Calzones have originated in Naples, Italy and are shaped like folded pizzas. It forms a nice semi circular form when folded over and it is rather easy to hold in your hands and devour the luscious fillings while standing or walking. A typical calzone is baked in an oven and one can insert any type of fillings vegetarian or otherwise.
As a rule, Calzones are usually stuffed with cheese be it Ricotta, Parmesan or Mozzarella. Here I have done the Calzone like the Gourmet Boscaiola Pizza in one of my earlier posts using Fontina Cheese instead.
After baking, the Calzones are usually served with Marinara Sauce or topped with a combination of olive, garlic and parsley.
The following recipe yields 8, 6 inch calzones.
Ingredients ( Calzone Dough)
3/4 tsp white sugar
1 and 1/4 cup warm water ( 110 deg F or 45 deg C)
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tsp Italian seasonings
Some extra bread flour for dusting rolling board
Method ( Calzone Dough)
Place the warm water in a bowl and dissolve the sugar in it.
Then sprinkle the yeast on the top but do not stir. Leave it to get foamy for about 10 mins.
After 10 mins, add in the salt and olive oil and stir.
Add in the bread flour and the Italian seasonings and mix for a few minutes. You would have got a ball of dough by now.
Remove this dough and place it on a floured rolling board. Knead to form a smooth dough. Add in a little olive oil or extra flour to help.
Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a loose towel and let it rise for around 2 hours near a warm place.
In the meantime, prepare the fillings.
Spinach and Mushroom Filling
Ingredients ( Filling)
4 tbsp Olive Oil
8 cloves Garlic, minced
10 cups Spinach, washed
16 button mushrooms, washed, dried and then sliced
Salt to season
150 g Fontina Cheese, sliced thinly into 32 squares ( 4 for each calzone)
Method ( Filling)
Take a sauce pan and heat 2 tbsps of olive oil in it. Fry 4 minced garlic cloves till slightly brown, put in the spinach , add a generous pinch of salt and cook till it wilts. Check for salt and set aside.
Take the same saucepan and heat the other 2tbsps of olive oil in it. Fry the other 4 minced garlic cloves again till slightly brown and then put the sliced mushrooms, another generous pinch of salt and fry till the mushroom slices are cooked and water has all evaporated. Set aside. Check for salt and set aside.
Slice the Fontina cheese and set aside.
After 2 hours, preheat the oven to 400 deg F..
Roll out the dough on a floured board to a big tube and then cut into 8 equal slices. Leaving the other pieces in the mixing bowl, roll out one of the pieces into a 6 inch circle.
Arrange the cooked spinach and mushrooms on one side of the circular dough only. Place 4 pieces of Fontina cheese and fold over like a curry puff. Then pinch the sides till it seals the calzone. Repeat for the rest of the calzone dough slices.
Place the calzones on a well oiled baking tray and brush the calzone with more olive oil
Bake for 25 mins till the dough browns at the edges and underneath.
Enjoy warm with red chilli flakes or just on its own.
A compote is a dessert originating from medieval Europe made of whole pieces of fruits in sugar syrup. The syrup can be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, other spices, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit or raisins. Compotes can be served warm or chilled and can be topped with whipped cream, cinnamon or vanilla sugar.
Compotes can be served on waffles, pancakes, French toast, crepes, cheesecake or whatever you fancy. I actually served it on my Shortbread Wedges.
1 box of fresh strawberries ( 16oz or 454gm)
1 lemon ( or if you prefer less sour, 1/2 lemon)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. corn starch
Wash the strawberries and husk the leaves out. if you have pretty big strawberries, cut them in half.
Zest and juice the lemon.
Take a small saucepan and over medium heat, combine sugar, water, cornstarch and mix well.
Add in the strawberries, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Leave to cool.
Your Strawberry Lemon Compote is now ready for your use.
Using only 3 ingredients, these decadent shortbread wedges can be prepared under an hour!! Needless to say, it is one of the easiest cookies I have baked and the results were quite appealing.
Enjoy them on their own or topped with Strawberry Lemon Compote ( my next recipe) for an extra delish dessert.
Ingredients (for 8 wedges of 8 inch circle baking pan)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (or icing sugar)
Preheat your oven to 300deg F or 150deg C.
Cream butter in a mixing bowl and then add flour and sugar. Remember don't over mix otherwise, it will become too soft. If it does, place the bowl in the fridge for 10 mins.
Pat onto the pan and crimp the edges with a fork.
Bake for 30-35 mins till the edges start browning.
Take the pan out from the oven and immediately cut into 8 wedges while still in the pan.
Let it cool completely before serving.
