Food portions on Christmas Day were pretty good this year and I didn’t actually have any cooked leftovers apart from a couple of small, crusty bread rolls. What I did have left over, rather, were excess raw ingredients that I had purchased thinking I needed to prepare larger portions of food. So these bits and pieces became a pizza dinner on Boxing Day; pizza being a great way to use up miscellaneous foods.
Having purchased a pizza stone for cheap earlier in the year, I now no longer use store-bought pizza bases or flatbreads as base substitutes. It is a slightly more time-consuming process having to roll out the dough, but it is definitely not laborious, especially when I have a dough hook attachment on my stand mixer to do the ‘kneading’ for me.
The bread rolls were made into garlic bread by cutting them into segments, but not quite all the way through to the base. Then it was just a matter of wodging in thin slices of butter (real butter here, please) and crushed garlic mixed with some dried herbs and black pepper in between the sections of bread. Wrapped up in foil, I threw them in the bottom of the oven whilst one of the pizzas was being blasted above.
Pizza toppings and the amount of cheese used are entirely open to choice. I use whatever grated cheese I happen to have at the time and my ‘pizza sauce’ is equal parts tomato paste and tomato passata seasoned with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs. On Boxing Day, I had a potato to hand so that became a potato and mixed herb pizza – this one doesn’t require pizza sauce, but merely a thin brushing of olive oil which makes for a crisper base. Some cherry tomatoes which didn’t make it into one of the Christmas Day salads were paired with frozen corn and leftover Christmas ham on another. Mistress joined us again for dinner and kindly brought over a tub of tabouleh, albeit proffered from a friend’s barbecue earlier in the day!
I threw a few prawns tossed with chopped chilli and some haloumi I had kicking about in the fridge on a third pizza, whilst the final one was a half-half of excess toppings from the other pizzas. There is, of course, no reason why you can’t make four pizzas all topped with the same ingredients but, for me, variety really is the spice of life.
Pizza Dough (makes 4 medium-sized bases)
(adapted from Taste.com.au)
- 185mL warm water
- 7g sachet dried yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ - 2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tbs oil
- Mix water, yeast, sugar and salt together in a small cup with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to bubble for 5 minutes. (Don’t turn your back on the yeast for too long or you may end up with an overflowing volcano of bubbling yeast! If it doesn’t bubble at all then you’ll need to try again with another sachet of yeast.)
- Sift 1½ cups of flour into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast mixture and oil. Mix the dough by hand or dough hook attachment until it comes together in a soft ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead by hand, or using the dough hook on a stand mixer, until elastic, adding more flour if the dough feels too sticky.
- Divide the dough into four balls and roll each out on a floured surface to desired thickness. Prick all over with a fork before adding pizza toppings. Bake for around 5-7 minutes at the hottest setting on your oven (around 270°C on mine) until toppings are cooked and cheese, if using, is bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for a couple of minutes before slicing to serve.