Friday, 20 November 2009

Who ordered pizza?

Oddly, pizza isn't something I usually make or buy, it just doesn't really feature on my 'things to eat and cook' radar. However, having read headlines in the last week or so, saying that people have a main repertoire of 9 dishes that they cook and eat on a regular basis, and looking at myself as someone who although they have more than 9, who does tend to rotate the same meals (at the moment lentil ragu, butternut squash and chorizo, chilli, and chicken and mushroom risotto are featuring heavily) depending on the time of year. I thought I'd try and branch out over the coming weeks and months, trying things in either different ways or entirely new recipes. And tonight's pizza is the first of those for a couple of reasons.

I'm taking the Guides away for my licence holiday in a fortnight, and having had a very successful and yummy introduction to individual pizzas on my Guiders weekend away recently (thanks Brown Owl) I thought I'd use it as the basis for my Guides' Friday night tea. It's a meal they can customise, and that way no one has to face anything on their first night away that they don't like. Also I have buckets of leaven that I sort of hoped we could use for the bases.

So earlier this week I got Mabel out of the fridge at precisely the same point I got hit by a rotten virus that has left me feeling epically nauseous and not at all up for kneading a squishy leaven. As today dawned I suspected that I had killed her, but thought I'd go through the motions of making some bread to see if the routine activity helped me feel a bit better.

Surprisingly Mabel is more resilient than I would have expected, and survived my neglectfulness, and we have two loaves of bread in the kitchen.

I kept about a quarter of the dough Mabel yielded today to one side while I did the rest of the baking as I wanted to trial making a leaven pizza. A bit of googling hadn't turned much up so I decided to just make it up as I went along, using my imagination and some prompts from Dinner Diary's Quest for Perfect Pizza.

So I had taken the bread recipe up to the point on Doughblog's recipe where the dough would normally go in the tins. I kept a quarter back in the mixing bowl and covered it with cling film. And left it for 4 hours while I baked the rest of my bread.

During this time I cooked down a tin of tomatoes with 2 cloves of garlic, some salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, some dried oregano and some halved cherry tomatoes I had left over from some muffin pizzas at Guides the other week. I reduced this for about 15 minutes on a slow bubble and then took it off the heat.

I then chopped up some mushrooms, opened a tin of anchovies, hauled some olives and salami out of the fridge and chopped up some mozzarella (top tip - if you're cooking with mozzarella then it isn't worth buying the top range products as in taste test when cooked people can't tell the difference between that and the mid range brands).

Jules of Domestic Goddess in Training had mentioned something about using semolina to make her bread not stick to the baking tray, so I thought I'd try that. But not having any semolina I made do with couscous. Epically fantastic results you'll be pleased to hear. Anyway, I stretched the pizza dough over the base of the tray trying not to tear it, and then topped that with the tomato sauce, and then my slightly eclectic selection of toppings. Cooked in the oven as hot as it would go for 20 minutes, the pizza absolutely rocked. It was fabulous, and I think will work nice and easily with the Guides. Although I think I'll take the dough up to the stretching stage beforehand as it's quite mucky and Guides don't need any help in making a mess.

Tuesday at Guides we're making Christmas cakes in baked bean tins (Lordhelpme) watch this space for a blogpost if the girls will stay out of the pictures!


Libbs said...

Penny I'm doing another cake tonight, I'll do a little one in a bean tin for an experiment if you like..
Could be interesting..
I'll have a play xx

Jules said...

Glad my pizza trick worked for you. Your guides will love making pizza.


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