Gathering the straws of life together

KJ’s Pizzeria

KJ’s Pizzeria

Every Sunday night you will find me in KJ’s pizzeria, also known as KJ’s kitchen. My O&O and I enjoy relaxing on a Sunday evening with home-made pizza and a glass of red wine.

A home-made pizza is easy to make. If you are willing to spend a little time preparing your ingredients and putting it all together, it will take about 15-20 minutes.  If you make your own pizza base the preparation time is longer. You can buy pizza bases from the supermarket, but I like to make mine at home.

My sister Christine and brother-in-law John (an Italian) who live in Far North Queensland also have a tradition of pizza on a Sunday evening. Christine and John each have their own pizza dough recipe and make this from scratch, the home-made, hand-made method. I have done this at times however I always return to making my home-made pizza base in the bread maker. It is easy so easy! The recipe makes two pizza bases. If there is just the “two of us” I freeze the second lot of dough for the following Sunday.

There are a few secrets to making great pizza dough and one of these is the type of flour. Tipo 00 is a good flour to use. The “00” refer to how fine the flour is milled. But these days I use Baker’s Flour. I buy it in a 5kg bag. Getting the type of pizza dough base, one that you like, just takes practice. I read last weekend about Tocco Italiano, a restaurant in Teneriffe, Brisbane. The article mentioned that Italians travel a distance to enjoy the pizza made at Tocco Italiano. They like the pizza crust.

When we holidayed in Tasmania a few years ago I bought a French rolling-pin at Strahan, made from Huon Pine. I use it all the time for rolling out the pizza dough. I have not mastered the tossing and twirling of the dough – yet! Although this Sunday I am going to give it a go. I had a lesson through the week via YouTube. Tossing the dough helps the dough keep its moisture. Therefore, you get the crispy crust outside and nice moist texture inside. Making a great pizza has a little science behind it!

My French rolling-pin made from Huon Pine.

I have been busy working out the science of my oven to perfect the pizza crust. My oven has 11 functions – this was very exciting when I first got it and saw all the lights and features. Since then I often wonder what ever happened to an oven that had just one heating function! With all the different functions comes different temperatures and different position levels in the oven. It took me a while to work out the importance of position level. In my oven there are 6 levels. It was only weeks ago when I realised I should be cooking the pizza on level one. What a difference it made. The pizza crust is nice and crispy!

Last Sunday nights pizza! I am sure with practice my pizza making skills will get better and better!

When you make a pizza at home you can decide what toppings to use. The pizza experts tell us not to overdo the toppings. Probably because you lose the flavour of your key ingredients. My favourite toppings after the tomato base and mozzarella cheese are pepperoni, mushrooms, black Kalamata olives, marinated feta cheese, red capsicum, and a sprinkle of dried oregano. I also like to give the topping a light spray with olive oil – bellissimo!

Leave the “fast food” behind and join the “slow food” movement. A good place to start is to make your own pizza at home. Do you have any pizza cooking secrets you would like to share with me and others? Buon appetito!



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