Sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir.
Make a well and pour in the buttermilk, then mix quickly to make a dough.
Place on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, you almost want to treat the dough like it’s really hot when you’re kneading it, handling it as little as possible. Then form into a round and flatten slightly before placing it on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g good quality unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
1 large egg, beaten
A splash of milk
Makes approx 500g
This is an all purpose sweet pastry mix for making pies and it is remarkably easy to make.
Start by sieving the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using your (clean) hands gently work the butter in to the flour and icing sugar mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Next add the milk and egg. Work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over work it at this point as it will become chewy not crumbly. I’ve also heard that cold hands make better pastry, so if you have warm hands, rinse them under the cold tap as much as you can to cool them before you start to work the dough together.
Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean work surface and place your ball of dough on this, then flatten the ball until it’s about two and a half centimetres thick. Sprinkle some flour over it and then wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge to rest for at least thirty minutes.
At this point you can also place the wrapped pastry in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.
Next grab a 9 inch cake tin, preferably one with a removable bottom, and grease it lightly using some kitchen roll and vegetable oil.
Once the dough has rested, sprinkle some more flour on to a large work surface and grab a rolling pin. You want to roll the dough out turning it occasionally until it’s about half a centimetre thick.
The best way to get the pastry from your work surface to the cake tin is to roll it gently around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the oiled tin. Carefully ease the pastry into the tin making sure to get it into the corners. Trim off any excess, by running a knife around the top of the tin and then using a fork, prick the base all over. Place the tin and pastry into your freezer for about 30 minutes, while you heat your oven to 180C.
Take some greaseproof paper and scrunch it up, then use this to line the visible surface of your pastry case, making sure to press it into the sides as well. Next, fill it with either ceramic baking beads or plain rice and bake blind for about 10 minutes.
Remove the baking beads (or rice) and the greaseproof paper and bake the pastry case for another 10 minutes until it firms up and gets a bit biscuit like.
1kg of strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
625ml of tepid water (tepid = 2 parts cold to one part boiling)
1 handful of cornmeal
Makes 6-8 Pizza bases
Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of it.
Mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork (or your hands) start to stir the liquid in the well while bringing in the flour until the dough starts to come together. Then work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough.
Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it around for a 2-3 minutes to push the air out. As you are doing this, work the dough into a giant sausage shape. Divide the dough into six or eight pieces (eight if you like a thin and crispy base) and put them to one side.
Take one of the portions and make it into a ball, then stretch that into a roundish shape about 3-4 inches across and place on a floured surface and grab your rolling pin. Rolling away from you and turning the pizza regularly, roll the pizza base out until it is thin (about an eighth of an inch or less) then flour the pizza base and place on a baking tray lined with cling film – if you don’t have a suitably-sized baking tray, you can substitute with a chopping board or any flat surface that will fit in your freezer.
Fold the cling-film back over the top of the pizza base ready for the next one to be placed on top and repeat until all the portions have been rolled out.
At this point, you can dress one of the pizza bases (simply using passata and cheese) on a baking tray or preferably a pizza stone, either way you will need to sprinkle some cornmeal on before placing the pizza on it to prevent it from sticking.
Then place in a hot oven (approx 220 degrees C) for about 8-10 minutes and enjoy.
You can wrap the cling-filmed pile of bases in tinfoil and put them flat in your freezer to be used later. The bases, once dressed, will cook from frozen in 8-10 mins as well – perfect for a quick dinner when coming home late from work.