I’m sure I mentioned before that we have a tradition of Pizza Night every Friday chez Keen-On-Food. So, if you’re thinking of robbing us, or dropping in uninvited; remember Friday night’s not the best time. I don’t know quite how long ago we started it, but I reckon we’ve been making different pizzas every week for more or less 5 years. Oh the sad and domesticated life you get to leading as you get older.
But as a last attempt at being a bit wild on a Friday night, it was also the one time when we’d eat some real cheese. Then we decided not to. Just to be total and complete ‘moralistas’, predictable and particular. On the other hand, I can again guarantee that no animals suffer as a result of me eating pizza in celebration of the end of the week now. What’s more, the challenge of injecting flavour and novelty without resorting to just slapping mozzarella all over bread, has actually made things much more interesting. This is the new answer I need to give when people ask why we’re vegan. It actually makes you cook better. Forget those worthy speeches about how dairy goes hand in hand with the meat industry. You eat better (full stop).
We’ve also been trying some pizza’s inspired by the variety you get in North America for a while. In other words the kind of thing that would get you chased out of Italy in five seconds flat.
When Theresa mentioned ‘cheeseburger Pizza’ had I not been schooled in the fresher approach of the new-world after two years spent in Vancouver I would’ve got pretty angry. We like it traditional over here. But these days I’m happy to go out on a limb and mix it up. I don’t have the Italian girlfriend anymore whom the slightest variation on an Italian dish would cause the remark that ‘is good, but is not pizza’/pasta/sub any other dish that’s Italian but maybe had the tiniest change in the recipe.
Finally, before I finally divulge the recipe I want to sign my death-warrant in Italy and tell you about the pizza-mesh we bought over Amazon. Again, I’d been all in for the traditional way using a pizza-stone and paddle. It took a lot of work setting up for it and cleaning down after. Sometimes there would be disasters too, like when the pizza wouldn’t slide off the paddle onto the stone in the oven. That night I shouted at Theresa and we ate a kind of rubbish calzone. So I hate to say it, but I’m a mesh-convert. It doesn’t make you feel cool, but it’s so easy it’s hard not to go in for it. You just roll the pizza dough on to it, lay on your toppings and place in the oven. The holes in the mesh give you a crust pretty much as good as the stone. It doesn’t make you feel clever, you feel like you cheated, but what the hell.
For the pizza dough see this previous post
For the cheese sauce
1 cup soya milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked for 30 minutes, then drained and ground in a processor)
2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbs light miso
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp mustard powder
Pepper to taste
1 tbs cornflour or arrowroot
1/4 cup soya milk
2/3 cup silken tofu
- In a saucepan add all the ingredients and stir regularly bringing to a simmer. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes until the mixture has thickened and reduced buy at least a third.
- Meanwhile, place you silken tofu in the food processor and blend.
- Whisk the soya milk and arrowroot together and then add into your cheese sauce at the end of the cooking time. Stir for 30 seconds until the mixture thickens noticeably. Tip into the food-processor with the blended tofu and blend again.
- Place in the fridge, ideally for 2 hours or more and it should be almost set when you come to make your pizza.
For the burger-mince
1 cup tvp or soya granules
2 cups stock
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbs soya sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the stock to the boil, remove from heat, add in the TVP and cover to let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hr. Drain, reserving the remaining stock for later.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Add the tomato paste and cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about a minute. Add the TVP, herbs, spices and mustard powder and continuing stirring for another minute until the mixture has become quite dry.
- Now, carefully, pour int the stock and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 20 minutes or until your mixture has pretty much dried out again. Remove from heat and set aside ready for making your pizza.
To assemble the pizza
- If you have one of those squeezy bottles, spoon your cheese sauce into it. If you don’t, get one next time so you’re cheese can get squirted on the pizza nicely in true fast-food style.
- Roll out your dough and top with tomato sauce. Cover with a layer of your burger-mince followed by the cheese sauce.
- Now it’s time to add the condiments. If you don’t live with a recipe-faschist like I do you have choice; otherwise add chopped dill pickles, Jalapeños’ and fresh tomato. Top with a layer of quirky mustard.
- Bake according to instructions on previous post on dough-making. Basically as hot as your oven will go for 10-15 minutes.