Normally my Food Reports are on a theme, but I ate so much good food last week that I just wanted to share it all!
First up, we went to Food Slam on Friday at Camp and Furnace. It was Light Night and we started with a Bollywood workshop and some singing before heading to the Baltic Triangle to take in the street food delights of what is fast becoming one of the city’s busiest Friday nights. We arrived quite late and so there was a slight shortage at the stalls, which was a shame considering Light Night is always a packed one. This worked out well for us in the end though, as we had lots of little morsels!
We tried Camp and Furnace’s own chips, which were completely divine. I’m not normally overly bothered by chips, but these looked too good to pass up. I didn’t look closely enough at the fryers, but I’m pretty sure these must have been double- or even triple-fried. They were well-spiced, melt-in-the-mouth and topped with an excellent lemon mayo and a dab of tartare too. I haven’t had the chips at Camp and Furnace before, so I’m not sure if this is their usual offering, but if it is I’ll definitely be going back for more!
There were also wood-fired pizzas, chorizo burgers and crepes on offer, but I opted for the tacos from Margo and Rita. These were hot, sweet, crunchy with shredded cabbage and zingy with a hastily squeezed lime chucked on top. Delish! I can’t wait to head back for another Food Slam soon.
On Saturday, we continued the tradition of chilled evenings at my house with food and friends. I made up a quick batch of homemade dough, which rose extra quickly in the lovely blazing sunshine, and a proper, rich tomato sauce. Everyone brought toppings along and constructed their own little pizzas to enjoy. This is one of my favourite food options for an ad-hoc evening and it really couldn’t be easier! Ask everyone to bring a bottle too and you’ve got the makings of a party!
I used the simplest of dough recipes. I would say don’t be afraid of messing about with dough – as long as you have flour, yeast, some kind of fat, water and plenty of seasoning you really can’t go too wrong. You can also get a great workout from all that kneading – I find it so therapeutic!
I also made Jamie’s tomato sauce – it’s quick, easy and delicious. Pop a lid or splatter cover on it whilst it’s boiling down, or your kitchen will quickly look like a crime scene! When sieving, keep all the leftover basil, tomato and garlic back in a little tupperware for later.
I started with a quick garlic bread – this is a good tester for the dough to make sure the oven is hot enough, it makes the house smell fantastic as your guests are arriving and means they have a snack whilst they grab a drink and start to construct their pizzas. Beat some butter with a mashed up clove of garlic and some chopped parsley, smear this on and bake until golden. Flavoured butters are so fantastic, and you could try this with any combination of herbs or spices (I’m dreaming of a lovely harissa butter myself).
To get a good crispy pizza, you may want to use a pizza stone. If you don’t have one, get your oven nice and hot with some baking trays inside (I had my oven on 250ºC with 2 baking trays ready for everyone’s constructions). Slide the constructed pizzas onto the trays and bake for around 10 minutes, or until everything looks nice and crisp and any cheese is melted – everyone likes their pizza differently so let people see how they would like it. The trays help the pizzas to cook from below so there are no soggy bottoms in sight!
I went for a very simple mozzarella and basil for my pizza, but the others had all sorts of toppings including chorizo, goats’ cheese, olives,smoked cheese, chilli flakes, sweetcorn and tuna.
And what about all those sauce leftovers? You can lengthen them out the next day with some water, wine or leftover passata (I used a little of all three) and make a fabulous pasta sauce. Chuck in a few torn bits of leftover cheese and some more fresh herbs for a quick Sunday lunch. I did this whilst I planned my meals for the week and it was a lovely weekend treat. I like to put some mozzarella in towards the beginning, to let it melt, and then a little more as I serve it for the more firm, milky bits. All about the textures. The next day I mixed some of the tomatoes into couscous as a base for dinner too!
Have you been to Food Slam or something like it? What’s your favourite pizza topping?