Oh how we have laboured. And chopped and kneaded and floured and tasted, and tasted, and tasted. And how we loved every minute of it. And there was no plan for it to turn into a competition, but 5 minutes in we found ourselves chopping, kneading, flouring and tasting with much out-of-corner-of-eye peering and snarling and smirking. And what, pray tell, was IT? And who, the heck, are we? IT was Pizza taste-testing, for the better part of a lazy Sunday, and WE are Rob and I, who were once on perfectly amicable terms until this little epicurean adventure came between us.
Rob was supposed to be the sous-chef, but when I started talking about putting beetroot on one of my pizzas his eyes visibly glazed over and his attention fizzled, fast. “That is not mans food, man, how can there be no meat on that? And no tomato base? No, sis man.” And Rob happens to think he’s quite the connoisseur, being the official regular taster for my blog and book. So then it was on, like donkey kong. And here’s where our little taste test trip took us…
Basic Pizza Base
Serves 4 | Preparation time 15 minutes
This is a no-yeast pizza base, as we were going for as much bang for your buck as we could muster. No time for faffing about with dough-rising thanks, this was high stakes stuff.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
200g all-purpose / cake flour
6 Tb olive oil
Approximately 4 Tbsp water
Generous pinch of salt
WHAT TO DO
1. Pre-heat oven to 200C 2. Place the flour, oil and 2 Tbsp water into a food processor, preferably using the dough hook attachment, and blend together until a dough is formed. Add more water to bind it all together if necessary. On a floured work surface, knead the dough for about a minute and shape into a rough ball. Roll out as thinly as possible.
3. Grease and flour a large baking tray, and lay out the rolled dough.
THEN add your toppings
The Blokey One
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 4 Tbsp tomato & onion mix; 1C grated mozzarella cheese; ½ medium chilli, seeds removed and chopped; 4 slivers prosciutto/parma ham/regular ham; about ½ cup chopped pineapple pieces; S+P to taste.
WHAT TO DO: Spread the tomato & onion mix over the pizza base using the back of a spoon; sprinkle over the mozzarella and chilli; top with the prosciutto, pineapple pieces, more mozzarella and a generous grinding of salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the base is golden and crispy.
The Other Blokey One
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 4 Tbsp tomato & onion mix; 1C grated mozzarella cheese; ½ medium chilli, seeds removed and chopped; 4 slices salami, roughly chopped; about ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved; ½ round goats cheese; S+P to taste.
WHAT TO DO: Spread the tomato & onion mix over the pizza base using the back of a spoon; sprinkle over the mozzarella and chilli; top with the salami, tomatoes, more mozzarella, goats cheese and a generous grinding of salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the base is golden and crispy. Remove, (I would top with chopped fresh basil) and enjoy.
The Poncey One
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 4 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce; 1C grated mozzarella cheese; 10-12 asparagus spears, roughly chopped; 4 slivers of smoked salmon, roughly chopped; 2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese; 1 heaped tsp horseradish; ½ lemon; S+P to taste.
WHAT TO DO: Spread out the sweet chilli sauce on the base using the back of a spoon; sprinkle over the mozzarella and asparagus spears. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the base is golden and crispy. Remove, allow to cool slightly then top with the salmon slivers; mix together the mascarpone and horseradish with a dash of lemon juice and add dollops of this mixture to the top of the pizza. S+P to taste.
The Veggie One
WHAT YOU’L NEED: 4 Tbsp chutney; 1C grated mozzarella; 1 large red onion, chopped; 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil; 2 tsp sugar; ½ cup pre-cooked beetroot (in vinegar is fine), chopped; ½ roll of goats cheese; small handful of toasted pine-nuts; small handful of fresh rocket.
WHAT TO DO: In a medium-sized saucepan heat the butter/olive oil; add the onions and sugar and fry gently for 10 minutes; add the beetroot, fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Spread the chutney over the base; sprinkle over the mozzarella; spread over the onion/beetroot mix and scatter over the goats cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the base is golden and crispy. Remove, allow to cool slightly and top with the toasted pine nuts and rocket.
And now, surely, I have left you all with NO excuse not to have a pizza party at your house, right now?