It was a quiet Friday afternoon and my younger daughter Riya and I were waiting for a call so that she could be picked up for her sleepover. I got a text message from a close friend- let's call her Supermom for reason of anonymity ( She will dispute this as she claims she is more of a Blur mom!).
'Quick question Nilo, does your family like banana cake?' My first thought was who doesn't? I mean I don't know anyone who doesn't like banana cake. It is by far one of the most simplest way to use up any old overripe bananas and it usually turns out pretty well. So no one should have any good reason to hate banana cake!!
Two surprises followed suit - its always nice to have good friends turn up unexpectedly and what 's more, she brings us a teatime treat! Supermom popped by my place to offer us a homemade banana cake wrapped in foil. I love home made cakes - no preservatives and no artificial flavors to make it more sellable. I peeled away the foil and the first thing that caught my eye was its unique color... ( see photo above) it was of pale yellow and it stuck to the foil. Banana cakes usually appear medium brown on the exterior with a light brown interior. Did Supermom take the cake out too early while rushing out to pick up her kids or to run her other ever mounting errands? I checked with her and she said it is supposed to be that way and apparently it has a unique cooking method ( which I will mention later).
Before she rushed out ( yet again! ) I did ask her this :
'Is everyone fine at home after eating your banana cake? '
Her reply ? 'No one has tried it yet !!' My next thought- Better keep emergency numbers ready - just in case!! ;))
My verdict ? Surprisingly soft and moist and with lovely light banana aroma.. No overpowering egg or butter smell or taste. Nice texture and it melts in your mouth ( I can imagine my friend going ' Nilo - you are exaggerating!' ) Kudos to you Supermom - you have another feather to add to your hat! But I did find it a little sweet for my taste buds.
One important cooking tip - if you are watching your sugar intake for whatever reasons, you must remember to adjust sugar when baking banana cakes. There is enough sweetness in over ripe bananas - I usually add only 1/2 or 2/3 of the sugar quantity suggested.
Supermom was generous enough to share her unique recipe with us. This Banana Cake is unique on so many fronts - color, texture, cooking method and an unusual ingredient in Banana Cakes - lemon juice.
Ingredients ( yields 12 servings)
1 and 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsps baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 and 1/8 cups sugar (reduce to 1 and 1/2 cups if you prefer less sweet)
3 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla essence
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 275 deg F or 140 deg C (or 120 deg C if you are using a fan oven) . Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a small mixing bowl, mix the mashed bananas with lemon juice and set aside.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time and then stir in the vanilla essence.
Beat in the flour mixture into the butter mix alternately with buttermilk. Stir in the banana mix.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
This part is the unique method of this recipe - once out of the oven, immediately place the banana cake into the freezer for 45 mins! Apparently, according to the recipe and Supermom, this is the magic step to make the cake moist and so melt in your mouth! I believe the sudden cold temperature halts the cooking process which then leaves the cake still in its moist form instead of further cooking and drying out in its pan even after removing from the oven.
Remove from freezer after 45 mins and enjoy an aromatic light banana cake...
Supermom had adapted this recipe from My Baking Addiction.
Note to Supermom:
We are fine after 3 days of having your delicious cake. Emergency numbers have been chucked aside for now :)) Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.
Cilantro Rice or Coriander Rice is made the same way as Mint Rice. Sometimes when you want to serve Basmati Rice but you don't want to serve the usual Basmati Peas Rice or plain Basmati Rice, this Cilantro Rice comes in handy. It is easily prepared and the taste of Cilantro is not overpowering. The recipe below is for 4 as a main dish.
2 cups of Basmati Rice, soaked for 30 mins
Ingredients for Grinding
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 and 1/2 cups of cilantro leaves
1/2 green chilli
1/2 cup water
Ingredients for Tempering
1 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried Bay leaves
1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly
Grind all the ingredients under grinding and pour it into the rice cooker. Pour 3 and 1/2 cups water into the blender to wash the sides and pour this into the rice cooker too. Add salt per your preference.
Take a small pot and heat the oil.
Saute the cumin seeds and bay leaves for a minute before adding in the sliced onions. When slightly golden brown, pour this tempering oil with its ingredients in to the rice cooker. Switch it on and cook per your usual way.
When cooked , garnish with more coriander leaves and serve with any curry of your choice.
Vegetable Fritters or Pakoras are a favorite among Indians. Predominantly served as a snack during tea times, parties or gatherings, these vegetable fritters are basically vegetables dipped in a combination of Bengal gram flour and rice flour batter with other ingredients and then deep fried. Oven baking these fritters will give an equally good result. Alternatively, you can try using Air Fryer.