FOOD: Garlic mushroom and white truffle pizza with cauliflower base

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With an incredible new face-lift, The Fork and Tap in Arrowtown has food that matches the smart, tasteful new interior. Whether it be their amazing slow-cooked burgers, their  infamous pate, fresh delicious fish and chips, or a crisp salad, there’s something on the menu for everyone. However, my all-time favourite would have to be the Crown Range pizza. A delicious, creamy white truffle base, with lashings of garlicky mushrooms and crisp peppery rocket to top off, this is a pizza lover’s dream. Having had this for lunch last week, I was inspired to try and recreate my version in my kitchen at home. Enjoy!

PREP TIME:  20 MINS

COOK TIME:  20 MINS

SERVES:  3-4 PEOPLE

INGREDIENTS

WHITE TRUFFLE SAUCE
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon truffle oil
150g cream cheese
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder

MUSHROOM TOPPING
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
500g portobello mushrooms, sliced (or any mix of mushrooms)
6 sprigs thyme
1 container of bocconcini, each ball cut in half
2 good handfuls of rocket

CAULIFLOWER BASE (or buy pre-made, most supermarkets sell them)
1 large head of cauliflower
100g ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds (or use finely-ground uncooked polenta)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (stalks removed)

METHOD
1.  Pre-heat the oven to 200degC. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and trim the main stalk end. Cut into chunks and blend in two batches in a food processor, until finely
chopped.

2.  Tip the cauliflower into a pot and put a little water in the bottom. Cook for 5-6 mins with the lid on, until the cauliflower is softened. Drain, then tip onto a clean tea towel. Twist the tea towel to drain out as much liquid as possible.

3.  Transfer to a clean bowl and combine with the ground almond or polenta, eggs and
thyme. Thoroughly combine and split into two. Next, use your hands or a spoon to
spread out into a round shape. Bake for 15 mins on baking paper, till starting to turn
golden.

4. While this is cooking, make the white truffle sauce. Melt the butter in a pot and add
in the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the flour and truffle oil. Thoroughly combine,
then gradually pour in the milk (note, you may not use all the milk, so pour gradually),
whisking till smooth. Add in the stock and cream cheese, combine, then simmer, whisking constantly until thickened. Set aside.

5.  To cook the mushrooms, melt the butter in a large pan, and add the garlic cloves. Add
in the sliced mushrooms and let them cook until a little golden on each side, and softened. Generously season with salt and pepper.

6.  Now, generously spread the white truffle sauce over each pizza base, spread over the
mushrooms and put three sprigs of the thyme on each pizza (alternatively, you can remove the leaves and sprinkle them). Evenly spread the chopped bocconcini across the pizzas. Season again with salt and pepper.

7.  Place in the oven on baking paper and cook for about 10 mins, until golden. Sprinkle
with the rocket and serve immediately.

NB: When I order The Tap version, I add on extra confit garlic, which is amazing!