Picnic Essential: Cold Pizza
Crafted of your own hand, of course
Ignore the lull in the sunshine, it will be back, and in greater numbers. Think of The Sun as a battery in a recharger – those rays of pure joy will be boaring sweaty red holes into the back of your neck before you know it. Then those shorts you’ve been wearing to work this week won’t look so limp and inappropriate. Plus, even better, Picnic Season will resume with a roar. We love Picnic Season, it’s by far the most progressive of the culinary movements. It’s not to be confused with Barbecue Season – or Barbaric Season as it’s called by those who love gin and sometimes cry when they’re alone. It’s easy to differentiate between the two – one is an outdoor meal enjoyed by topless maniacs, all outrageously thick and playing a clumsy game of drunken frisbee that will result in at least one visit to Casualty. The other is Picnic Season.
Anyway, to celebrate, we’ve clunked open the Interestment Cook Book to provide recipes and tips so simple that even a frightened mouse would stick around to see what you’re talking about. Today, amazing woman and relative of Interestment, Annie, talks us all through the perfect homemade pizza. She had this to say…
Here is a lovely pizza recipe:
1. 500g strong white (or if you want to be trully authentic Tipo 00) flour
2. 15g of dried yeast
3. 15g of sugar or honey
4. 15g of salt
5. 1 pint tepid water
Mix the yeast and sugar/honey in with half of the tepid water to dissolve. Then mix the flour with the salt and create a pile with a hole in the middle (like a volcano). Pour the yeast/sugar/water mix and stir into the flour with three fingers. Once combined add the rest of the the tepid water and create a moist dough (you may need to add a little more water). Knead the dough for about five minutes. If it sticks to your hands rub them with some flour. Once it is well kneaded, form a big ball and dust it with flour. Now leave it for about 45 mins to 1 and a half hours to approximately double in size (try and keep it somewhere warm as it helps). Bosh, done.
In the meantime, make your topping…
1. 2 x tins of plum tomatoes
2. 2-3 cloves of garlic
3. Fresh basil
4. Sprinkle of crushed chilli
5. A dash of balsamic vinegar
6. Olive oil
7. Salt and pepsie (and a touch of sugar if it tastes bitter)
Slice the garlic and begin to fry in the olive oil – don’t burn it as it stinks and tastes bad! Add the stems from the basil. Add the tins of tomatoes and start to cook down. Add the chilli, a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper (and sugar if you think it needs it). Tear up the basil leaves and add them. Cook down for about 5 mins. The get a seive and pour the mixture through, pressing it through the seive to get as much out as you can. Discard the pulp and pour the soup-like sauce back into the pan and cook down so it reduces to a lovely pizza topping (which could also be used for pasta).
Now, back to the dough. It should have pretty much doubled in size. Knead it for a further minute to get all of the air out. Divide it into the number of pizzas you want – you get three good pizzaria sized pizzas out of this amount … or four Pizza Express sized ones - flatten and shape it out to pizza size/shape, about 25-30cm diameter (it rises a little bit in the oven so bear that in mind if you like a thin pizza). I place it on a slightly oiled piece of tin foil half way through shaping and finish the stretching on that (I cook it on the tin foil).
Now it is time to add your toppings.
The king of pizzas is, of course, the Margarita…
Spoon on and spread the tomato sauce to cover the base, it is pretty concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Then tear up mozzarella and dot it around the pizza. Add some more chopped basil, and whatever else you’d like on the thing. Then cook on high (approx 220 C) directly on the oven shelf for about 10 mins.
…or if you want to take it on a picnic, leave it to cool.