Polenta Pizza with Mushroom, Leek and Mascapone

A polenta base pizza with fresh creamy pesto, soft leeks, mushrooms and mascapone cheese.

What cheese do you use to hide a horse? Mask-a-Pony. (Wheyy)

I have been extremely intrigued by polenta lately, so I thought I would try it in something which I love; Pizza.

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Polenta is gluten free, so this pizza is a lot less bloating. It is also so easy and cheap to make. So next time you reach to ring up dominos, think twice and make this instead! Unless you wan’t stuffed crust, I admit that stuffed crust is hard to beat.

I was a bit scared making this base from scratch because I had never cooked with it. I have experienced some horrid kitchen disasters and I had a gut feeling that this could be an addition to the list… but it went surprisingly well so clearly anyone can do it.

You will need:

For the base

  • 500 ml veg stock
  • 300 g dried polenta
  • pinch garlic salt
  • tsp oregano
  • tsp dried basil

For the topping

  • 1 leek
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 tbs mascapone
  • 1 tbs fresh pesto (or the jar stuff)
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 50g grated cheese

1) Bring your stock to boil before adding the polenta, herbs and salt. As you add your polenta keep stirring the mix untill it forms a sort of bright yellow dough

2) Find a saucepan or large round tin and press the doughey mix into it, then leave it in the fridge. Mine looked like this, but don’t use foil like me! It made the bottom of the base soggy not crispy:

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3) Pop it in the fridge for 30 mins. When its cooled you can begin to make your topping. All you need to do is fry the leek, garlic and mushrooms in a pan until they have softened. Then spoon your pesto on to the base and spread it around. Next chuck on your garlic, leeks and mushrooms, before finally spooning on the mascapone and grated cheese.

4) Put it in the oven in the pan you used at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

You can pretty much top this with anything you like! But I loved this combo. You could also add toasted pinenuts, or avocado like me when it is cooked. Let me know if you have ever tried polenta and know any great dishes, it is still so alien to me! And let me know if you try it, I would love to see what you think.

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Halloumi Mexican Wraps

I laaaaaaavvvv mexican. And Halloumi, and lemon salted courgettes, and avocado. So I combined them all in a wrap and fed them too my hungry housemates.

Bethany even said the words “this is the best thing you have ever cooked me.” plus she didn’t put ketchup on it, so it must have tasted OK.

It is a great meal for sharing, and it gets a bit messy so is fun to eat! Unless you don’t like mess in which case use a knife and fork, clever.

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

This served 3. You will need:

  • pack of 6 wraps
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 block halloumi
  • 1 tin tomatos/passata
  • 2 chopped red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 pack of fajita spice mix
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • handfull chopped spinach

For the courgette:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • half lemon squeezed
  • pinch pepper

1) Start with the courgettes as they need roasting which takes about 40 mins. Simply chop them into batons and shake them on the baking tray with the salt, a generous amount of oil, and some pepper.

2)Pop them in the oven at 200 degrees for 40 mins. While they are cooking you can get going on your wrap sauce!

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The VegaquariumFor the sauce:

1) Fry off your onion and garlic with a pinch of sugar, then add your kidney beans and fajita spices to make a pastey looking mix!

2) After about 5 mins, add your tomatoes and leave to simmer for 30 mins.

3) 10 mins before you are ready to serve, chop up the avocado and prepare on a plate with a squeeze of the rest of the lemon you used earlier. Then slice up your halloumi into strips.

4) Fry the halloumi with a bit of oil and tsp of paprika in a frying pan, turning every few mins, after a while they will start to brown off and go crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, this is why I love it!

5) Then put everything on the table, with the wraps and some sour cream/ greek yoghurt to serve, and let them get stuck in!

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

If you want to follow suit, we then had Ben and Jerry’s for desert!

Creamy avocado pasta

One hungover day, when the time for porridge and cereal was long behind me, I decided to make this meal my breakfast (technically). But I would do it again! I know, another pasta dish, but this one is special and I’ve been meaning to try something like it for ages!

The thing I like about this pasta is that it is so creamy you feel like it should be a huge calorific bomb, but it is actually pretty green and healthy! If you don’t like avocado, don’t ditch me just yet, as this is avocado in a whole new light.

My recipe serves 2, but you can double or tripple your ingredients, make up a huge batch of this stuff and feed it to your friends, family, pets, I reckon it would go down a treat.

I would have liked to have made this with spagetti, but penne was all my cupboard had to bare.

You will need:

  • 125g of your favourite pasta
  • 2 soft ripe avocados
  • 1 squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tbs mayonaise
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • pinch of black pepper and pinch of salt
  • Peas or spinach (optional)

To be honest, the recipe from here requires little explanation!

  1. Cook your pasta for 10 minutes in boiling water, and remember to add your peas about 3 mins before the end!
  2. Meanwhile mash or blend up the avocado, mayo, lemon, pepper, salt, and garlic into a big paste. Then stir in your pasta and parmesan.
  3. Finish with more seasoning to taste and serve with a garnish if you are feeling posh/pretentious like me. Told you it was pretty simple, so no excuses not to try.

While I am here, I feel I would also like to show the cake I made my friend Jessica yesterday. She is an avid fan on Strictly Come Dancing, has been to see it twice, and will end up on the show one day… we hope. Therefore the obviously the only appropriate cake was Strictly themed. I was going to do a whole post on it, but after the trauma of it nearly looking like shiny football, spraying shimmer in my eye , getting red food dye everywhere and spilling silver balls all over the floor, it became too much to re-live. It is a very nearly disco ball, but the sponge should taste good.

Happy birthday Jess!