Sunday, 25 January 2015

Home-made pizza and a long weekend.

I don't know about you but I feel like summer this year has cooked me. It's been hot. And it's still so hot as I sit here at our tiny dining table covered in a sticky film of sweat, unable to get comfortable. I'm ever so slightly jealous of Arthur who lies on the bathroom or kitchen tiles all day long to cool off, I don't think it would be acceptable for me to spend 90% of my day lying on the tiles unfortunately.

Tomorrow in Australia is a day where you can let your inner bogan free. It's a day you find that stubby cooler you know you have lying around somewhere or the bucket hat that makes an appearance for one day a year still smeared with last years green and yellow zinc (guilty as charged). So on a long weekend what better way to spend a Saturday than at the beach with friends and home made pizza's for dinner?

An airconditioned apartment. Jokes!... maybe.

The pizza dough was actually surprising easy to make and didn't take that long at all. Not going to blow my own horn here but they were pretty damn good.

I got the recipe from one of my favourite food memoirs 'My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss' and tweaked the topping. She also writes about this on her blog - The Wednesday Chef. I remember reading her book in bed at about 11pm and there is a scene where the writer sits on her balcony eating home made pizza by candlelight and it sounded so romantic, care-free, delicious and easy. I wanted to go and make pizza right then and there at 11pm in my pj's. Looking over at Tristan snoring next to me stopped me or maybe it was the fact I had to get up early for work but it wasn't the only occassion that I wanted to get out of bed and start cooking from her book then and there so I could taste what she had written so beautifully about.

If your a foodie with a soft spot for a love story you will love this book and her blog!

The pizza dough was easy to prepare. A little mixing and a little kneading then let it sit and double in size. Stretch it, top it and bake it. I made a simple tomato sauce for the base which was made up of onion, canned tomatoes, garlic and some dried oregano but you can make it even easier by following Luisa's instructions (link below) where she tears canned tomatoes over the pizza instead of making a sauce.

We made two pizzas and put ham, olives, chilli and mozzarella on them. Some sections with the lot and some with less to keep everyone happy. You need to really crank your oven to full ball and make sure it's piping hot! I think my oven could have been hotter and an even better trick which I will do next time is make the pizza's on baking paper or foil and put your trays in the oven to start with so that it gets really hot then slide your pizza onto the hot tray and hopefully you get a crispier bottom. Everyone loves a crispy bottom :)

The pizza dough also freezes well or if you make the dough in advance just pop it in the fridge the night before and then pull it out an hour before you want to roll the pizza's out. Easy!

Sorry... Hunger won again!

Home-made pizza (dough and all!)

pizza dough recipe from The Wednesday Chef - find original recipe here
serves 3-4

For the pizza dough:
3 1/2 cups of 00 flour (or plain flour)
1 1/2 cups luke warm water
a pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1 teaspoon fine table salt
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

- Put your flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre of it. Add your yeast and sugar then pour over your luke warm water (make sure this isn't hot or you'll kill the yeast). Start mixing it together with a fork, adding the salt and olive oil as you mix. It will start to look like a shaggy mess but thats ok.

- Using your hands bring it together in the bowl. If it's too sticky add a little more flour or if it's too dry add a splash more water. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead with the heel of your hand until it becomes smooth and springy. Form it into a ball.

- Wash and dry your mixing bowl then lightly oil it with oliver oil. Place the dough in the bowl turning it around so that it is covered in a very thin layer of olive oil. Place a wet tea towel over the top and place it in a warm draft free area. It is very easy to find one of them in our apartment right now! Let it rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

- Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce (recipe below) and get your toppings ready (what ever you fancy!).

- Once your dough has doubled in size crank your oven to hot hot hot (220C or hotter) and place your baking trays in the oven. Gently push the dough down knocking the air out and divide it into two pieces.

- Stretch or roll them out on a floured surface to your desired tray size/shape and place the dough on to either foil or baking paper. Top them with the sauce and your toppings.

- Slide the pizzas onto the hot trays (keep them on the foil or paper) and bake for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and smelling incredible.

Tomato Sauce recipe:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 brown onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 can tomatoes
1/2 cup water

- Heat olive oil, garlic, onion and oregano over medium heat and cook until onion is translucent.

- Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the can of tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.

- Cook for 20min on low. Let cool for 10 minutes or so then using a stick blender or processor blitz the sauce if you want a smooth sauce or leave it chunky if you prefer.

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