Organic vegetarian ravioli – one taste and you’re smitten

As a kid one of my favourite foods had to be ravioli.

What can I say? I love pasta, and pasta stuffed with other foods seemed even better!

Biona Organic have obviously taken advantage of my love of all things Italian and created a vegetarian Ravioli Pizzaiola which is filled with ricotta, mozzarella, tomato and Italian pizza herbs.

Biona Ravioli Pizzaiola
2 great tastes in one – pizza and ravioli

I’m ashamed to say that one taste led to a whole plate of the little parcels being devoured in minutes.

It also tasted better than I remember as a child, I’m not sure if it was because of the organic ingredients or their pizza like nature.

If Biona’s Pizzaiola doesn’t satisfy you then the company also make larger rectangles of ravioli filled with spinach and leek.

Warning: these are surprisingly filling.

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Healthy pizza – is it possible?

Healthy pizza is finally here
Healthy pizza is finally here!

If you are living, breathing member of the human race…

You are also likely to love pizza.

But, if you are a conscientious type of person, you may also be concerned all that white flour dough, oil and cheese  which can’t be so good for you.

So Whole Creations have gone and made the whole thing healthy for you.

If you want a full, delicious tasting pizza here it is. It comes with a nutritious thin wholemeal base made from 100% wholegrain and lots of vegetables on top to count towards your five a day – at least 2 or 3 on every pizza.

It’s low GI (the best way of losing weight) and makes a good source of protein with just the right amount of cheese. Best of all, it’s vegetarian and the taste is unique.

Choose from Roasted Vegetable, Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella, Mixed Pepper and Goats Cheese or Spinach, Ricotta and Tomato.

Vegan pizzas have arrived at GoodnessDirect

For ages we wait for vegan pizzas to be available to buy off the shelf, then two versions come along at the same time…

Mamma Cucina and Redwood have both introduced new pizzas made with dairy free cheese and both are available from GoodnessDirect.

Why the long wait? Well it’s the tricky art of producing a meltable vegan cheese that makes the difference. However, the breakthrough now means that one of the world’s favourite foods is available to vegans in minutes.

Redwood have three vegan pizzas to try. Using their non-meat expertise they’ve produced a normal Margherita, a Ham-Style and Pineapple version and the exciting Meatless Feast Pizza.

Mamma Cucina offer a Margherita or Vegetable Pizza, but they are bigger and have the extra benefit of being gluten-free.

But the real competition is going to be in the taste. We’re not saying which tastes best? That’s up to you to find out…

Amisa’s gluten free pizza bases and porridge – made with love

Those brilliant people at Amisa have been in the lab again.

Now they’ve brought out a gluten free pizza base with a deep soft texture to it. It’s made of rice flour, corn starch and buckwheat flour and because it’s also egg free that makes it vegan too.

Tastes like it's made with love
Tastes like it's made with love

Not only this but the innovators have been developing their own gluten free porridge using ELISA tested oats. Porridge is great for this time of year and Amisa have developed an apple & cinnamon version as well as an original.

They’ve also used the oats  for a new muesli which includes cranberries and strawberries as well as sunflower seeds and linseed.

Amisa Organic make a range of cereals, crispbreads, cakes, bread, biscuits and crackers. Not only that, they taste like they’ve been made with love, so they’re definitely worth a mention during Food Allergy and Intolerance Week.

Pasta is the world’s favourite food, but can it save the world?

We Brits eat a lot of pasta, but not as much as the Tunisians or Venezuelans and, of course, the Italians. This worldwide appeal explains why pasta has been found to be the world’s most favourite food.

However, other foods are not far behind, according to an Oxfam survey. The top 10 of favourite foods worldwide were…

  1.  Pasta
  2.  Rice
  3.  Pizza
  4.  Chicken
  5.  Meat
  6.  Vegetables
  7.  Steak
  8.  Chinese
  9.  Lasagna
  10.  Fish

Overall, it looks like Italy has a lot to answer for. And, as you can see from the links, at GoodnessDirect we’re keen to satisfy people’s tastes.

But the real reason for the survey is to highlight the rising concern over worldwide food prices. Every night, almost 1/6th of people in the world go to bed hungry.

This week the G20 meet in Paris to discuss rising food costs. Oxfam predicts food prices will double by 2030. The truth is, wherever we are in the world, we’re going to be affected. Let’s pray the politicians ‘use their noodles’ and find a lasting solution.

