Mondays. I know it’s the start of the week, woo hoo, umm yeah, the start of something great, right?! Let’s be real, sometimes they are just hard work.
Enter: pizza. It’s cool, go with me here.
I have long been a believer in cake, and how it can make almost any moment feel more special (don’t tell me you’ve never had an emergency piece of cake!). Well, my latest idea is pizza, and how it makes any night of the week feel like Friday night.
Go on, give it a go. Shake it up and make pizza on a Monday night; it might just be the start of something great…
Spelt Pizza with Red Quinoa, Fennel and Apple Salad
250g spelt flour
125ml warm water
pinch of salt and sugar
25ml olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and give a little stir. Combine the warm water and olive oil, and pour into a well in the centre of the flour. Give it a quick mix around with a spoon until it comes together into a ball. Now, do yourself a favour, and give the dough a little knead whilst it’s still in the bowl (mix in all those little bits around the sides). This makes it less sticky when you turn it out, and you will need less flour on your kneading surface (i.e. bench top!).
Turn your dough out onto your nicely floured benchtop and knead that baby until it looks smooth on the outside when you shape it into a ball. Depending on your enthusiasm, this will take around 5 minutes. I like to hold one edge of the dough with my left hand, and push the bulk of the dough away with my right, virtually stretching and smearing the dough across the bench. Give it a try.
When it’s looking all nice and smooth and dough-like, pop it in an oiled bowl, cover it with cling-film and let it rise somewhere nice and cosy for about an hour.
Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. If you have a fan forced oven, then put on the fan for a crispier base.
One hour later, divide your beautiful dough into two. Give it a workout with a rolling pin and roll it as thin as you dare (the thinner the better in my books). Don’t worry, pizza isn’t supposed to be round, asymmetrical is how the cool kids are doing it, trust me.
Transfer your magnificently shaped pizza base to a tray lined with baking paper, and top it to your liking. Tomato paste or pizza sauce first, then some mozzarella and then – go crazy! I chose salami cause I think it’s hard to beat a classic. If you’ve got some garlic oil hanging around, drizzle it around the edges and your house will smell like a real deal pizza shop.
Pop it into the oven for about 20 mins or until it’s nicely golden. Eat, enjoy, sigh and forget that tomorrow is only Tuesday.
And in my house, every good pizza needs a good salad. Give this one a go.
Cook yourself up about a handful of red quinoa. One day I will actually measure how much quinoa and how much water I put in, but sorry, today was not that day. Once it is beautifully cooked (I know you can do it), let it cool. Grab a salad bowl and put in a generous teaspoon of honey, a splash of olive oil and a swig of red wine vinegar (technical measures I know, but it’s hard to go wrong here). Oops! Don’t forget a pinch of salt. Give it a whisk! Pop in your cooled quinoa and let it soak up that dressing goodness. Tear up a few leaves of lettuce (I had cos on hand, but I think wild rocket would be awesome). Pop them in. Slice up half a bulb of fennel, and one small apple. Pop them in too, along with a handful of toasted walnuts. If you’ve got some good goat’s fetta in your fridge, then crumble in a little bit of that too. Salads in my mind are supposed to be freeform, substitution is totally allowed. Give it a toss to dress it all up, and you’re good to go.
And if you have a bit of salami and some lettuce leftover, why not make yourself a cracking sandwich the following day. Just pop the salami on a tray in a 200 C oven for 5 – 10 mins until crispy and bubbling, then layer it on some good sourdough bread with mayo, tomato, avocado and a leaf or two of lettuce. Hey, this pizza even makes Tuesday lunchtime feel special. Thanks pizza.