Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pizzas and Salads

As I mentioned last week in this post, the people at cooks&Co recently sent me a lovely assortment of their newest oils to try out. I've been very busy over the past week or two trying them out in a myriad of ways and enjoying myself quite a lot in the process!Link
I've long been a great fan of the cooks&Co products, having used their condiments and peppers etc quite often over the past few years and always with great results. I do believe that cooks&Co have become synonymous with quality products in my estimation!

They sent me a lovely assortment including the following:

Cooks & Co Virgin Sesame Oil
(RSP: £2.99, 250ml) is a high quality virgin oil, Cold pressed from selected sesame seeds which is delicious in salad dressings and vinaigrettes, as well as in stir fry and oriental dishes.

Cooks & Co Walnut Infused Oil
(RSP: £2.85, 250ml) is made using high quality walnuts and has a delicate nutty flavour that is excellent drizzled over salad and as an ingredient in cakes and Cookies.

Cooks & Co Hazelnut Oil (RSP: £3.99, 250ml) is a great tasting oil made using only the highest quality hazelnuts. It has a fantastic nutty aroma and is perfect for use in cakes, Cookies and salads.

Cooks & Co Roast Peanut Oil (RSP: £3.39, 250ml) is made from selected roasted peanuts and is excellent in dressings as well as homemade mayonnaise and dips.

Cooks & Co Grapeseed Oil (RSP: 3.99, 500ml) is very versatile due to its delicate flavour and is ideal for all types of Cooking, including for use in stir fries, fondues and sauces thanks to its higher burning point than other oils.

Cooks & Co’s Olive Oil with Chilli (RSP: £2.99, 250ml) is the classic Condiment, which will add a kick of heat from whole Birds Eye Chillies, which infuse this delicious olive oil, to homemade pizzas, pasta, dressings and grilled meat.

Last week I used some of the lovely Grapeseed Oil in this beautiful Treacle Gingerbread Loaf, and it was gorgeous. The original recipe had called for olive oil, but the grapeseed oil worked perfectly well, the end result being a very moist and moreish loaf cake.

Since then I have been putting the oils through their paces in a variety of ways!

Today I used some of the chilli oil and made some delicious Ciabatta Pizzas, drizzling some of the oil over the finished pizzas. It added a lovely depth of heat without overpowering the pizzas.

*Ciabatta Pizzas*
Multiply to create as many or as few as you want
Printable Recipe

Delicious and quick! Amounts will be given for one serving. You can easily adapt to more.

1 ciabatta bun, sliced in half horizontally
2 TBS good quality Basil Pesto
3 full sices of gouda cheese, cut into halves diagonally
2 TBS grated parmesn cheese
2 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 roasted pepper (from a jar) torn into bits
4 dry cured pitted black olives, halved
4 dry cured pitted green olives, halved
a few basil leaves torn
Chili oil to drizzle on the finished pizzas

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.

Place the two ciabatta halves onto a baking tray. Spread each with 1 TBs of the pesto. Top each with 3 half slices of the gouda cheese, placing on diagonally. Sprinkle each with 1 TBS of the Parmesan Cheese. Divide the cherry tomatoes, roasted pepper and olives between the two. Scatter the basil leaves over top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pizzas are heated through and crispy on the edges. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the chili oil and serve.

Another day I used some of the Virgin Sesame Oil to make a delicious dressing for a Thai Beef Salad. Oh my but it was some good. Sometimes Sesame Oil can be quite strong, but this was just right.

*Thai Beef and Sprout Salad*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Serve some lime wedges with this refreshing salad to squeeze over top and some rice crackers on the side. Delicious!

8 ounces thinly sliced deli roast beef, torn (1/2 pound)
1 200g bag of fresh beansprouts, washed well and drained (About 2 cups)
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
50g of sugar snap peas, sliced (1 small package, about 1 cup sliced)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks

For the Dressing:
2 TBS crunchy peanut butter
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
2 TBS sesame oil
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp runny clear honey
the zest and juice of one lime
2 TBS chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Fresh lime wedges to serve

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl to combine. Set aside.

Place the beef, sprouts, spring onions, carrots and snap peas in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Another day it was a delicious Supper Pizza, which I shared with the Toddster . . . just to show I'm not totally selfish. I know he doesn't like pizza, or he says he doesn't anyways, but he did eat what I gave him, so can't complain . . .

*Pizza Fiorentina*
Serves 1
Printable Recipe

A hearty pizza supper for one, but if you are feeling generous, break two eggs on top instead of one and share it with your partner.

one 9 inch ready made pizza base (or make and bake your own)
5 TBS tomato passata (North American tomato sauce)
2 ounces spinach, cooked and drained (1 1/2 cups packed leaves)
3 wafer thin slices of deli ham, halved
2 ounces mozzarella cheese diced (1/2 cup)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (2 1/2 TBS)
chili oil to drizzle (to taste)
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced (to taste)
1/2 tsp oregano flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large free range egg

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/gas mark 7. Cover the pizza base with passata and then top with the spinach and ham, scattering it over top. Sprinkle over the mozzarella chunks along with the grated Parmesan cheese, the chili oil, garlic and oregano flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and make a well in the centre of the pizza. Break in the egg. Return to the oven and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, until the egg is cooked through. If desired drizzle with some additional chili oil or basil oil and serve.

Other than that I have been using the grapeseed oil for the small amount of browning etc that I do from time to time, the walnut oil and peanut oil have both been used in vinaigrette salad dressings and I've been really impressed with each of the oils. The only down side of any of them would be that nut oil can turn rancid very quickly once opened and one has to be prepared to use them up within a short period of time. If anyone knows any different than this, let me know, also if you have any information on how you can store them safely for longer periods of time. Would freezing work?

I'm still looking for a cookie recipe that I can use some of either the walnut or peanut oil in so if anyone has one let me know!

Many thanks to cooks&Co for affording me this wonderful opportunity and also Simon for sending them to me.


  1. What a lucky girl...trying all those lovely oils.
    You have been busy! But then you always are! :D

  2. I hadn't heard of this company, but I will check them out now.
    Pizza! Now you are speaking my language, especially the Fiorentina. Oh and chilli oil, I love it!
    I'm suddenly rather hungry.

  3. Lovely pizzas! Olive oils are so expensive these days, I treat mine like gold.

  4. Ooooooh! Lucky you, Marie! Nothing better than lovely cooking oils, I think--these look fabulous! And I love what you did with them, of course! That Treacle Gingerbread looks SO delicious!

    Sending warm hugs and much love to you this chilly day, dear friend!


  5. Oooh what a lovely lot of olive oil. Love the recipes too Marie x

  6. It's nice to be able to offer something back in return for all the nice recipes and photos you provide! I haven't tried these but as Dan Lepard is so reliable I don't hesitate to suggest them: three recipes to make use of your walnut oil:

  7. Thank you so much! I will check them out!!

  8. Here in the south, not many people have ever heard of hazlenut oil. I'm one of them so when I saw a bottle in the reduced section of the grocery store I decided to buy and give it a try. Problem is, I have no recipes that call for hazlenut oil. Is it enterchangeable with other oils in baking sweets? Is it used on meats, in salad dressings, etc.? If you have recipes using hazlenut oil, please email me at I really want to give this oil a try.

  9. Marie, it a whole weeks menu! Perfect ideas. Thanks for sharing the recipes.


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