Recipe: Valentine’s Day Calzones

Yep, you read that right – a recipe. That I used on that sickingly forced holiday known as Valentine’s Day.

To reiterate, I actually made dough – dough. Not bought something and put it in the oven, which is what my ‘cooking’ normally consists of. And it was edible, like really edible.

Valentine's Day Calzones

Granted they’re not the most perfectly shaped calzones, but you get the drift. So, onto the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 225g plain strong flour
  • 90ml milk (body temperature)
  • 50ml water (body temperature)
  • 1tsp dried yeast
  • 25ml garlic-infused olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 200g buffalo mozzarella
  • 70g salami (sliced)
  • 70g chorizo (sliced)
  • 60g prosciutto

Method:

1. Sift the 225g of flour into a large bowl

2. In a separate bowl, mix the warm milk, water and dried yeast

3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and make a dough

4. Knead for 5 minutes on a floured, even surface

5. Making a small well in the centre of the dough, add the olive oil and knead to combine

6. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it to prove in a warm place for two hours

*I discovered (somewhat luckily) that the above initial steps can be done the day before if needed – simply place the dough, still in its cling filmed bowl, in the fridge after proving*

7. Preheat the oven with a baking tray inside to 230 degrees C

8. Add the pinch of salt to the dough and knead again, before divided and rolling into four equal balls

9. On a floured surface, roll each ball out into 8″ circles

10. Place 1/4 of the mozzarella and Italian meat mixture (bung it all in a bowl, season and drizzle with oil) onto 1/2 of each dough circle, leaving a 1″ border around the edge

11. Use water to brush clean the edges, then fold over the sides and pinch closed the calzone

12. Bake for around 8 minutes

And there you have it – calzones fit for a Valentine’s Day meal. We accompanied them with a feta cheese salad and washed it down with a bottle (or three) of Prosecco.

Mez Bez and Paul Hollywood would be proud, I think 🙂

– love Stef x

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Spratt Says: Valentine’s Day – urgh

kieran sprattI hate Valentine’s Day and there are so very many reasons why:

I hate it because – and to use the old clichĂ© – it’s commercialised rubbish. I’m pretty sure this day was only invented to keep Card Warehouse in business between Christmas and Mother’s Day.

I hate the couples on Valentine’s Day who litter my Facebook news feed with “I have the best boyfriend/girlfriend in the world because he bought me a selection box from Thorntons.”

I hate desperate, single people on Valentine’s Day, who keep bringing up the fact that “they’re all alone again this year”. Do me a favour – go down to Morrisons, buy the biggest tub of Ben and Jerry’s and cry into that because nobody cares.

I hate the films that get brought upon us at Valentine’s Day. I’ve only seen the trailer but I can tell you right away Endless Love is the worst film of all time.

I hate being single on Valentine’s Day not because of the whole being alone thing, but because of all those awkward conversations leading up to the big day:  “Are you going to be writing any cards this week?”

Shut up Mum!

I don’t want to sound like a Valentine’s scrooge but people take this day too far, when I thought the whole point in a relationship is to show the one you love how much you care all year round, not just one time in February with a Pandora bracelet…

Rant over, and if anyone is in the same boat as me, fear not; It’s Pancake Day on March 4th.

A single girl’s guide to Valentine’s Day

Yes that is the most pathetic title of a post that has ever been written. But it happened, so get over it and carry on reading – it gets less pathetic, I promise (hopefully).

Now that’s out of the way, this isn’t a feel sorry for yourself kind of post, where I advise you to get a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, a onesie and cry over the beauty that is The Notebook.

Well okay, it sort of is but in a much chirpier sense…

First thing you should know – I haven’t been single since I was 16 so this is all fairly new to me. Secondly, in the nine years that I have been in relationships I’ve only celebrated two Valentine’s Day-type activities.

Why? Because I was forced to do so even though I despise said day and find it extremely sickly.

But, as a newly single woman approaching the grand old age of 25, this Valentine’s Day I’m having a slight Sex and the City movie moment (you know the one – Carrie and Miranda celebrate it together because they’ve been scorned by their men and it’s Valentine overload – hearts and shit everywhere).

So, even though I have ignored this ‘holiday’ for nearly a decade, the world seems intent on feeling the love. And this is how I’ll be dealing with it:

1. Attempt to ignore it – ‘attempt’ being the operative word. Life was continuing as normal, my ignoring of V-Day was going well, until I got to work. Not the most romantic of places (immoral yes, romantic never), but I was given the task of compiling this week’s playlist and collecting my colleagues favourite love songs – oh goody. Ballads aplenty and lots of gushing about wedding songs etc.

2. Perving on Zac Efron – in all honesty this applies to most days, but on Friday myself and my fellow single friends will go to the cinema and see the (fully naked) delight that is Zac Efron, in his new film – That Awkward Moment. Feel free to have a cheeky perve ahead of Friday:

 

3. Appreciate that life is good – my decade of relationships has taught me that a girl doesn’t need a man to be happy – they’re merely a nice little bonus. Without getting too philosophical, you really do need to love and appreciate yourself before you allow someone else in on the action – have some ‘me’ time, it’s good.

4. Make the most of the cake – now this may not apply to everyone everywhere (although I sincerely hope that it does), but at my workplace on Friday there will be Valentine’s cake. So, regardless of my lack of V-Day beliefs or love interests, I will be eating the cake. Lots of it.

Valentine's Day Guide

So, there is my guide to Valentine’s Day as a singleton – ignore it, perve on hot men, love yourself and eat cake. These simple steps are fool-proof and can be adapted to any type of nonsensical trauma. True story.

