Salty

Curry Calzone with Chilli Cheese (vegan)

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Apparently, word on the street is that some Queen of Herpes told a bunch of hardknock hunky Trojans to eat their tables in order to find peace. Dinner time approached and they were not eager in the least, despite their lack of food, expecting these wooden tables. However, they were pleasantly greeted with bread – hard, but not as hard as wood I assume- topped with a bunch of veggies, no table in sight (well apart from the one they sat at). That queen, what a tease!

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This was one of the earliest appearances of one of the first makeshift pizzas before they came out in full swing in Naples, Italy. Calzone, is also pizza, only a folded over one, which makes it a bit special, mainly because it’s a bit more of a challenge to put together than the typically flat version, in my opinion.

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Spices are much easier to get hold of in China than herbs (although I do have my trusty basil plant!) so who’s for curry in pizza?! Two great dishes, so must be double the fun if you stick them together. So that’s the filling out of the way, now for the cheese topping. Well you can’t have a ‘real’ pizza without the cheese now! But let’s keep it quiet for now, the cheese is cow-free, so I can eat more without the dairy-induced flatulence!

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As my favourite spice, cardamom must be involved, so for it’s dramatic entrance, it will appear as a pesto glaze, combined with crushed pistachios and fresh basil. If you love cheese and meat then this may possibly sound like your worst nightmare. But that’s how it SOUNDS, the taste is actually far from being a night terror. However, I won’t be offended if you fancy throwing in some extras if they’re your trusty pizza toppings.

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Serving size:

Serves 2-4

Ingredients for crust:
• 500g wholewheat flour (or multipurpose flour)
• 1tsp active dry yeast
• 1tsp salt
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 300ml water (may be slightly less or more)
• Polenta to dust
• milk to brush (I used soya)

Ingredients for filling:
• 2 medium aubergines
• 1 large red bell pepper
• 150ml passata
• 1 large onion diced
• 6 cloves garlic crushed
• 150g mushrooms sliced
• 1tsp garam masala
• 1tsp ground cumin
• 1tsp curry powder
• 1tbsp rapeseed oil
• 1 red chilli crushed
• Handful coriander
• Salt to taste

Ingredients for cheese:
• 100g cashews soaked overnight
• 2tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1tbsp fermented tofu
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 1tsp garlic salt
• 150ml soya milk
• 100ml water
• 2tbsp cornstarch
• 2tbsp agar powder
• Pinch of turmeric
• Pinch of crushed dried chilli

Ingredients for pesto:
• 75g pistachios roughly crushed
• 5 cardamom pods crushed
• Handful fresh basil
• 2tbsp olive oil
• Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. For the dough, combine the flour, salt and yeast.
  3. Stir in the oil before gradually adding the water to form a dough.
  4. Knead for 10 minutes and leave to prove in a loosely covered bowl for at least 2 hours in a warm place.
  5. For the curry, fry the onions until brown.
  6. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the rest of the vegetables and allow to soften.
  8. Add in the passata, spices, chilli and salt and leave to simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat, mix in the fresh coriander and leave to cool.
  10. For the cheese, place all ingredients into a blender and blitz into a smooth paste.
  11. Place in a saucepan and heat until it starts bubbling and becomes thicker. You can add more milk depending on how
    viscous you like your sauce.
  12. Split the dough in half and roll out on a surface dusted with polenta into loose circles then cut in half.
  13. Spoon the cool curry onto one half of the semi-circle dough, leaving space around the edges.
  14. Fold the empty half over and pinch the edges together.
  15. Place the calzones on baking trays dusted with polenta and bake for 20 minutes.
  16. Mix the cardamom, pistachios, salt and oil and brush over the calzone surface.
  17. Pour the hot cheese sauce on top and serve

Tip: if you refrigerate the cheese, it will slightly solidify so you can cut it into slices and eat cold

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