Sunday 21 April 2013

Life of a pizza

Feels like we've had several seasons worth of weather condensed into the last couple of weeks. Last time I wrote I was making pizzas in the snow wearing all the layers I own and yesterday was well and truly shorts and t-shirt weather - has spring finally sprung?

We had some friends over last night, the namesakes of our sourdough starters actually and with one veggie in the house it was time to test out some more meat free topping combinations. The highlight of the bunch being a variation of a birds' nest topping with ribbons of asparagus (British asparagus I'd like to add), lemon zest and quail's eggs… there may have been a tincy bit of dry cured pancetta on one side too, perhaps that's why it was my favourite…

I'm rambling now. What I was originally planning to write about was video app I've been playing around with, Vine. It's essentially the video arm of Twitter and makes short (6s) looping clips. You can find me on there under my twitter handle myperfectpizza and what better way to road test a new video app than try and document the full life of a pizza.

So here it is, 1.26 million words worth*:

Feeding the starter:

Mixing the dough:

Knocking back:

Making the balls:

Forming the base:

Top and cook:
Mushroom and wild garlic:

Birds' / Piggies' nest:

*working on the assumption that each picture's still worth 1000 words and assuming Vine shoots each of my 7, 6s videos at 30fps. Apologies.

Monday 1 April 2013

Building a Billy

Last weekend was my dad's birthday and our family converged on the 'Norf' to celebrate. By conventional standards this was one of those 'big birthdays' although given my dad insists he stopped counting when he hit 40 we'll call this his '40th'.

My brother and I had big plans this year and for a while had it in mind that we'd treat him to an outdoor oven. A pyromaniac at heart we knew he'd like this and over the years we've had many a family gathering, come rain or shine with the BBQ at the centre.

This nonchalance to the weather proved useful as our train pulled into the station to see an inch of fresh snow on the platform. Still, you can't let a bit of snow put you off cooking outside… Or building an oven for that matter, although I use the term building loosely as the oven we'd chosen only required minor assembly, everyone meet Billy, Billy meet everyone…

You may notice a striking resemblance to Bertha and that's no surprise given he's from the same, excellent, Garden Oven Company. He arrived on a pallet on the Friday and by Saturday lunchtime he was fired up and ready to cook his inaugural batch of pizzas. That's even factoring in the best efforts of a hapless forklift driver, who along the way had gauged huge holes in the box and lost a couple of parts, still, it's amazing what you can do with a cable tie.

It was a great day, despite the weather we spent most of it outdoors, warmed by the fire and the 'chef's provision' beers. Eight pizzas and a monster, 2kg, shoulder of pork later and he'd done very well on his first firing, most of which is hopefully captured in the following video:

Building a Billy from MyPerfectPizza on Vimeo.

Note: Thanks again to Jay at the Garden Oven Company, who not only sorted out the order and a custom engraving but also drove to my parents' to replace the parts chipped in shipping, how's that for customer service!