Yesterday was a little disconcerting and random.
When I woke, I had an idea of what my morning was going to be like. Within minutes that plan had changed and I settled myself into a different mindset and grateful for the opportunity to tend to my List.
The moment I had settled, things changed again and I was left alone, as I’d originally anticipated, with a four year old, hell bent on watching a movie at 10.00a.m. The sun shining, it being a mild and beautiful day, I recommended the three-block walk to the local playground.
This would fill an hour or so and who doesn’t like a playground?
That hour or so was, instead, filled with a screaming tantrum about going to the playground, and I received a business phone call that came through unexpectedly.
The day pretty much proceeded along those lines; whatever I got my mind sorted on, things changed.
Including heading off to a Pizza Masterclass organised by PR company, Keep Left PR, which had been in my diary for over a week. Monkey Boy was coming along with me, this time, as he is very much a lover of food and nagged me to the point where I promised I’d at least ask if he could come along, but was pretty sure the answer would be ‘no’.
It wasn’t. They said ‘yes’, so he accompanied me.
The car we were planning to book proved more difficult than anticpated, so Grumpy Pants agreed to drive us. Sadly, we had forgotten that Godzilla had guitar lessons at that time and stress and chaos descended whilst we got our heads around it all. Anyhoo, we arrived right on time. Which is much better than late, but still not sitting well with me and my analesque determination to be at least a few minutes early.
Still, Dan Murphy’s greeted me with a glass of wine, so all was sorting itself well.
Monkey Boy immediately descended into pizza topping heaven, thanks to Perfect Italiano, Woolworths and their Bertocchi range of spicy salamis and other scrumbly deli meat products and stuffed himself full of the fare on offer by Baker’s Delight.
We received a bit of a talking to about pizzas, by some real proper chefs who know stuff about cooking and things and how to ensure your pizzas don’t go all floppy.
They spoke lovingly and passionately about mushrooms and, I’m sure, were atetmpting to brainwash me into believing the have some sort of appeal. It didn’t work and I still think mushrooms are akin to bathroom fungus and tinea … however, if you do like mushrooms on your pizza, apparently it’s a good idea to saute them first, before adding them. I think. I was trying not to gag.
We learnt much about cheese. Cheese I can deal with very, very well. I did learn about different sorts of mozzarella; some are stringy and some colour when cooked and why Perfect Italiano have a cheese mix specifically for pizza, for flavour, colour and stringiness.
I learnt that cheddar/tasty cheeses are not good for cooking with – so there goes my entire evening meal recipe repertoire! Apparently, the fat content is what contributes to floppy pizzas. Also, due to higher fat content, it doesn’t stick and slides off your pizza and into your cleavage, where it burns (if you’ve managed to get to your meal as soon as it’s done) or congeals and feels really awful and hard to extract from your bra (almost all the time).
I also imagine it infiltrates the flavour of whatever it is you’re cooking and you lose the flavour of individual components. Maybe I made that up. I can’t remember.
Parmesan cheese is also best added to dishes once they have come out of the oven; it is a dry cheese and does not contain the moisture that makes it good for cooking. However, if you add it as soon as the dish has come out of the oven, the heat will cause it to melt in, yet retain the flavour. Which is why you’re adding it in the first place.
Generally, I just add cheese to the tops of most things I put in the oven so I can tell when it is ready to come out; cheese completely melted and starting to brown then dinner is ready! Too easy!
Cheese is also a major staple in our house, added to school lunches, most evening meals, breakfast toast, sprinkled on Asian inspired dishes and heaped teaspoonsful of parmesan in Milo (I wish I were making that up!)
(On a side note, Perfect Italiano also do a ‘cheese bake’ mix of four different cheese, for pasta bakes and lasagnes and that sort of thing – off to get my hands on some. This could be a huge help!)
I also learnt that some other toppings, like prosciutto and serrano ham, and your herbs; basil, dill etc, are best added once the pizza is done and out of the oven, but whilst still hot. More flavoursome that way.
Apparently, too, there is no food that can’t go on a pizza. Except, as far as I’m concerned, mushrooms, which, again as far as I’m concerned, should be treated with Domestos or Canestan.
We then had the opportunity to create our own pizzas, using Bakers Delight Pizza bases. Extremely delicious and almost as good as the pizza bases I make on most Friday nights at home. Oh, okay then, they were WAY better than the ones I do!
Monkey Boy and I teamed up. This pretty much means I was told to “Bugger off and let me do it!” and he completely took over whilst I took some photos. So that was fun.
I was a little surprised at just how adept with a kitchen knife Monkey Boy is, and hadn’t realised he possessed such a skill. Even the chefs commented on his knife work.
So, he whipped up a pizza consisting of fresh and sundried tomato, salami, spinach and pumpkin, and smothered in cheese. As all good pizzas should be.
He did good.
He had also stuffed himself stupid at the commencement of the evening that he was unable to eat even the teensiest of pieces.
We did some wine and pizza matching and learned that 95% of the tomatoes that end up in Leggos’ products are locally sourced (Australian, mostly from the Murray region) and Leggos are based in Echuca. The 5% non-Australian/elsewhere sourced are to keep lines of communication open for those times when locally sourced products are in decline (droughts and that sort of thing).
Woolworths have pizza bars and sushi bars in some stores, where you can place your order, do your shop and go pick it up when you’re done, ready to eat when you get home.
It was a good night, lots of fun, and I learnt many new things, my 12 year old now knows a bit more about food and cooking (although, he much prefers to sit on the Eating side of things, as opposed to the Preparing/Cooking side of it)
My only concern is that I may very well be creating a monster …
Home late with one very tired little boy (also, me!)