Tag Archives: pizza

Tomatoes three ways pizza

3 Mar

When next you think about what a pain in the arse making your own pizza might conceivably be when wandering the ready-meal aisle of your local supermarket, just think about this recipe.

Not only is it cheaper than ready-made – cheaper, even, than your Tesco brands – but it is a gazillion times tastier than ready-made – gazillion, yes, times better than even supposed “posh” supermarket brands. Woman would know. In a moment of what must have been other-worldy possession she bought a ready-made pizza from her local, and realised that what she might have tolerated drunk and hungry at 2am, could not be tolerated while sobre – or in posession of self respect.

This is serious business.

  • Pizza dough base (as here, but with an extra 1/2 tsp of yeast)
  • 1/4 C nicoise olives
  • 2 roma tomatoes, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes
  • 100g white cheese

Tomato sauce

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • sun-dried tomatoes

Make pizza dough as in the linked recipe. You can just let it prove for about an hour, but this time Man Woman had made up the dough the night before we ate the pizza, putting it in the fridge overnight and then taking it out before going to work in the morning. This made for a really tasty and more thick & chewy pizza base.

Make sauce by basically chucking all ingredients in, and cook down the sauce for about 20 minutes.

Assemble pizza and throw in the oven at 200C for about 12 minutes.

Estimated cost: £3.50

Musical accompaniment: BBC World News


Lebanese calzone – Lentils, parsley and feta folded pizza

6 Dec

Man Woman likes to debate what our favourite cuisine may be (for, indeed, the independence of our individual tastes has crumbled over the last few years, the only difference now being Man’s persistent love of a veggie fry-up breakfast). This debate is moot. The Turks. The Italians. The Viets.  We love them each in their own special way.

This dish here would be called ‘fusion’ if it wasn’t so rustic and the word ‘fusion’ wasn’t so simultaneously pretentious and out-dated. It combines my memories of massive dinners at Lebanese friends’ houses back in Sydney, when the delicious spinach and onion triangles would get inhaled by any who dared tread near. Saving ourselves the hassle that so many Lebanese ladies throughout the centuries have endured of making endless tidy little parcels, we decided we’ll big it up. Go calzone size and also throw a bit more beefiness in it to make it a substantial meal. Substantial it was. It was also darn tasty. How can the cross-breeding of two Mediterranean dishes ever go wrong?

What I love particularly about Lebanese cuisine is the appreciation for parsley as a flavour. Don’t knock it and don’t you dare scrimp on the parsley outlined below. This herb is not to be mistaken for a garnish.

Lentil, feta and parsley stuffing (serves 6)

  • 2.5 C cooked lentils
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 150g ricotta
  • 200g feta
  • 1.5 C chopped parsley
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 3 TBSP raisins
  • 1 TBSP dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 TBSP lemon juice (to taste)
  • ground black pepper
  • salt
  • toasted pine nuts (if desired)

Calzone dough recipe

Soak and cook beans (probably about 1 cup of dried lentils will make 2.5 cups of cooked). Prepare pizza dough.

In a small pot, cook diced onions until softened. Add garlic, cook for another two minutes, then add lentils, stir through for a minute and add all three kinds of tomato (paste, dried and tinned).

Add herbs and spices and cook over a medium-high heat until there isn’t much liquid left. Take off the heat and let cool slightly. Mix in ricotta, feta and chopped parsley. Let cool.

Take a handful of the prepared pizza dough, and spread out into a 20cm circle. On one half of the circle, lay out a few good wooden spoonfuls of the lentil-feta mix. Fold the clear half over the half with the mix on it and seal shut.

Cook in an oven at 200C for about 25 – 30 minutes or until calzone dough is hard.

Estimated cost: £4.50

Musical accompaniment: Freelance Whales

Roast butternut squash and purple sprouting broccoli pizza (with chili!)

8 Nov

Looking down at the below list of ingredients, its hard not to advise picking up the phone and calling your local woodfired pizza joint (under no circumstances – except extreme drunkeness or passing-out-level-starvation – should you consider calling any pizza proprietor who stuffs their crust).

But lo. Homemade pizza is good stuff. Must admit, not quite as great as Lupa in Crouch End, but there is something particularly comforting about a homemade pizza. Maybe something a bit fun and childish. Whatever, it’s pizza really, so it’s going to be alright, innit?

Pizza base (adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook)

  • 150g strong white flour
  • 150g strong wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 220ml water

Sauce base

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 6 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed chilis

Pizza topping

  • 400g butternut squash
  • 6 purple sprouting broccoli stems
  • Cheese for topping (parmesan, goats, ricotta, soy cheese – even old Mr Cheddar would work)

Preheat oven to 175C.

We cheated and used the pizza setting on our bread machine for kneading. I really hate kneading. Man appears to enjoy it, but was not about for the prep (conveniently arrived in time for the consumption). I’m fairly certain you otherwise need to knead it for 3 minutes, let it rest for 10, knead for 10 and then cover with a clean towel in a warm  place. But Google it.

While dough is being made (or proving) make up the sauce by softening the onion and garlic in a pan before adding tomatoes. I like to cook this for at least 20 minutes so there is no wateriness to the sauce which could soggy-fy the pizza base.

Meanwhile, roast the pumpkin in the heating oven for about 12 minutes.

When dough’s ready top with sauce and veg.

Cook pizza for about 15 minutes. Add cheese (optional) fresh, once out of the oven.

Estimated cost: £2.90

Musical accompaniment: Still on National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered

Review: Franco Manca – worth the fuss?

30 Jul

Pretty much, really.

It probably is the best pizza in London. Apologies go out to the good people of Pappagone’s, which can’t be beaten for old style simple Italiano fare nor for its walls plastered with pictures of Rocky or children with bowls of spaghetti atop their heads.

No, but Franco Manca is pretty fantastic. I went today to the original Brixton store in a sneaky long lunch. Sourdough pizza dough. Need I say more? Yes? Fine. I understand we’ve not yet established ourselves as the papal-esque authority on all things edible. Fair enough.

The bread was chewy and light – perhaps slightly too thin and soft in the centre, if you want to be picky. With a short menu, staff weren’t precious about changing up the toppings, all of which were tasting fresh, seasonal and top quality. The pizza bianca with courgettes, two kinds of cheese and ewe’s milk was pretty spesh – particularly the ewe’s milk which curdled in a satisfyingly cottage cheese way around the edges of the puffed up crusts.

And, a great hearty lunch for £6. Don’t really have the right to complain, do I?

Plus, despite its uber trendy locale in Granville Market in Brixton, the vibe is chilled out and unpretentious. You’d hope so, really, sitting as it does opposite a Jamaican grocer and up against a (oft times pungent) fishmonger.

And, I’ll give these places a veggie rating. I’ve decided, so:

Kindness to veggies: 8/10

The ability to change up the menu without looking like a pain or prat counts for much here. But they make a point of having two menu items and one of the specials vegetarian. I’m happy.

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