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Why My Life Rocks (an essay with pictures)

One of the finest, most pleasurable things in my life is to come home in the chilly evening and hear the noisy whir of the fan in the oven. I get home early, and if M’s home and the fan in the oven is whirring away, that usually means the oven’s being pre-heated for pizza. The oven will be cranked all the way up to eleven, for maximum tastiness.

M’s pizza-making skillz are elite. He obtained a couple of pizza stones a few years ago, and has been gradually refining his technique. We make batches of dough in the breadmaker, and when a batch has risen, take it out, divide it up and freeze it. They freeze really well. When the oven is really, really hot, we take a ball of dough and roll it out very thinly; you don’t quite want a cracker for a base, but nothing too bready either. The base is then cooked briefly on its own:

In this pic, you can see the base has been briefly sealed, then flipped: that way, there’s a slightly cooked surface directly under the sauce when it’s put on, which slows down how much is absorbed by the dough, which reduces sogginess.

When this is just cooked, pop on the lovely tasty toppings. We’ve only got four here, including the sauce, and I don’t want more than that. Actually, the most delicious pizza I ever had was sauce, cheese and olive oil drizzled over the top. The key concern is not an abundance of toppings, but high quality ones. If you use fantastic sauce and good quality olive oil, you’re pretty much set. The pizza, suitably topped, is then slid back into the oven and allowed to cook further: it doesn’t take long, because all you’re really doing is heating the ingredients through and browning the cheese.

Here’s the finished result: it’s not the best photo ever, chiefly because I was seizing up with delight over my forthcoming meal. Although in this picture you can see a freshly-toasted pizza, still sizzling as the cheese bubbles and the oil on the olives spits, you can’t see M hovering over the breadboard, pizza cutter in hand, insisting that I hurry up so he can cut the pizza and we can finally eat.

And that’s why my life rocks. Sweet-arse pizza. (Which is infinitely better than sweet arse-pizza, let me tell you.)

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