As the weekend was so hot we were trying to spend as much of it as possible outside....
And therefore I was very excited when a friend telephoned to say that they were going to fire up their outside wood fired pizza oven for the very first time and would we like to spend an evening with them & pizza?
Obviously the answer was yes,
I made up a batch of pizza dough,
Mr. Chris made up a batch of tomato sauce,
and off we went.....
It turned out to be a wonderful warm evening with good food and good friends,
and I am totally in awe of the pizza oven... Want one in the garden !
[although I admit that it would have to be a very much smaller version!]
and was a perfect size for a couple of pizzas at a time:
and the pizzas were enjoyed by all,
Basic Pizza dough for four medium sized pizza:
9oz strong white bread flour
9oz plain white flour
1 1/2 [one and a half] teaspoons powdered dried yeast
1/2 [half] oz salt
about 12 fl.oz warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil plus a little more!
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, add the water and oil and mix to form a sticky dough, turn out onto a lightly oiled clean work surface and knead until all soft and silky ~ try counting 300 kneads or spending about ten minutes on this bit ~ then shape the dough into a round, put it into a bowl, cover and leave for an hour to rise, [until it has about doubled in size]
tip it out onto a lightly oiled work surface again, gently deflate, shape into a ball pop it back into the bowl, cover and leave for a further hour.... you can skip this second proving bit if you have not got time, or like a crispier base...it just makes a softer and slightly better textured base if you have time to include it!
Now the dough can be either divided into four and shaped into flat rounds using your hands or a rolling pin or it can be covered and put in the fridge until needed.
Top the pizza bases with your home made tomato sauce:
Reduced tomato sauce:
1 onion finely diced
1 clove garlic finely diced
2 teaspoon dried herbs or a good handful fresh finely chopped ~ a mix of Basil, Thyme and Marjoram works well
1 tin tomatoes [or four to six fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped]
Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened but not browned ~ add the dried herbs at this point if using ~ Add the tomatoes mixing well to break them down and a good two or three teaspoons tomato puree.
Simmer the sauce until reduced, no longer watery but creamy and fragrant ~ about ten to fifteen minutes ~ adding the fresh herbs if using about half way through the cooking time.
Do watch and stir all the time as this sauce will catch and burn on the base of the pan if you leave it!!
use to spread over your pizza bases before adding other toppings of your choice such as cheese, onion, olives, sliced sweet peppers, sliced mushrooms etc etc
If like most of us you do not have a wood fired pizza oven in your garden, pre heat your oven to its highest temp and cook on oiled baking trays or a pizza stone in the top of the oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melting and bubbling and the dough puffed up and browned...