March 2, 2009 by missmegany
So Sunday I worked on our allotment for the first time ever. Hooray! We spent 4 hours there, digging 1 3/4 beds, setting up a compost bin (out of old pallets) and planted an apple tree and two fruit bushes courtesy of the Art House. We also had HobNobs, courtesy of Jonathan (I had four!!) and we realised that next time we need a full lunch in the middle of the day to break up the work. And more water. And possibly snack foods. Once we have a shed, I might consider getting a kettle and a little camp stove for tea. Mmmm…. Tea.
It was great to have four other people out there with me—Heather, Jonathan, Natalie and Chris. Kelly couldn’t make it, and Mac has said that he’s giving us 6 months to make sure that are actually going to work on it consistently and not get really enthusiastic at the start and lose interest before he works on it. I can kinda see his point, and it’s also helping to motivate me to prove him wrong. Hopefully he’ll make up for 6 months of inactivity by getting REALLY into it afterwards.
I am a little worried about the Little Red Hen syndrome, and that he’ll end up playing the part of all the other barnyard animals offering to eat the bread she baked, milled, harvested, grew and planted. (For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the heroine is surrounded by slackers who expect handouts from others. It’s here http://www.bres.boothbay.k12.me.us/wq/nnash/WebQuest/little_red_hen.htm in giant font with a pink background if you don’t believe me)
Anyway, I came back from working on the allotment at about 3:45 and we were heading off to Bournemouth for a show to see these guys: Dutch Husband Plinth Little Boat Sunshine Republic and another band or two whose names I can’t find without using MySpace which is blocked at work. (If you are interested, my review of the night is below—and will probably differ HUGELY from Mac’s review of the same evening)
Mac hadn’t had time to make dinner, so I decided to make pizza rather than have us succumb to the temptation of fast food/pub food in Bournemouth (there were two Italian restaurants across from the venue. I want more Italian food!) My pizza dough recipe is nice and quick, sauce wouldn’t take any longer, and we had both onions and cooking cheese which would be cheap toppings. Not the fanciest of pizzas, but it tasted great!
Dinner on the go!
Super Cheap, Super Fast Pizza!
Served 4, albeit small portions at 39p per serving, assuming we can make it last for tomorrow (we did). (£1.56 total)
1 package yeast 9p
2 T olive oil (rapeseed oil – 20p)
2 1/4c bread flour (27p)
1 tsp salt (nil)
2 tsp sugar (1p?)
leftover tomato sauce (28p)
half a tin of tomatoes (39p)
2T tomato paste (8p)
2 onions (8p)
1 T veg oil (2p)
pinch of sugar (less than 1p)
25g cooking cheese from Lyburn Farm (14p) (at the Winchester Farmers’ Market) It’s their parmesan substitute and it’s AMAZING. Plus, it was dirt cheap. It’s 5.55 a kilo, compared to proper Italian parmesan. Plus the flavour is amazing. Very strong, and very nice.
CAUTION: You’ll need to do all these three steps at once! None of them are that difficult, but make sure you read the WHOLE recipe before you start so you know when to start things.
I wrote them by part of the pizza, rather than jumbling them all together chronologically. Sorry if that confuses. I’m sorry that they are the world’s longest directions for an easy recipe, but I like to give a bit of information….
Preheat your oven to about 375-400 or 200-210 (I think that’s about right). It doesn’t need to be precise.
To make the dough:
Mix 1 package yeast with 1 cup warm water (at 110F) and stir. If you don’t have a thermometer, the water from your tap will probably be about 120. It will be very warm, but not hot to the touch if you put your finger in the measuring cup. Or you could buy a thermometer—as it’s important that yeast is warm enough to activate the cultures, but not too hot to kill them all.
Let the yeast and water sit for about 10 min. It will look like alien goo at the top of the water.
Mix in the olive oil, bread flour, salt and sugar. I would mix in 1c flour, and then add another cup.
