We’ve been in this temporary apartment for a week, and whilst it’s great in many ways (loads of space, washing machine, pool, central location, maid service), it’s not home. Not our home at least. And the kitchen is pretty basic which severely limits the proper meals we can have, which for a family of eaters is really tough going. I didn’t appreciate how much I enjoy creating delicious things to enjoy with my small army of foodies until I found myself pretty much unable to. Of course producing a thrown together supper after a hideous day at work to the tune of two bickering children can be a complete chore, and it’s on those kind of nights when fast food always wins. Please, at this point, don’t think I’m about to start preaching about child nutrition and wellbeing, no no. On those nights I find a pack of fish fingers (cooked) and whacked between a couple of pieces of mayonaisse-y bread works wonders. Anyone who questions the nutritional value of white fish (protein), mayo (fats), bread (carb and fibre if you’re going all out with wholegrain) and a couple of slices of tomato for garnish (so fancy, I know) needs to try and rustle up something they consider a-ok whilst two battling, whinging, snotty kids hang off their legs screaming for dinner NOW. Although I would probably enjoy watching that whilst glugging wine and zoning out the noise. However, it’s on those nights that I really do enjoy the calm that comes with putting some music on, pouring some wine, closing the kitchen door and cooking something for my husband and I. It’s like a reward for having made it through another day as an adult and a parent.
One of my favourite recipes for quick(ish) grown up comfort food is pizza. There’s nothing overly fussy about it, you can jazz it up with almost anything you have lying at the back of the fridge, and it goes great with any sort of alcohol. It’s pretty quick and super simple to make from scratch, doesn’t require much washing up afterwards and did I mention already that it goes great with any sort of alcohol? So anyway, in case drunk pizza is your kind of home cooking, here’s the recipe…
370g plain flour (or wholemeal)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar (ideally caster but granulated will do, yeast isn’t fussy)
7g pack of yeast (one of the sachets of ready to use dried yeast)
225ml warm water (not hot! don’t kill the yeast with hot water, but don’t put it to sleep with cold)
Basically, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn your oven on hot to preheat then bung all the ingredients in a bowl. Get your (clean) hands in there and work into a stretchy dough (think Italian, channel your inner pizza maestro, don your whites and work it like you’re auditioning for a role in a remake of Mystic Pizza). Then (apologies in advance for this messier part, but if mess is something you care about then pour yourself another glass of wine now), flour a flat surface and roll/stretch/force the dough into an acceptable pizza shape. The less round the more authentic and rustic looking it is, remember that. Time for a wine top-up before dipping into the fridge to find some sort of random combination of toppings. For the sauce I usually mix together olive oil, tomato puree, a dollop of pesto (any colour, it’s Italian so just works), salt and pepper, and crushed garlic. Whack everything on your dough masterpiece, cover with a generous amount of cheese and bake for about 20 mins. Job done when your dough bowl is having a pre-wash soak, you’ve hoovered up your excess flour and your pizza is giving off surprisingly tasty smells. Plus you’re half way to being sloshed.