Thursday, August 02, 2007

When The Moon's In The Sky Like A Big Pizza Pie...It's Time To Eat!

I was in the middle of writing for this post when I got interrupted by an unexpected visit from my computer everything came up before I had a chance to tell a tale or three. Now all is fixed. Mr. Computer has gone, but is returning tomorrow to share a wine or two during which time we'll solve the problems of the world.

After last weekend's Meatloaf recipe, the thought of a meatloaf played around in my mind all week. Guess what's in my oven at the moment? Yep...two for now and left-overs tomorrow and the other I will pop in the freezer for "ron".

Pizzas will be playing around in my mind after this post. That's okay, though, as I have a couple of bases in the freezer waiting for toppings when the mood takes hold.

When I was living and working in Cairns, for a while I looked after a little pizza place at Yorkeys Knob, at the northern beaches just north of the city. I worked the little eatery/take-away about five nights a week. I had a full-time day job in the real estate office as secretary/property manager, but the pizzas, pasta etc., allowed me to keep "my finger in the pie" as it were.

Some years later when I was cheffing in Gympie prior to moving here to the mountain, I wandered out into the dining area of the restaurant one night and to my surprise, Yvonne, the owner of the pizza shops (she operated four in the Cairns area) was one of my diners! No longer living in Cairns, she was visiting relatives in Gympie. She had re-located to Brisbane. A little while later, we caught up with the intervening years when Yvonne came to stay one weekend. I think I may have fed her a little too much wine, as I've not seen her since! It is, however a small world in which we live!

I hope you enjoy the following recipes.

Potato, Spinach & Lamb Pizza

1 x30cm fresh pizza base
150 g tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded, with extra leaves for serving
3 desiree potatoes, sliced very thinly
100 g baby spinach leaves
200 g mozzarella cheese, grated
2 lamb loin fillets
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine tomato paste, garlic and oregano in a small saucepan and warm over gentle heat. Remove from heat and set aside. Lace pizza base onto baking try and spread evenly with tomato paste mixture. Top with potato slices, onion, spinach, basil and mozzarella. Season to taste. Bake for 20 minutes until bas is crispy and the cheese is golden. While the pizza is cooking, season the lamb and cook under hot grill for 3-5 minutes each side (or longer if you wish). Slice into 1cm thick slices and place on pizza. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with extra basil leaves.

Smoked Salmon & Caviar Gourmet Pizzas

½ cup crème fraiche (or sour cream)

4oz thinly sliced smoked salmon

1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced very, very thinly

1oz caviar

1tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

¾ cup warm water

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups self-raising or bread flour

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place yeast in warm water and let it froth up. Place flour and salt in bowl. Make well in centre. When yeast is ready, pour it into the flour and mix together with a flat-bladed knife. Knead lightly in the bowl, and then remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly oiled surface. Knead the dough several times and form the dough into an oval; cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll and stretch the dough into a 14-inch circle. For this recipe, when kneading, leave the dough a little more wet than usual, as this will help give it a crispy crust. Divide the pizza dough into two pieces and roll each section into a 9-inch circle. Place the dough rounds on the prepared pizza peel. Lightly brush with olive oil to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Transfer the pizzas into the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Spread a thin layer of 1/2 of the creme fraiche over the slightly cooled pizza crusts. Arrange the smoked salmon evenly over the top of the creme fraiche on each pizza to completely cover. Layer the cucumber slices over the smoked salmon, overlapping slightly to create a design. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut each pizza into 4-6 slices. On centre of each slice, dab a little bit of extra creme fraiche. Place 1/2-1 teaspoons of caviar on top of the creme fraiche. Sprinkle with chopped, fresh chives. Serve immediately.

Prawn/Shrimp & Sea Scallop Pizza

About 12 green (raw) prawns
6-8 sea scallops (cut in half if large)
1 14 ounce ready-made pizza crust
1 cup veggies of choice (onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc.)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven. Top pizza crust with prepared-macadamia nut pesto. Place prawns, scallops and vegetables of choice over pesto. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until seafood is cooked and cheese melted.


  1. Pizza...I can live without the fast food variety, but a gourmet pizza, now you're talking, and seafood, yet. Quite my favourite.

    I used to think Perry Como said, a big piece of pie," when I was young. I couldn't figure out where he saw a moon like a triangle!

  2. I never buy pizzas, Robyn...I always make my own...only way to go! :)

    I used to think the same..."a big piece of pie"! lol

  3. Anonymous1:16 AM

    Dear Lee, you have given me the Dean Martin earworm. I'll be thinking about the song all day. We do love pizza. As my wife says, "I can eat pizza until the cows come home."

  4. lol Sorry about that, Steve...I've not only done it to you and me, but I'm sure everyone else, too! ;)

  5. It is just a FACT every once in awhile you have to have PIZZA.

  6. So who's a Type A personality? Worked in the real estate agent's by day and ran the pizzeria at night.

    Pizza, invented by the Italians, and taken so much further by everyone else.

  7. Totally, Lady must have pizza every so often just...well, just because one must! ;) was only a small place, jmb..nothing huge...but it was a bit of fun. :)

  8. Hi Lee,

    Oooh, you did it to me again!

    You made me hungry.


  9. Long time, no see,'ll just have to put pizzas on this weekends menu, now! :)

  10. Great pics and great recipes, Lee!

  11. lamb? seafood? On pizza??? The preferred toppings sure change as the pie travels. I wonder if the pizza flavored beer on Dude's blog is brewed with these in mind.

  12. Hiya Welsh...I hope you've got a great weekend planned. :)

    Could be, gto! There are many varying toppings once can experiment...a break-away from the old traditionals. ;)

  13. Hi Lee ~~ The title made me think of Dean Martin's song
    "That's Amore" (sp?) so apart from your great recipes and stories, there's music too!!
    Hope there's not too much wrong with your computer.It will be great to see the back of winter, but like you don't want summer too soon.
    Maybe cancelled and just have spring and autumn. Could you and your computer man arrange that while solving the rest of the world's problems? Take care Lee,
    Love, Merle.

  14. Hi heading was meant to remind folk of that song...and it worked! ;)

    There's nothing wrong with my computer. I just needed a USB cable to run from my laptop to my printer...nothing major.

    I just wish rain would come. It's so very dry everywhere.

  15. Wow, those pizzas look divine! And yep, I have the Dean Martin earworm now, too.:)

  16. lol I guess I owe everyone an apology, Serena...around the world everyone has "That's Amore!" playing in their heads! ;)

  17. Hmmm, I can picture Dean Martin singing this ... didn't Jerry Lewis join him in one of the movies !!
    I love pizza, in fact, we had it last night (bought, not home made) ... mmmmm.
    I love making my own pizzas, though ... they always taste better than bought ones.
    Those gourmet pizzas sound interesting ... might have to give them a go ... thanks.
    Take care, Meow

  18. lee,
    Thank-you very much...I'm off to the fridge to have a slice of cold pizza for breakfast!
    Everybody loves somebody......

  19. Oh if I could only get my daughter to try new things. She loves pizza but there is one kind that she likes and I couldn't get her to try a new one like yours. On the other hand I would love to try your pizza any day. The seafood one looks really good cannot wait to make one.

  20. Hi there Connie...Jerry and Dean made more than one movie together...every time I think of this song I think of the Cher and Nicholas Cage movie "Moonstruck"...I love that movie.

    Hey Rel...I love cold pizza for breakfast too. I think it's a favourite of many. :) As was old Dino!

    Hi be adventurous in your pizza toppings...there are so many delicious ways to present them...away from the normal, tried and true toppings. :)