Potato Pizza by the Metre…and learning how to whack the cork off a champagne bottle using a bloody big Saber!

by Anna Buckley

IMG_9565[1]What do you serve if you decide to have a last-minute, casual dinner for quite a few people, are too lazy to shop and don’t want to blow a fortune on home delivered junk food?

You make Pizza of course…Potato, Italian Sausage and that old favorite, ‘Fridge Clean’ (cheese on top of all that stuff that’s bordering on going off in your fridge!!!).

Potato Pizza is a favourite not only because it tastes delicious but because most people will have all the ingredients at hand. The only problem might be the yeast. I have been known to travel with a small zip-lock bag of the stuff…although this can be a bit of an issue getting through customs!!!

IMG_9576[1] The last time I made Potato Pizza was in my sisters kitchen in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. We were heading out to lunch with a bunch of Southern Ladies who get together to cook and eat Italian food. My sister Jane had only just returned from the Hampton’s after spending three months working there as a private chef. She was exhausted, completely over cooking and hadn’t done a major shop to restock her kitchen.

“No worries. I think you’ve got every thing here we need,” I said, rummaging through her shelves, scrabbling through her freezer. Everything was at hand and the pizzas were easily put together.

IMG_9043[2]The gorgeous Lorraine Eaton, cook book author and food writer, was our host.

IMG_9574[1]I got to meet a fabulous group of women who taught me the ‘ways of the South’. My initiation began with drinks. Here I can be seen using a saber to whack the top off a bottle of bubbles…a bloody miracle for someone who has the hand/eye coordination of a blind newt! (Sorry about the crappy screenshot!)

IMG_9069[1]We celebrated my new-found athleticism by drinking the champagne in a really ‘caring and sharing’ way! That’s Lorraine’s home cured ham in the foreground…gotta love those Virginian gals!

Great food, great people…wish I was back there now!

Meanwhile…. here in Australia, we were having an impromptu dinner for eight people. I’d been really slack in the domestic department and the fridge was a little bare… so the pizza solution was put into play!

And if you’re a little scared of yeast cookery, FEAR NOT, this is so EASY that I’ve never known anyone to screw it up!

 

POTATO PIZZA
IMG_9567[1] (Remember to leave at least two hours proving time)…guests at 7 pm, start dough no later than 5 pm.

Before we begin I should let you know that this will make enough dough for 3 huge pizzas…we are feeding a crowd… and who doesn’t love a bit of leftover pizza in a midnight fridge raid or as a hangover cure the next day!

And if you really don’t need so much dough cut the recipe in half, or thirds…or call up a few friends and blow the carb free diet and make (and eat) the whole lot!

IMG_9519[1]PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients-

1 kg (6 firmly packed cups or 2.25 lbs.) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 dessert spoons or 2 sachets of dried instant yeast

4 cups warm water

extra flour for kneading

olive oil

IMG_9520[1] Add yeast to warm water and mix till dissolved. This is a great way to activate yeast, especially on a cold day.

IMG_9521[1]Place flour in a large bowl and add salt.

IMG_9522[1] Mix with your fingers ensuring salt is evenly distributed.

IMG_9523[1] Add the warm water/yeast mixture.

IMG_9524[1]Using your hands mix till all flour is absorbed and a very wet dough is formed.

IMG_9525[1] Flour work surface and remove dough from bowl.

IMG_9526[1] Knead for a 60 seconds, adding flour to avoid sticking, till a neat ball is formed.

IMG_9527[1] Put dough back in bowl and cover. I use a glass lid but cling wrap is fine.

Place bowl in a warm place until dough doubles in size.*

*TIP- Unless the weather is really hot I now use my oven to prove dough as it’s much quicker and more reliable than a cold grey Melbourne day. Start by turning your oven to 100 c (210 f) for a few minutes, or until it feels pleasantly warm to touch, then TURN OVEN OFF. Place covered bowl in oven and let dough rise. This should take no longer than an hour.

While dough is proving you can begin to assemble and prepare your toppings.

IMG_9535[1] When your dough is bubbly and doubled in size…

IMG_9537[1]Push dough down and scrape sides of bowl. It will still be quite sticky.

IMG_9538[1] Place dough on floured surface and form it into a fat sausage.

IMG_9539[1] Cut dough into three and form into balls.

IMG_9540[1] Take one ball, drizzle with a little olive oil…

IMG_9541[1] And flatten slightly before placing it onto a non-stick baking sheet. If you don’t have non-stick remember to liberally coat baking sheet in oil.

IMG_9543[1] Drizzle a little more oil onto dough then flatten and push till it reaches the edge of baking sheet. The oil method lubricates the surface, helps prevent dough from tearing and is much easier than using a rolling-pin.

IMG_9548[1] Repeat process with remaining balls. Set trays aside while you prepare your toppings.

I will give you the recipe for only the potato topping. The other 2 pizzas can be made with whatever you have at hand.

 

POTATO TOPPING

Ingredients-

4 medium washed potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon salt flakes

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

small bunch fresh rosemary

1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

IMG_9528[1]Finely slice potatoes. Keep skin on as this helps hold potatoes shape after boiling.

IMG_9530[1]Place potatoes into saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Add a dash of olive oil to the water to help prevent them from sticking together. The potatoes should be firm and only partly cooked. If you overcook potatoes they will be too soft to work with. Boiling potatoes first will stop them drying out and discolouring during baking.

IMG_9531[1] After two minutes drain potatoes into colander. You can run cold water over them to stop cooking and make them easier to handle when assembling pizza. Potatoes should not be wet, make sure all water has drained away.

IMG_9549[1] Layer potatoes over dough.

IMG_9550[1] Drizzle then smear olive oil until entire surface of potatoes is covered.

IMG_9551[1] Next sprinkle over salt flakes.

IMG_9552[1] Then cracked pepper.

IMG_9533[1] Next strip rosemary leaves from stem. I prefer using the tender bright green tips. You can selectively pick only the ends if you have a rosemary bush nearby…there’s always a hedge somewhere around!?

IMG_9553[1] Evenly scatter rosemary over potato.

IMG_9554[1] Lastly add a very scant layer of grated Mozzarella. You want the potatoes to shine through…this is not a cheesy pizza.

Add toppings to two remaining pizzas.

Turn oven to 240 c (460 f)

IMG_9564[1]While you’re waiting for oven to get to temperature the pizzas will continue to rise. I like this second proving as it produces a more chewy, lighter crust.

IMG_9566[1] Cook pizzas for about 15-20 minutes or until pastry and cheese is golden. This may vary with each oven.

IMG_9569[1] When done cut pizza into small slabs, pile onto plates…

IMG_9572[1]

And see just how long before this mountain of yumminess disappears!

What’s you favourite pizza? Let me know.

Cheers, Anna x

Anna Buckley Books

LOVE YOU TO READ MY BOOKS.

The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion,  travel, and … men.

A perfect read for those of you looking for something after Fifty Shades of Grey.
The complete series is available now at Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, Barnes & Noble and iBooks, both as eBooks and print books. They can also be ordered from any book store, or by mail order on the BOOKS page.