Friday, January 25, 2008

In The Closet, And A Really Good Pizza Dough Recipe

Pizza on the menu

I'm still a little embarrassed about the little spiel I did earlier about my recent nomination. I sort of stayed away from the blog for little while for fear that my readers had turned on me and thought I had become some sort of sell-out. I don't know why I feel like that but I'm still a little awkward about getting recognition for the blog, it's nice when other bloggers say nice things about me, but when all the appreciation suddenly becomes official, I somehow get all gawky and reluctant.

I guess I'm not sure what the appropriate reaction is, I guess gratitude and excitement would seem apparent, although I'm not sure whether I should be all glaringly blatant about it and in the spirit of blogging- share all things with you the reader or whether I should be all rock and roll about the whole thing, just cool and aloof- no skin off my back whether I win or lose.

Sausage and Bocconcini Pizza

At some points I manage to border on being apathetic about the whole thing but my inner dork just wants to be all giddy like a school girl about it. There's no fighting that geek inside, so I just can't help but be all Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars about the whole thing. I'm sorry.

But the weird thing is I'm still a little reluctant about the blog. Yes, this blog; the blog that I have been writing on for the past year and half; the blog that I have been disclosing what I eat, what I do, what I hate, what I like. Yes that blog. Bizarre I know but surprisingly some of my friends don't even know I have a blog and my own mother only found out accidentally. It's not that I'm ashamed of the blog. Quite the contrary in fact, especially when I didn't even really know what a blog was before I started.

Raw Pizza - Cooked Pizza

Let's just say that I'm a little self-conscious about my thoughts being there for everyone to read. Laughable you might say because contradictorily I am writing about my thoughts on a blog for everyone to read, but I am somehow comfortable in the fact that most of you don't really know me other than through the blog. It's not that this blog is my opportunity to peddle a fake version of myself, but I am uncomfortable about people I know reading my writing. Weird but true.

I've never admitted to it until now but I have a real problem about people I know reading and criticising my writing, I don't mind them seeing the photographs, but it's the words that I have a complex about. It mortifies me for a second when I know that one of my friends have discovered my secret hobby. It's probably equivalent to being caught naked in a public street. I don't know why but I'm still in the closet when it comes to blogging.

Sausage and Bocconcini Pizza

But what I don't have any qualms with shouting from the roof tops about is pizza. I could literally have pizza as my last meal on Earth, provided that it's good pizza and not that doughy, processed meat topped garbage that some establishment to try peddle as "pizza". Yes you know who you are.

There's as many recipes for pizza dough as there are combinations of pizza toppings, so I don't like to say that this recipe is the be all and end all of all pizza dough recipes. Although this recipe is from the cookbook The Silver Spoon, touted as the bible for Italian cuisine. So I wouldn't dare question or even dare critique over 55 years of culinary history. All I know is that this dough is simple and it turns out a treat.

Making a Pizza

I don't usually like to do recipes for pizza except for the dough itself. I think you should be able to put whatever you fancy on it. Hey, you rolled out that dough, you waited around for a couple or so hours for that dough to prove, you kneaded that thing until you developed really toned forearms, you deserve to pick your own pizza toppings.

And with pizza, I think the only rules that apply are- the dough shouldn't be too thick and secondly don't overload your pizza with too many toppings. Don't be tempted to put every left-over you find lurking in the fridge on your pizza, it's not a garbage disposal, so don't over-top. But other than that just go for what floats your boat.

I went with a sausage and bocconcini pizza- it was good.

Eumundi Smokehouse Beef, Spinach and Tomato Sausages
Crushed tomatoes
Basil leaves

This pizza can also be seen in the round up for HHDD #17 hosted by 80 Breakfasts. Have a look at the other bevy of pizza recipes and vote for your favourite one.

Basic Pizza Dough
recipe adapted from The Silver Spoon
Serves 4

Pizza Dough

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: pizza stone or better yet a wood-fire oven

250g plain flour, preferably Italian type 00, plus extra for dusting
¾ tsp salt

15g fresh yeast

120ml lukewarm water

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

Sift the flour and salt into a mound on a work surface and make a well in the centre.

