Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Home made pizza on a Sunday

Hello there. A short introduction - my name is Anna and I like art, writing, music and cooking and eating, but not necessarily in that order. Cooking is probably up the top for me, alongside eating.

The idea for this blog (co-authored with the lovely Camila) came about whilst doing weekly volunteer work at a gallery we shan't name. Camila and I met at the gallery and realised we had much more in common than a love of art - for example, gypsy music and recipes. We talked increasingly more about food and ingredients rather than what was going on around us in the warehouse-conversion contemporary art space we were located in a the time. The result being - we quit the gallery and spent our time together experimenting in the kitchen.

Anyway, the pizza: I was inspired by Michael Ruhlman's food blog last week (www.ruhlman.com) which practically implored readers to make their own pizza. The following recipe is loosely based on his, but importantly I used fresh yeast instead of dried, mainly because my parents did when I was younger, and I love the smell. (A side note: I bought a 50gram piece of fresh yeast from the Preston Market, which excited me intensely, when I was buying various cheeses and meats for the toppings of the pizza. When I was unpacking my market trolley, I picked it up, smelled it, and exclaimed, 'This smells like my childhood!', to which my crass but loveable housemate replied, 'Did you get a lot of thrush when you were younger?' Appalled, I remarked that pizza making was a big thing in my childhood home, and my Dad had also made his own beer, leaving the house with a yeasty smell. This short convo almost put me off my baking enthusiasm).

Home made pizza

4 cups flour
2 1/2 cups warm water, with 10 grams approx. of fresh yeast mixed in
1 teaspoon salt
dash olive oil

toppings of your choosing...

Mix the flour, yeasty water, olive oil and salt in a large bowl ( I used a baking dish, because I don't have a large bowl. If I had had a large bowl, things would have been a lot easier). Knead together to make a dough.

Scatter some flour on a bench surface, plonk dough on top, and knead for about 10 minutes. Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Put in warm place (if you can find one in this weather!) Leave for at least 3 hours. I left it for about 5 hours, but it doesn't matter really.

About an hour before you want to eat, re-knead the dough (punch it first, apparently) for a little bit, then divide it into 2 balls. Roll out each ball to the size you want your pizza (I used round pizza trays, around 30cm wide). I don't have a rolling pin, so after scratching my head a bit deciding what to do, I found that a wine bottle works just as well!

Preheat oven to 230 degrees C. Press pizza dough onto greased pizza trays. I spread the first one (above) with a homemade pesto of basil, pinenuts, roast garlic and parmesan, then topped it with green olives, white anchovies, fetta and a sprinkle of mozzarella. This one was topped with wild rocket when it came out of the oven.

The next pizza had a smearing of tomato paste, roasted garlic, sliced fior di latte cheese and prosciutto. (I added the prosciutto at the last 5 mins of cooking time in the oven to prevent it becoming a burnt frizzle).

Put them in the oven for approx 2o mins, rotating the oven trays half way through.

Serve with wine! Feeds approximately 4 people.

Note: Please excuse the slightly poor quality of the photographs - I don't have a camera yet! These were taken on a camera phone and tidied up a bit on photoshop - Thanks Andrew :-) He's done a very good job with such a poor instrument...

I would encourage everyone to make their own pizza: it is delicious, cheap, and a very very satisfying. Experiment with toppings to your heart's content...