Raspberry compote

Time saver: Phil mixes raspberries and sugar for deliciousness.

Raspberry compote is one of those things that is super easy to make but tastes awesome. For reward vs effort, it’s pretty hard to beat. It’s great on vanilla ice cream, with cakes etc. (If you’ve never had it before, it’s basically a raspberry sauce which still has large parts of the berries intact.)

This is just the basic recipe and gives a generous serving for two bowls of vanilla ice cream – if you want more, double it, triple it etc.

Rasberry compote – makes about ½ cup of compote

  • 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp icing sugar
  1. Put berries and sugar in a small saucepan and heat on a hot element for around 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Stir occasionally but try to avoid breaking the berries up too much. The raspberries will come apart and release a lot of juice, giving you a tart red sauce.
  2. And serve. (I told you it was easy.)

For a rapberry coulis, do exactly the same, but after making the sauce, strain it through a sieve to remove seeds and berry pulp.

Mushroom, blue cheese and pesto pizza redux

Time saver: Phil repeats himself, cat still isn’t interested.

Cooked pizzaMy wife’s back, so I told her about this pizza and then tried to impress her by making it. This time around I used home-made pizza dough, and rolled it out to a 12″ base, then scaled the recipe up to fit. I think this size is probably more practical (well, it fed two hungry people, the 9″ base wouldn’t) and the home-made dough gives a much better pizza. I’m planning on writing a post to fill you in on the wonders of five minute artisan bread, but basically, it’s a dough you can make really quickly, then keep in the fridge for when you need it. Unlike most other bread doughs, it requires no kneading whatsoever, you literally pull a lump of dough out of the bowl/container you’re keeping it in, shape it, let it rise a little, then bake it. One of the other wonders of this dough is that you can grab a lump of it, roll it out and use it as a pizza base immediately, and it delivers a great result. That’s what I did this time around. Conveniently awesome.

Pizza baseI took a few photos this time, so you can check out the end result. One small note, we didn’t have any pesto this time around, so I used a few pine nuts instead and I’ve updated the recipe to include those. (I think the pesto is better, but we make do.)

Mushroom, blue cheese and pesto pizza – 12″

  • 12″ pizza base (preferably hand-made – I recommend 5 minute artisan bread)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove or ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 1-2 c grated cheese (125g is roughly 1 cup when grated) (this time around I used 2 cups, but for a more stylish contemporary pizza you could use less. As before, I used Edam cheese, if you’ve got mozarella by all means use it)
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced (could use more if you can fit them on)
  • 30-40g blue vein cheese (I used Kapiti Kikorangi if the cheese is not very strong you could use more)
  • 3 Tbsp basil pesto or 10g pine nuts
  1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C (about 450°F). If you’ve got a pizza stone, use it, otherwise just put one of your trays in to heat.
  2. Roll out pizza base to a 12″ circle, then place on a sheet of baking paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, olive oil and garlic, mix well.
  4. Spread tomato paste over pizza base, going right to the edges.
  5. Crack some black pepper and salt over the base, then cover with cheese.
  6. Spread mushrooms over the cheese – they’ll shrink a lot, so cover the whole thing.
  7. Crumble the blue vein over the pizza, distributing in small pieces. If you’re a fan, feel free to use more.
  8. With a teaspoon, dollop some basil pesto around in a stylish fashion. Alternatively, sprinkle pine nuts over pizza.
  9. Put the pizza in the oven (with baking paper) on your pre-heated tray/pizza stone. Cook for 14 minutes or so, until the base is cooked and the cheese is melted and golden.

Pizza slice

Lemon sorbet

Time saver: Phil cleanses your palate, and proves he doesn’t own an ice cream maker.

I used to make this all the time, until I started feeling guilty about all the sugar in it. Whatever, it’s delicous and surprisingly easy to make…

Lemon sorbet

If well beaten, this recipe makes just shy of 1 litre.

  • 2 c water (use filtered/bottled water if the tap water is chlorinated)
  • 1½ c caster sugar (plain white sugar also fine)
  • 1 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (around 6-8 lemons, more if they’re small)
  • (optional) zest of 1 or 2 of the lemons
  • (optional) 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  1. Put water and sugar in a small saucepan, and heat on hot element, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved. If using zest, add this to the saucepan too.
  2. Let it come to the boil, and simmer for a minute or two, then remove from the heat.
  3. While the syrup cools, juice the lemons. You want around 1 c of juice, but if you’re a bit over/under don’t worry too much. Add juice to the saucepan of syrup and mix well.
  4. Pour the syrup into a freezer proof bowl – I normally just use an old 2 litre ice cream container. If you’re using zest, you could strain some or all of it out at this point.
  5. Put the bowl in the freezer. Come back in a couple of hours time, retrieve the bowl and beat with electric beaters. You can also use a stick mix quite successfully – and this will work better than beaters if you’ve over-freezed it. After beating, put it back in the freezer.
  6. Repeat the beating process a couple more times, with 30 minute to an hour long intervals, depending on your freezer. Over this time the syrup should transform to slush and then sorbet. If I’m making it overnight, I’ll generally beat it a couple of times at night, and then return in the morning, using the stick mix if it’s too frozen. (Being ice you can always just leave it out for a few minutes to melt if it’s too hard to beat.) The more you beat it, the lighter the sorbet.
  7. Lots of recipes would now have you beat an egg white through the sorbet. Doing so will make it smoother, airier and add body. It’ll also mean you have raw egg white in your sorbet, it takes all sorts.
  8. Serve in chilled glasses. For the degustation I used chilled 40ml shot glasses. If you’re serving it as the main dessert, chilled martini glasses work very well and look the business.