Friday, 27 March 2009


Things seem to have got a bit ‘bakery’ recently what with oatcakes, flatbreads and Italian style tray bread. You’ve not been complaining though, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

The situation will be rectified shortly and there is a belated Nose to Tail Tuesday on the way as well as some cheeky nibbles.

In the mean time here is the final (for now) piece on what to do with bubbling masses of sourdough that I've been nurturing as it gradually expands and develops its own unique characteristics.

(I will post about making the actual mother dough next week)

When people refer to pizza as fast food they are normally talking about the sort that comes in a cardboard box with a base as thick as a telephone directory and all sorts of toppings that would probably make even Tony Soprano weep.

But there is another way.

Along with the swamp of dough that sits in the fridge, I try to keep a batch of tomato sauce on hand either frozen or refrigerated (gently fry a couple of shallots or a small onion in a little olive oil, add some chopped garlic, a little balsamic vinegar and two tins of tomatoes. Let it simmer for an hour or so, add a little oregano and seasoning and you have a tomato sauce fit for a king and a multitude of uses).

If you have these two things available you are only ten minutes away from a fresh pizza, and that’s quicker than any Dominos delivery.

Crank your oven up to full (about 225-250 degrees C) and get a dry frying pan hot. Roll out a handful of dough until it is the size you want and about half a centimetre thick. Try not to get it too evenly rolled, you want some discrepancies - they add to the flavour and character of the finished pizza.

Cook one side of the dough in the hot pan until it starts to blister slightly. What you are doing here is replicating the scorching temperatures on the base of a genuine Italian pizza oven – it will give you sublime flavour and a wonderful crispness.

Place on a tray and cover with a little tomato sauce, whatever toppings you want (I usually keep it simple and go for mushrooms, maybe some red onion and a few roasted peppers – basically whatever you have left in the ‘fridge!).

Top with cheese and get it into the oven. It should take no more than seven or eight minutes until the edges start to crisp up, the cheese starts to bubble and the whole lot begins to look like deliciousness defined.

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Anonymous said...

Ever since I started following you, I'm delighted that you continue to make me giggle. I love the honesty of this blog.

Now, tell me - exactly how big a tin of tomatoes are we talking here?


Hopie said...

I love the way you say "gently fry a couple of shallots or a small onion in a little olive oil". It sounds so tender and loving -- and I have to admit that's pretty much how I feel about shallots in olive oil too ;-)

Chocolate Shavings said...

That pizza looks amazing!

rich (them apples) said...

Pizza is remarkably easy to make yourself, and home made versions are always better than shop bought.

I had a whole load of people round to watch a football game a couple of years ago, and we did DIY pizzas - I made a pile of bases, each on a piece of tin foil and prepped an enormous amount of toppings, and just let people build their own, baking them off in a hot oven.

The pizzas were great, but the match was dire.

Laura said...

Just stumbled on your blog, love the photos. I make pizza often and now I have a mother dough in the fridge to try it in a pizza dough. One my favorite toppings are caramelized onions, chévre (mixed with some mozzarella), and a sprinkle of thyme.

Happy cooking!

Angry Brit said...

You are my hero! I am hopping up and down in anticipation of the mother dough recipe. I must become better at stocking my fridge, freezer, and pantry. I would love to be able to throw together a pizza at a moment's notice.

Just Cook It said...

wanderluck - Thank you very much, glad you like it. Standard size tin of tomatoes - I think it is 454g, or 1lb.

Hopie - You have to take these things easy, they are delicate beasts!

Chocolate Shavings - Thanks, it did taste pretty good as well. A little indulgent for a lunchtime but very satisfying

Rich - Totally agree, they are ridiculously easy. And such a good idea if you have a large number of people over.

Laura - Thank you very much. That sounds like a fantastic combination.

Angry Brit - Thanks (through blushes) It should be up and ready by the end of the week. I'm away the next couple of days but probably back in time for Friday.

Nostalgic Nosh said...

This is one of the most beautiful photos of pizza I've ever seen. Now I'm craving it!

Just Cook It said...

Wow, thanks Nostalgic Nosh. Really appreciate it.

Jonathan said...

*patiently awaiting mother dough recipe*
I can't wait to try your flatbread and pizza recipes. They look fantastic! :)

Lacey said...

I love your method of crisping the crust. tell me, do you flip over the crust and add toppings to the crisped side or do you add the toppings to the un-crisped side?