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Alex's Food Adventures

Discussion in 'Small Talk' started by Doctor Oak, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    Today I made Pizza Pork Pie (the pie part comes from it being cooked in the pan rather than stone-baked or other traditional pizza cooking methods), and here are the results.

    The dough is made using strong bread flour, yeast with tepid water and extra virgin olive oil to mix. The sauce has a tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 sliced garlic cloves and a teaspoon of dried Oregano blitzed together in a blender and the toppings are 1 red onion, 6 Cumberland sausages and 4 rashers of smoked bacon. Mature cheddar and fruity Somerset Ploughman's cheddar combine for the two cheeses on top. Fennel seeds and smoked paprika combined in a mortar and pestle are also sprinkled on top for a slight tang to the taste of the meat.

    The amount of dough used was enough for more than 3 pizzas, so I've cooked two and stuck one in the freezer to keep for a bit. The other cooked one is leftovers for tomorrow (though I'd gladly share with you if I could :p).

    This is the first time I've tried making my own pizza, and I have to say I was very pleased with the results. The dough is soft and slightly chewy, but has a nice firm grip on the crust. Here, the dough rose -quite- a lot during cooking, so the dough not being too dry was very beneficial. Would love to try again with other toppings - and would love to hear of any recommendations you might have for my next attempt.

    Had I thought of posting this topic, I'd have taken a few more photos to show the process - so if people are interested in seeing what I try out next, I'll be glad to do so that time.
    #1 Doctor Oak, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  2. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    I'm personally not much of a chef/baker but I always appreciate reading topics like these. If you do more baking to this degree in the future then most definitely takes lots of pictures of the process/whatever you've made! Such would be fun to look through. :)

    Since I don't see mention of it in this thread, roughly how long did it take you to make these pizza pies from start to finish? This is the sort of baking I could take interest in if it's not too time consuming. ;)
  3. I quite like reading about Alex's adventures with food--this particular time looks a lot more enjoyable than when you ate that disgusting candy from Japan.

    My boyfriend kinda hinted that I need to learn to cook and it's something I also want to learn for myself, so I would definitely be interested if you kept this up.
    baratron likes this.
  4. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    It took about 20 minutes to mix and knead the dough and hour for it to prove (rise) afterwards. The toppings would most easily just be left-overs, but in my case, I cooked the sausages and bacon specifically for it (though the bacon was technically just the rest of the packet left over from lunch). I cooked those after splitting out the dough into the 3 pans I was using and leaving it for another while to prove in those.

    The pizza sauce was the quickest and easiest to make as it just involved chucking it in the blender, and I made the paprika/fennel spice topping while the dough was proving the first time around. Once everything was cut up and dropped on top of the pizzas, they were cooked in the oven at 190 Celsius for about 25 minutes (though one of them was put into the freezer at this point).

    So, in all, it took a few hours - though you do have that full hour break, plus another 20 minutes while the dough is just proving, and of course, once they're in the oven, that's another 20-30 minutes you're just leaving it - so if you're just throwing on toppings and not cooking anything, you'd probably only really be spending about half an hour actually doing the work for it. It's a pretty good return for effort so long as you've got the time in the day for it to do its thing. Especially considering you can easily get 3 or 4 pizzas out of it.

    The subject of my next food adventure:

    #4 Doctor Oak, Sep 8, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
    AbbieEeveelutions likes this.
  5. Magpie

    Magpie Feathered Overseer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Looks very nommy, Alex! I'll look forward to seeing more of these, especially if you make some nice chocolaty desserts :D
  6. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Alex: that looks like one hell of an awesome pizza. I may have to keep that recipe in mind XD
  7. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    Thanks for the comments guys. Got something Food Adventuresy brewing for the future - and those Jaffa cakes are still on the way - but for now, here's tonight's dinner - with a full step-by-step:

    This is a stress-free way of throwing together a quick, varied meal that's pretty healthy. It doesn't take a lot more than the hour it requires in the oven to cook, and you can pretty much leave it to it when it's in there.

    Basic equipment is simples, you'll just need the tray to cook it in, some chopping boards and some knives and, ideally, a salad spinner for the lettuce.

    Ingredients-wise, there's not much to this at all. For the tray bake, you'll need two peppers, one red onion, two or three cloves of garlic, two tomatoes, a handful of fresh basil and chicken. I've used chicken breasts here, but you can use any cut. In the back, you'll see the Smoked Paprika (where the smokyness comes from), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper.

    The salad can be whatever leaves you like best, but here we've got two baby gem lettuce heads, another tomato, a single red chilli and a lemon. You'll also need a bit of olive oil again too.

    Step 1:

    Take the onion, remove the very tip of the root - but leave it in-tact otherwise - then half and peel. Cut the two halfs into chunks of about the size shown here, and because the root's been kept on, they'll stay together before and after cooking.

    Step 2:

    Quarter the two tomatoes.

    Step 3:

    Deseed and roughly chop up the two peppers. It's worth getting different colours just for the visual variety, but it has little to no impact on the taste if you can only get red.

    Step 4:

    Chuck everything together into the tray, along with the garlic. Keep the skin on the garlic cloves, just crush them a little with the flat of your knife or the heel of your hand.

    Step 5:

    Prepare the chicken. If you're using a thin cut, like deboned thigh, then just chuck it straight in. If you're using breasts like me, then butterfly it so it cooks evenly. Throw the chicken in the tray on top of the veg.

    Step 6:

    You can pretty much put in whatever seasoning you like here, but the smoked paprika, salt and pepper are something you want to throw in generously. Make sure there's plenty of smoked paprika to coat all the chicken and the veg. I've also thrown in a teaspoon each of dried oregano, flat leaf parsley and chilli flakes. Two tablespoons each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar go in as well.

    Step 7:

    Chop the basil roughly. You may wish to drizzle a bit of oil over it before putting it in the tray.

    Step 8:

    Mix everything thoroughly and get everything covered in that paprika marinade. Ensure that the chicken is on top of all the veg at the end.

    Step 9:
    In to the oven for an hour - take it out every 15 minutes or so and baste it in the juices.

    Step 10:

    While the chicken's in the oven, we'll prepare the salad. Don't worry about washing the lettuce here, just shred up the baby gem by cutting it horizontally through to the base, then put it into your salad spinner and wash it now it's been cut up. Make sure you use the salad spinner to dry off the lettuce as much as possible.

    Step 11:
    Cut the tomato up into 8ths and throw it into the salad spinner on top of your washed lettuce, then prepare your chilli:


    You need to deseed your chilli, or it'll be too overpowering. A chilli's heat doesn't just come from its seeds, though, so also make sure you get rid of all the white membrane inside. It's full of the capsaicin that makes it hot, so trim it off - or just scrape it off with your knife. Once thoroughly deseeded, finely chop and drop in your salad spinner too.

    Step 12:
    Grate your lemon in on top of your salad to get all that zest in there. Cover up your salad and put it in the fridge while you wait for the chicken to cook. When you're ready to serve it up, just mix it up in the salad spinner.

    Step 13:

    Make the dressing with the juice of the lemon, 6 tablespoons (about 100ml) of extra virgin olive oil and combine with some salt and pepper.


    Step 14:
    Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, prepare the salad and remove the tray from the oven. Serve up however you like, but what I've done here is kept the salad in a salad bowl, and split the chicken into two bowls. If you want to split this between 4 people instead of two, just double the amount of chicken, tomatoes and onions in the tray - the rest can be left as is.

    AbbieEeveelutions likes this.

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