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Sunday, 10 August 2014

All-Day Breakfast Pizza

Yes, you read that right... All-Day Breakfast, but on a Pizza.

Oh, come on, it can't possibly be the most revolting pizza topping you've heard of unless you missed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the first time round, when they were cool (allegedly - I beg to differ), back in the 80s (or was it the 90s?). I'm pretty sure I remember one TMNT-branded pizza that involved ice cream, for crying out loud.

And surely I need not mention Iceland's doner kebab pizza?

So here's the thing: my girlfriend and I have been home-making pizzas once in a while - sometimes baking the bases (made from a Wright's flour mix or Supermarket equivalent, though we will eventually make our own from scratch), other times purchasing a ready-made base. Once the base is sorted, pizza is the easiest thing in the world to prepare: slather on the tomato purée, chuck on some cheese, apply toppings with impunity, bake for 10-15 minutes, then consume while still nice, hot and melty.

I hadn't originally planned to make an all-day breakfast pizza. Originally, I was just going to be topped with halves of the pork and bacon cocktail sausages I'd picked up in Morrisons... But when my girlfriend decided to experiment by cracking an egg over her artichoke, olive and goat's cheese pizza, the thought occurred to me that adding an egg to something that already contained tomato, sausage and bacon (of a sort) basically turned it into an all-day breakfast.

The egg element turned out to be rather more complicated than expected... but that's where being second in line for the oven came in handy. Typically, when making a pizza with a ready-baked base, one cooks the pizza just long enough to get the beginnings of browning on the cheese - generally about ten minutes. The egg, we thought, should only take about five additional minutes at pizza-baking temperatures, making a total cooking time of fifteen minutes.

Whether it was the combination of ingredients already on the pizza, or the fact that she checked its progress by opening the oven, the egg on my girlfriend's pizza needed an additional ten minutes... and even then, the white was still quite runny, while the yolk was effectively soft-boiled.

So, for mine, I cooked the basic tomato/cheese/sausage pizza for only five minutes, then cracked the egg into the centre and slapped it back in the oven for ten minutes. Still the same fifteen minute stay in the oven, but without interruption. The end result for me was a much firmer white, but pretty much the same 'soft-boiled' yolk. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair:

It turned out pretty good... While I'm still rather dubious of the idea of egg on a pizza - and, frankly, the whole concept of an all-day breakfast pizza - I'm going to call this a success... While we normally stick to Mozzarella as our formaggio preferito, I had noticed bags of "Four Cheese Mix" on Morrisons' shelves - a melange of grated Mozzarella, Edam, mature cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses which was just begging to be used as pizza topping. It melted nicely and evenly and had that little bit more bite, in and of itself, than Mozzarella on its own.

The flavour of both the sausages and the egg held up remarkably well against the tag-team of cheeses... the only caveat being that, in retrospect, it's rather an underachieving all-day breakfast. At the very least, it could have done with some seasoning - a little pepper, if nothing else.

The more I think about it, though, the more I wonder if it wouldn't have been better with plain pork cocktail sausages and separate bacon (strips or chunks)... maybe some mushrooms... chunks of potato... and possibly a base that's less tomato purée and more sliced tomato.

Though even I would probably have to draw the line before adding baked beans into the mix.

Why I've Not Been Food Blogging Recently

I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that, in spite of the title of this blog, I'm not actually single now... A couple of years ago, I randomly encountered someone and exchanged emails with her for most of a year before she moved to London to attend university. We met up initially as friends, fully expecting it to be a once-in-a-blue-moon sort of meeting but, within a couple of months, decided to try dating.

Since my past relationships have tended to be (disappointingly? mercifully?) brief, and to follow a trajectory somewhere between bizarre and horrific, I decided against mentioning it to anyone for several months after that, leaving my family and oldest friend out of the loop until quite recently, because the relationship which 'felt right' to begin with has only become better with time. I even spent last Christmas with my girlfriend's family, having previously spent a couple of weekends with them...

While she was at university, we'd discussed the idea of her living with me for her final year and, when she decided to quit her course for the sake of her health, we kept to the original schedule. My girlfriend moved in with me back in June (something of a late birthday present) and, while it's taken a lot of getting used to (for both of us), the experience thusfar has been great. I didn't think I was really the co-habiting type, in many ways... but, as with many other aspects of our relationship, it has been unexpectedly easy and stress-free.

Additionally, not too long before she moved in, I accepted a permanent position with a company I did some Temping with at the beginning of the year. With an hour's journey to and from work each day, the time at home I'd previously had for culinary experimentation has been dramatically curtailed.

The upshot of these changes in my circumstances is that my girlfriend has taken it upon herself to prepare the evening meals so that they're more-or-less ready to serve when I arrive home from work, even tackling the lion's share of the cooking over the weekends. This being the case, it hasn't felt right to post write-ups of someone else's home cooking...

...However, rest assured, there will be times that I get off my backside and do some cooking of my own. Some of it will end up being quite simple, but I'm still intending to avoid ready meals and properly develop my kitchen skills.

This isn't exactly a haitus, just an acknowledgement that I don't have as much time for cooking as I had while unemployed/Temping. This blog was never going to be updated daily, but I know I can do more, and I'm hoping to do more once I get used to my new situation.
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