Sunday, 24 February 2008

Onion relish and pizza

Right, since it was pizza night tonight, I decided that I wanted to make a vego pizza that included onion relish as one of the toppings. If you like your steak with a bit of onion relish on the side (or a lot, as I do), or bangers and mash with a MOUND of onion relish piled over the top, then you'll know what I am on about.

I have made it a few times before, but have never had to suffer through cutting up enough onions to make a kilo of sliced onion. The recipe, which comes from Donna Hay, calls for double that, but I never would have survived the slicing of 2kg of onion. As it was, it took me four goes to slice this much (which I think came to 12 onions).

You get a nice big pot, like my Le Cruesett (or however you spell it) and heat it up to medium heat, then toss in a lot of olive oil. Coat the bottom of that sucker, don't be scared of a bit of oil. When it's heated up, chuck in the onions, stir them to break them up then whack the lid on.

Come back every 15 minutes and give them another stir. At the half hour mark, you might have to scrape a few caramelised bits off the base. Cook them for 40-60 minutes - however long it takes them to go a nice brown colour.

For 1kg of onions, throw in half a cup of brown sugar and half a cup of red wine vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste. I also like to toss in a handful of sage, and you can also throw in things like apple and currants if it takes your fancy. I used white wine vinegar today, and I am not sure if it made any difference.

That much sugar makes it a bit too sweet for me, but I do not have super-sweet taste buds.

How was it on pizza?

Bloody magnificent, if I say so myself.

Instead of using drained and squished tinned tomatoes to make the sauce, I bought a small tub of semi-dried tomatoes from the local woggery, plus tried oven drying a kilo of my own, and munched that up the blender with some garlic and salt to make an excellent pizza sauce. It did need a splash of balsamic vinegar though, and a small amount of sugar.

If you want to know why the average westerner is ingesting so much sugar these days, try making a pizza tomato sauce without sugar. Then keep adding sugar until it tastes like the shit that gets delivered. You'll probably have made a sauce that is 50% red stuff and 50% sugar.

I also make my own dough, because J prefers a dough that is about 30% wholemeal flour, and I have come to like it too. It has more texture than the usual lily-white shite that comes in a cardboard box. The trick is to buy some digital scales for weighing the ingredients. I thought weighing stuff to make dough was a complete crock - until I tried doing it for myself.

I usually make 3 pizzas for 3 of us, and on average, one goes in the fridge for snacks the next day. Enough dough for that many pizzas requires:

500gm flour - you can use all plain, or a mix of plain and wholemeal, or even a mix of semolina, plain and wholemeal (as I do). But weigh it, and make sure it comes to 500gm. Not 501gm. Not 499 gm. 500gm.

350gm water - yes, weigh the water. I normally make a mix of 30gm of olive oil and 320gm water. Whatever mix you use, it must weigh 350gm in total.

10gm of yeast and 10gm of flour.

That's it. Throw it all in a mixer, put in the dough hook and go and blog for 10 minutes.

Come back, turn the dough into a floured bowl, cover with a teatowel and go to the pool for an hour.

Get home, cook, eat and then lie around feeling very fat.

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