It's that time again when I do a Bitcoin Pizza Day Challenge for the Breadbakers community and combine it with a totally unrelated music item so I can squeeze it into the ReggaeJahm community, too 😁.
I followed the recipe plus tips provided by @akipponn, host of the Bitcoin Pizza Day Challenge. This year I wanted to try a Veneziana as I love the combination of sweet red onions, sultanas, pine nuts, olives and capers with the basic Margarita (tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese). We had it with a simple salad of rocket and some Magners cider.
The pizza base worked perfectly, as lovely and easy to do as I remembered from last year. This time I made two-thirds of the recipe as the thin and crispy one last year was enormous! The same as last year, I forgot the mozzarella when I went to the Co-op 🤷♂ and had to dash-out (see what I did there) to pick up supplies while the finished pizza base was proving for the last time.
I was a little ambitious with the tomato sauce, using fresh tomatoes, from which I removed the skins, seeds and juice, and then grated the flesh to create a lovely dry-ish tomato sauce base. I added a little extra virgin olive oil, some oregano from the garden, a small clove of garlic, a pinch of sugar and salt to taste. It looked a bit pale so I added some tomato puree.
This created a nice dry sauce and just enough to spread thinly over the pizza base. The Veneziana recipe calls for twelve olives which you "put around the edge of the pizza". I don't whether there is any special significance in this, like representing the twelve disciples, but anyway, I did that. I also had some artichoke hearts which I sliced and scattered along with chopped spring onions, the pine nuts, sultanas and capers. I threw this in the oven for about ten minutes before adding the cheese, and baked for another seven or eight minutes until the cheese was melted.
The Pizza went down very well with a simple rocket salad and a glass of cider. I was mixing the tastes a bit too much, though. I love the sweet, sour, salty mix of the Veneziana, especially with the creamy mozzarella but I'd added a couple of other flavours which were the wrong combination.
Another time, I'd leave out the garlic and oregano, they were much too strong and robust. A more subtle tomato sauce would be nice. And spring onions are not a good substitute for red onions - their taste, wonderful wrapped with prosciutto and charred in the grill, were too earthy for this recipe. But these are minor points 😁.
When I went out in the garden to pick some oregano for the pizza, there was a bee buzzing round this plant. I went in the house and dashed out again with my phone, but the bee had gone by that time. You can see seed heads forming although some blossoms are still going strong. I've had a lot of bees in the garden this year, feasting on the flowers.
Behind the aquilegia you can see my tomato plants. At the same time I saw the bee, I also spotted a slug chomping its way through the main stem of one of the plants. The slug got moved to the ivy hedge alongside the drive (all creatures have their place) and hopefully the tomato plant will put out a new lead shoot.
Next to the wall are my carefully cultivated brambles, full of buds just starting to open - more for the bees on warm summer days and, I hope, a good crop of blackberries come August. I'm aiming for apple and blackberry crumbles this year.
2 Tone: The Sound of Coventry
Some time last year, I mentioned the 2-Tone exhibition: "2 Tone: Lives and Legacies" and music festival that was planned as part of Coventry's year as City of Culture in a post about three reggae songs. I never got to the exhibition, but last night there was a wonderful programme about 2-Tone featuring Jerry Dammers (founder of the 2-Tone record label), The Specials and The Selecter: "2 Tone: The Sound of Coventry".
It was fabulous - the story of why it happened in Coventry; Alan Whittaker, the very face of respectable British TV presenting, saying, "You're about to witness a terrific explosion of (dramatic pause) ... Ska!"; clever editing between Jerry Dammers and Pete Waterman, with each claiming to have discovered the other. There was lots of social history (Pete Waterman started as a DJ at The Locarno, the nightclub at the time, I always wondered where he had come from), early footage of The Specials, stage overrun with fans, steam rising from the audience, Neville Staple doing his amazing thing ("Everyone loved Neville").
I hope you can see it outside the UK. If not (or, as well), here's a video of The Specials first record on the 2 Tone label. They didn't have enough money to record something for the B-side, so offered it to someone else ... which led to the formation of The Selecter, another great Coventry band.
Can't fight corruption with con tricks
They use the law to commit crime
And I dread, dread to think what the future will bring
When we're living in gangster time
Ska and punk and social commentary. Says it all, really.
Happy Bitcoin Pizza Day!
Three things newbies should do in their first week and, for most things, forever afterwards!