Last Saturday, on a gloriously sunny day, myself, my boyfriend, his sister and her boyfriend spent a day on a canal boat. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, the weather really made it. We had great fun learning to drive the canal boat and enjoying the weather as we slowly cruised through the Cheshire countryside.
The day before I prepared a range of goodies to enjoy throughout the day. I made a bottle of lemonade, baked a Bakewell tart, some mini pizza wheels and prepared a couscous salad. There was also a banana bread loaf and half a dozen or so blueberry muffins in the freezer so they were packed too.
The pesto couscous salad is something I came up with last summer and has been a regular summer lunch since then. Its really simple to prepare but very tasty to eat. Perfect for picnics, lunch boxes for work or just to enjoy as a quick weekend lunch. The quantities are quiet vague as it depends which flavours you prefer and can be adjusted accordingly. Sometimes I add a handful of pine nuts &/or some fresh basil leaves at the end. The recipe is at the end.
I also decided to try out an idea I remember seeing a magazine sometime back. The basic idea was to make a pizza, roll it up and then cut into slices and bake in the oven. The result is perfect picnic finger food. Delicious hot or cold.
Pesto couscous salad
Chicken or vegetable stock, hot
handful of feta cheese, cubed
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
handful of olives, halved
- Pour the hot stock over the couscous until the couscous is just covered, cover the bowl and leave for 5 minutes or until the couscous has soaked up all the moisture. Fluff up the couscous with a folk.
- Add the pesto and stir through well.
- Add the other ingredients and mix well.
- Serve while still warm or once cooled.
Mini pizza wheels
Makes approximately 20
For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
5g fast action yeast
300ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
For the topping
4 tbsp passata or pizza sauce
1 ball of mozzarella
Topping of your choice
1 tsp dried oregano
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dough. Knead either by hand or with a mixer for 10 min until smooth and silky. Shape into a round and leave to rise in a covered bowl for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
- Knock the dough back. Knead again very briefly. Divide the dough in two. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle which is about 1cm thick.
- Spoon on 2tbsp pizza sauce onto each rectangle. Add the toppings of your choice (I did one with a couple of slices of torn up parma ham and one with olives and sun dried tomatoes), grate or tear the mozzarella over the two pizzas and finally sprinkle over the dried oregano.
- Have the pizza so the longest edge is in front of you and then carefully roll it up like a Swiss roll.
- Cut the roll into 2 cm thick slices and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave a good few cm around each one as the dough will rise slightly.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200C.