Guaranteed fun with organic Kiddies Pizza (by What On Earth)

What better way to introduce organic food to kids than with organic pizza? And what a way to discover healthy eating!

Now, personally, I think children know quality food when they taste it. So do expect these pizzas to be gobbled up in no time. They’re made by the marvelous and ever-popular What On Earthorganic food kitchen and they come in packs of 6 in a useful recyclable box.

Kid's organic pizza - got to be fun
Kid's organic pizza - got to be fun

There’s no preservatives, just fresh tasting organic ingredients and clever names… Try Fun-Guy for a vegetarian cheese and mushroom, or Maggie & Rita for cheese and tomato, the Oinker is a special organic ham and cheese recipe.

And, if you really want to have fun with your kids and organic food then you can pick up What On Earth’s pizza bases and passata and help them make their own!There’s plenty more special organic ingredients at GoodnessDirect.

Remember, research is showing organic food contains higher levels of vitamins minerals and antioxidants, plus you’re not getting additives or pesticides, just peace of mind when it comes to looking after our earth.

Gluten Free Pizza Base

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA CRUST RECIPE

Makes 1  x 12-13 inch pizza crust.Gluten Free Pizza

This is a great recipe for Pizza base and is inspired by my friends over the pond at http://www.facebook.com/celiacguide.  I’ve converted it for those of us who use Gas Mark X and substituted UK ingredients and have found it works a treat (though I got in an oily mess the first time I made it)  but soon mastered.

1/4 cup millet flour

1  cup  rice flour

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or  starch (they are the same thing by the way) (if you don’t have this use cornstarch or more tapioca starch)

1/2 cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon sugar for proofing yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water, (heated to 115 -120 degrees)

2 Tablespoons ricotta cheese (for casein free try almond meal)

2 eggs

2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey

Season to taste with a little  Italian seasoning or paprika for  a little warm peppery taste. Some may like to leave it as it is and let the topping carry the seasoning.

DIRECTIONS:

Place your pizza  pan in the oven and heat the oven to 100 degrees C (Gas Mark 1/4)  to get  warm.

Prepare your liquid ingredients. Mix the olive oil, ricotta cheese (if using almond meal, save and add to the dry ingredients), honey, and vinegar in  bowl and set aside so the mixture comes to room temperature. This mixture should not be cold when mixed with the dry ingredients.

Next, combine all the dry ingredients and sift together in the bowl of your Kenwood or food processor  mixer. Heat 3/4 cup of water until it reaches 46- ish degrees C (No thermometer? No worries, its half way to boiling – a little more than luke warm. In a separate small bowl, place your yeast and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix with about 1/4 cup of the heated water, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes. Once you know the yeast is active, proceed with the recipe.

At this point, you want to double check and make sure all your ingredients have come to room temperature. Turn the  mixer (fitted with paddle) on and give the dry ingredients a few twirls. Add the egg, ricotta mixture to the dry ingredients and give it another few twirls. Add the yeast mixture. At this point, gauge the liquid level. You want the dough to look like stiff cake batter. The dough should still hold the swirls of the mixer, but it should be shiny and not dull.

Add the rest of the water slowly until the right consistency is achieved. You may need another 1/2 cup – making 3/4 cup of warm water total. Since different brands of flour and measuring techniques vary, it is best to keep an eye on  this and add the water slowly to get the texture you want. You will get good at knowing what gluten free pizza dough is supposed to look like.

Once you have the pizza dough made, take the pizza tray out of the oven. . Line the pan with parchment or greaseproof paper and lightly brush with olive oil. With a spatula, slowly spread the pizza dough batter in a 12-13 inch circle. You want the batter to be evenly distributed. At this point, you want to create a beautiful crust edge to your pizza. This can be tricky with such sticky dough. Cover your hands in olive oil and shape the edges like you want them. If you find your hands getting too sticky get a little more olive oil on your hands. You don’t want your dough to be too wet, so be careful.

At this point, I put the tray back in the oven for a 40 minute rise. Once it has risen for 40 minutes, turn the oven to 200 degrees C (Gas mark 6) for 10 minutes to prebake the crust.

Then go crazy adding your favourite toppings! Put back in the oven  for about 7 minutes maybe more. If you want your cheese to brown you could give it an additional 2 minutes under the grill.

Note:You can make this pizza without letting it rise with excellent results!