Mash the yeast in the water with a fork until very smooth, add the olive oil and pour mixture into the well.
Incorporate the flour with your fingers to make a soft dough.
Knead well, pulling and stretching until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Shape into a ball, cut a cross in the top, place in a bowl and cover.

Leave to rise in a warm place for about 3 hours until almost doubled in size.

Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 5mm thick.

Brush a baking sheet with oil or line it with baking parchment.
Put the dough on it and press out until it covers the area.

Make sure the rim is thicker than the centre.


Nic said...

Must get myself one of those stones; those pizzas look so delicious! Congratulations on your nomination.

Pete said...

Jen, just to let you know.

Your writing is awesome. I love your blog is not just because it has awesome photos and recipes, but because it is written so well. Your writing is an absolute PLEASURE to read, unpretentious, down to earth and makes me smile every day.

If only my boss knew how much productivity you destroy :P

L Vanel said...

Dear Jenjen, I can totally relate to your feelings. It's a personal form of public self-expression, blogging. When a community applauds you, it can be wonderful and exhilarating, but also strange. Like someone turned on a set of flood lights and you aren't alone in your lab anymore. You can lose that focus and equilibrium. But don't worry, you'll find your balance again. It's nice to read your genuine thoughts. Its also really nice to see that it makes you happy. Nice pizza too.

Katy said...

I love, adore, worship pizza. I made a homemade crust a while ago off of and it was a big failure. It tasted ok straight out of the oven, but then hardened really fast. Yours looks great though -- perhaps I'll try it next!

food makes me happy said...

I absolutely love those before and after pictures!

hungryandfrozen said...

It's like you read my mind. Half my best friends don't know I have a blog; the only reason my flatmates do is because they wanted to know why I was taking photos of my dinner...

Your pizza photos are gorgeous - my favourite topping is margherita but I can definitely see how sausage would be a welcome addition :)

Back in the USA said...

Nice blog. I found it looking for cookie recipes. Since I looovvvee cooking (it's my Italian blood!!!) I think I'll visit you often

Cheryl said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous little pizzas. I kinda have the same phobia about my blog. I worry I am telling the world too much about myself. My parents have no clue I have a blog either.

Anonymous said...

Mmm I love homemade pizza! Thanks for the great dough recipe!

Anonymous said...

Just got a pizza stone for xmas, haven't tried it out yet.

Homemade pizza is the only way to go, stone or not!!! Yours looks delish.

Anonymous said...

I too hate knowing when people I know read my blog. It is a bit like being caught with your undies round your knees.
But truth be told, you have a wonderful blog... photos and your writing. That's why we subscribe and come back time and time again.

Bravo my lady. Congratulations!

M said...

adding one boiled and mashed potato (warm, not hot) to your dough adds a little something extra (makes it a light airy kind of dough). You don't need to add as much water then (ie: add mashed potato first THEN water as you need it).

Anonymous said...

Your writing (and your photos) are great! :) But I know how you feel...I also never really told anyone about my blog for a looong best friend found out by accident also!

Thanks for sharing your pizza dough recipe...and your toppings here look delish! Thanks for joining HHDD! :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i'm a closet blogger, too, for similar reasons (even my husband doesn't know!).

and that's a darn good lookin' pizza!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm totally creeped out by the thought of someone I know finding my blog. I love my anonymity too!

Pink of Perfection said...

love that plate!

Kez said...

Unfortunately in the early days of having a blog I combined it with a business one, and with the longevity of google links, if anyone searches on my full name they find my personal blog. Very disconcerting to have people say "Oh I read your blog the other day"... Umm, ooops, what have I been saying?! lol

miche said...

wow your pizza is fantastic...have you used an Italian flour? i'm an Italian girl that often reads your blog...compliments

Barbara said...

Long time no see Jenjen. Glad to have you with us for HHDD pizza. Congrats on the nomination, and love the pizza..

OohLookBel said...

Hi Jen, I was just rereading your post and suddenly I could relate. I am also reluctant to 'advertise' my blog identity. Maybe I'm the shy and retiring type, really! Doesn't matter as long as people appreciate your work (and don't criticise too much).

Ashley Bilodeau said...


i like your blog alot.
the layout and way you choose to express yourself is pro! Keep it up!