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Category Archives: Pizza

Individual Pizzas: Jamie Oliver Style

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I am now making “proper pizza” – pizza cooked in a high heat source, fillings cooked on top of the base. Last time I made proper pizza, I borrowed the antique stove of my friends in the Southern Highlands:
https://thequirkandthecool.com/?s=proper+pizza

This time I used my barbecue with a lid and a temperature gauge as the oven. You can really heat up the barebecue very high and get great crusty pizza!

I have used Jamie Oliver’s recipe – it’s really straighforward and easy to follow – with some tweaks of my own.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/basic-pizza

The quantity below gives you 4 small pizzas, enough for 2.  Doubling the quantities gives you pizzas for 4.

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Pizza Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

1/2 level tablespoon fine sea salt

1×7 g sachet dried yeast

1/2 tbs  caster sugar

325 ml lukewarm water

Semolina for dusting

Method

Pile the flour and salt on to a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add  yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and begin to pat it into a ball.
Knead the dough by rolling it backward and forward, using one hand to stretch the dough toward you and the other hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Flour and cover each ball with plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to roll it thinly.
Take a piece of the dough, dust your surface and the dough with a little flour or semolina, and roll it out into a rough circle about 0.5cm thick. Tear off an appropriately sized piece of tin foil, rub it with olive oil, dust it well with flour or semolina and place the pizza base on top.  Do the same with the other pieces and then, if you dust them with a little flour, you can pile them up into a stack and cover them with cling film.

Preheat your barbecue till very hot (at least 250 degrees C) with the lid closed.  Heat 2 baking sheets in the barbecue.
Put two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two baking sheets, scattering each sheet with a dusting of semolina first.  At this stage you can apply your topping. Smear the tomato sauce over the base of your pizzas and spread it out to the edges. Scatter over your fillings, tearing  the mozzarella into rough pieces. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put the baking sheets onto the barbecue, lid down. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.

Easy Tomato Sauce Or Passata

Ingredients

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

1/2 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and torn

3 x 400 tinned plum tomatoes

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in a couple of  generous lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

Store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge – it’ll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches , so you can defrost exactly the amount you need.

Fillings for Pizza

Anything goes! You can start your pizza off with the tomato passata, or go for a white pizza (bianca). Cheese is almost always good and mozzarella makes for a beautiful gooey pizza. Add anything you think will work!

I made two tomato, mozzarella and basil pizzas, basically a pizza margherita, and for the other pizzas I added passata, artichoke heart, caramelized onion and a simple scattering of thyme leaves.

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Proper Pizza

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If you are a reader of this blog you would know I’m a huge fan of grilled pizza.  Dough cooked on the barbecue grill, then topped with flavours of your choice. There are quite a few examples here.

This time I decided I wanted to cook pizza the traditional way, in an oven, baking the dough + toppings all together.

I was visiting the Artist and the Artisan in the beautiful Southern Highlands, previously blogged about here: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/14/artist-and-artisans-retreat-idyllic-southern-highlands/

The Artisan has a wonderful old Metters “Canberra” wood fired stove, a relic of Australia’s past. It makes a fantastic garden ornament and not a bad pizza either!IMG_3655

I made the pizza dough in Sydney on a Saturday morning, proved it, then set off for the hour and a quarter journey to Mittagong. The dough proved a second time sitting in a bowl in the car on the journey.

It was then ready for shaping and topping, and into the oven which had been heating for a couple of hours. Pizzas for lunch and dough left over to make more for an appetizer that night!

Below is the pizza dough recipe, adapted from the grilled pizza recipe. These quantities make 4 medium sized pizzas. Just add toppings of your choice. We used a tomato paste base, then added prosciutto, salami, mushrooms, black olives, grated cheddar, and maybe some other stuff!

Ingredients

6 tsp dry yeast
2 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups strong flour + 2 1/2 cups Tipo 00 flour, + more for dusting
2 tsp sea salt
A couple of glugs of extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth, then the olive oil and continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl lightly oiled with more extra virgin olive oil, and turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and prepare to shape, or you can leave for an hour or two until ready to make the pizzas – the dough will prove again.

Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in four and shape each into a ball.  Or divide in half for 2 large pizzas.

