Sunday, 24 July 2011

...reflecting on a weekend.

Almost perfection
The weekend started rather nicely on Friday, with Lunch with my friend May. tea, chat, laughing, and the discovery that an enormous cheese and ham roll and a sausage roll actually is too much to eat. A wander through town followed, where I picked up a few books from a charity stall. It was for a cat charity and the man manning it seemed to being doing well as there was a wee outbreak of sunshine. 

Bargains - £1.50!
When I got home, I found information trickling through on twitter and the news about the horrific tragedy in Norway.Young people, using part of their holidays to take part in politics, gone. It's terrible, and something I am still trying to process. The Norwegian PM's insistence that the answer to this should be 'more democracy,more openness, and more humanity' is utterly humbling. If only this was how our government sought to deal with things.

Dave and Cairan playing guitar
Saturday began with the news that Dave and Ciaran were having transport issues for their tour, and would be coming back for the weekend. It was my designated 'deep clean' day for the month, and I cleaned, tidied, organised, dusted, and washed. I always feel more settled for things being nice. An hour reading, a bit of a blog catch-up, and just as the boys arrived, the very sad news that Amy Winehouse died. That poor girl. The evening comprised of making pizza, eating and talking about music, and the boys playing guitar. The boys went off to the pub and I had some quiet time, pottering and reading. The internet descended into arguments where people were expected to portion off sadness about current events, and I got so annoyed that to get away while waiting for the boys to come back (we have only one set of keys) I ended up baking a cake a 12.30 at night. A bit more chat with the boys, another cup of tea, and it was bedtime.

Cherry and almond cake
Sunday has been waking up late (9am!!), reading/interneting in bed. Having cake and tea for a very late breakfast whilst listening to Springsteen. I've made more pizza(This is the closest I've come to my idea of perfect pizza), I've sat on a newspaper covered windowsill(the newspaper if for catching drips when the ceiling leaks) with the laptop/my book with BBCR4 in the background. I've eaten more cake and drank more tea than I should have.

My new sunny day perch.
I didn't even move the newspaper!
The thing that I find so odd about life is that things go on. We find out about and are shocked by horrible things happening. We are sad and horrified and angry. We watch the news almost obsessively when these things happen, unable to turn away, partly out of the sheer need to hear one small thing that's positive. But there's still everyday life and fun, eating and laughing. Perhaps these horrible, awful things remind us that we only get one life and we have to use it as best we can. I don't know.  I don't know how to finish this or segway to a recipe either, but I have one so I'm going to stick it below, ok? OK.

Pizza/Garlic bread

Pizza Dough (Makes 2 bases)
500g bread flour
325ml hot water
7g sachet quick action yeast
tbsp oil
pinch salt

Pizza Sauce
1/2 tube tomato puree
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
pinch chilli flakes

Garlic Butter
100g butter softened
2 cloves garlic, pushed through garlic mincer/grated
small pinch chilli flakes (optional)

7 Slices German peppered Salami 
7 Slices Chorizo
1 Ball Mozzarella, torn into small pieces
50g cheddar, finely grated
handful mixed tomatoes, torn.

  • Put flour and salt in large bowl, stir
  • mix yeast into water and leave for 10 mins
  • make a wee well in the middle of the flour
  • pour yeast mixture in and stir with a spatula till it begins to come together.
  • flour hands and work dough till you have a nice, elastic ball
  • dust with a little more flour, cover with a dry tea towel and leave to rise - half an hour is fine if your ok with thin pizza, if you want a thick crust give it 1-1.5 hours.
  • while that's doing it's thing, mix your butter, garlic and optional chilli fakes in a bowl.
  • When the dough has risen, pre-heat oven to 180c
  • knock back dough, knead a little and split into two
  • dust counter, and roll/stretch out your first chunk of dough.(I roll. I am not ashamed!) for a thin crust, i find about 5 mm works.
  • jab with a fork (not all the way through!) in the area where your topping will go
  • spread on tomato puree, roughly evenly
  • sprinkle on chopped garlic and chilli
  • add toppings (I do a very small cheese sprinkle, meat layer, majoirty of cheese, meat layer, veg)
  • place on floured tray/pizza stone
  • take next chunk of dough, roll out till it's about 1cm thick
  • invert a shallow fairycake tray(make sure it has a lip as garlic butter will run!, and place dough on. 
  • spread over your butter mixture, more concentrated in the dips, and lightly greasing the higher bits.
  • put both in the oven, garlic bread about and pizza below
  • bake 15 mins
  • remove garlic bread, and leave pizza to finish in the oven if needed (mine needed 3 more minutes)
To achieve perfection, I'd add a few slices of pepperoni and some roast peppers. Of course, everyone's Idea of pizza perfection is different (I had some spectacular pizza when I stayed with Han. She used more vegetables. It was ace too!). I like lots of meat and a thin, crisp base. Dave likes it to be a wee bit doughy still in the middle, so I try for that too. This is a good basic dough though.


