Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nice Pizza

This Saturday we invited Xavier, a post doc in the lab I work in at Cambridge, over for pizza and a movie. I proposed that we would make the pizza if he would bring a movie. Not just any movie, mind you, but Brice de Nice, an insanely funny French movie starring Jean Dujardin, about a meglomaniacal 'surfer dude' who spends his idle life waiting for his Big Wave. [For those of you who don't know Nice, there's a snowflake's chance in hell of finding a wave, big or small, on the beach in Nice!]. The idea was not entirely my own - Xavier knew that I wanted to see the movie (he'd just recently bought the DVD) and thought it would be fun to watch it together sooooo....

Panic - it'd been a long time since I'd made pizza! Quick! I needed a recipe for dough and for sauce! I flicked through my bread machine book and decided to do the simplest thing. In fact, we decided to make the dough the night before and the sauce on the day. That's what we did. We ended up making two batches of dough because I made a mistake and made one with full whole meal flour (instead of 'wholesome' wheat flour!) and I was not too sure how well that would turn out. Steve was good enough to get up in the wee hours of the morning and make some white dough.

The sauce was a simple one of tomato passata (tomato sauce, U.S.), oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and chopped onion, simmered gently for about 1.5 hours and then left to cool. I prepared and assembled the ingredients for the toppings. We decided on three - goat's cheese and sliced red onion, chorizo and mozzerella and feta cheese and black olives. This is our 'trinity' of comfort pizzas; the ones we know and like the best.

By the time Xavier arrived everything was ready - dough, toppings and ice-cold Leffe and Carlsberg Export beer. Xavier offered to help assemble the pies so, with all hands on deck we stood around the kitchen, talking about food, drinking beer and making pizza. Steve whipped up a nice salad dressing and I washed some leaves (and threw in some baby leaves that I've been growing in a huge styrofoam tray out in the back garden). Minutes after that, the cooked pizzas were cut and ferried out to the dining table.

Everything was good, although I thought the crusts were a little too hard for my liking. I made a mental note to try another pizza dough recipe next time. [As it turns out, I got to try a new recipe just two days later when our friend Chiara from Naples came over for pizza chez Faggs!] Steve chose a nice Chianti from our favourite 'cellar' (the Cooperative Supermarket!) which went down very well indeed.

Part 2 of the evening was the showing of Brice de Nice. Thankfully, the film was sub-titled so Steve and I were able to understand all but the most subtle jokes. Neither Steve nor I can remember laughing so hard in a long time. Really good film.

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