family

Sizzle

sausage in bread

Duties, tariffs, taxes and rates – all designed to raise much-needed national revenue and yet there is shortfall. I wonder how long it will be, until the powers that be, turn their gaze to the sausage and realise its fiscal worth. Playgrounds have been constructed by them, libraries resourced by them and deserving individuals jetted around the world by them. If local communities can finance their projects by weekend sausage sizzles, imagine the budget surplus that could be achieved if our governing body was to adopt this approach …

A sausage in bread. Bread being white, sauce vivid red and meat so hot that it must be held at bay for a good ten minutes before the first bite. This is good Australian weekend fare and whether you are visiting a hardware store, voting in an election or attending a sporting event, you will be hard pressed not to find it. As the enticing aroma drifts on the breeze, man and beast appear – the former delving into their pocket for loose change and the latter gazing expectantly at the grill.

Apart from their utter delectability, they answer the prayers of a busy parent – that’s lunch / that’s dinner, so do have an extra one. The protein and carbohydrate have been covered, will just have to double up on the leafy vitamins and minerals tomorrow.

Not to be forgotten however, is the camaraderie developed between the gathering of strangers who come together, glove up and work shoulder to shoulder to serve these well browned offerings for the greater good.

Postscript: have a lovely weekend.

recipes

Crisp

The most delicious way to incorporate all food groups into one mouthful, is to take a bite of a crispy homemade pizza. Every thing from rocket to chorizo to feta can be enjoyed on a floury base with undertones of olive oil and fresh herbs. Not only a culinary treat, pizza night at home is a social family experience.

Most nights in our kitchen, meals are individually plated, family members are seated and consumption takes place – rapidly. Pizza night operates differently. Rather than consuming finite meals, a steady stream of food to be shared is delivered to the table, as the oven door opens and closes, receiving fresh ingredients only to dispense them minutes later all sizzling and golden.

In this fashion, dinner stretches across the evening with breaks in between while the recipients wait for the arrival of the next combination of ingredients to arrive  to be sliced and distributed. The cook, aka me, usually dines upright from the kitchen counter, selecting a slice of a passing pizza every so often.

Make your dough in the afternoon and then leave it to its own devices until you are ready to roll later in the day. In terms of your toppings, use creative licence.  Here a few tips to assist:

  1. The baking paper is the key to the ease of the process as it provides the perfect surface to roll the base out on, a sturdy carrier to lift the topped pizza onto the baking tray with and a nice ‘serving plate’ to lay on your chopping board for slicing.
  2. For your tomato sauce see this post.
  3. Add slices of feta or bononcini sparingly rather that large quantities of processed grated cheese – everyone will thank you for this.
  4. Our family favorite toppings include, red onion, baby spinach leaves, rocket,  marinated artichokes, feta, bononcini, olives, prosciutto, chorizo, basil,  and oregano.

5oog of plain flour (or bread/pizza flour if it’s available)
1 tspn salt
7g sachet dried yeast (or 11/2 teaspns)
1 tbspn olive oil
300ml warm water

Combine the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil in a warm bowl. Pour in the water and mix to a soft, sticky dough. Turn out onto a well-floured benchtop and knead for around 10 mins. Dough should be smooth and elastic. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle extra flour on your surface if the dough is sticking. Oil the mixing bowl and put the dough back in. Cover with a teatowel and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour. Dough will have risen and doubled in size. Give it a good punch to deflate it and then leave it for a further 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius and put your pizza trays in so they are heated as well.

Take the dough out and cut into four equal pieces. Tear off a large sheet of non-stick baking paper and roll the first piece of dough out as thinly as possible, stretching it as you roll. Spoon over your tomato sauce and then start building. Lift your pizza by the paper and place on the hot tray and bake in the oven for approximately 15-20 mins. Repeat with your remaining dough pieces,  I usually have two on the go at once to keep up with appetites.

Postscript: Lighthouse Bread & Pizza flour is my go to for dough production, not only because it performs well but largely because I am taken with the box.

recipes

Pomodoro

Characteristics of a good friend: reliable, flexible, of substance, mood elevating. Homemade tomato sauce is therefore an exceptional ally.

What’s more, it is extremely reassuring to know you have this chum in the freezer, as within a short space of defrosting time, you can be nursing a fresh bowl of pasta al pomodoro. My stash is often called upon on pizza night – sloshed over simple homemade bases with a selection of delicacies on top – divine. Equally good as a bed for the humble meatball, this sauce just keeps on giving.

All angst concerning overripe tomatoes threatening to be wasted is alleviated. These specimens make the most delectable sauce. With summer approaching you are bound to be confronted with garden surplus or irresistible market deals – make lots, freeze plenty and feel smug.

1/4 cup olive oil
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and black pepper
small bunch fresh oregano leaves, torn

Heat the oil in saucepan over a medium heat. Add the tomatoes and simmer until they become pulpy and the sauce begins to thicken. Add garlic, stir through and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir through oregano. Using a stick blender, puree to a consistency you are happy with. I like mine to contain plenty of tomato chunks. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.