Saturday 12 August 2023

AI Pizza

My first time ever making pizza with AI (artificial intelligence) 🍕🤌!
@birramorettiuk have challenged me to put AI to the test and prove how Italian it can be!
I’ve had a longer-than-expected conversation with AI 🤖 on how I can live Italian within the UK and as stereotypical as it sounds, the points that came across were as expected. Yes! We really do care about our pizza and our friends are massively important ….. It was not wrong 🙂
Find the AI pizza recipe below if you want to give it a try, I promise you, I didn’t mess with it too much 😁

500 gr bread flour (medium strong)
15 gr salt
10 gr sugar
4 gr fresh yeast
310 ml still water
10 ml olive oil
750 gr tinned tomatoes
2 sprigs basils
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp dried oregano
25 ml olive oil
250 gr mozzarella
Salt & pepper to taste

First melt the yeast into the water and then knead all the ingredients together. This is a fundamental step as the salt can attack the fresh yeast and it will not melt al all.
Once smooth & elastic let the dough proof in a bowl covered with a cloth and brush a little oil on the surface to make sure it does not dry out.
The dough needs to proof for a couple of hours to doubled in size and if you make it the day before or in the morning, simply let it proof in the fridge.

Now, gently stretch and flat the dough out to the length of the baking tray. Try to not knock out all the air from the dough. At this stage, let it proof again for about 45 minutes.
When the time is up, lightly oil your hands and press/stretch the dough one final time to make sure it covers the length of the tray.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and season to taste. Don’t be shy with the seasoning 🤌.
Spread the seasoning onto the pizza, remove the basil and garlic if you’d like and Bake at 220 C for about 14 minutes or until the pizza starts to color on the top and the bottom looks lightly golden too. This last step was not suggested by AI, it’s a personal touch, at this stage I like to let the pizza slide onto a baking rack, spread the diced mozzarella on top and bake again until the mozzarella has nicely melted.

#BirraMorettiAI #liveitalian #pizza #friends #italianstyle

Sunday 18 September 2022

Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

  • A 6.5 Litre (6.9 US Quarts) Slow Cooker
  • A Hand Blender
  • A Lidded Saute Plan
  • 8 to 10 plastic freezer tubs
  • An automatic timer plug
  • Oil for frying (I use Rape, any good high temprature oil will do)
  • 4 x 400g (14oz) Cans of Peeled Italian Plum Tomatoes
  • 140g Double Concentrate Italian Tomato Puree
  • 2 Beef Stock Cubes
  • 1/2 Bottle of GOOD red wine (Merlot or Rioja are best, certainly something full bodied)
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 4 Medium Onions
  • 4 Large Carrots
  • A Head of Celery
  • A Half or a Whole Bulb of Garlic (your choice)
  • 1kg (just over 2lb) 12% fat Beef Mince
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 1 or 2 Jars or Cans of crushed tomatoes (optional, adds to the texture)
  • 2 Punnets of Mushrooms (optional)

Into the slow cooker put the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock cubes, red wine, oregano, rosemary, basil. Now blend very smooth with the stick blender. Switch the slow cooker on, set it to high and close the lid.

Peel, roughly chop and fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Once they have softened and browned a bit, tip into the slow cooker and again blenmd it smooth.

Fry the mince, breaking up all the lumps, turn it down and reduce some of the liquid. Tip the mince AND the juice (never throw this away) into the slow cooker and stir

Add the bay and crushed tomatoes and stir

Quarter the mushrooms and fry, put the lid on the saute pan. Wait 5 minutes for the water to come out of the mushrooms. Remove the lid and continue to fry gently until the water is reduced down to a dark liquer. Tip the mushrooms AND the liquer (never throw this away) into the slow cooker and stir.

Clap the lid on the slow cooker and leave it on high. Check every hour, once it's good and hot and bubbling, turn it down to low. At this point I conenct the timer plug and set it to run for 4 hours on low and go to bed. The next morning I unplug the slow cooker and move it to one side. This is the important bit. Leave it to cool until the evening. At this point it should be about 24 hours since you started. Now you ladle it into my plastic tubs for the freezer. I make labels with the contents and the date (month/year) using masking tape and freeze, switching the freezer to quick freeze.

Thats it, defrost and then reheat on a stove, serve with spaghetti (I prefer linguine) and garlic bread.

