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29 November, 2014

BASIL, OLIVE & SUN-DRIED TOMATO PIZZETTAS














I'm a big fan of Italian food and the bold flavours that go along with it.

I was asked to take part in the #TuscanyNowCookOff competition and for my entry I have decided to make some mini pizzas or pizzettas (if you want to be fancy) with classic Italian ingredients - basil, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.










I think these bitesize pizzas would make lovely canap├ęs at a party and you could also top them with a slice or two of prosciutto for variation.



 Ingredients

1 Medium sized onion finely diced
4 Tablespoons of creme fraiche
50g Grated parmesan
200g Sun dried tomatoes in oil chopped
4 Tablespoons of black olives chopped
A handful of fresh basil
1 Teaspoon of dried mixed herbs for sprinkling
125g Ball of mozzarella torn into small pieces
Sea Salt
Pepper

For the dough

400g Strong white bread flour
6g fast action dried yeast
1 Teaspoon of salt
4 Tablespoons of olive oil

First things first

Make the pizza dough by mixing together flour, yeast and salt. Pour olive oil into 275ml of warm water and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix together and form into a wet dough using your hands. Place the dough in a warm spot for an hour to rise and cover with oiled cling film.

Method

1. Soften the diced onion in butter over a medium heat and leave to one side.  Preheat the oven to 220°C/200F/Gas 7.
2. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and then separate into 12 small balls. Create thin circles using a roll pin and place onto greaseproof lined baking tray.
3. Combine the diced onions with creme fraiche and parmesan. Season well with salt and pepper and then spread the mixture on top of the pizza dough.
4. Place the dough bases in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Mix the chopped sun dried tomato, olives and mozzarella together. Add some torn basil leaves
6. Top the baked creamy bases with the tomato and olive mixture and sprinkle over dried herbs.

S
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SEGS' NEW YORK SPOTS - CULTURE & SIGHTS


Below I have put together some of my favourite bits of art, culture and sightseeing during my recent visit to New York.  Hop over to my food spots if you haven't seen it already.

Many of these things are standard tourist destinations but I had such fun and wanted to share my thoughts on the places I enjoyed.

Did I mention how arty farty my hotel was? Check out the ripped painting on the wall...










I love the colours...
















I hope you enjoy this and please feel free to leave your favourite NYC culture and sightseeing spots. 

S
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22 November, 2014

SEGS' NEW YORK SPOTS - FOOD

Last week I visited New York which was really good fun. I stayed at the Refinery Hotel in Midtown which was a perfect location for hitting the shops.
I decided I would put together a series of short guides listing my favourite places to eat and drink, where to soak up culture and explore the sights in New York. 

I'm beginning with food of course ...














I'd really love to hear about your favourite New York restaurants and bars so please comment below!

S
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13 November, 2014

SENSITIVE SKIN



If you have sensitive skin like myself then there are a ton of beauty products out there that can help with this - all natural, colour and fragrance free.

But what about the other type of sensitive skin where things that people say or do affect you? Your sense of self is left feeling irritated and your ego is red and inflamed.

I suppose that's more difficult to manage. What do you use to soothe that? All I know is that somehow developing tougher skin than can act as a barrier from others' opinions, comments and feedback is the way forward.

On the sensitivity spectrum are you someone who completely brushes things off after a few moments or do you tend to dwell and re-play those things that hurt over in your mind?

Well I am definitely overly sensitive. Yesterday I ordered a praline cappuccino at Costa which I pronounced as "PRAY-LEAN" to the barista. I was swiftly corrected by her,"oh you mean PRAH-LEAN" she replied.

Her response annoyed me. I suppose it made me feel a little inadequate at that moment but I know it was something that I definitely shouldn't be taking to heart.

A filtering system

Sometimes it's pointless to take things personally but on the other hand taking on board what others say may actually help to develop your character.

Filtering and looking at things objectively rather than dwelling is probably the best defence for  our psychological sensitive skin.

I'd be lying if I told you I knew all the answers but this article here is pretty useful.

How sensitive is your skin?

S
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05 November, 2014

BONFIRE NIGHT BISCUITS

I think Halloween slightly overshadows Bonfire Night here in England. Perhaps pumpkins and scary stuff seem more appealing over that pesky Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plot scenario. 

Personally i've always loved Bonfire Night and think it's so lovely to wrap up warm and go out to see the fireworks.

To get in the spirit of things I decided to make some firework biscuits with a little help from Dr Oetker recipe

I wish I could say I had some children in to help make and decorate them but this is all my handiwork and me simply getting over excited with the glitter and icing tubes! 

bonfire night biscuits
Bonfire Night Biscuits

Bonfire Night Biscuits

Bonfire Night Food

Bonfire night food

Ingredients

100g Unsalted Butter
100g Golden caster sugar
200g Plain flour
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of milk

For the decorating

125g Icing sugar
1 Tablespoon of warm water
Glitter icing tubes

First things first

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. I used 6cm and 4cm circle cookie cutters to make 24 biscuits but any cutters you have at hand will do.

Method

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until it's pale and fluffy.
2. Mix in the flour and continue until the dough looks crumbly. Add the vanilla and milk.
3. Create a ball with the mixture. Pop some flour onto a surface and knead the dough until it's smooth.
4. Roll the dough out, cut the shapes and transfer onto a baking tray. Prick the shapes with a fork and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Place the biscuits on a wire rack once they have cooled down.
6. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add water to make glace icing. Decorate the biscuits with firework designs using the glace and glitter icing and you're done!

I hope your bonfire night goes off with a bang (hehe I couldn't resist) 

S
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