Just back from the Italian Dolomites the skiing was lacking in style and quite scary but the pizzas were fantastic. Thin and crispy, with just a little topping, we watched as the pizza dough was twirled in the air to get the required thinness and then cooked quickly in a proper wood oven they were on the table in a trice before I had time to recover from the exertion of hurtling down the piste. There was a bewildering choice of toppings ( I wish that I hadn’t left the phrase book on the hall table at home..) from sausages and ham, eggs, rocket, tuna, seafood, pineapple, mushrooms, etc. My favourite was the plain and simple tomato with cheese and garlic. It had a stronger cheese for flavour (not sure which) and the lovely soft mozzarella that stretches between pizza and mouth alarmingly.  It doesn’t let go until you can manage the quick twist and flick of the chin. No doubt the tomato base was lovingly made by hand, gently simmering fresh tomatos with fragrant basil and then reducing it until it is thick enough to spread. I will try to make this properly sometime but in the meantime-

Let’s not kid ourselves sometimes a quick and easy dish using the really GOOD convenience ingredients available are just perfect for a ‘coming home for work don’t have time to cook’ sort of meal or,indeed for any day of the week. You can rustle these up in 20 minutes or less

Panini pizza for an easy supper dish or snack-pronto

Makes 4

1 ciabbata loaf cut in two and slice to make 4 or 2 Panini rolls sliced open

2 tbsp. olive oil

Jar Sacla sundried tomato paste

70g thin ham shredded

½ small can of pineapple rings cut into small pieces

2 handfuls grated mature Cheddar

125g Mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces


Fresh basil leaves to serve.

1.  Preheat the oven to medium, 190C, Gas 5. Use a tbsp. of the oil to brush the tops of the bread slices. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 5 minutes until they start to crisp up.

2.  Take out of the oven and spread each with about 2 teasps of the tomato paste.

3.  Top each with the shredded ham, pineapple, grated Cheddar and mozzarella.

4.  Drizzle with the remaining oil and bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

5.  To serve scatter some torn up basil leaves and eat straight away.


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