Down The Rocky Road…..Sweet Sweet Pizza.

Pizza4School Holidays (for us and lots of folk no doubt) means a trip to the cinema to see the latest Disney/Pixar offering, maybe some skateboarding and playing down the park, napping and reading.
And cool stuff in the kitchen.
However!
Kid’s off on a beachy holiday with  family this week, so we will miss her 😦Pizza8
But!
Thanks to the magic of fore-thought, we did extra cooking last week so there’d still be stuff to post with Kid in it now.
Computers are amazing right?!PizzaSweet Pizza.
We are here at Kid’s behest. She’s been itching to do this ever since she saw the rocky road pizza on my menu at work. It sells well. What we’re making here will be bigger and better! Pizza7Strawberry Rocky Road Stuffed Crust Pizza
You need some pizza dough. We used this recipe from our last pizza post. Pizza2Take out a little salt, replace the sugar with honey and add a pinch of cinnamon. Resist the urge to add extra sugar, it will make the dough tacky. Pizza11

Once you have your dough rolled out, the fun begins.Pizza5

Pre-heat your oven to hot. Like 220*c at least. We’re using our bench top pizza cooker. Lay the base on the tray its being cooked on. We’re using greaseproof paper and a plate so we can transfer it once the base is topped. Spread some nutella generously and evenly over the base, leaving a couple of centimetres free to fold over.Pizza6 Chop your strawberries. Arrange some around the edge of the nutella to go inside the crust and leave the rest to scatter after cooking. Pull the marshmallows in half as you place them along side the strawberries. Fold the outside edge of the dough over, tucking the strawbs and marshmallows in as you go. Arrange marshmallows in the centre of the base. Cook until gooey and crispy. To serve, let the pizza cool for a bit than scatter chopped nuts and strawberries and dust with icing sugar. A little drizzle of cream works well and a dollop of ice cream will sort this right out.Pizza10What Kid Did.
Don’t worry about her, she’s having a nice beachy  holiday with family.  And according to these pics, re-creating our gnocchi recipePizza9You’ve come a long way baby!
See you soon Kid! X

Alternative Sweet toppings
Mascarpone, ricotta, dulce de leche, salted caramel, chopped chocolate bars (mars etc..) nuts, condensed milk, fresh berries, dried/glace fruits, fresh figs, poached rhubarb, quince paste, lollies. Use your imagination. Or just do like we did and go down that old rocky road.
Happy Cooking
🙂

The good folks at Kids in The City magazine have this to say about school hols…
http://www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au/article/winter-holiday-guide-2015

Less is more, more or less. (Get stuffed, crust)

PIZZA!
Because this ……
Pizza1For my birthday last week I received this pizza oven from uncle brother (my brother, Kid’s uncle). Hence the inevitable pizza post. It’s been on the cards for a bit. Today is a balmy, rainy Brisbane pre-summer sort of oppression, the doors and windows are open, the fans are on cyclone and it’s still hot.

Pizza11

(Oh it’s not hot, it’s just humid. Shut up. It is hot.)
Anyways, we are inside with time to cook.

Basic Pizza Dough
As a cheffy I’ve spent time in a couple of different pizza restaurants with wood fired ovens. We make the dough everyday, sometimes twice a day. I’m used to making a lot at once. Like 20kg of flour at a time. I’ve done some sums and reduced it to this.
This will make 3 thin based 30cm pizzas.
Ingredients
400gm plain flour – 00 is better if it’s available but not essential.
300ml warm water – think of ‘warming a babies bottle’ warm.
1 x 7gm satchet dried yeast
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pizza2HOW
Combine everything bar the flour and stir well. Allow to sit for about 10 mins or until it goes fluffy. If it doesn’t go fluffy, turn back and start again. This means your yeast isn’t ‘activating’. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the yeast mixture and stir together.
Use a mix master if you have one or use your hand as a paddle to combine the ingredients. When it’s a sticky mess turn it out onto a clean bench top and knead until it forms a dough.
Keep kneading until the outside becomes smooth.
This now needs to rest (prove) for about half an hour.
Pizza3

15min Pizza Sauce
Ingredients
4-5 really ripe cooking tomatoes – chopped
5 cloves garlic – more or less – crushed
Fresh basil – about 10 leaves – sliced
S&P

Pizza4HOW
Sweat the garlic in a little oil for 2-3 mins. Add the tomatoes and S&P and turn the heat up. Stir occasionally to stop it burning. After about 10 mins add the basil and blend.
Or in my case, smoosh with a fork and push through a sieve (I left my blender at work).

Pizza5

Pizza Dough
When the dough has doubled in size you can now ‘knock it back’. Knead it again until the air has gone out of it. Cut it into 3 pieces – I know the pretty picture says 2 pieces, I know better now.
Now roll each of these pieces into balls with the palm of your hands.
Now let them rest (prove) again, as in the first instance. I made 2, the first one a little thick, and had dough left  for a small lunch pizza.
Next time I’ll just make 3.

