Thursday, 9 August 2007

Fast food

In search of a quick post-work supper my natural instinct is to seek out the fast and the cheap. Unsurprisingly then I often find myself with a large bowl of dumplings at the Camy where the recent change in management has only brought good things. I then proceed to spend the money I have just saved at dinner on cocktails at that other Melbourne institution, Hairy Canary.

Pork dumplings in chilli oil

Good Evening Vietnam (passionfruit and vietnamese mint with vodka) and Lemon Cheesecake Martini

Although these are undeniably quintessential Melbourne dining experiences, some nights I find myself just wanting to be at home with the remote or a book in hand. My natural instinct on these evenings is to order takeaway but logic prevails. Even if you phone ahead it is still a good twenty minutes before the food is in your hands and longer still until it's on your table. If you can find somewhere that delivers more often than not you'll pay a ludicrous amount for an overly processed pizza and have the grease stained box to remind you in the morning. It just makes sense to make your own.

The Simplest Pizza

This will yield enough dough for two medium sized pizzas. I will leave it to you to determine how many servings that equates to in your household. The quantities can easily be doubled or halved. The only time consuming part is waiting for the dough to rise. Use it as an excuse for a long soak in the tub.

Pizza dough
7g sachet dried yeast
1 1/3 cups plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil plus extra
1 pinch caster sugar
1 pinch salt
lukewarm water

Combine the sugar with 180ml lukewarm water. Add yeast and stir. Set aside for 10 minutes. If your yeast is working correctly it should be foamy.

While you wait, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and oil. Mix until a rough ball forms. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and lightly oil the surface. Place in a bowl covered with a damp tea towel for one hour or until doubled in size. The time varies with the weather.

Pre-heat your oven to 220C and place your pizza stone or tray in to pre-heat for 15 minutes to ensure a crispy finish.

When dough has risen divide in half and punch down the balls. Roll out as thinly as possible. It may be easier to do this between two sheets of baking paper. When the desired thickness is reached simply peel off the top sheet and transfer the bottom sheet onto the heated tray.

Brush base with olive oil and top as desired. Today I opted for a little tomato paste, olives and proscuitto topped with parmesan and mozzarella. A real fridge cleaning exercise in case you didn't guess. Any recipe that lets me do that is surely a keeper.


Cookie said...

The Simplest Pizza looks really good.. ;)
Thanks you for saying that my english is excellent and you don't need to thanks me for saying that ' kind words' because were true.stay well.

IronEaters said...

the cheese on top of the pizza makes me drool =D n the dough doesn't sound too hard to make! thanks for sharing the recipe.

Kelly-Jane said...

Lovely pics, and the names of the cocktails are fab :) :)

Cynthia said...

Hmmmm saving and spending it on cocktails huh? :D

Truffle said...

Thanks Cookie. I appreciate your lovely comments.

Ironeaters- I'm afraid it wasn't the most authentic of toppings although something simple involving buffalo mozzarella would work beautifully. The dough is very easy so give it a try.

Kelly-Jane- thank you! I love the names too! :)

Cynthia- it's a terrible habit, isn't it? :)

Lucy said...

A long soak is a perfect way to keep your mind occupied during the proving!

That martini looks pretty spectacular.

Anh said...

Home-made pizza... Yum yum! I haven't made it for months

Johanna said...

Sadly I agree with you that it is often so much easier and delicious to make your own rather than order takeaway. I am sure your pizza was better than anything you could order!

Wendy said...

Though partial to a wee takeaway Indian meal every now and again I don't like takeaway pizza at all. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I like pizza at all! Love how fresh yours sounds and I know my partner (a pizza monster) will want me to give this a try!

The Gourmand said...

My mother is the queen of pizza. Unfortunately I didn't inherit the pizza making gene. I've tried her recipe but I just could not get it right. I will try yours when the time is right. X

Patricia Scarpin said...

The word pizza makes me dream already, Truffe - this look so delicious!

Truffle said...

Lucy, I couldn't agree more about the bath! The martini was pretty good too :)

Anh- would you believe it was my first attempt but at least it won't be my last!

Johanna - I think the key is to find ways of preparing things that seem fuss free to you. That way it's easier to resist the takeaway of all too often disappointing takeaway. Homemade certainly does taste better!

Wendy- Takeaway Indian certainly does have it's place! Hope your partner enjoys this :)

Gourmand- I'd love her recipe! It sounds fabulous.

Patricia- thanks so much!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Those cocktails sounds delicious! Nice lloking pizza as well!

Susan said...

I'm with Lucy - that lemon cheesecake martini looks like a creamy dream. Do you know what they put in it?

Truffle said...

Jenndz- thank you!

Susan- I am still trying to figure it out. I may ask next time and reproduce it at home.

Nora B. said...

Hi Truffle! Love the names of the cocktails. We had a cocktail party on Australia day this year and it was so much fun. Everyone was supposed to make one cocktail of their choice. A few made classic cocktails but there were also a few creative ones. The party started at 12pm and they left at 2am!

The Cooking Ninja said...

Pizza is what we have at home if we are too lazy to go out or too lazy to cook. It's simple and easily done. Now if we are even too lazy to cook pizza, the pizza delivery is our solution. :) Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Nirmala said...

I love a good martini! And the pizza looks divine!

Truffle said...

Nora B - the names are cute, aren't they? It's a great bar. Your party sounds fabulous!

The Cooking Ninja- I couldn't agree more after attempting it myself.

Nirmala - thank you so much!

Precious Moments said...

wow your vietnamese mint with vodka really to die for. hic hic.... getting high. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

mutemonkey said...

Oh, DROOL!! Great minds think alike. Every time I go to Shanghai Dumpling (aka Camy) I can't stop myself from ordering those Chilli Oil Dumplings... if loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right.

And I'm all for spending the money saved by eating dumplings on expensive cocktails (like the cucumber martini with Miller gin at Gin Palace)...

Speaking of Camy, I don't know whether or not you've succumbed to the evil that is facebook, but a few months ago I started a facebook group called "I ate at David and Camy's Shanghai Dumpling and survived (but only just)". I invited eight of my friends to join it as a joke. Somehow word of mouth snowballed and there are now 504 members!

Great looking homemade pizza, by the way. I agree that it can be a bit of a hassle waiting for the yeast to rise, but it's always worth the wait!

Truffle said...

Precious Moments - it was a delicious cocktail. They really shouldn't make it so easy to drink alcohol!

mutemonkey - we could be twins! That's amazing about the facebook group. It really is a Melbourne institution, isn't it?