Saturday, September 01, 2007

Springing Into Action

Mushroom and Gorgonzola Pizza

It’s official, spring has begun! And today felt exactly what you imagine a perfect spring day should be. The morning started off with a little rain, but then made way for the sun to peer through the clouds and dissipate all the dreariness.

Even though the weather had already bade winter farewell a whole week ago by offering Sydneysiders a premature glimpse of what was to come with unusually temperate conditions, the weekend was the ideal time to soak it up. According to the weather bureau our temperatures have been about 10° above average the past couple of weeks, which apparently is unprecedented. I don’t know if global warming has anything to do with it, but these abnormal weather conditions do have slight advantages, even when they are a little short-sighted.

How, you might ask, did we spend such a genial spring day?

Mushroom and Anchovy Pizza

Well firstly we made a trek to the Prymont Grower’s Market, which occurs on the first Saturday of every month in Sydney. It’s a real crowd puller and pleaser, and even though I had my camera at the ready to take photos, the rain dampened my eagerness to whip out the lens and take some shots. Much of the trading did stop for a few minutes with many punters ducking for cover under one of the many umbrellas in the park grounds. But this didn’t stop us for every long.

I know this because after about 45 minutes of shopping, my mother and I had pretty much no cash left in our wallets, we knew we had spent up, big. Most of the wares were for a hamper we were making for my dad, for tomorrow- Father’s Day- manly foodie presents, like venison sausages, lamb patties and mountain muesli. We also indulged our sweet tooth with a selection of goodies from Manna From Heaven, a must-stop at these markets.

Mushroom and Gorgonzola Pizza

I also ended up going home with a 15kg bucket of honey from my friends at the Harden Honey (also known as Australian Honey Cellars) stand- a generous gift in exchange for taking some photographs for their website. Now, this proved to be a quite an aerobic exercise lugging all our stuff, including the 15kg bucket of honey back to car. What would have typically been a pleasant 5 minute stroll became an arduous hike of Tour de France proportions. But we made it back and I must say a big thank you to De and Kye, for organising the honey.

I usually stop by and gawk at the beautiful cheeses at the Formagi Ocello stall but I never like to endure the long wait to actually buy, because it’s a brutal wait, especially if you aren’t tenacious enough to assert your place in the “queue”. But after finally getting to buy some Gorgonzola last visit, I decided to buy some more Gorgonzola- this time the dolce, and also a 450g block of Taleggio- can’t wait to get stuck into that.

Gorgonzola- Piccante and Dolce
Gorgonzola Piccante (left) and Dolce (right)
The piccante is harder and has a stronger flavour while the dolce is sweeter and is soft inside.

I only bought a small sliver of Gorgonzola as I had some left over from last time and I wanted to have enough cash left to buy a bigger chunk of Taleggio, something I’ve only had once before. Who knew cheese could be expensive? That said, you probably already know what we ended up making with the gorgonzola and the leftover vegetables in our fridge- pizzas for lunch!

Nothing beats homemade pizza on a warm, sunny afternoon. After we had worked up such an appetite hauling our wares, it was only high time to enjoy ourselves a little bit of carb-filled action. The pizzas mostly came from a little bit of improvised luck and the ingredients were what we already had on hand, so the pizzas are quite rustic and unadorned. But I don’t like my pizzas hampered down with too many flavours anyway, so it was wonderful.

Mushrooms- Shitake, Oyster, Porcini

I don’t exactly have a recipe for the pizza dough as my method this time was, well, let’s just say it wasn't scientific. It was basically a mixture of “00” flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar and olive oil, and it was more fortuity that made it work than anything else. So here are some examples of pizza dough recipes that I think would be great to try out:

Basic Pizza Dough from The Silver Spoon
Heidi’s Best Pizza Dough Ever
Pizza Margherita from cuisine.com.au

We made two different pizzas, both with mushrooms, as we had a surfeit in the pantry- one was a mixed mushroom- (oyster, shitake, porcini), tomato and gorgonzola pizza (pictured first) and the other was a mixed mushroom, anchovy, garlic and parmesan (pictured below).

Mushroom and Anchovy Pizza

It’s recommended that you buy a pizza stone to bake your pizzas on in the oven. They make the under crusts of your pizzas crusty instead of soggy which makes them taste a feel a lot closer to the kind of pizza you would get from a restaurant that is typically wood-fired. And the great thing is that they only cost about $20. Well worth it for a perfect crust on your pizza.

29 comments:

Belle said...

