for just a little chunk …read more »

Cheesy Polenta Fritters

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polenta fritters (7 of 7)

This recipe is another that I was eager to try from Artusi’s cookbook. I don’t know if I’ve got it exactly as described in the book yet but it’s a delicious late night munchie as much as a great idea for an appetiser. The recipe is as simple as a slice of cheese between 2 discs of polenta, dipped in crumbs and fried. This is a good appetiser to have up your sleeve as it is very easy to make gluten free – instead of using bread crumbs, …read more »

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