Stretch and shape the balls of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Place the pizzas on a baking tray or better still a ceramic pizza stone and apply your toppings. Let rest for 15 minutes.IMG_3640

Bake in a hot oven until the pizzas are cooked. I leave it up to you and your oven to decide on temperature and timings. Not helpful, I know, but every oven is different!IMG_3674

 

 

Fresh Fig, Taleggio and Walnut Pizza on the Grill

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Another pizza on the grill using autumn produce. Figs were plentiful, relatively cheap in Sydney and delicious, during the Indian summer and early autumn.

I added my current favourite cheese, taleggio, with walnuts. Taleggio and walnuts are a match made in heaven, in ravioli, in salads, grilled on cape seed bread and of course on pizza.

The grilled pizza is my usual recipe, featured several times on this blog.

Ingredients
Dough

2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water (40.5 – 46 degrees C)
2 to 2 ½ cups bread (strong) flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

Toppings

2-3 fresh figs,sliced
100-150g taleggio cheese, torn into chunks
1 tablespoon chutney or sweet onion relish, or to taste
A handful of walnut pieces, roughly chopped

Method
Pizza
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to bowl lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil, turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.

Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half and shape each half into a ball. This quantity makes 2 small pizzas. Or leave as 1 ball for 1 large pizza.

Brush with more oil and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat your barbecue to very high.

Stretch and shape the ball/s of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Brush the top/s with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes. Place on the grill directly on the bars, oiled side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and grill for 1 minute longer.

Place the pizza/s on a baking tray and apply your toppings:

Scatter over fresh figs, taleggio cheese, chutney or sweet onion relish and walnut pieces.

Return to the barbecue, turn down the heat  to medium, close the cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the pears are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve with a scattering of greens – rocket, baby spinach or similar and fresh herbs.

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Grilled Pizza…again

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I’m revisiting Pizza on the Barbecue, one of my current cooking obsessions. I was interested to to see that the February edition of the wonderful delicious.magazine featured Pizza on the Grill on the front cover!

The recipes featured a similar rustic approach to grilling pizza dough on the barbecue then applying various fillings of choice.

Below is the cover of delicious.magazine and the pizzas that have been featured on this blog already – plus some new variations.

delicious.magazine

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Pear, Artichoke and Blue Cheese Grilled Pizza With Rosé and Cranberry Dressing

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/10/20/pear-artichoke-and-blue-cheese-grilled-pizza-with-rose-and-cranberry-dressing/

IMG_6062Avocado, Pear and Two Cheeses Pizza with Chutney and Red wine Dressing

IMG_5524Free Range Leg Ham, Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pizza

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/11/10/avocado-pear-and-two-cheeses-pizza-free-range-leg-ham-artichoke-and-cherry-tomato-pizza/

IMG_6140Cherry Tomato, Artichoke, Walnut and Pecorino Pizza

IMG_6724Peach, Beetroot, Avocado, Green Olive and Fetta Pizza

IMG_7604Roast Pumpkin, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Sugar Snap Peas, Leek and Taleggio Pizza with Red Wine Dressing

Avocado, Pear and Two Cheeses Pizza + Free Range Leg Ham, Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pizza

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Pizza on the Barbecue Revisited

I have been really enjoying cooking grilled pizza on the barbecue. I  recently posted my first efforts and am now posting a couple of variations that have worked well.

One quantity of the dough recipe below makes 2 pizzas. I sometimes freeze the other pizza dough and use later for either pizza or just plain grilled flatbread, served with a little olive oil with salad or with dips.

A tip – if you are freezing the dough – defrost and allow to come to room temperature but cook pretty quickly as the dough becomes soft and difficult to handle if you leave it too long.

The basic recipe:

Ingredients
Dough

2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water (40.5 – 46 degrees C)
2 to 2 ½ cups Tipo 00 flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

Free Range Leg Ham, Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pizza 

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 spring onions finely chopped
3 artichoke hearts, sliced
3 or 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 or 3 slices of free range leg ham, sliced
Basil  leaves

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Avocado, Pear and Two Cheeses Pizza with Chutney and Red wine Dressing

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used Dorset Drum, an English cheddar with a soft texture)
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 pear, sliced
Avocado half, sliced
A handful of crumbled blue cheese (Gippsland Blue is good)
Thyme sprigs

For the dressing Dressing, mix 1 tablespoon of good English fruit chutney with 1 tablespoon of red wine  and a glug of extra vrigin olive oil, and spoon over the oooked pizza.

