Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Say "No" to 08 number phone calls & Pizzas

As you will know from my previous posts, I have a "bee in my
bonnet" about having to use these expensive phone numbers,

which I'm having to use more and more. What is more galling is
the fact that the companies concerned are making money out of me,
by keeping me waiting in a queue for a customer service adviser, or
by asking me to go through loads of options: "Press 1 if you are
ringing about your bill or direct debit...". And then, "Please hold
while we
connect you to our next customer service adviser".

I spotted an article by Mark Bridge in last Saturday's Times (which
is not my usual choice for a Saturday newspaper), recommending

we all try this new online service for finding cheaper alternative
phone numbers. I've just tried it, and it's very good ....

Try putting "Tesco" in it, to find your nearest branch of Tesco --
if you'd like to find out if they've got something exotic in
without having to go and search the shelves yourself or have
a look
online. I've run out of those dry black olives, which taste very
as a pizza topping. My local branches of Tesco and Asda no
stock them, so I've asked one of my daughters to look out
for a jar
when she next does a Sainsbury shop.

On the subject of pizzas, I fairly keen to make my own, but we like
a lot of veggie topping which tends to make the base soggy/under-
cooked. While we were on holiday in NZ, one of our hosts, Raewyn,
made some
gorgeous pizzas for us. We've copied a couple of her
ideas, with
excellent results, so we now have a pizza about once
a week.

Here's a recipe, which we constantly change from time to time to
get better results.

For the bread base (for 2 pizzas, using a bread machine)
512g (1lb 2oz) of the best white strong bread flour

(sometimes I use some strong wholemeal flour in combination with
the white flour)
Half to one sachet of Hovis/other dried yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt (sometimes an extra half tsp.)
320ml of water (normally 360ml when baking a loaf)
Two splashes of sunflower oil (I used to use only one)
Pop in the machine on the pizza dough setting.
The machine cycle is 45 minutes, and it takes longer to rise in the
pan. We halve the dough and roll it out into roughly two circles,
and then fit them onto perforated round pizza trays. This amount
of dough will produce a medium thick bread crust, when baked,
probably enough for 3 or 4 people.

Oven temps: 200-250 deg C. The professionals use extremely hot
ovens for a fast bake.

Tomato paste topping - we use the Napolina pizza topping stuff
sometimes in combination with concentrated tomato paste,
generously smeared on top of the pizza bases.

Toppings -- finely chopped red onion and red/yellow peppers,
tinned sweetcorn, sliced mushroom, a little finely chopped garlic
(whatever you like really). We've started stir frying all this in a little
sunflower oil, to put it hot and partially cooked straight onto the
pizza bases
(obviously start cooking the onion and peppers first
before adding
the other veg). Raewyn roasted her onion and
using a George Forman-type grill/toastie maker.
... and then add some grated cheese (eg Mozarella) and olives
and/or tinned anchovies. Sometimes instead of cheese we use
some tinned tuna
(very well-drained). Thinly sliced courgettes are
nice in stir fry mix too.
Some people like to drizzle on some olive
oil on top too - we don't.

Cooking times: depend on your oven, but could be about 20-25
until the edges look well baked (& it smells lovely).
We serve it up with a green salad, Italian-style. Yummy!
If you've got some good ideas, please let me know.


Post a Comment

<< Home