What makes this such a good concept was that you tell every person to bring their favourite pizza toppings, build what they believe to be the perfect pizza, and then foist that on everyone else. Add to this the fact that the food was then heated on an open fire, add a glass of wine or two and make everyone share in every pizza as it came off the braai. Voila, instant recipe for a successful evening!
But that’s not all, not by a long shot! My friend Retha helped me earlier the afternoon to create the pizza bases. That means the kids could get involved. They absolutely loved “helping” and every corner of my kitchen was covered in white dust by the end of the afternoon!
I used recipes from the January 2012 edition of the Marie Claire magazine.
For the pizza base:
750g strong white flour
3 x 10g sachets of dry yeast
900ml lukewarm water
40g honey (or sugar of caster sugar)
Extra flour for dusting
- Sift the flour, semolina and salt together in a bowl.
- In another bowl, dissolve the yeast in water and add the honey of sugar.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and blend well. Knead the mixture to make firm dough. Cover with cling film and place in a warming drawer of oven at a very low heat (not hot). Leave to rise for about 40 minutes.
- Knead again and set aside to rise again. Roll out fist-sized balls with an empty wine bottle – the thinner the better.
- Bake in a preheated 180 degrees Celsius oven until the base is golden brown in colour.
Although this recipe is for 10-12 medium-sized pizzas, we made such thin pizzas we had nearly 20 bases!
For the basic tomato sauce:
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
2T olive oil
2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
3t dried oregano
1T brown sugar
3 x 400g tins of Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
1T red wine vinegar
A Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3T extra-virgin olive oil
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, gently fry the garlic in the olive oil, and then add the chillies, oregano, sugar and tomatoes. Mix gently.
- Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 hour.
- Add the vinegar and stir. Add the basil, season to taste, and mix in the olive oil.
(Makes enough for 6-8 pizza bases).
The magic of this kind of evening is that absolutely everyone is involved, because everyone is busy preparing their own recipe – all at the same time! It’s a kind of merry chaos, all the dishes in the house get dirty, and the effect is that of a busy Italian restaurant with ten cooks.
To top it off, the pizzas that come out of this process are authentic, they are very, very off menu, and they are fantastic. Another great recipe (see photo below):
For a Brie & Fig pizza:
250g soft cream cheese
50g chopped smoked back bacon
A few chopped preserved figs
Slices of Brie
- Spread the cream cheese over the base and top with the bacon, figs and Brie.
- Bake (or in our case, braai!) the pizza and serve garnished with a handful of fresh rocket and a drizzle of syrup from the preserved figs.
Image credits: All photography by me