hello! we are still in the depths of winter, though i’ve noticed some of the blossom trees around campus starting to bud which as you can imagine, cannot come soon enough for me! blossoms just make me so happy!
the mid semester break is coming up and i’m hanging out for it, really looking forward to being home and warm and good food. crazy to think this is my last time I will go home before i leave otago for good – what a strange thought. I’ve found out that my graduation date for next year will be the 21st May! I’m already looking forward to graduation, and coming back down to dunedin for that; i think it will be a very happy, celebratory culmination of the last three years. jess and clara will graduate with me too which is really lovely and will make for a joyous day and night!
update on no sugar – it’s hard! but the cravings are definitely starting to ease, thankfully! one thing that i’ve noticed is that i’m getting to sleep much more quickly – I hop into bed and i’m asleep after maybe 10 minutes, whereas it often takes me much longer – an interesting development, that’s for sure!
this pizza, which i made last night for flat dinner, was marvellous because it was such a treat yet sugar free!! – ok, eagle eyed readers will see that the apples are accompanied by some brown sugar. in my defence, i ate less than a fifth of the recipe so it would have only worked out to 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar, and since i was exerting so much effort making dinner I really wanted it to be something very special. i had a clear idea in my head what i wanted all the components to be like and tangy caramelised apples were one of them!
well, then so what was it like? in a word, supreme! such a delicious combo of savoury, salty pork sausages, crispy, slightly bitter brussels sprouts, sweet tangy apple, crispy yet chewy pizza base and of course lots of gooey cheese. i loved the brussels sprouts element – really made the dish. my flatmates also commented they really liked the apple as it gave the sweet component similar to pineapple on a Hawaiian pizza, but the texture was much nicer – not stringy and grainy like pineapple can be. well, when boys are complimenting and commenting on texture, you know it has to be good!
the dough recipe is inspired by serious eat’s skillet pizza dough recipe – i took it as a starting point and then adjusted quantities and proportions to get what i wanted. It is a very liquid dough – not something you can knead at all! so don’t stress about that. it does, however, make a terribly delicious pizza base – it tastes quite a lot like focaccia bread, with a beautiful moist, air pocketed inside, and super crispy outside, thanks to our ‘pre cooking’ on the stove. the toppings are inspired by a donna hay magazine recipe, which, again, i changed quite a lot. quite a labour intensive recipe, but very very worth it and tasted like a beautiful restaurant meal for a much lower price! ok, i’ll stop talking myself up and get on to the recipe ;)
brussels sprouts skillet pizza
6 1/4 cups flour
1 sachet instant yeast
4 tsp salt
1 litre water
500g brussels sprouts, finely sliced
600g good pork sausages, removed from casings in small balls
1/2 a (700g ish) bottle tomato passata
around 300g cheddar cheese, grated (more if you like)
2 apples, peeled and sliced finely
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Make the pizza dough the night before: Whisk together flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight on the bench. In the morning, it should have risen – punch down and let it rise again. it will be a very loose, liquidy consistency. Leave to rise again.
Brown the little sausage meatballs until cooked. Remove from the pan and cook the brussels sprouts in the remaining sausage fat, until a little wilted down. Remove from the pan, add the butter and let it melt, then add the apples, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. cook over a medium heat until the apples are soft.
Preheat the oven to 250C. Find a stove-proof and oven proof pan and place on a high heat. If prone to sticking, grease with a little oil. When very hot, ladle some pizza dough into it and using a knife, scrape the dough to cover the pan. You can make it as thin or thick as you like – we like about a 1cm thickness. Allow it to cook for about 30 seconds then top it- starting with a couple of tablespoons of tomato passata, then a couple of handfuls of brussels sprouts, then sausage, then a few slices of apple (be sparing with these), then finally topped off with an even coating of grated cheese. Allow it to cook on the stove until the edges are quite firm, then pop into the oven on a rack near the top and let cook for about 10 mins or until cheese is sizzling and the toppings are browned. Remove from the oven, slip out of the pan – careful, it will be very hot – and onto a chopping board.
Repeat until dough and toppings are exhausted. I got 5 large rectangular pizzas out of my dough, but the last couple were very thin – I would say that the dough ideally makes 4 large rectangular pizzas or 5+ circular pizzas (depending on the size of the pan).