Friday, 15 February 2008

using up the box part 3: spinach and goats cheese pizza

The only thing i can think that's better than making your own pizza is making your own pizza and sharing it with friends. My friend Dave and his flatmates had us over for dinner on Wednesday night. He was helping Kels out with some Mac stuff and i offered to cook us all dinner. We were also joined by Matt who added to the festivities with his wit and wine. Not only does Dave take great pictures but he's also adventurous in the kitchen -- a quality i much admire.

Kelsie brought over the essentials:
the spinach from the organic box
chorizo (for the meat eaters)
goats cheese

Dave kindly supplied the rest:
flour, milk, olive oil, salt, garlic, and a nice toasty radiator

On to the recipe:

For the dough: (if you can't read the post-it)
650g plain flour
2 tsp salt
50 ml warm milk
325 ml warm water
1 x 7g packet active dried yeast

For the topping:
1 bunch spinach
3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
olive oil

  1. First make the dough. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Combine the milk, water, olive oil and yeast in a jug and stir. Make sure the liquid is not too hot before you add the yeast or you might kill it. Alternatively, if it's too cold it won't activate the yeast. The way i make sure is for the 325 ml water i use 100ml boiling water and top up the rest with cold water.

  2. Add the liquid to the flour and work in with your fingers until it becomes a ball of dough. Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Oil a large bowl and put the dough in, turning once so that the dough has a coating of olive oil. Cover with a tea towel and keep in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

  3. Preheat your oven to 220C/fan200C/gas 5. If you have one, put your pizza stone in the oven to preheat too.

  4. While the dough is rising, prepare your toppings. For garlic oil, combine the chopped garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. In a frying pan heat some olive oil and add the sliced garlic. When it starts to colour add the washed spinach and a pinch of salt. Cook until just wilted.

  5. Once the dough has risen punch it down and separate into 4 pieces. Stretch each piece into a circular or rectangular shape. I find holding onto an edge and letting gravity do the rest of the work does a better job than a rolling pin. Just be careful not to let it get too thin!

  6. Place the pizza-shaped dough right on the stone or pizza pan. Brush the surface with the garlic oil. Distribute the cooked spinach and crumble the goats cheese all over.

  7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are brown, the topping is bubbling, the house smells like heaven, and your friends are gathering around the stove asking when it's going to be done.

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