Thursday 9 February 2012

Pizza with carrot and leek and recent food

My energy for blogging is a bit low lately.  I have had such a lovely time of getting my backlog down.  Then I was hit by a wave of making new recipes this week.  Now I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the lovely new food and want to tell you about it all now.  But I am trying to spend some time organising photos and can only spend a little time (especially when the internet is on the blink!).  So I will start with the surprisingly wonderful Carrot and Leek pizza from the weekend.

Firstly, let me share some of Sylvia's artwork and some good and bad foodie experiences of recent weeks:

The bad:
  • I tried Bill Granger's Real Muesli Bars.   I loved them when Fran made them when we visited her last year.  But mine crumbled into muesli.  Not a great success but I am enjoying the museli.
  • I made bad rice paper rolls.  The rice paper was old and the noodles weren't soaked enough.  Must try harder next time!
  • I absent-mindedly put cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon in Sylvia and E's porridge.  Fortunately I realised before serving.  (I also took Sylvia to her swimming lesson at the wrong time when she started back after the Christmas break.  Too many distractions in my life!)

The good:
  • I remembered to tuck a serviette into Sylvia's Jenners party dress neckline at Cafe Lua just before she dropped butterscotch sauce down her front!
  • I finally tried tofu bacon.  Excellent on fried rice.  It was so good I will make it again to do it justice.
  • I tried mock tuna salad again.  This time I used a bottled low fat ranch dressing rather than bitey dijonnaise and it was excellent.

The pizza I made was among the recent good cooking.  It is exciting to have made it because I have been tempted by the photo so many times and promised myself to make it one day.  In fact I now feel that emptiness you feel after achieving a huge goal.  Well not quite but I loved this pizza.  Sarah Brown calls it Cheese and Leek Pizza.  I call it Carrot and Leek Pizza.  It is the least cheesy pizza I have had for ages.  All it has is a little parmesan which is more a flavouring than a rich flatty blanket.  So I am sure it would be easily veganised.

Sarah Brown's recipe has a layer of carrot puree, a layer of leeks and ginger topped with raisins, parsley and parmesan.  I was amazed at the lack of salt and added a pinch but the flavours work without salt.  I didn't have sultanas (as we call what the Brits call raisins) or parsley so I just used dried apple because it annoys me sitting around when I don't really want to eat it.  Of course as soon as I was cooking with it - way after Sylvia's bed time because it took me ages - she was running out of bed and sneaking off with pieces of the dried apple!

She loves pizza but not this one.  I made her a tomato and cheese one to have for lunch the next day instead.  Speaking of dough I used 1/2 a cup of fine semolina in my pizza dough, inspired by Mel's pizza dough recipe.  It worked really well.  Finally I have hope I might finish the semolina in my pantry before the weevils attack it.

When I made the pizza on Sunday we had a busy day.  I sorted some of the clothes she had been given.  When I was young they were called hand-me-downs and not really welcome but the quality of stuff she has been given is lovely.  We also made a birthday card for her cousin in Scotland and with terrible timing, set out for the pool just as the cool change hit.  There are some advantages to an indoor pool.

Lastly as I made the pizza, I had Young Talent Time on the telly.  It is pretty awful but I have such fond memories of watching it as a kid that I had to check out the new version.  My favourite Young Talent Time member was Sally Boyden.  No one as sweet as her on the new show.  And they didn't finish with a rendition of All my Loving.  Sigh!  I guess I am just no longer the target audience.  I'll just stick to my hippy pizzas!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Queso dip, enchiladas and food processor
This time two years ago: Pizza for the Working Woman
This time three years ago: Jam-Making Reflections by a Novice
This time four years ago: Wanton Dumplings in Ginger Broth

Carrot and Leek pizza
adapted from Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Cookery

Pizza dough for 1-2 medium large pizzas (I used about 1/2 a quantity of fast track pizza dough)
500g carrots, peeled trimmed and chopped
pinch of smoked salt (optional)
2 tsp rice bran oil (or other oil)
25g sunflower seeds
1 large leek, trimmed, washed and sliced
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
25g dried apple or raisins
25g parmesan, finely grated (or 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast)
Cornmeal for pizza tray

Make the dough and let it sit while you prepare topping.  If you take ages to get the toppings ready like me, just punch it down every now and again when it looks a bit fluffy.

