I like to think I’m a non judgemental sort of person, fairly relaxed in my outlook on life, although ask my children and they may offer a differing opinion especially when it comes to the state of their bedrooms. The thing is, if there really is one thing that will start to raise the hairs on the back of my neck it’s that question ‘Would you like pineapple on your pizza’? Of course you would be absolutely right, at that moment I should make a stand and make my thoughts known with a loud ‘harumph’ and with as much hurumphing in a pair of flipflops as possible storm out of such an establishment, but I am too polite and just look away aghast.
Many of us raise our children to be polite individuals with impeccable manners etc, all of which are important, however we have raised our children always to look offended and reply with a firm ‘NO’ whenever faced with the pineapple question. Surely the most important parenting, no? I should point out that we do enjoy that 70’s tradition of cheese and pineapple on a stick and everyone will happily demolish a plateful in nanoseconds when brought to the table. Now, a couple of years ago we decided we needed a pizza oven. Everyone who knows Leo well would immediately imagine him staying up until the small hours researching the best designs, what sort of clay to use, where best to site it etc but on this occasion things were going to be different.
Lying in bed one night we saw an advert for an Ooni pizza oven, portable, affordable and next day delivery – hurrah. It was added to the basket in a flash and the next day we proudly assembled the oven. The look on Leo’s face was akin to gazing at our newborn children – he was immediately in love, but this Ooni would not turn into a teenager which we saw as an immediate win. I was in love also, my husband would not be knee deep in holes attempting to make a clay pizza oven with little more than a cement mixer and spade to hand.
The first few attempts didn’t provide the most pleasing results that we’d anticipated and almost resulted in the children being put off pizza for life. But, we persevered and have now cracked the perfect sourdough. It’s an excellent way to feed a hungry mob of teenagers, friends and generally people you like well enough to invite over to your house. We’re also hoping to take it camping next year and will report back if its a success.
Obviously pineapple doesn’t feature on our pizza toppings but some of our favourite combinations are:
- Beenleigh or Harbourne Blue with caramelised onion and rocket
- Asparagus, parma ham and rocket
- Wild mushroomand ricotta
- Fennel sausageand preserved chilli
A really easy and inexpensive pizza base topping consists of a good quality tinned tomato, drained and then blended with a little dried fennel seed. We always throw a handful of rocket on top when it’s come out of the oven. Should you wish to have a go yourself, here is our perfect sourdough pizza base recipe:
- 700g OO pizza flour
- 300g Strong white bread flour (we use Shipton Mill unbleached organic)
- 200g Starter
- 40g Salt
- 30g Brown sugar
Simply mix together, we use the dough hook on our KitchenAid mixer, divide into equal balls, cover and leave in the fridge. Bring out an hour before you want to make your pizzas and voila, you are ready. If you need any help, just ask!