The recipe is very loosely adapted from traditional Georgian versions but makes use of what I had in at the time. First, for a lack of Georgian cheese supplies, I used a more generic assortment of cheeses including parmesan and mozzarella, which yielded a satisfactory gooey-ness and savoury flavour. Instead of mixing them with egg before baking, as is traditional, I used a thick bechamel sauce because I thought it would be a nice change and provide a creamier filling. You can substitute the sauce for egg if you like or even crack one on top when baking! The added tapenade really gave the bread another depth of savouriness and flavour. Rip off the crust and dunk it into the gooey centre for ultimate yum!
Makes 4 large breads.
450g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
300ml warm water
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp plain flour
¾ cup milk, cold
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to top
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
320g of equal parts of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese
4-6 tbsp black olive tapenade (recipe in instructions)
For the dough: Place salt and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
For the filling: While the dough is proofing, cook/stir butter and flour in a pan over medium heat for 1 min. Add the cold milk and whisk the mixture continuously until it starts to simmer and thicken. The consistency should be like mayonnaise. Add the grated nutmeg then season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Let the sauce COOL COMPLETELY then evenly mix in the grated cheese (the cheese should not melt). Set aside.
If you’re making your own tapenade: In a food-processor, combine 155g pitted black olives, 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 anchovy fillets, 3/4 tsp white wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Puree the mixture as smoothly as you can. Set aside.
To bake the bread:Preheat the oven on 250C, with a pizza-stone or large inverted cast-iron pan in the middle.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large oval with pointy tips then transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Rub 1-2 tbsp of tapenade over the dough, then pile ¼ of the cheese-mixture across the middle. Fold the dough over to partially cover the cheese, then bring the 2 ends together and tuck the tips underneath itself, then pinch at the bottom so it sticks. Repeat with the others.
Slide the parchment with the bread on top, onto the pizza-stone or inverted cast-iron pan. Bake for 10 min until golden browned on all sides.
I only made these because I had a bit of pizza dough that needed using up in the fridge but this is how most of my tasty creations begin and this is no exception. Warm fresh dough encases a gooey cheese centre topped with rich garlic butter. They are fantastic served with a fresh tomato and basil sauce to dunk into. Far superior to anything you can buy, these go down an absolute storm when served in the middle of the table for everyone to dive into.
300g Strong White Bread Flour
1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Instant dried yeast
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 Garlic granules
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
30g Butter, softened
160ml luke warm Water
50g-60g block of Mozzarella Cheese
For the garlic butter:
20g Butter, melted.
2 Garlic cloves, grated
Measure the flour into a bowl.
Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt, sugar and garlic to the other side.
Add the oil and butter and begin to mix, slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Once it has all come together, don’t add any more.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough begins to look glossy and becomes stretchy.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave the dough somewhere warm to rise for an hour or so until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200Cfan.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back to remove the air bubbles.
Weigh the dough out into balls weighing approximately 30g
Add roughly 3g of the cubed mozzarella to each piece of dough. At this point you can also sneak a mini scoop of garlic and herb boursin into the centre to intensify the oozy cheesy goodness. I only did it because I had a bit to use up but am so glad I did. Fold the dough around the cheese and roll into a ball.
Arrange the doughballs (you should have about 15-20) onto a greaseproof lined baking sheet in a circle, leaving a little gap in between each one.
Mix the melted butter and garlic together and brush half over the top of each dough ball.
Place the dough balls in the oven for 15 minutes until golden. Brush the remaining garlic butter over the balls once baked for an extra garlicky flavour.
Nduja (pronounced en-du-ya) is a spicy spreadable Italian salami. It’s available from delicatessens and specialty grocers. Some supermarkets stock it too. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with finely chopped spicy salami. It has a lovely chilli kick and the oozy mozzarella adds a creamy respite to create a variety of flavours in your mouth.
Gozleme is a Turkish flatbread that is cooked on the griddle. Traditional fillings include minced meat, spinach and white cheese such as feta but I am slightly obsessed with nduja at the moment. Feel free to add what you like.
This is a really simple and tasty recipe that is fairly quick to put together. Making your own dough to encase a warm, spicy, gooey filling is definitely worth the little extra effort.
This recipe makes 6 breads but can easily be divided for fewer.
600g plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
95g Natural Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
240g Grated vintage cheddar
300g Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling
Lemon wedges, to serve
Place the flour, oil, yoghurt, water, oregano and salt in a large mixing bowl and knead to combine for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat a lightly greased char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Place each portion on a lightly floured surface and roll into 20cm x 28cm ovals.
With the shorter ends facing towards you, spread the bottom half of the ovals with the nduja and sprinkle with the cheddar and mozzarella, leaving a 2cm border. Fold the top half of the dough over and press the edges to seal.
Brush the gozleme with the oil and cook, in batches, for 2–3 minutes or until charred. Turn over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes or until charred and cooked through. Sprinkle with pepper and serve with lemon wedges.
Make a batch of clever, cook-from-frozen calzones to pull out of the freezer anytime and have a house filled with fresh doughy aromas and an amazing dinner with no fuss.