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Curry Pie (Serves 4)


500g Beef Mince
4 Baking Potatoes
2 Large Onions
3 Carrots
1 tbsp Mustard
100ml Milk
4 tbsp butter
250ml good beef stock (use a whole stock cube even though it's only 250ml)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
4 tbsp Pataks Vindaloo Paste
Optional: misc fixed vegetables, frozen mixed veg is fine, use fresh of you can
Optional: Thickening granules if your filling isn't thickening up well


1 Preheat oven to 180°C (170°C fan)
2 Peel, chop and boil potatoes 
3 Peel, chop and fry the carrots and onions in the olive oil and the Vindaloo Paste
4 Add the mince, stir and cook
5 Add the water
6 Drain and mash the potatoes with the milk, butter and mustard (use a potato ricer of you can)
7 Reduce the filling over a medium heat, thicken with thickening granules as needed
8 Season with salt and pepper, tasting as you go, until the flavours are enhanced but before it tastes salty
9 Assemble pie and cook in oven for 20 minutes or until browned, when ready, brown under grill if necessary

Serve with courgettes

Friday 26 March 2021

Really Dumb But Really Good Chicken Fajitas

Some made up nonsense I used to use up a packet sauce, chicken and salad that needed eating up


2 large chicken breasts, in long thin strips
2 bell peppers, I like green and red, also long 'n thin
1 medium large brown onion, sliced into thin half rings
1 or 2 packets of Levi Roots Jerk Coat 'n Cook sauce
A bag of mixed salad leaves
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
5 or 6 corn or wheat wraps/tortilla
A Tex-Mex dip selection
Cooking oil of choice
Optionally, more salad like baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, pickled gherkin or spring onions, all finely sliced


1 oven tray with at least 1 cm of lip


Combine in the oven tray or a separate bowl the chicken, peppers, onion, packet sauce(s) and a few glugs of your cooking oil to this tier sauce our slightly
Line the oven tray with kitchen foil
Transfer contents into the oven tray
Cool in a pre-heated oven at 190°C for 25-30 minutes
With you're happy with how cooked it is, remove from the oven, turn the foil into a pouch to keep it warm and put aside
Heat your tortillas slightly in a microwave
On your board or a plate, place a warm tortilla
Lightly coat the inside of it with your choice of dips
Spoon the chicken mixture in a line from the top to the bottom of the tortilla
Repeat with the salad, coriander and optional salad you chose, if any.
Perpendicular to the chicken mix line, pull the tortilla over the line, 3 or 4 cms worth
Now roll the left and right 'edges' up and over the mix, getting tight and straight
Flip it over so the weight pins the wrap in place
Hand it off on a plate to who's serving, optionally tie a ring of kitchen twine around it with a bow knot.

Serve with beer with lime in it.

Keeps for days in the fridge, chicken in its pouch, salad in a clip seal box or reseal the salad bag with an electric bag sealer (get one, they're fantastic), wrap the dips in cling field, wrap the wrap packet with cling film but don't store them in the fridge.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Slow Cooked Beef Bolognese with Hidden Veg

This is one of my slow cooker recipes.
They are designed to make large amounts of my best recipes with a minimum of effort and minimum of cleanup (tend towards single pot recipes and rely on a stick-blender)
But not time.
Hence these are my 'Sunday Afternoon' specials, prep in the afternoon, cook overnight, check seasoning before work and portion it out Monday evening.
This is necessary, actual real chemistry stuff happens over the 24 hours, it is not really ready to eat until then.
If I were a raccoon, I'd be a fox👉🦊
They're really smart and I'm an extra smart one, with glasses
 And a jumper with patches on the elbows.
Indeed Fantastic.
For my Slow Cooker at least 2 of the following recipe will be needed to fill it and there's no point in not filling it. Don't try to brim it, slow cookers don't work if you over fill them.

1 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
500g beef mince (I recommend 15% fat mince)
250g Mushrooms, sliced (optional)

For the bolognese sauce
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried Rosemary
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Oregano
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
2 bay leaves
70g tomato purée
1 stock cube, beef or vegetable
1 tsp Medium red chilli flakes (Optional)
125ml red wine
75g parmesan grated

My slow cooker recipes follow a certain pattern.
Chop 👉 Fry, browning the ingredients and cooking off the water 👉 Put in slow cooker

1) Set up your slow cooker next to the stove, I recommend getting a timer plug for it. Put a large non-stick frying pans on a large ring. I recommend slow cookers that have an 'auto' mode. This mode should start on High and turn down to Low once the food is up to temperature. Once a slow cooker is up to temp, 1 hour on High is the same as 2 hours on Low.
If you've got water to cook off, remember:

1a) Mince absorbs moisture over time as it relaxes and cools. Learn how much you need to leave by practise.

