I’m sitting in my dining room, which has just been painted white by our landlord after years of peeling paint and strange patches on the walls. I feel like I have a blank canvas to play with, full of potential. Our living room on the other hand is packed full of our dining room furniture and pretty much resembles Steptoe’s Yard. But I get to start again in this room. This weekend we’ll start to drag stuff back. I’ll put my vintage plates lovingly away in the dresser. My husband will enjoy reorganising our music collection far more than a person should. We’ll argue over how the books should be arranged and in what order. Pretty soon it will look much as it ever did, a thoroughly lived in room with all the tapestry of our lives strewn about. But for now it’s a blank canvas and how often do we get one of those?
I was going to make a tenuous link about pizza bases being a blank canvas but I won’t do that (except I just did). This is a pizza base with a difference since it is made from cauliflower. I’d seen quite a few recipes for grain free pizza bases made from cauliflower around the internet and the idea intrigued me. When I saw this recipe on Green Kitchen Stories the simplicity of the recipe appealed to my sometimes lazy attitude towards cooking and so I took the plunge and gave it a try. It was a great success and my husband declared it the best “gluten free” pizza he’d had. Notice he said “gluten free” because quite frankly if you are looking for this base to taste like real pizza you will be disappointed. Personally I’ve forgotten what pizza tastes like but I know this isn’t going to replicate. It does stand out on its own as a delicious alternative with a slightly nutty, sweet taste and softer texture.
Since my husband can’t eat tomatoes these days I went for a goat’s cheese topping with roasted fennel and pear. The result was delicious. The sweetness from the caramelised fennel and pears complimented the tang of the goat’s cheese perfectly. We’ll definitely be making this again many times in the future.
Pizza base recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories: Serves 2-3
1 cauliflower (how much you use will depend on the size of the cauliflower)
80g ground almonds
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary (or whatever dried herb you like)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs beaten
Preheat the oven Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F
Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside.
Chop the cauliflower in to florets and process in a food processor to make a fine, rice like texture. You should end up with about 700ml of cauliflower rice. I started off in batches and stopped once I had reached 700ml.
Add the ground almonds, rosemary, seasoning and mix together with your hands. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. Mix together until a dough is formed, you will probably need to use your hands for this so be prepared to get messy. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. It will be quite loose and sticky. Push the dough out towards the edges of the baking sheet and flatten with your hands until a flat base is formed. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fennel bulb finely sliced using a mandolin
1 pear finely sliced.
Hard goat’s cheese sliced
While the pizza is baking in the oven, place the fennel on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until the edges are beginning to caramelise and the fennel is slightly softer.
When the pizza base is ready remove from the oven and top with the fennel, sliced pear and finally the goat’s cheese. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.