Friday, January 13, 2012

Joie de Vivre and a Really Good Pizza

Sometimes, when I realize that I have a 12-year-old daughter (oh my goodness, she's almost a TEEN!), I feel just a little ... 'mature'. Not old. I don't like the world old. But I can deal with 'mature'. To me it means that I no longer get worked up about the little things. Like making sure I have a face full of make-up on before I head to the post office or go walk the dog. And besides, I know that I'm as young as young can be because I still have the one thing that keeps everyone from aging. No, not anti-oxidants or expensive face creams (they don't work). I have an almost obsessive joie de vivre! If there's something to be enjoyed, I'm enjoying it, and if there isn't, I make sure there is!
This post, however, is not about my sometimes lavish dinners, love of good wine or appreciation of fine music. It's about something else that always manages to bring a smile to my face and makes me feel young at heart- pizza! Trust me, there's plenty to be enjoyed when it comes to pizza, and it always feels like 'kid food'! Especially a delicious, thin-crust, homemade pizza topped with yummy ingredients. 
Every year when we celebrate Kirstie's birthday, I ask her what she wants to do for her party. This year she wanted to have a make-up/pizza party. She asked if I would help her and four of her girlfriends make pizzas and of course I agreed! 
I made the dough ahead of time so that the only thing we had to do when the girls were hungry was roll it out, top it with the sauce and the ingredients of choice and bake it. I made the sauce a few hours before and I arranged a variety of toppings in small bowls so that they could create their own special pizza. There was thinly-sliced chorizo, pepper strips, ham, pineapple chunks, olives and of course, cheese. All of the girls really enjoyed making their own pizza and there was no fuss about someone not liking a particular food. Who doesn't like pizza?!
I really hope that you try your hand at making your own pizza soon, and if you're so inclined to use my recipe, I promise you won't be disappointed. Here's to good pizza, feeling like a kid ... and to that age-defying joie de vivre!
Paola's Perfect Pizza
Makes two pizzas

375 g all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 envelope yeast, 7 g

2 tbsps olive oil
250 ml lukewarm water
For the sauce:
180g tomato puree
75 ml water
1 tbsp mild olive oil
2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rosemary-infused sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Mix the water and the olive oil in a measuring cup and add to the dry ingredients. Knead for approximately 8 minutes on a well-floured surface or in the bowl of your standing mixer using the hook attachment. Clean out your bowl, rinse it with hot water and grease it with a little bit of mild olive oil. Form the dough into a ball, put it in your bowl, cover with plastic and a tea cloth and allow to rest for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Punch down the dough, knead it again for about a minute and roll it out thinly. 
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Top the pizza with the sauce*, some cheese and your ingredients of choice. Bake for approximately ten minutes or until crust is crisp and browned and cheese is melted.

*Make your sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small pan and letting it cook gently for about 20 minutes. You can also top the pizza with your own favorite tomato sauce or a good-quality ready made sauce.


At Anna's kitchen table said...

....and long may your joy of life continue dear Paola!

Happy Birthday Kirsty!

Paola said...

Thank you Anna! Cheers! :)

Kelly @ Kell's Kitchen said...

What could be better for your 12th birthday than make-up and homemade pizza?!! Btw, I was thinking we could do a pizza-empanada swap ;-)

Paola said...

Yup, she chose well, didn't she Kelly? ;) I'll glad swap you for an empanada!! :)