Wednesday, 30 November 2011

That's Amore..... (PIZZA LIKE)

It's quite clear I've found a comfort in Italian grub. It's comforting food and it's become my comfort zone. So pasta has been nailed, risotto has been perfected. (what? it has!) so Pizza was left to tackle. Baked goods have never been my forte. Some fellow bloggers churn out so many sweet delights that I suspect some the oompa Loompas must be helping out in their kitchens. The Italians like to keep it simple and so do I so pizza dough couldn't be that hard.....could it?

Since discovering the cinchness of pizza making, It's  been on the menu 6 days straight. This is a true story. I actually can't believe that everyone isn't making pizza. It's SO cheap, SO delicious, and there's amazing rewards to reap not to mention that ego enhancing gratitude from your diners. Darren Bradley seems to be the biggest non-pro pizza master who has a purpose built outside pizza oven. His amazing array of pizzas inspired me to give it a go. When I discovered it could all be done in my magi-mix I was thrilled. If my kitchen was burning, this apparatus would be grabbed. Darren gave me this dough recipe and I'll never look back. Like most, I don't have a pizza oven, so Darren advised that I get a pizza stone. There was a small one available in a local kitchen supply store at €35, but being on a budget, I called on my favourite advertising client, RIGHT PRICE TILES, and they gave me an unglazed heat resistant tile which has done a fine job at emulating it's posh paid-for counterpart. Just place it in the centre at the oven and preheat. The pizza will then be slid directly on using either a pizza peel, or, for those on a budget, a side of a cardboard box, the latter proving quite affective actually. 

I cannot stress how fun this is to make. Tj, my 4 year old, impressed me so much. He saw me making one and begged me for his own dough ball. I couldn't believe how he rolled it out, spread the passatta like a pro, sprinkled the mozzarella, strategically placed the chorizo and then sprinkled some fresh thyme on top. I've pics below of his efforts. I'm so proud of his interest in cooking. Let's get all our kids cooking....and what better way that cooking their favourite food. 

Pizza Dough Ingredients
500g of strong flour
7g of dried yeast
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of caster sugar
1/2 pint of tepid water

You can make this by hand, involving lots of elbow grease but I did mine using the dough blade in my beloved Magi-mix. I whizz everything up for about 30 seconds. (add a bit more flour if necessary to achieve a nice solid dough). Divide the mixture into 4 and rolls into nice neat dough balls. Pop them into food bags and allow to prove in the hotpress for an hour, or in the fridge overnight.

When ready to rock and pizza roll, flour your surface and knead the dough and roll out using a rolling pin. Flip up in the air if you want to be cleaning your kitchen for an hour afterwards. Roll the dough very thin, until you have a pizza base about 12 inches or so in diameter. The dough will be nice an elastic and won't break. Transfer to a floured piece of cardboard or pizza slice and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Once rested, rock on with your toppings. I have listed my two favourites, Florentine and Beetroot & Goats cheese

Florentine Pizza, runny egg a must
Passata, seasoned with salt and pepper and a bitta dried basil 
Bag of spinach, wilted with excess water removed.
tin of anchovies, drained
grated nutmeg
mozzarella (I use the lidl stuff, perfectly lovely)
one egg, cracked into a shallow cup

Smear the base with passata, arrange the spinach, leaving a gap in the middle for the egg, add the anchovies and sprinkle with the cheese and grated nutmeg. drizzle lightly with Olive oil.
After 6 minutes in oven, open the oven door and throw the raw egg in the middle. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes. I love this pizza, I love eggs, I love Spinach, I love carbs. Life is good when a florentine is about to be sliced in my kitchen.

Beetroot and Goats Cheese, this is one posh pizza. 

Beetroot and Goats cheese
This requires no passata
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
One sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 beetroot, chopped into orange segment shapes (pat dry with some kitchen roll)
a few slices of soft goats cheese rounds (again, I used Lidl)
Drizzle with Olive oil before putting into the oven.

The the time the pizza takes will depend on your oven. Typically, it should take about 10-12 minutes.