Come at me V-Day…

– love Stef x

Valentine’s Day Guide for Men: Worst. Gifts. Ever.

We all know V-day is fast approaching, so why is it men like to forget about this holiday – and worse still, give you crappy gifts that you’re expected to appreciate?

I mean okay, there is some history to Valentine’s Day and whichever story you choose to believe, I can sort of understand  why men dismiss V-day and claim it was all invented by Hallmark.

But for some special reason – one can only put down to sheer laziness – men are completely and utterly rubbish when it comes to being creative with gifts. It’s not like we’re asking for the Moon or anything…

I do stand firm that I don’t need just one day to tell my boyfriend I love him, but there’s nothing wrong with going with the masses and secretly wanting the largest bouquet known to man.

Here are what I think are the worst gifts that you, my dear man, could give:

  1. Underwear. Unless I have specifically given you my sizes and preferred style, DO NOT BOTHER. Mankind needs to understand a few things, unlike their S, M, L sizing, women’s bodies are all very different. If I’m a 12 in New Look, I am not a 12 in Next, capiche? The only thing worse than receiving a size 8 that doesn’t fit, is receiving a size 14 that does. Sob.
  2. Supermarket Flowers. I’m not dissing Asda here, they do some lovely bouquets, but really, remembering to buy me flowers with the weekly shop is not cool. They’re perfectly fine for when you have done something wrong, or on a Saturday just ‘cos I’m pretty, but V-day? You have the internet. Use it.
  3. Household Items. These are already offensive as a gift unless it’s a wedding/new home present. I may have mentioned I want a blender, so buy it at any other time. If you give it to me on a birthday/Christmas, or indeed Valentine’s, your head will end up in it. Am I being clear?
  4. Chocolate. I told you I was on a diet at New Year’s?! Why don’t you listen to me? Oh… you found the biscuits…
  5. Budget Card Shop Rubbish. This means giant teddy bears that have no place in the home, ‘Horny Cheques’ and inappropriate mugs/aprons/posters. It’s 99p for a reason.

Worst. Gifts. Ever

You will notice jewellery is not on the list, because we love jewellery. It’s not tacky, or unimaginative. Tiffany & Co. have an app for a reason.

I have had some interesting gifts in my time, my first boyfriend, at the age of 15, bought me a CD (before piracy was so accessible), a red rose and a Me to You bear. Sweet right? Until he told me he forgot and his Mom had given them to him. Not so sweet.

I also had an ex who thought it appropriate to ‘owe’ me a present since I hadn’t reminded him it was Valentine’s Day. Dick.

But more recently, my first Valentine’s Day with my current boyfriend was well, an anti-climax. He professed to be oh-so-cute and liked to hand-make  cards. So, since I was usually uninterested and not particularly nice to most boyfriends in the past, I thought I would make an effort and return the favour.

Since he is Scottish, I made heart-shaped shortbread, and even hunted everywhere for a heart-shaped tin to put them in – this is a lot harder than you would think – and spent the best part of 20 minutes trying to tie a red ribbon around the odd-shaped tin.

Then, for the card, I had Google-mapped the area he was from, where I was from, and where we met in Ibiza. Cut-out said maps into heart shapes and glued them to the most expensive piece of card ever. I then went to town with the glitter glue, and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty damn impressed with my creative skills.

So the day came, I drove 300 miles to see him and gave him his gifts. What did I get? A hug. Not even joking. He took the day off work, as it was a Friday, and claimed he would take me out later. Well in my mind that was a given, yes you will bloody take me out later, now where’s my card? He forgot.

Three year’s later I remind him of that day, and I intend to never let him forget. I would’ve flipped out but well… he’s so cute…

What rubbish gifts have you recieved? Do you have a funny V-day story to tell? Get in touch!

– love Carla x

Valentine's Day

DISCLAIMER

Gifts are to be given with a card AS WELL AS being treated to a day out/meal in a restaurant, not INSTEAD OF. The restaurant is not a gift, it’s expected. And no, a takeaway will not ‘do’.

Spratt Says: Rom-coms, really?

kieran sprattThe biggest lie a woman can ever tell a man is: “The Notebook is a great film.”

Many hapless men such as myself have been roped into watching this stain on the history of cinema which the vast majority of women I’ve spoken to seem to think, through their Ryan Gosling-tinted glasses, is this generation’s Casablanca. It’s not.

It’s not a macho thing; I’ve got nothing against rom-coms, I just hate seeing the same films recycled time and time again. There is absolutely nothing original about The Notebook and the proof is all here:

From Katharine Hepburn to Katherine Heigl; the traditional rom-com has fallen from grace but, happily dotted amongst the cinematic landscape are a few standouts, like David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook  and the anti-rom-com 500 Days of Summer, but it seems the best rom-coms these days are the ones we didn’t even realise were rom-coms.

Shaun of the Dead is a fantastic example. Think about it, it’s kind of romantic and it’s bloody hilarious. At its core it’s just a film about a man on a mission to win back the love of his life; the zombies are merely an obstacle (a zom-rom-com if you will).  It’s a fresh take on a tired, old formula and it’s infinitely more believable than The Notebook, even mid-apocalypse.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches prepare yourself for a whole host of Pretty Woman knock-offs and remember: as men we’re powerless to prevent ourselves from watching them.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: The Notebook is a great film and all men could do with being a lot more like Noah. Or just Ryan Gosling.*