Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Tuesday 14 February 2017

A Meal for... VALENTINE'S DAY (And now for a romantic interlude)

Valentine’s Day Lunch
Dave remembered seeing Rick Stein cook this pizza on television (and it only appearing to take five minutes) so he offered to make me it for me for a Valentine’s Day lunch with his own fair hands. (It actually took over an hour and a half!)

Making the dough and failing to appreciate the importance of sieving the flour.
“It’s a palaver this cooking thing.”

Kneading the dough
I must admit I was wondering how this would turn out.
(NB we also had to sterilise the work surface first after removing the cat who had climbed up to try to get her tub of treats down from the shelf.)

Making the sauce

Dave: “Do you think Morrison’s sell finely chopped onions?”

Me: “I’m sure they do but probably at double the price.”

Dave: “I’ll keep chopping."

With the dough in a warm place to (hopefully) rise and the sauce simmering  nicely, the chef takes a break.

I have to say that the dough didn’t rise to twice its original size, as it should have, but he persevered.
A bit more kneading, then another rest.

Then, the fun part. 

Preparing the pizza

I did advise that maybe, with the bases a bit smaller than we were expecting, it would be a good idea to refrain from using the entire topping. Apparently, however, if you have gone to the trouble of making it, every little bit must be used.

After about 20 minutes in the oven the pizzas were finally ready.

And yes, he did admit that he had overloaded the topping.

A few final touches...

and they were ready to serve.

They were very tasty, although Dave’s final verdict was that the basil plant cost more than an entire pizza from Aldi!

This is the original recipe:

Makes two
2tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
227g can chopped tomatoes
1tsp red wine vinegar
1tsp caster sugar
Pinch of dried oregano, plus extra for sprinkling
2 x 125g mozzarella balls, sliced
Fresh basil leaves to serve

For the dough
225g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1½tsp salt
1tsp sugar
2tsp dried yeast
2tsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
150ml tepid water

First make the dough
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl; add the sugar and yeast.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil and a little of the water.
Lightly oil your hands and use them to gradually incorporate the flour into the liquid, adding more water until it comes together. (You may not need all the water.)

Dust the work surface with flour
Tip out the dough, scraping out any that sticks.
Knead for 5 – 10 minutes until smooth and soft.
Put in a lightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place for about an hour until it doubles in size.

Meanwhile, make the topping.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and gently fry the onion for about 5 minutes over a low heat. Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes more until onions are soft.
Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and oregano and season.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes until thick. Then set aside.

Knock back the risen dough and knead briefly.
Divide into two portions, roll each into a ball, place on a lightly floured work surface and cover with a damp cloth. Rest for 10-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to its maximum setting and place two baking sheets inside.
Stretch and shape each dough ball with your hands and a rolling pin until you have 2 x 20-25cm diameter pizza bases.
Spread each with the tomato sauce. The top with the mozzarella, sprinkle with oregano and season.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bases are crisp.

Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

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