1b) The point of browning the ingredients before they go in the Slow Cooker is to improve flavour, texture, look and remove excess water with high temperatures before they go in the slow cooker.

2) Add Groundnut or Rapeseed Oil to the pan (2 tbsp or 30 ml) and brown off the onion.

3) To the onion, add the carrot and the celery. This is called a Soffrito in Italy. Cook until nicely coloured, cooked, soft and dry.
Tip into Slow Cooker.

4) If you're adding mushrooms, start frying them now, in oil and butter until browned and the water has come out and cooked off

5) Into the Slow Cooker tip the following:
The garlic, rosemary, basil, oregano, plum tomatoes, tomato purée, stock cube, chilli flakes (Optional), red wine and parmesan.
Blitz to a fine sauce with a stick or immersion blender.
Add the 2 bay leaves, stir in.

6) If you're using mushrooms, tip into Slow cooker when ready. Brown the chopped bacon, tip into Slow Cooker, reserving a teaspoon of bacon. Brown mince, cook off some water, add to slow cooker. Do not drain the mince, add it and the juice.

7) Mix, turn up to high. Cover with lid and cook for 1 hour 

8) Turn down to Low, set timer plug for 4 hours.

9) In the morning adjust seasoning.
My Seasoning rules
9a) Taste, if it's salty, don't add salt
9b) If not salty, add salt by the ½ tsp. Mix well
9c) Taste. If it's started tasting salty, stop
9d) If not salty and the flavour seems stronger, enhanced, go back to (9b) and continued.

Long and short of it, the salt will enhance the other flavours but only to a point, then it starts tasting salty. Stop there.

9e) Add fresh ground black pepper, mix well, taste and keep going until you're happy with the flavour.

10) Late afternoon/ early evening separate into pots for the freezer, over here we can buy those plastic containers takeaway food comes in. I use those, each one has enough Bolognese for 2 people's dinner. Keep some aside for dinner that evening if you're having it for dinner too.

Serve with good quality Linguine or Tagliatelle.

10 ) Put reserved bacon in cat. (not optional)

See if cat likes beef Bolognese, some cats really like tomato sauces.

If cat likes Bolognese, buy cat a tin of Glenryck Pilchards in Tomato Sauce. It's so stinky that cats with a blocked nose will still eat it when they won't eat because they can't smell.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Perfect Rice

200ml of Basmati Rice (always measure rice by volume)

A half teaspoon of salt.
1 to 2 tablespoon of Ground Nut Oil or Rapeseed Oil
400ml of boiling water

1 large glass lidded saute pan

1) Boil kettle

2) Measure 400ml boiling water in jug, add salt to water, stir and dissolve. The amount of salt you need will vary, on rice species and water hardness and preference. You'll need to practice to get it right for you.

3) Heat oil in pan until smoking hot (Max ring temperature)

4) Quickly tip dry rice into oil. First grains will turn white and opaque instantly. Gently mix oil into rice. Keep stirring every 5 to 10 seconds until translucent grains turn white and opaque. Be patient, they will turn opaque. This is the in most important step, be patient and brave, all grains must be white and opaque. Any grains that darken in colour just make it taste better and look fantastic.

5) Quickly poor water over rice, stir briskly 3 to 4 times.

6) Clap lid on, move on to small ring, turn to low (I use power 2 of 6 on mine). Maybe just turn it down if you're on a gas cooker instead of electric

7) Set timer for 14 minutes.

8) After time is up, lift and tip pan to see through glass lid if water has been absorbed. If not, repeat steps 7 & 8 but with 5 minutes instead of 14 minutes

9) Move rice off the heat, fluff up the rice with a plastic fork or spork, wrap lid in a clean tea towel and place on pan for 15 minutes.

10) Fluff every 15 minutes until everything else is ready and then eat, if this takes too long, adjust amount of water down next time, the exact amount of water varies depending on the brand of rice you use.

Extra) Fantastic used for fried rice the next day.