Tag Archive for pizza

a new pizza oven

garlic oil, caramelised onion, cauliflower, olive tapenade and parsley pizza

I love pizza and I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a pizza oven for a few years. I’ve even had fantasies about building a wood fired one. Back in the real world where there is no way I am going to build up a wood fire over hours in order to cook a pizza, I decided that gas is more practical for instant gratification.

Still I wondered whether I should get even a gas one. On the one hand I am opposed to single use items unless they are seriously good and cheap (such as a rice cooker), on the other hand it is just difficult to cook a decent pizza in a conventional oven without preheating it for ages.  Even then, the pizzas can be a bit hit and miss. A conventional oven just isn’t hot enough. A pizza oven will heat the pizza stone with direct heat, cranking the temperature up to 500F in a short time.

After seeing some incredible pizzas come out of a friend’s oven, I finally succumbed a couple of weeks ago and bought a new outdoor gas fired pizza oven in a box at half price on Gumtree. I’m currently obsessed with it.

I’ve been turning out really sensational thin, crispy, artisan style pizza for which I would normally happily pay $14.  They cost about $1. I’ve also been making a lot of flatbreads too. I think I have recouped my investment already. I’ve been using it a lot!

The joy of a gas pizza oven is that it heats up in about 10 minutes. I’ve been making a batch of dough early in the week and putting it into containers ready for rolling out in an instant.

I’ve switched toast at breakfast for flatbread. I head out to the oven, turn it on, feed the animals, take a couple of minutes to admire the garden, roll the dough and slide it into the oven and in the time it takes to make coffee it is cooked.

I’m using the no knead bread dough which works perfectly.

Here are some creations from the last couple of weeks. A roasted capsicum paste, garlic oil, roasted pumpkin and vegan parmesan pizza, a garlic oil, fresh tomato and basil flatbread, a flatbread beautifully puffed up, a garlic oil, olive tapenade, roasted pumpkin, potato and rosemary pizza and a flatbread with avocado and fresh tomato. The photo at the top of the post is a pizza with garlic oil, olive tapenade, cauliflower, caramelised onions and fresh parsley.

lievita – pizza al taglio

pizza

Pizza by the slice is a common occurrence in the USA and Italy, but I haven’t seen it in more than a couple of places in Melbourne.

Lievita in Northcote offers pizza by the slice but takes it a step further than the USA by allowing you to choose how big or small you’d like the piece to be.  They use scissors to cut off the size you want and you pay by weight. It costs $35 per kilo, which translates to a very reasonable $10 for a piece roughly the size of a small pizza.

The joy is that you get to try small pieces, rather than just one whole pizza. For a single food committment phobe like me it is the equivalent of pizza degustation. There is no problem choosing which pizza to buy, you can have it all.  It also has the advantage you can buy as much as you need, rather than a set size.

I chose the Marinara – Roman style with tomato, garlic, chilli and parsley and also a slice with cooked onions, olives and oregano on a tomato base. Both were excellent.

On a subsequent visit I sampled the zucchini pizza which is just topped with grated zucchini and garlic. It was also delicious. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph it.

My son alerted me to the existence of Lievita and he tells me that he asked them what was the smallest slice they have cut, and they told him it was 2cm wide. So there is plenty of scope for trying several. 🙂

You can have it heated up there, you can sit down at a few tables, but I think it is perfect for on the run, or to take home.

There are five vegan pizzas on the menu. They don’t have all the pizzas made at any given time, but when I went they had five made, two of which were vegan. It is probably a good idea to check if the pizzas they have made at any given time are the vegan ones.

I took mine cold and heated it up in the oven myself.  It is crispy and delicious, and while it is not quite as good as a freshly cooked pizza, it is still very, very good.

This is probably going to become a regular stop on my way home on a Friday night.

Lievita
298 High St,
Northcote, 3070
9489 9498
www.lievita.com.au

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in search of home made pizza perfection

about cooking beans without soaking

I love a good pizza, but making it at home is always a bit of a gamble. Domestic ovens can never be relied upon to give the same crispy base that you get from a scorchingly hot commercial pizza oven. I’ve tried many things in search of pizza perfection, ranging from special perforated pizza trays to pizza stones.

Pizza stones work, but only if you preheat them for AGES until they are incredibly hot. This uses an enormous amount of energy which is fine if you are making a heap of them, but not so good if you are making just one.

I usually have a batch of no-knead dough on the go a couple of times a week and often I steal a bit for a pizza. This morning I’d run out of bread for breakfast and so I grabbed a piece and made a flatbread in a heavy frying pan. Apart from being delicious, guess what? The base was super crispy and of course I immediately thought of pizza.

For lunch I grabbed another bit (that loaf of bread is getting smaller!) and made a pizza.

This time I threw the dough base into a dry frying pan for a few minutes until it was lightly spotted and starting to crisp up on the bottom. I then removed the base and added the toppings, just some simple oven roasted tomatoes, a very light dusting of Cheezly mozzarella and some fresh basil and put it into the oven as normal. Pre-cooking the base like this has the added advantage of making the base rigid and thus easy to wrangle into the oven.

And it worked. Perfect. Crispy. Delicious.

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