Gee, that was a fast post! I got to the bus stop today just as the 443 was pulling away. Then it started raining so I didn't bother going to the markets. Regret it now that I'll have to wait till next month! Nice pizzas by the way.

Descardo said...

Jen Jen,

Glad you got the honey at long last and I really hope that you enjoy it.

As for that Pizza how did you know that is just what I am in the mood for... Just wish I knew how to use any of the wonderful assortment of mushrooms that are on the green-grocers shelves today.

nicisme said...

How beautiful is this? Your photos are truly mouthwatering!
And you lucky thing to be having the first day of spring - here, there is a nip in the air after an awful summer!

Mallow said...

Your improvised crust looks pretty amazing. I've been thinking I might need to break down and buy a pizza stone - the crust is the whole reason for eating pizza!

Windy said...

Mmm... homemake pizza! I had pizza a few days ago by using the ready made base and added some own toppings. I must say that it wasn't that nice and was thinking I had to make my own base one day... thanks for the links.

Amy said...

I love my pizza stone. That gorgonzola is making my mouth water.

Anonymous said...

Good for you that spring is there. Here in Sweden autumn has really begunne. So.... do you have a small box or something in your house that I can live in? We have had two days of autumn but I can't take it any more. So please, save me from this weather.

VeggieGirl said...

as Springtime begins for you, Fall/Autumn is beginning for me (in the States) - these pizzas look incredible, topped with fresh vegetables!

June said...

You've been tagged! Please see my blog for details! http://thymeforfood.blogspot.com/2007/09/ive-been-tagged.html

daphne said...

oh wow. that looks great! the crust looks amazing and so does the cheese!

Goldie said...

Mmm gorgonzola. I always think of wallace and grommit! I also have that silver spoon cookbook so will have to look up the pizza dough recipe. Looked yum

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, absolutely fabulous! This pizza must taste like heaven! A great combination of toppings...

R khooks said...

Man, I'm so jealous that your spring is just starting. Our summer is just finishing and it wasn't even a proper summer aswell. The cheese looks delicious making me so hungry I'm going to go to the fridge and get myself a slice of cheese. Mmmmmmmm yum yum.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I just cannot resist pizza, Jenjen - these would make me forget my manners and eat a lot! :)

Truffle said...

Oh how delicious! Your pizzas look stunning.

Brilynn said...

How I looove homemade pizza! Always so much better than storebought, you can put whatever you want on it and your choices look great!

Sylvia said...

This is my first visit onto your blog and I truly love your entries, recipes and photos. I m linking your blog in mine,this way I always come back

Lisa said...

Sydney's weather last week was just glorious! Shame about the rain and cold back this week though! The pizzas look fantastic, I have been thinking about making my own pizza bases for a while now. Where would one start looking for a pizza stone in Sydney? :)

Blue Zebra said...

Gorgeous pizza and write up Jen! The cheese looks so heavenly. I've not had Dolce before but I can see is must be added to my list!!! :D

Hillary said...

Great-looking pizza and fresh from the farmer's market! Wow. I can't believe it's spring there when fall is upon me here.

Madeleine said...

Hi Jenjen!!

Check mi blog Madeleine Cocina, please!!

I nominated you for the Award: Premio Blog Solidario. It's an award for the blogs that help each other. And you blog inspired me, to make mi own blog.

Regards!!!!

Maki said...

Hi! I'm delurking. I've been enjoying your blog for a while but have not commented yet. Your pictures and recipes always look great :)

Also, I'm not sure if you're into meme's or not but if you are, then I have tagged you!

aria said...

ooooh pizza looks delicious and the weather sounds lovely!!

Marie said...

I have pizza on my dinner list this week too! It looks delicious!!

Anonymous said...

Jen Jen, i love everything about this site, the foods, the photos.. awesome!
Your photos are superb.. care to share what camera you are using? I'm looking for a good one now, just don't know what to get.. looking at your photos.. i know i should get whatever camera you are using now!

-zetty-

Village Vegan said...

Gorgeous! But I wish it were spring here...it's turning into autumn :-(

Kevin said...

Another great looking mushroom and gorgonzola recipe. I did not know that there were two kinds of gorgonzola. I guess I have always been getting the hard kind. I will have to try the soft kind.

Anonymous said...

JenJen I love pizza and I looove it even more with anchovies on it. You kept your recipe simple but wisely included the main ingredient for pizza - anchovies... It shows you are a true pizza connoisseur.

ChovyChap 2008

joanh said...

yum!!!!!!!!!!! looks delicously awesome. didn't know a pizza stone would a big difference, but then again, i've yet to make a pizza by scratch.