Have you ever gorged on fondue and woken up the next day feeling as though your whole body is composed of cheese?  I have, a couple of times.  Tonight I went to a fantastic “Butter Workshop” organised by the Guild of Food Writers and have eaten my body weight in butter. Yum yum. I will no doubt regret it tomorrow though…

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This was the tip of the iceberg.

Here are my suitably greasy tasting notes.  This is basically a list of all the butters we were tasting and as someone tweeted in amazement at one point, there were MORE on the other side!

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I love butter.  And it seems in my drunken stupor, I managed to score the very butter it seemed from my notes I liked best (we were encouraged to take some of the butter mountain home…)

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Couple the amount of butter now in my freezer, with the amount of pizza dough and mozzarella, I don’t think I’ll be getting to my Weightwatchers goal any time soon…

The following photo shows the kind of thing we have to contend with at Guild of Food Writers events.  Are you surprised that the workshops they put on for us are my favourite of all social events?!
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On another matter, I never thought I’d be able to make pizzas from scratch.  Have you ever done it?  It’s great fun.  Nathan made divine pizzas for Burns Night last year and I wanted to continue the tradition so I pestered him endlessly for his pizza dough recipe, looked up a million recipes online and asked the best cook I know – Battenburg Belle – her advice about whose recipe she used.

This resulted in me hedging my bets and making three different pizza doughs.  One to Nigel Slater’s recipe, one to Jamie Oliver’s and one to Sophia Loren’s.  They all had their merits but for me as a VIRGIN pizza base maker, J.O.’s came out tops for ease of manufacture and general workability.  Nigel’s had a bit of an edge taste-wise (probably the wholemeal flour element) and Sophia’s?  Well Sophia’s was probably more traditional, but it was much wetter dough and therefore more tricky to handle.

Jamie's in front, Sophia's rising less at the back...

Jamie’s in front, Sophia’s rising less at the back…

I’m not going to go on, and on, and on about how bloody brilliant my pizzas were.  I’ll just say this.  If you are having a party for 6 on a Sunday and you have a nice free Saturday the day before, do consider having a pizza party.  I had a lovely day on my lonesome on Saturday making pizza dough, being delighted when it rose as it should in front of my gas fire and marveling at how it kept on expanding even when in my fridge.

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I admit, I did get up in the night to check all of my babies were OK.  It was very hard to get the salad drawer out of the fridge as they were puffing up so much in there.  It filled me with pride!  What a nut.

I did not have to use the back up pizza dough mix packets to which water is added and they are sure to rise.  But it was nice to know they were there…

Not to get all Betty Crocker on you…

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but this is a very sociable kind of dinner party to have.  You can get all the bits and pieces you are going to put on the pizzas prepped before the guests arrive, and then you can all stand around gassing and drinking beer and eating pizzas in the kitchen as soon as they come out of the oven.  Probably my best “dinner party” ever fun-wise and low-stress-wise I think.

So, although I probably had the wherewithal for about 12 pizzas, we ate 5 between 6 of us.  Votes were cast.  Clear winner was the pizza I christened the Wiener Wonder (in honour of Yinzerella over at Dinner is Served 1972)

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I had some frankfurters left over from the divine Richard’s Basehart’s Frankfurters and Beans that I wanted to use up and more or less followed this recipe – this pizza was mighty fine.  Who knew that potatoes and frankfurters on a pizza was actually a proper “thing”?

In second place was the Burns Nightmare – haggis on a pizza!  Well, it was Burns Night and it is now tradition.  I’ve written a bit more about this one here…  In the background, you can see the Ottolenghi salad I made in an attempt to provide my guests something healthy to eat with their dough based delights.  It’s the french beans/mangetout/hazelnut/orange one from Ottolenghi – The Cookbook.  Delicious.

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and third place, Sophia’s…  I forgot all about it being in the oven as I was boozing it up, so I thought I’d overcooked it, but it was still scrumptious.

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Would you like the recipe?  I have so many fabulous pictures that feature Sophia and pizza that I’m going to put it in a brand new post and link back to it tomorrow.

 I’m being asked for an “author photo” for something I am doing.  If only I could find a big spoon and a big fork to recreate this…

sophia yinzerella

 

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