Steam or microwave carrots until soft (I boiled mine with minimal water, for 20 minutes until I smelled burning, scrapped the burnt bits off and found they still were a bit undercooked when I tried to puree them, so I then microwaved them for 3 minutes and they then were mooshy enough to puree.)  Puree in until smooth (I used my blender attachment to my hand held blender but you could probably get away with just mashing them with a potato masher).  Stir or puree in smoked salt.  Set aside.

Meanwhile heat rice bran oil in a large frypan and lightly fry sunflower seeds for about 5 minutes.  Add leek and ginger and gently fry until leek is soft.

To assemble pizza:  Sprinkle large round pizza tray with cornmeal.  Roll or stretch out dough to fit tray and flop it onto tray with only a slight stretching to fit.  Spread dough with carrot puree.  Scatter dried apple or raisins over carrot.  Arrange leek mixture evenly over the carrot and dried fruit.  Sprinkle parmesan over pizza.  Bake in preheated 190 C oven (I also use a pizza stone) for 25-30 minutes (I did mine for 30 minutes) or until golden brown.

On the stereo: 
Night on my side: Gemma Hayes


  1. I really love this idea of using carrot on a pizza!!!!!

    1. Thanks Lisa - I love finding alternatives to the traditional tomato sauce

  2. The pizza sounds really interesting and I love Sylvia's artwork! So glad that you liked the tofu bacon. I have been meaning to do another post about it as I make tofu bacon so often and more recently have been using a grill pan. I like the idea of adding some to fried rice, my boys aren't that keen on fried rice but if there was some tofu bacon included, it could be more appetising.

    1. Thanks Mel - one reason I want to try the tofu bacon again is I want to try it on a grill pan - I 'd also like to try in in soup like I have seen you do

  3. cayenne porridge! too funny. i'm on autopilot most mornings and i can easily picture myself doing that.

    i've never had leeks on pizza -- it sounds so good!

    1. Thanks Sarah - the cinnamon jars and cayenne jars look too similar for mornings - I tend to race around on autopilot too

  4. Oooooh! SO beautiful! I love all things with leeks... :-)

    1. Thanks Astra - agree with you about leeks - they are like interesting onions!

  5. I absolutely love pizza, and used to make amazing pizza, but lately I have been getting it so wrong! Just a couple yucky ingredients can ruin the whole thing. I think the beauty is in the simplicity.

    1. Thanks Matt - funny how with a favourite dish you can go through highs and lows - I used to make stirfries all the time, lost my mojo and recently have found it again - hope your pizza mojo returns

  6. Teehee, I will never believe your energy is low for blogging, not when you're one of the most lengthy-posts-prolific bloggers I know ;)

    I'm so fascinated by the pizza! One of the reasons I never grew up eating pizza was then with my mum's gluten, dairy, and tomato allergies, there was truly almost nothing we could make, even once gluten-free pizza bases and goat's cheese were around. Carrot puree is fantastic!

    1. Thanks Hannah - just too much I need to do at the moment - and too much to say :-)

      Pizza isn't something I remember having lots as a kid though I think my mum probably made it quite a bit but I can see that the traditional sort wouldn't do for your mum at all - but maybe this one might work!

  7. I like the look of this pizza! What a great twist on the standard approach. And I confess to chuckling at the idea of cayenne porridge but am very glad you realised before it was served. Definitely something that is funny in the abstract but wouldn't be good in reality.

    1. Thanks Kari - yes the idea of cayenne in porridge is much better than the real thing - though as I don't eat it, I would only feel mortified at serving it rather than eating it :-)

  8. Ooo I have never seen a pizza like this before!! Loooove the sound of it especially the carrot puree. And I like how there are different things like raisins (apples sound good too). What a neat pizza!

    1. Thanks Ashley - I have looked at the picture in the cookbook so many times but it tasted completely different than it looks - E didn't like the dried apples - nor the leek - so it is not to everyone's liking

  9. I've recently discovered that I really like pizzas with atypical ingredients on them--they really are just open-faced sandwiches, then, aren't they?--and this carrot-leek one looks like a winner. Love Sylvia's artwork, too! And I had to laugh at the cayenne mistake--that is so much like what I have done as well (once replaced my paprika stash and poured cayenne into the jar instead. Had to throw away an entire batch of paprikash). ;)

    1. Thanks Ricki - I've had this book for probably about 20 years and always admired that pizza pic but it is only recently that I have started making pizza regularly which means more opportunities to experiment


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