Pizza6Toppings
Less is more here. A thin smear of sauce, a fine scattering of cheese, fresh basil, 1 or 2 toppings and a little cheese again. Too much topping turns a good pizza into something less. A thin crispy, chewy base is nice to eat and won’t fill you up.
The things you buy in boxes with dots and snazzy jingles are great at midnight after too much good cheer but they’re not a good way to feed your family satisfying, nutritious food.
Those toppings are made in a factory, not in a kitchen.
Did someone say ‘stuffed’ crust?

Pizza7

Cooking
We cooked ours in the nifty new pizza oven and they worked a treat (anyone need a pizza oven promo out there?) which was a nice surprise. Otherwise pre-heat your oven nice and high, like 260*c.Use a lightly greased baking tray and cook on the bottom shelf until the bottom has some colour and the cheese gets a little golden.

Pizza9
What Kid Did
What didn’t kid do? If you want to get kids involved just make pizza. Kid made the dough, kneaded the dough and rolled the dough. She picked the basil, stirred the sauce and arranged the toppings gently on the pizzas. Kid washed the lettuce and put together a simple garden salad. You can’t have pizza without salad, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before.
Kid also took out the rubbish and helped choose/sample the toppings.
We had a really good time today.

Pizza8In the car after school I asked Kid what sort of things we should be thinking about to make a good pizza. She responded with ‘the crust has to be just right’ ‘we need to have toppings that will cook in time with dough’ ‘good cheese’ ‘olives’.
I think we covered those bases – no pun intended.

Don't try this at home ;)

Don’t try this at home 😉

Salad (birth)days

Kid turned 10 last Friday. 10! Happy Birthday you wonderful little creature.

So on Friday I took an early mark to hang with Kid. We went shopping during the day then went for a cheap and cheerful dinner w/ the other half of Kids family and GF came along too.

bdaydinner

Singing Happy Birthday

Today is birthday dinner at my place day. I’m going to make heaps of fun, healthy birthday treats with all of Kids favouritest things all prepared in a fun, tongue in cheek, cute as a button, cool as shit kind of way whilst entertaining my family and doing hula hoops at the same time.

NOT.

I had planned on cooking  a couple of things but ran out of time and so we are having T/A pizza from the local Italian in Paddington and making a salad. And some dip and stuff.
Mum is bringing cake.

Cake1Dips

A cake with a surprise 😉
That will come later.

Did I mention salad? I love a good pizza (I don’t love bad pizza) but I need to eat salad with it otherwise I feel a bit dirty. The salad we’re making doesn’t have a name but the dressing does.
Tangy Ranch Dressing
Ingredients
1 tablespoon French mustard ( or similar )
15oml mild olive oil
2 egg yolks
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
50ml apple cider vinegar ( or similar )
ranch
HOW
Using a food processor or stick blender, blitz  everything except the oil until it’s a bit fluffy.It’s important to do this well, the processing of yolks with the acid kills any bacteria concerns you may have about using raw eggs. Slowly add the oil a little at a time until it’s all combined. It should have the consistency of a runny mayonnaise.
It will keep in the fridge for a week.
What Kid Did
It’s probably a bit rough having to cook on your own birthday, but there is pizza and cake so shut up.
Kid made that ranch dressing. Separated eggs, measured everything and even wrote down the recipe as she went. Then used the blender to put it together.
The salad was a joint venture, I did any cutting and I toasted the pine nuts, kid did the lettuce washing, peeling the boiled eggs and seeded the pomegranate (cut them in half, invert and whack them with a wooden spoon).
saladprep
Then I let Kid arrange the whole thing on a platter which was probably the most fun bit. We had cos lettuce, broccoli, pine nuts, boiled eggs, pomegranate, olives, tomatoes, fennel and grated parmesan cheese. You can use the things that you like.

When the salad was all arranged (and the pizzas picked up and arrived home)
pizzaboxes
Kid presented the platter on the dining table and then poured the salad dressing all over it in front of the guests.
saladplatter
Pretty cool!
I have the waiters do this in the restaurant for a seafood dish on my menu.
It’s good, simple theatre and engaging.

The Cake
The cake itself was no surprise but after singing happy birthday and blowing out candles kid got a great surprise cutting the cake open. It was a pinanta cake! Full to the brim with all sorts of lollies – freckles, jelly beans, popping candy, m&m’s etc..
pinatacake
Fun! Food thing we had that salad though huh.
Thanks again Grandma! X

The Wash Up
Next time, when there is time we’ll make pizza from scratch at home. I can’t wait to get Kid involved in the dough making process, especially with the new little work bench in the kitchen. Buying it so much easier though.
The salad was a hit with everyone. Uncle brother took the rest home for work lunch and everyone had pizza goody bags because I ordered too much ( if there is such a thing).

So there goes another birthday. There was too much pizza, an awesome salad and a giant lolly covered cake that turned out to be full of lollies.
Hopefully we’ve finished it by the time she’s 11.
🙂

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