Pane al Pomodoro

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Pane al Pomodoro

  • Servings: 4-6
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A fresh recipe perfect for the whole family.

Pane al Pomodoro: that beautiful texture, that unmistakable aroma.. it is one of the clearest food memories I have form my childhood. I was probably 5 years old when in the summer holidays with my brother and my cousins we all used to spend the day at my Nonna’s home, she would bake for us this beautiful bread, still one of our favourite dishes, Happy memories  🙂

 

 

Beautiful for lunch, dinner or as a snack, this is perfect for packed lunch too 

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2tsp dried yeast
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • salt

Directions

  1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Gently mix with a fork. Pour half of the water into another mixing bowl and add the yeast. Thoroughly dissolve the yeast in the water until the water turns into a brownish colour. Pour some of the “brownish” water into the flour and with a fork or your fingers mix it all in. Continue to add water a little at a time ( you will have to add the other half of the water), combining well until you have picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil. Once it is all combined, knead until you have a silky, smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Kneading: Push the dough out in one direction with the heel of your hand, then fold it back on itself. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading in this way stretches the gluten and makes the dough elastic. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Work quickly so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands – if it does get too sticky you can add a little flour to your hands. Now your dough needs to rest.
  4. Place it into a large bowl (you can use the same one you used for the flour), cover the bowl with a damp tea towel, this will avoid the dough once is proven to stick to the tea towel. Set it aside to prove (somewhere warm), this should take 1 hour and the dough should double in size. Now your dough is ready!
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200 degrees. Halve 150g of plum tomatoes and take out the seeds with a little spoon. Mix the tomatoes with a good pinch of salt, a table spoon of olive oil and a table spoon of dried oregano.
  6. Tip out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a round shape (or a square, depending on the shape of your baking tray). You may have to stretch it with your hands a little. Put it inside a non stick tray (alternatively you can use a baking sheet).
  7. Push the tomatoes inside the dough leaving a little gap between each other, sprinkle a little more salt and pour 4/5 tablespoons of olive oil all aver your bread.
  8. Bake for 15/20 minutes, until the bread in golden!
  9. P.S. You can add different toppings: onion and balsamic vinegar, salt and rosemary or many more…

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHICKEN STANOTTE

After a great summer ( most of us enjoyed the sunshine somewhere hot ) we are now back in the full swing of our busy lives (….and that not so warm weather), and probably we are all thinking about a nice warm dish we can cook for dinner.

One of the dishes that comes into my head and is also inspired by the latest documentary from Jamie Oliver (#SugarRush), is my Chicken Stanotte (title taken from a well known supermarket brand…), just to show that is as easy to prepare your own sauce instead of buying it ready made. Don’t forget that making your own dish is a simple and healthier option and despite our busy schedules we always need to find some time to cook fresh meals. Stock up your pantry and your fridge with fresh vegetables and fruit! Fresh fruit is an healthier option to sweets, crisps and chocolate bars, most of all after children come back from school. Besides there are so many great dishes we can create with fresh produce.

“Pollo” (POH-LLOOH)  is the Italian for Chicken and Stanotte (STAH-NOH-TTEH)  is “Tonight” or “This Evening” in English 😉

My Nonna would cook chicken as a back up plan on days when there was so much homemade bread left over that you needed a good earthy dish to mop the sauce up!!! #BringNonnaBack

So have all your ingredients ready and let’s start!

Serving

4 people

Ingredients

6/8 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped in chunks

2 celery sticks, chopped in chunks

half red onion, diced

half white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

handful of rosemary

1 tin of plum tomatoes

2 peppers, chopped in chunks

1 small tub of olives, preferably green

300ml of chicken stock or vegetable stock

salt, a good pinch

olive oil, 4 tablespoons

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Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.

In a large bowl marinate the chicken thighs with the garlic, rosemary , salt and olive oil. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes.

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In a large pan (make sure it’s oven proof) put a little olive oil, put the pan on a medium heat and add the vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers red and white onion). Simmer until golden.

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Take a nonstick pan and put it on the heat until warm and add the chicken thighs. Cook them on one side and turn them over once golden. The juice from the marinate will prevent them sticking to the pan. If you wish, add a pinch of salt. Cook with the lid off until both sides are cooked. Put them to one side.

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Add the tin of tomatoes and the stock into the pan with the vegetables, stir and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes.


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Place the chicken thighs into the pan with the vegetables, add the olives. Make sure the sauce covers the meat so it won’t dry up in the oven. Place the pan in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes…..Pronto! 

To give a touch of freshness to your dish you can sprinkle some finely chopped basil. Enjoy your chicken with some warm bread or some rice. Buon Appettito !!!

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Please, please, pretty please!!! Be aware of the added sugar in your food and drinks, cook sensibly and ditch heavy ready sauces!

Benfleet FRD pic

Focaccia

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FOCACCIA or FOH-KAH-CHAH = Crusty outside, soft inside and extremely tasty!

If you love bread and pizza, you will have to try this amazing recipe.

This is extremely easy and fun to make!

#BringNonnaBack

Ingredients

500g strong white flour

300ml warm water

7g dry yeast

salt,1 pinch

olive oil,1 tbsp

For the topping :

3 medium ripen tomatoes, sliced

1 tbsp oregano

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

3/4 tbsp olive oil

salt, 1 pinch

Preparation

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Gently mix with a fork. Pour half of the water into another mixing bowl and add the yeast. Thoroughly dissolve the yeast in the water until the water turns into a brownish colour. Pour some of the “brownish” water into the flour and with a fork or your fingers mix it all in. Continue to add water a little at a time ( you will have to add the other half of the water), combining well until you have picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. Add the olive oil. Once it is all combined, knead until you have a silky, smooth, elastic dough. Kneading: Push the dough out in one direction with the heel of your hand, then fold it back on itself. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading in this way stretches the gluten and makes the dough elastic. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Work quickly so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands – if it does get too sticky you can add a little flour to your hands. Now your dough needs to rest. Place it into a large bowl (you can use the same one you used for the flour), cover the bowl with a damp tea towel, this will avoid the dough once is proven to stick to the tea towel. Set it aside to prove (somewhere warm), this should take 1 hour and the dough should double in size. Now your dough is ready! Cut it in two halves or leave it whole depending on the size of your focaccia.

Roll the dough and flatten it onto a baking tray pushing to the corners. Use your fingers to make deep dimples in the focaccia, pushing them all the way through the dough to the bottom. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Place the tomatoes into the dimples, sprinkle the oregano, salt, garlic and drizzle  with the olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes….Pronto!  Serve hot or warm.

You can have lots of different toppings: red onion and rosemary, cheese and garlic, balsamic vinegar and white onion, olives and sun dried tomatoes…..Buonissimo!!!!!!