portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

This portabellini mushroom, pesto and bocconcini flatbread is a super speedy way to get something utterly delicious on the table. The meaty mushrooms add a fabulous umami punch and great texture. Tailor these as much as you like by playing with your favourite toppings and flavour combinations.

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

The husband and I have been steadily reducing our intake of animal products and meat specifically. So mushrooms have become a large part of our diets. They’re versatile, delicious and best of all cheap! So they really convince you never to want another piece of steak again. On top of that they’re just really good for you. So when asked by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association whether I wanted to take part in their #festivemushrooms campaign I said hell yes!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

The brief was to come up with a yummy mushroom recipe using our local cultivated varietals. If you’re looking for yummy then look no further. This meal will very easily become a weeknight staple! Keep up to date with the #festivemushrooms campaign and follow the SAMFA blog for more delicious recipes!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

Portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

Makes 2 large flatbreads

Ingredients:

2 flatbreads – homemade or store bought
500g Portabellini mushrooms
1 large white onion, diced
Fresh thyme sprigs
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper
150g Bocconcini mozzarella
Sundried tomatoes
Fresh baby herbs and leaves

For the pesto:
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
40g fresh basil leaves
40g fresh rocket
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
80ml extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Method:

If you aren’t in a massive hurry to get lunch or dinner on the table then I suggest making the flatbread yourself. It’s deeply satisfying making dough with your hands and there’s something super duper rewarding about knowing you’ve made that baby from scratch. Also it really takes a couple of seconds to throw together.

I use a very simple flatbread recipe:
200g self-raising flour
250g full fat Greek yoghurt
1 pinch of salt

In a bowl mix together the yoghurt, flour and salt until it forms a dough.
Transfer dough onto a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes. Cut into 2 or 4 pieces depending on desired size. Cover with a dish cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out each section of dough using plenty of flour to prevent sticking or tearing.
Cook the flatbread in a dry hot griddle pan. Cook each side for 2-4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

For the pesto:
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic clove and teaspoon of sea salt into a puree. Scrape the garlic paste into a food processor for ease; add the basil, rocket, Parmesan and olive oil. Blitz until smooth. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.
For the flatbreads:
Sauté the diced onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt until gently caramelised. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in batches until golden brown. And a few sprigs of thyme as you fry each batch. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 200C and move the rack to the upper shelf.

Brush flatbreads with the basil pesto. Top each one with half of the mushroom mix. Rip the bocconcini mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the mushrooms. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the flatbread is golden brown.

Top with pieces of sundried tomatoes, a few dollops of pesto and fresh baby leaves. Slice, serve and enjoy!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

the perfect homemade pizza

homemade pizza | The Secret Life of Bee

God bless dough. Dough is king. Cheese and meat on crispy dough is a magical thing. There are few things on this earth I enjoy more than a homemade pizza straight out of the oven. It’s such a social thing. I put the husband to work on rolling out the bases. The mamma bear is generally on wine pouring duty and I get the sauce and toppings going. I have a little Earthfire pizza oven that works like a bomb but we sadly can’t use it at our apartment complex. So we just blast the oven as high as it will go and pop a pizza stone in to get piping hot.

homemade pizza | The Secret Life of Bee

I made this pizza a couple of weeks ago before I went to the US on a foodie extravaganza with the husband. Two of the very many highlights were going to the famous institution that is Joe’s Pizza for the best slice in NYC and getting a serious dose of Italian food porn at Eataly. Walking into Joe’s Pizza is hysterical because no one is talking. They’re all way too busy chewing and munching on one of the best slices of pizza i’ve ever had. The back wall is lined with photos of Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Murray and every other famous person you can think of getting their NYC slice on at Joe’s.  The husband went for the pepperoni and I went for the mozzarella. Both were delicious and perfectly balanced. Thin chewy base with just the right amount of toppings.

Joe's Pizza NYC | The Secret Life of Bee

Joe's Pizza NYC | The Secret Life of Bee

Joe's Pizza NYC | The Secret Life of Bee

We then hit Eataly where the finest ingredients on the planet are all on steroids. The creamiest mozzarella, ripest Italian tomatoes and a cheeky Italian dude making the pizzas and chatting away over the counter added to the vibe. The pizza was delicious and at $25 we made sure there wasn’t a crumb leftover.

Eataly | The Secret Life of Bee

Alrighty. So enough blabbing. Pizza time.

If you don’t have a pizza stone an all natural unglazed tile will do the trick. Or just use a baking tray. The crust won’t be as crisp but it’ll still be fun and yum!

The perfect homemade pizza

makes 2

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 300g doppio zero “00” flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 200ml warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast

Combine warm water, olive oil and yeast in a jug and leave for 5 minutes. Combine salt and flour in a large mixing bowl and mix well to distribute the salt. Pour the water mixture into the flour and mix well with your hands. Knead the dough until bouncy and elastic. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Split rested dough into two and knead each ball for a few minutes. Cover both with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 2-4 hours at room temperature.

Sauce:

  • 1 tin whole peeled Italian tomatoes, blended
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt to taste
  • bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped (optional)

Gently fry the garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, oregano and salt and cook for a few minutes. Finally add the blended tomatoes and sugar and allow to simmer gently for 1 hour until reduced. Stir through the chopped basil once the sauce is thick and check seasoning.

To make the pizzas:

Preheat your oven as high as it will go! Place the rack into the top third of the oven and if you have a pizza stone pop that in there too.

Roll and stretch the dough out on a floured surface. If you have a pizza shovel assemble pizzas on there. If not an upside down baking tray works just fine!

Spoon about 3 Tbsp of the tomato sauce on the pizza. Spread it out with the back of the spoon. Brush the edges of the pizza with olive oil for a great crust.

Add toppings of your choice.

Here I used buffalo mozzarella, asparagus, parma ham and fresh rocket. And I decided to #putaneggonit

If you want to keep your yolk nice and runny pop the pizza into the oven for a few minutes first, then crack the egg on and finish the cooking.

Be careful when transferring the pizza onto the super hot pizza stone. Preferably drink wine moderately until this is done.

Cook each pizza for about 5 minutes until golden, bubbling and crispy!

Buon appetito!

homemade pizza | The Secret Life of Bee