If it’s too sticky (you should be able to mix with your hands without having your hands stick to the dough) add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time until you get the right consistency.
You don’t really need to knead it, but you want it well mixed and to make it into a ball. I usually half knead it while I’m doing it.
Scrape out the flour and stuff that remains in the bowl as best you can and add 1-2tsp of oil to the bowl.
Lightly cover the bowl with the oil and put the ball of dough into it.
Cover with a dishtowel and put on top of your oven so that the heat from the oven helps it rise. Allow to rise for 30 min (although you can take it out earlier if you need to)
Meanwhile, make the sauce. I had a bit of sauce already made. If you are starting from scratch:
Heat 1 tin tomatoes on a medium heat.
Mash a few cloves of garlic and add to the pan. (You could also cook these in oil before adding the tomatoes).
Add 1-2T of tomato paste, 1 tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt.
You can also add oregano, basil and parsley if you want, but it’s not necessary.
Bring to a boil and turn down the head. Allow to simmer until your dough is all rolled out.
If it’s too liquidy, add some more tomato paste. If it’s too dry, add some water. Compare it to other tomato sauces you’ve bought in the past.
(TIP: If you are being ultra cheap, you can just use tomato paste and water. Add mashed garlic and/or cooked onions and/or any spices that you want. You’ll still want to add the sugar and salt. Keep adding water as it starts to evaporate out, again looking for the consistency of store bought sauce.)
At the same time, you’ll need to start the carmelised onions.
Preheat a pan with 1T of oil on medium heat.
Chop two onions into halves and then into 5-6 wedges.
Add onions to the pan. Stir to coat with oil.
Once they start to turn translucent, turn the heat down a little bit and add about 1tsp sugar.
Continue cooking on a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s ready to put on the oven.
Once the dough is ready to take out of the bowl, put it on a floured surface.
Roll out with a rolling pin or (if you are very patient and careful) you can slowly rotate the pizza dough (like a steering wheel) so that gravity pulls it into a circle shape. Stay longer on two sides if you need it to be rectangular. (I would roll it, because it’s WAY easier.)
Place onto a lightly floured baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.
Take out of the oven, spread sauce on top, cover with onions and grate cheese above it.
Return to oven for 15min (or thereabouts)
I had just enough time to cut them up into slices (I used scissors!), put them in some tin foil and get out the door for Mac to pick me up with the Whizzgo car www.whizzgo.co.uk/
As for the bands?
I enjoyed the night. Apart from Sunshine Republic. The other bands were good. Dutch Husband were tight and performed well—I really like the fact that the bass has a more melodic part in the band than in most other groups. Little Boat had some good songs although he’s WAY more poppy than I remember (an influence from his time in Japan?) and I LOVED Plinth who had a gramophone!!!!!
As for Sunshine Republic… Mac loves them, mostly because they are being twats to make fun of bands who are actually twats and don’t know it. I don’t see that as a good enough reason to like them. I declared them a “because we can” band. It’s a common thing in bands. Often it is the reason why bands that do not have a strong “noise” or experimental aspect of their music start twiddling knobs at the end of a set and using feedback. Why? Because they can. Sunshine Republic took off all their shirts (NOT advised). Why? Because they can. They made a deafening noise that didn’t show any cohesion, progress, or thought. Why? Because they can. I will avoid gigs they are playing at and if I like the other bands will walk out of the venue from here on out. They were TERRIBLE and full of themselves. Plus, the lead singer (who was shirtless but wearing a blanket as a cape and got progressively more drunk) threw equipment at our friend Ben as we were leaving. Not impressed.
Anyway, our food breakdown:
Breakfast: porridge and a cup of tea. Mine had milk, Mac’s had jam (our porridge, not the tea). Me: 10p + 4p, Mac: 17p + 4p
Lunch: leftover stirfry (with extra mushrooms) 52p
TOTALS: Mac £1.87, Megan £1.80
I finally beat Mac!!