The menu for the evening was pizza - dough made from scratch then made into three varieties (plus dough for us all to take home), followed by tiramisu. We had all been told to bring a bowl and an apron, but everything else was provided.
When we arrived we were given a glass each of Lambrusco, a lovely light, refreshing (and, we are assured, cheap!) Italian red, served chilled (a bit like the delicious Brown Brothers Cienna we had at my birthday). We also got a recipe sheet, telling us what we would make. The lovely Marija, who taught the class, asked for three volunteers to begin with, and Mr Cake was one of these. She had premixed the yeast with warm water so that it was already bubbling away, and had also mixed the dry ingredients in bags, so all we had to do was empty a bag in a bowl then add the liquid - super simple! (these steps would have been simple if we were in a kitchen, but given the boardroom setting this was definitely the best option)
My greatest revelation of the night was when Marija whipped out her pizza 'stone' - a big porcelain tile. She recommended we all whip down to Mitre 10 and pick one up, because they do a great job of cooking the pizzas (I can attest to this!) and are only a couple of dollars each. Guess where I'm going this weekend? ;-)
- a simple but awesome oilive oil, rosemary and sea salt topped pizza bread
- Napoli, with mozzarella, anchovies, olives, salami and capers on a tomato sauce base
- blue cheese and artichoke, with a caramelised onion jam base
We also made tiramisu, something which I've written about before so won't go into detail here, but this is a super-scrummy dessert, and so easy to make - the perfect finale to our evening.
This also incorporated some audience participation - it was very hands on, and great fun.
When the pizzas came out they were gobbled so quickly I didn't get any photos of the finished product, except this lonely photo of one of the pizza breads. My favourite was the Napoli, but all of them were magnificent, with a fabulously crispy base - you just can't beat real pizza dough!
The tiramisu was also super delicious - what's not to like? ;-) Although it doesn't look spectacular on the plate I'm sure you can see all the delicious textures in there.
It was a fantastic night - we were glad we were allowed to attend, despite not being of the legal profession. Marija was a great teacher (if you're interested in attending one of her classes she teaches here and here, or you can email her directly to arrange your own class) and the food was delicious. And now we have a big bowl of dough so we can have Friday night pizza that is SO MUCH BETTER than takeaways. Win!
300ml tepid water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp dry active yeast
500g high grade/00 flour
1 Tbsp salt
Dissolve sugar and yeast in half the water. Set aside for at least 5 minutes. Mix flour and salt together. Add the remaining water to the yeast, then pour the liquids into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, combine the ingredients, then knead the resulting dough for 10 minutes, or until the dough springs back when pressed.
Oil the bowl, then return dough to it and leave in a warm place to rise for 40 minutes (you can put it in the fridge to retard the rising if you say, make it in the morning for dinner).
Preheat the oven and pizza stone or tray to 220 C. Punch the air out of the dough and roll to preferred thickness (thicker will take a little longer to cook, up to your preference) and add toppings as desired. Sprinkle the pizza stone/tray with cornmeal and slide the topped pizza onto it (use another tray or board to move it to the oven), then bake for about 10 minutes, or until cooked. Makes two large pizzas.