Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Magic of (Veggie) Pizza

Did you know that the modern pizza was 'invented' 1889 in Naples, Italy? Before that it was merely a street dish, eaten by the poorest, with *gasp* no cheese!

Admittedly,  It's something I learnt from Eat, Pray, Love, when heartbroken Liz Gilbert experiences authentic Napoleon pizza on her quest for self-discovery, right before she discovers spiritual enlightenment in Bali. See, I told you, pizza is magic. 

Therefore, I suppose, I see my self as a 'pizza purist', supporter of the ancient pizza. But the reputation of the traditional pizza has been damaged by fast food chains, greasy deep-dish take away stodge and catastrophic calorie creations over the last few decades. (Thanks, Uncle Sam!)

But alas, I have re-discovered the perfect antidote to the shop bought, take away pizza, perfect for girlie nights in, manly football game afternoons or to help mend a broken heart. My saviour isn't a Napoleon chef, but instead Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal and his River Cottage 'Veg Everyday' cookbook.

The idea of baking 'Magic Bread Dough' and creating my own vegetarian pizza seemed the perfect way to re-establish my love for this Italian deliciousness. The possibilities are endless with the dough, it's my new favourite. (Sorry Fabulous Baker Brothers, but I still love your soda bread!) Hugh's magic dough can produce everything from the base of your pizza to bread sticks to accompany your meal to crusty rolls and pitta breads - all with the same batch! 

For the magic dough:
250g plain white flour
250g strong white flour
1 1⁄2 level teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon easy-blend (instant) dried yeast
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling 

Visit the River Cottage for the sample recipe of Beetroot with Cheddar pizza

The pizza recipes in the book are for; Beetroot pizza with cheddar, pizza with new potatoes, rosemary and blue cheese, asparagus and finally, kale and onion. Personally, I couldn't decide between the kale or asparagus varieties, so mixed it up a little and created my own hybrid veg everyday pizza, creative kitchen licence and all!  

Here's how it went...

The final pizza.....

of course, there was magic dough left for breadsticks, garlic flatbread and pittas, perfect! 

Crusty and fluffy white rolls
Pitta pockets
Bread sticks and dough balls 

And if pizza is good enough for Queen Margherita of Italy*, quite frankly pizza is good enough for me.

* The Margherita pizza got it's name from a special pizza made in the Italian flag colours for her visit to Naples in 1889 - Red (tomato), White (Mozzarella) and Green (Basil) and named the 'Marghertia'

1 comment:

Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny said...

Mmm this pizza looks wonderful! Great blog you have, so glad to be your newest follower! xoxo