Siobhan said...

There is no way to segway but life does go on, even through grief. I think a good way of honouring those dead is appreciating that we are alive and you very clearly do.

Elizabeth@rosalilium said...

It has been a strange weekend for me too. On the one hand I was so sad and devastated by the deaths in Norway and Amy Winehouse, but also I had a lovely time with new friends. Like Siobhan said, life does go on, at least we feel something and that is a great honour to the those who have sadly passed.


P.S. I don't know if I have the patience to make my own dough but I have been thinking about whether I could make my own bread one day, because I do love it so.

annelise said...

This sounds like a lovely weekend.

What happened in Norway is absolutely horrific. I can't even imagine the terror those poor kids felt.

And I was shocked when I read about Amy Winehouse. What talent, what a waste and what a shame.

On a nicer note, I LOVE homemade pizza! We make this one that has chorizo, haloumi, caramelised onion and spinach leaves. It's the best. I've never made the dough though but will have to give it a go.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Lots of sad things happening, which seems to be the reality of life. But i agree with your perspective in that it sort of forces us to have a 'carpe diem' approach to living.

That pizza looks divine!

grace said...

i like that you led with the food! as is typical since i've pretty much cut myself off from the world at large (no tv!!), i hadn't heard about the goingson in norway--thanks for bringing it to my attention! you're so aware. :)

julochka said...

I felt a bit the same way this weekend, which, for me too was wonderful and relaxing and spent with friends. the mix of that with tragedy was a contrast both hard to take and fitting somehow.

homemade pizza rocks.

Joanna Watson said...

It was a very sad weekend in the world, what with Norway, Amy Winehouse and the train crash in China. It does make me think I need to make the most of every minute, and appreciate even the little things!
I too did my monthly deep clean at the weekend (it's nice to hear it's not just me). It's so nice to settle back and enjoy a clean house.
Your pizza looks yum, I might give it a whirl!

conversationpieces said...

Hmmm... I kind of agree. You get very sad/angry about things and then (well I do) you sort of get tired, then emotional and grateful.

Not sure if this sounds right but I ended up thinking that if I let everything bad that happens in the world get to me then you'd never leave the house. That's why you have to bake/hug people etc to balance out the bad a bit.

Cass said...

oh I am definitely trying out that recipe especially after recently giving my husband some food poisoning via bad chicken (cooked but bad, evil wife!!)

Fay said...

I am so behind with reading blogs but lovely to see that you've been having a relaxing summer so far. Love the window seat... with all the newspaper it really does look like your nest! X

Alison Cross said...

I was at our Tarot Conference and didn't see the TV at all - other than the odd flash of Sky News. I had no idea that the event had taken place on the scale that it had.

On the Sunday evening, after the Conference - I asked my sister in law what had happened and when she told me that he had dressed as a policeman to encourage the children to come towards him, I burst into tears.

Ali x

Jo said...

I love making homemade pizza! <3 Yours looks so delicious!

Lost in the Haze

Lisa-Marie said...

Siobhan, so true, and also, thank you :)

Elizabeth, it's a funny juxtaposition.

Annelise, being able to make my own pizza base has ruined shop-bought pizza for me. which is probably a good thing.

Lisa, so true, It WAS good pizza. I will perfect pizza one day!

Grace, I'm all about the food! :)

J, it feels so odd at the time, but then you can't live in a wee sad box.

Joanne, our flat needs the deep clean, we live in an old building on a main road, I'm sure you can imagine the dust!

z, I agree wholeheartedly :)

Cass, chicken is a sneaky one, you can't always tell!

Fay, well, you do have, you know, moving, child, job hunt! That stuff will make life full! It is a bit nesty, isn't it! :) Your blogger pic is gorgeous BTW!

Ali *hug* It is utterly, appallingly sad.

Jo, it was tasty, tasty good! I'm going to visit your blog now :) x

Julia said...

that pizza and garlic bread looks lush!

And I still can't believe the news about Norway and Amy Winehouse. Very sad.

Julia @ Retro Jules

Becky said...

Bit behind on the blog reading, but yes, last weekend was a funny one. I was at a wedding, joyous and celebratory, and at the same time, elsewhere in the world, so much sadness. I think you just have to keep striving for the joyful though.

amy b.s. said...

everything looks so yummy! but i know hwat you mean about it being sort of a strange weekend. it just seemed like so many things happened that you just can't explain.

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Miss C said...

Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorite books! So good!

Gaynor {Our Day by Design} said...

I totally agree that any awful event does serve as a reminder that we only get one life; which also does make it even more sad for those poor children.

I did not like how people got into arguments on the internet either!

aDizzyGirl said...

Oh my, that cherry and almond cake looks yum. And the pizza. I can no longer cook things like that, if I make them I will eat them!