Nduja pizza for a Netflix night

chicken and plantain peel

The young chicken at the grilled plantain shack, on my way to work. My sister sends pictures of happy Norwegian allotment chickens in the green, I send her back my urban Accra chickens. There are chickens all over, even near our office in Ministries: they roam, forage, cross the road, and even manage to hatch chicks. Of course, you do not see many cats out, they tend to get eaten. The chickens are however prolific, and seem to manage well.

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After the ant debacle last week, I made pizza and brownies for Saturday night movie night at home. I do like Accra, but there are increasing reports of kidnappings and violent home invasions (guns, AK47s), also in gated compounds, and not just for expats, so I try to be home well before dark (630 PM) most nights unless I am going out with friends.  Normally December is high crime time, now locals blame Nigerians. Friends are more chill about this, but now I see mentions of fellow expats looking to buy guns, which is not encouraging. I do a lot of walking in the morning in Accra, and generally have no problems. Taxis will honk, kids will say “Obruni! Good morning!”  (obruni is foreigner). Bored guards will try to chat you up (“You are so beautiful! Are you a Christian?”  despite my being redfaced and sweat-dripping. I usually say I am an atheist, that works well. Here’s a basic focaccia style pizza, as I am trying to use up my old flour, frozen cheese and nduja (a spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Calabria). Nduja keeps for ages in the fridge in a glass jar, as long as it is covered in olive oil.

Nduja pizza

100 grammes wholewheat flour
400 grammes plain wheat flour (we used 00, though 0 is recommended)
20 grammes olive oil
4 grammes dry yeast
350 grammes water

Later: 10 grammes salt.
2-3 tbs oil, to oil the baking parchment

Mix, leave for an hour, then add salt and fold again. Leave dough covered to rise 6-7 hours at room temperature. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge, 24 hours there is recommended. It will rise and should become very elastic. It needs to be handled carefully, to keep the air bubbles in the dough. No rolling pins. It was a little heavier this time with the wholewheat flour, but tasty.

Topping:
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
100 grammes tomato paste
about 100 grammes water
3 tsp nduja
Enough grated cheese to cover the pizza lightly (maybe 150 grammes?)

Gently fry the chopped onion, then add tomato paste, water and nduja. Cook for a few minutes while you heat the oven to 250C (with oven tray inside) and stretch out the dough. I used a silicon baking sheet with a little olive oil on (2 tbs or so), baking parchment would work too. The dough is poured out, then eased out using fingers to stretch into a rectangle. You want to keep the air bubbles, so gentle is the way to go. Gently spoon on topping and grated cheese. Slide the silicon sheet with dough over to the hot tray: much easier if you are two, one holding the hot tray and one pulling the silicon sheet over on to it. Bake at 250C until done (8-12 minutes, depends on your oven) and enjoy.

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Not pretty but tasty, three of us ate most of it. I still do not know how much longer I will be in Accra (three months? three years?)  so I am continuing my pantry challenge, more specifically a freezer challenge. Lots of frozen cheese (parmesan freezes well, cream cheese does not) and frozen bananas, leeks and celery: maybe a baked tuna casserole? Filo pastry with bananas? We shall see.)

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Pizza with tomato, cheese and fresh basil (and massive Christmas baubles)

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Observed at the Palace supermarket here in Accra: massive Christmas baubles. (Hand is there for scale.) Maybe for outdoor trees? There was also fake snow on sale, which is odd when it is never colder than 23C here.

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We’d stopped off at the craft market at the W.E.B. Dubois centre, the small market at the end of the month. The big craft market is the first Saturday of each month, but there was an excellent selection this time, so this was a good chance to find travel-friendly Christmas presents.

We had missed Mamma Mia 2 in the cinema, so finally watched it with this pizza. A friend had kindly given me a big bunch of fresh basil, and this pizza showcased that.

Pizza with tomato, cheese and fresh basil

500 grammes plain wheat flour (I used 00)
20 grammes olive oil
3.5 grammes dry yeast (I used 8 grammes fresh yeast)
350 grammes water
Later: 10 grammes salt  (fold in after half an hour)

2-3 tbs oil, to oil the baking parchment

Topping:
2 tsp olive oil
125 grammes smoked pancetta (or bacon)
Half an onion, peeled and chopped
Three cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400 grammes)
1 tsp smoked paprika
Enough grated cheese to sprinkle generously over tomato layer (200 grammes?)

Optional, to serve: basil leaves

Mix dough ingredients, leave for an hour, then fold in salt. Leave dough to rise ten hours in fridge. Dough will rise and become gloopy and elastic. It needs to be handled carefully, to keep the air bubbles in the dough. No rolling pins here.

For the tomato sauce: gently fry the pancetta in the olive oil, wirth onion and garlic, until the pancetta is just cooked but not too crispy as it was going in oven. I did not drain off the fat as I wanted the flavour. Add smoked paprika, a little slt and pepper. Let the tomato sauce cook for 20 minutes or so.

img_20181026_181737When you have the dough coaxed out on oiled parchment (or a silicon mat): top with  tomato sauce and grated cheese. Heat the baking tray in oven and carefully slide parchment with pizza over when oven is hot. Then bake at 250C until done (12-15 minutes? Depends on your oven) and enjoy, dotted with fresh basil leaves.

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Mamma Mia 2 was good but the music was much better in the first film. As usual, the leftover pizza was very good cold the next day.

Pizza with smoked paprika and prosciutto

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Years ago I watched Jennifer Garner in “Alias”, and now I am watching it again. We are on season 3 now, with the amnesia, and it is hugely enjoyable, especially as I have forgotten most of what happened. Here’s a pizza thrown together for a recent viewing night, as usual with the slow-rise Bonci-style dough. I set the dough before work and leave it in the fridge, then it is quick to assemble so there is more time for Sydney, evil Francie, and Sark (with that terrible buzzcut). The pizza is very good the next day cold.

Pizza with smoked paprika and prosciutto
500 grammes plain wheat flour (I used 00)
20 grammes olive oil
3.5 grammes dry yeast (I used 8 grammes fresh yeast)
350 grammes water
Later: 10 grammes salt  (fold in after half an hour)

2-3 tbs oil, to oil the baking parchment

Topping:
150 gr tomato paste, thinned out with 5-6 tbs water  (note: tomato paste amount really depends on how concentrated your tomato paste is, this tin of paste was not very strong and I wanted a good tomato flavour, just diluted enough to cover the pizza)
A half teaspoon of smoked paprika
One raw onion, sliced
Enough grated cheese to sprinkle over tomato layer

Optional, to serve: sliced prosciutto

Mix dough ingredients, leave for an hour, then fold in salt. Leave dough to rise ten hours in fridge. Dough will rise and become gloopy and elastic. It needs to be handled carefully, to keep the air bubbles in the dough. No rolling pins here. When you have the dough coaxed out on oiled parchment (or a silicon mat): top with  tomato, onion and grated cheese. Heat the baking tray in oven and carefully slide parchment with pizza over when oven is hot. Then bake at 250C until done (12-15 minutes? Depends on your oven) and enjoy.

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