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Method

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to bowl lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil, turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.

Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half and shape each half into a ball. This quantity makes 2 small pizzas. Or leave as 1 ball for 1 large pizza.

Brush with more oil and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat your barbecue to very high.

Stretch and shape the ball/s of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Brush the top/s with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes. Place on the grill directly on the bars, oiled side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and grill for 1 minute longer.

Place the pizza/s on a baking tray and apply your toppings:

Scatter over your toppings, with the exception of the herbs.

Return to the barbecue, turn down the heat  to medium, close the cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the vegetables are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Scatter herbs over the cooked pizza before serving.

 

Pear, Artichoke and Blue Cheese Grilled Pizza With Rosé and Cranberry Dressing

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Making pizza on the barbecue is really easy as I discovered when I made one for the first  time. I make lots of pizzas – home made is always nicest – but I was delighted with how quick and easy grilling the dough on the barbecue is!

This recipe was inspired by Bobby Flay’s recipe from his Barbecue Addiction television program: http://m.foodnetwork.com/recipes/551582

You make a normal pizza yeast dough – then grill it for a minute each side on the bars of a very hot barbecue. Then dress the grilled pizza with your toppings of choice, place on a baking tray and heat on the barbecue on medium heat, with the hood down to simulate an oven.

Fresh, hot, grilled pizza made right in front of your friends! You could even do “make your toppings” with everyone customizing their own pizza!

Ingredients
Dough

2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water (40.5 – 46 degrees C)
2 to 2 ½ cups Tipo 00 flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

Toppings

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 pear, sliced
2 -3 artichoke hearts, sliced
A handful of crumbled blue cheese (to taste)
Rosemary sprigs

Method
Pizza
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to bowl lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil, turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.

Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half and shape each half into a ball. This quantity makes 2 small pizzas. Or leave as 1 ball for 1 large pizza.

Brush with more oil and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat your barbecue to very high.

Stretch and shape the ball/s of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Brush the top/s with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes. Place on the grill directly on the bars, oiled side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and grill for 1 minute longer.

Place the pizza/s on a baking tray and apply your toppings:

Scatter over cheddar cheese, spring onions, sliced pear, sliced artichoke hearts and crumbled blue cheese.

Return to the barbecue, turn down the heat  to medium, close the cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the pears are heated through, about 5 minutes.

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Remove from the barbecue and drizzle with the rosé and cranberry dressing and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Cut and serve immediately.

Rosé and Cranberry Dressing
Combine ¼ glass of rosé with a splash of caramelized balsamic, 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp of cranberry sauce and sea salt and black pepper to taste. You can vary these proportions to achieve the desired taste.

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Frankie’s Pizza By the Slice

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A little piece of the 70s in mid town Sydney…

50 Hunter Street Sydney, and a couple of security guys minding the poster plastered double doors under a dodgy neon sign reminiscent of the Cross.

Frankie’s Pizza looks like it has been there forever, dim, a little down at heel, and redolent with the charm of an Italian pizza joint plus American bar. That’s in the main space – but through the side doors and you enter a low ceilinged room which as a band venue is pure Aussie pub style. However Frankie’s is a recent addition to the burgeoning Sydney bar scene.

For me the most eye catching element of the decor is the collection of band posters mostly from the UK of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Some well known and more obscure artists.

Pizza is it for the food, plus wine, plus LOTS AND LOTS of different beers. The pizza was good – we had the Vegetarian and the Cappricciosa – both on thin bases with tasty, not too heavy fillings. The wine list was small but quite OK.

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But we had come here on a Monday night for the music – the house band that plays every Monday with a different lead singer. Yeah – a rocky, groovy, solid and basic lineup of guitar, bass and drums, straight out of the 70s although none of the lineup looked like they were even born in the 70s… like the gen X, gen Y audience, listening to music from Steppenwolf to Hendrix more suited to the ears of their parents, who were conspicuous by their absence. Quirky and her companions were by far the oldest in the room…

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The idea is a good one, bringing back the best of late 20th century popular culture in food and music, and a fun night out.

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