Oozing, gooey cheese mixed with subtly spiced chorizo and comforting tomato sauce is encased in crunchy, fresh pizza dough that will easily beat any take-out favourites!
Use full-fat mozzarella. The high water content in the low-fat versions leaks out when cooking and leaves you with a soggy calzone. No one likes a soggy calzone.
Your favourite pizza dough recipe or 500g ciabatta bread mix
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g cooking chorizo, diced
1 red chilli, sliced and deseeded if a milder flavour is desired
½ tsp smoked paprika
A small bunch of basil, chopped
150-200g mozzarella block, cut into large cubes
Fine semolina or plain flour, for dusting
Make a batch of your pizza dough (see my pizza dough recipe-I’d love to provide a link but haven’t got a clue how to do it). Alternatively, make the bread mix following packet instructions. I always add 1 tsp of dried herbs and some garlic powder for added flavour. Leave it to rise while you make the filling.
Dry fry the chorizo chunks in a frying pan until they begin to brown and release oil. Drain half of the oil and set the chorizo aside. Fry the onion in the remaining oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Return the chorizo to the pan with the paprika, chilli and passata. Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Stir in the basil and season well. Allow to cool a little
Cut the mozzarella block into large cubes. If you can’t find the hard mozzarella blocks, you can use the ball but drain really well in a sieve before using.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces on a work surface dusted with fine semolina or flour. Roll each piece out to make ½ cm thick rounds about 20cm wide. Put a generous spoonful of the sauce onto each base and spread over half the dough leaving a 3cm border around the edge. Scatter a few chunks of mozzarella on top.
5. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the sides together making sure to seal the whole edge. Fold the sealed dough over and crimp to make sure no sauce leaks out when cooking. Make a steam whole in the top of each. Carefully transfer the calzones to a baking paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid then individually wrap in cling film.
6. To serve, heat the oven to 200C. Unwrap the frozen calzones, put onto a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is puffed and golden. Stick a metal skewer into the steam hole to check the filling is piping hot before serving.
Serve with salad and your favourite sauce to dunk the crunchy, doughy crust into.
You can’t plate this up politely. The cheesy topping goes deliciously gooey and stringy so just put it in the middle of the table with a salad and loads of crusty garlic bread and let everyone wrestle out a portion.
The sauce is delicately flavoured with paprika and the tiniest bit of chilli heat which mellows as it bakes to give a wonderful depth of flavour. Teamed with oozing cheese and chunky veg, this is a real luxurious meal.
For the meatballs:
250g lean beef mince
250g lean pork mince
1 small red onion, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
For the sauce:
Olive oil, for frying
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
200g mozzarella (Block form), grated
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
For the meatballs: Put the onion, beef and pork mince, breadcrumbs, fennel, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic and plenty of seasoning into a bowl. Add a splash of milk to soak up the breadcrumbs and combine. Shape into 20 meatballs. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. Once browned, set aside on a plate.
For the sauce: Add the chopped onions to the pan with another Tbsp oil. Fry gently until soft then add the garlic, pepper and chilli and fry for another couple of minutes.
Add the passata, smoked paprika and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble gently for 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Add the meatballs back to the sauce.
Mix 150g of the grated mozzarella with the mascarpone and a little seasoning. Spoon the cheesy mix over the meatballs in dollops and scatter over the remaining mozzarella.
Heat the oven to 190C. Bake for 30 minutes until the meatballs are piping hot and cooked through and the cheesy top is golden and bubbling. Let the dish cool for 5 minutes before spooning into nice large bowls and diving in with some crusty garlic bread.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of my absolute favourite lunches at the moment. They’re so simple to do, you can put in whatever cheeses and extras and bread you like, they’re gooey and oozy and cheesy and warming.
This is a particular favourite of mine at the moment. Fresh pesto with oozing mozzarella, succulent chicken and salty sweet tomatoes encased in fresh crunchy ciabatta. Yum.
Use small, fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini) or cut slices from a larger ball of fresh mozzarella for ideal results. If you absolutely cannot find fresh mozzarella then you can substitute it for whole milk mozzarella cheese that you grate yourself. Please don’t use the grated, bagged stuff. It is dusted with a powder to keep it from clumping. This also keeps it from melting into that creamy, gooey, stringy mozzarella we love so dearly.
(Makes 6 sandwiches)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
salt and pepper
6 ciabatta rolls, halved as for sandwiches
6 tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomatoes
6 tablespoons pesto,homemade or shop bought
6 slices fresh mozzarella (about 6oz)
Butterfly the chicken breasts lightly bash them with a rolling to pin to flatten slightly then sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper and a little rapeseed oil. Pan fry over a medium heat until just cooked through then remove to a board to rest. You may need to do this in batches. Don’t crowd the pan.
Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium. Place the sun dried tomatoes over one half of each Ciabatta then top with slices of mozzarella. When the grill is up to temperature, lay out all the ciabatta rolls crust side down. Grill the rolls lightly until the cheese begins to melt and bread becomes slightly crispy.
When the cheese is hot all the way through, remove the rolls from the grill then slice the chicken and portion onto the rolls. Spread pesto onto the plain half of each roll then sandwich everything together for a gooey feast.
If desired, slice the sandwich in half on the diagonal. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature.