Posts Tagged 'pizza'

When the moon hits your eye …

Pizza is big business in Ireland. Domino’s, Four Star, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s. It’s an oft-quoted fact that the Tallaght branch of Domino’s is their busiest outlet in the world. All too easy to believe. While I’m partial to the odd takeaway, I’m really getting into making my own.

It is time-consuming but all I can tell you is that when you taste the results you’ll realise that your own home-made pizza is a million miles from takeaway. It’s great to have control over the ingredients as takeaway pizza is loaded with sugar and salt. You can also get creative with some good quality toppings: salamis, proscuitto, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket …

If you’re planning a pizza cookoff, take a trip to Lidl or Aldi. They have some excellent pizza toppings at great prices: mozzarella, parmesan, salamis, chorizo etc. The photo below contains products all bought from Lidl.

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Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need any specialised pizza-making equipment, such as pizza stones. Certainly you can obtain a crisper crust using such gadgets, but can achieve great results with a simple pre-heated baking sheet.

If, like me, you tend to over-research these things you’ll find there there’s a raging debate between pizza lovers about whether the tomato sauce on a pizza should be cooked or not. Myself, I’m firmly in the cooked camp. This is because I like a rich, piquant, fully-flavoured sauce. Don’t listen to the gastronerds.

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Happy cooking.

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Homemade Pizza Recipe

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Everyone loves pizza. For my money, it’s the best hangover food. It’s made using a regular yeast bread dough. This recipe yields enough dough for two large pizzas, or three smaller ones. I like to split the dough into three balls as I can vary my toppings more, but you can please yourself.

Toppings are only limited by your imagination. If you’re short on inspiration, have a look at Darina’s suggestions in the excellent Ballymaloe Cookery Course.

Ingredients

  • 340g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (heaped)  sugar
  • 5g dried yeast (I use McDougall’s)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 210 ml tepid water

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Method

  1. Mix the dry ingredients. Sieve together the flour, salt, sugar and dried yeast into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add your wet ingredients. Rub in the olive oil and add the tepid water. Ensure the water is not too hot.
  3. Mix to a loose dough (add a little extra water or flour if necessary) and turn out onto a clean work surface, lightly dusted with flour. Cover the dough with the bowl and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Now, time for a workout. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Use a food processor with a dough hook, if you have one.
  5. Clean your mixing bowl with hot water, then lightly brush the bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film. Place the bowl in your airing cupboard or beside a radiator. Prove the dough for about 1.5 to 2 hours. The dough should have doubled in size.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 250C. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and “knock back”. This means kneading the dough for a minute to knock some of the air out of it. Split the dough into 2 or 3 balls.
  7. Roll or stretch each ball into a pizza shape and place onto a pre-heated baking sheet. Lightly coat with tomato sauce and add your toppings. Cook each pizza for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with cold beer, and a sloppy, self-satisfied grin … 🙂