A thousand apologies for my prolonged absence from Polka Dot Kitchen! Life has rudely barged in the way of blogging and I’ve really missed it. In the last month a lot has happened…I took voluntary redundancy from my job of two years after finding out the company was merging and there would be job duplications. I applied for a LOT of jobs, went on a few interviews and started to get TENSE when my last day at work was approaching and thoughts of unemployment, JobSeekers Allowance and cancelled Florida holidays (GOD FORBID) were looming. In my last week at my job, I went on two interviews. One was absolutely amazing and I was hoping and praying they’d offer me the job, I wanted it SO MUCH!
I then secured a ‘chat with the CEO’ the following week; brilliant, but no guarantee of a job! The second interview that week was before this ‘chat with the CEO’ of the job I really wanted. The interview was great but I just didn’t think the job was for me. Obviously, they then phoned me an hour after the interview and offered me the job. Dilemma! I politely asked the very pushy recruiter if I could let them know Friday. What followed was an extremely tense 48 hours in which I ran through all possible scenarios with Ben and went to sleep the morning of the ‘chat’ convinced I would not get the job and had also ruined my chances of getting the other one.
LONG story short, I was offered the job I really wanted. YES!!!!! Me and Ben then skipped off to Disneyland Paris for a very very very well deserved weekend away and I returned on Bank Holiday Monday pretty much on top of the world. I’ve been working at my new job nearly a month now and I’m feeling very happy, settled in and ready to get back to blogging. Obviously I’ve been eating a lot during this stressful time (mainly carbs…) so I have lots of backed-up posts to get through!
So. Lets start with my favourite food in the world – pizza! But, not just any pizza. Proper job, home-made, from scratch pizza. Yeahhh! Homemade pizza dough has fast become mine and Ben’s newest obsession. Nicer than any shop-bought pizza we’ve ever had, home-made is super quick to make and I keep finding myself knocking up fresh pizza dough when I get in from work during the week. Say goodbye to Lazy Boy Pizzas, we’re never going back!
The recipe I use is a very simple one found on Jamie Oliver’s forum, thanks to a Google search for ‘easy pizza dough fast action yeast’ or something along those lines. It serves 8 to 10 people but although we like pizza a lot, we halve the measurements due to the pressing need to stop gaining weight.
The first time we made them we were seriously amazed with how quick the dough was. Chuck in the flour, yeast, water, salt and sugar and mix it all up and that was it! DOUGH! Next time we’re going to get a bit adventurous and maybe add some flavourings into the mix, I’m thinking a cheesey, garlicky pairing would be a winner. Next was a generous spread of tomato paste, followed by some serious topping assemblage. I was recreating the magical Padana as it had been at least 4 days since I’d had my last hit. Caramelised onions, wilted baby leaf spinach and goats cheese. Always a winning combination, if a little time-consuming with the onions.
After a lengthy caramalisation sesh, I added the onions and spinach to my pizza base, followed by an overly generous sprinkle/slather of the goats cheese. Tada!
Ben naturally opted for a spicy, veggie meat based affair. He used the classic Linda McCartney veggie sausages, chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes and jalapeno peppers, as well as some of my very generously donated onions.
This is his pre-oven pizza! Proper crust!
25 agonising moments then passed, spent mainly staring through the oven door watching cheese bubble. Finally, they were ready and we proudly retrieved our pizzas from the steaming oven, ready to slice ’em up.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to put the entire pizza on my plate. I was very restrained though, and only put half on. As it was, all the excitement got a bit too much for me and in fact I was only able to eat a measly 4 slices. Call myself a pizza fan!
Ben was equally thrilled with his resplendant, golden circle of goodness.
It was too spicy for me but he absolutely loved it. My pizza was gorgeous too; sweet, sticky onions, fragrant tomato and sharp, piquant goats cheese. If you have never sampled a Padana-inspired pizza, I suggest you get on board immediately. You won’t regret it.
So once again, apologies for the brief disappearance and I hope you enjoyed my unemployment to employment sob story and the photos of these pizzas. More exciting food to come. Mainly carbohydrates though, this will never be a salad blog!