Pizza for the troubled mind

Today I came home from work feeling frustrated. Well, not frustrated with work itself but with the thought of it. My professional future is unclear, like cloudy tap water and I am an Evian person. I am about to make some changes in my life and I am in doubt. Am I making the right choice? Is it realistic? Did I think this through? Is it going to work out? Is this really who I am? Is it going to make me happy? At times like these, there is only one thing one can do: cook. With my kitchen table clean, I am determined to knead my troubles away. Or, in simple terms: time to make pizza.

It all started with ex-boyfriend G, who gave me my first pizza dough recipe. The recipe was perfected last year with Jamie Oliver’s dead simple suggestion: Instead of using 1kg of all purpose flour (as per initial recipe), Jamie uses 800gr of all purpose flour and 200gr of semolina flour. You have no idea dear reader what a difference that makes! The dough is airy but crunchy around the edges and has that unique Italian feel (the secret to this is to dust a bit of semolina flour before adding your toppings).

As I am measuring flour, water, yeast, salt and sugar I am still in doubt…Sometimes it only takes a few random words or a random event and the perfect recipe you had planned so carefully in your head seems not so perfect anymore. Or maybe it is still perfect and just needs some new herbs and spices? With these thoughts troubling my mind I mix the water with the flour. But as my fingers touch the warm and lumpy dough-to-be, I immediately feel comforted. Before I know it, I start worrying about the dough and slowly forget about everything else. It’s just me and the rough sticky mixture. I knead and I knead and it slowly transforms into a soft ball which I will let rest, together with my worries.

It is really important to let the dough rise. Humidity is yeast’s enemy; my very humid kitchen can guarantee that, as it is responsible for many failures of the past! Roll out your dough, choose your cheese mixture (mozzarella with a bit of cheddar for me) and your favorite toppings and start experimenting.

Try pineapple with ham and corn; bacon with onions; mushrooms with peppers or a simple margarita pizza. I even like cracking an egg on top of the cheese and letting it cook in the oven – try it, it tastes very nice! And yes, the recipe for my future may still remain uncertain but at least I have a hot pizza to keep me company, while I carefully pick out new herbs and spices…