Saturday, March 12, 2011

pizza friday

For as long as I can remember, my mother made homemade pizza every Friday, and she still does.  In the summer, I frequently make pizza on the barbecue, and this pizza, I must say, is excellent.  I usually make what I have named 'BBQ Chicken Pizza', where I coat little pieces of cooked chicken in Diana's BBQ sauce, and drizzle BBQ sauce over the top.  I use mozzerella and parmesan cheese and cook the whole thing on whole wheat dough I made on the barbecue.

Since moving to Turkey, I have been on the quest for a good pizza.  I've ordered from Dominos, Pizza Pizza, Pizza Hut and New York Pizza.  I think I prefer Dominos to the rest, as it tastes the most like Western pizza...but it's still...bland.  There's not much sauce, or cheese and flavour is generally lacking.  I end up coating my slice in salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to try to make up for the lack of flavour, but it doesn't really help.

Then I discovered Kyma's pizzas.  These pizzas are sensational.  If you're reading this in Turkey, please go out and get yourself a Kyma pizza.  Their pizzas are specialty pizzas, like delicious works of art covered in expensive imported cheese.  Their 4 Season Cheese pizza is divided up into 4 sections, each sprinkled with a different kind of cheese.  Their 4 cheese pizza is coated in delicious cheese, including Hellumi cheese.  On a pizza?  Why not?

Last night, Eilidh attempted to re-create my mother's pizza fridays by making a pizza of my own.  I made my own dough, by using my favourite, very simple and easy recipe from 'Eat Shrink and Be Merry' and this is where the substitutions began.  I don't actually have measuring cups, because I don't usually cook or bake anything that requires measuring.  So, I guestimated using a drinking glass and the dough turned out fine.  It even rose properly thanks to the yeast that I found in the grocery store.  Grocery shopping for baking ingredients is not always eas, here.  Things like yeast, baking powder and soda are often packaged completely differently than we're used to seeing them, and of course the names are written on in Turkish.  I found the yeast because Eilidh and I were looking for baking powder and we saw little packets with pictures of bread on it, so we assumed it was yeast, and it turns out that we were right.  We weren't able to find canned pizza sauce (which I'm beginning to think exists only in North America, because I wasn't able to find it in England either, I guess Europeans must make their own), so I used salça (remember this?  I used it to make kisir as well).  Salça is a very thick tomato puree, and the kind I bought is even a little bit sweet.  It's quite thick for pizza sauce, but works well once you put the vegetables and they contribute their juices.  I cut up pieces of chicken and sauted them with a bit of curry powder (as I doubt very much I can find Diana's BBQ sauce here), and we used all the vegetables we happened to have in our fridges; red and green peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes.  It was actually a great way to use up vegetables left over from the week.  We grated some Eski Kaşarlı cheese, which was a great substitute for mozzerella, even better, actually. 

So, with different cheese, curry powder and salça this pizza was not exactly like my mom's, but it's the best that can be done in Turkey, and Eilidh and I agreed that my pizza is easy to make, better than delivery, most likely healthier than delivery, and a great way to use up leftover veg.  I'm cooking!  Yay!  A pizza friday tradition may be started in Turkey.

I forgot to grease the baking sheet, so I had to hack the pizza up a little to get it off the tray, that's why you see all the crumbs :)  Will remember that for next time.


  1. Kirbie...The pizza looks DELICIOUS. Glad to see you are having fun cooking. Can't wait for bbq chicken pizza on the barbeque. Won't be too long now, only a little over 3 months, not that I've been counting the days or anything!!! Love You, MOM

  2. Yum, I'd eat that! Minus the chicken of course. I've taken to putting very thinly sliced tofu marinated in pesto on my pizza and it is GOOD. Can you get tofu there?

  3. Hi Kirbie, Your pizza looks delicious! It is great to have a memory from home. I am sure your Mother is glad it was her Friday night pizza! Love Ya! Jill

  4. @MOM - a little over three months? That's nothing! I'll be home before you know it!

    @Mya - that sounds great...I'm thinking more about being more vegetarian. It is difficult to get meat substitutes here...I don't think they have tofu here...I've only seen humus at the deli occasionally. I think I might try to make my own falafel though, like you did :)

    @Jill - Thank you, it was pretty good :) It was nice to have a memory from home and would be nice to start a tradition here.

  5. Looks far much better in terms of taste than the franchise pizzas in Ankara. You need to work a bit in terms of shape. Maybe the pizza time has already started for Bilkent community. Why don't you go for Turkish cusine a bit? You may like it a lot.

  6. @dipdalga - It definately tastes better, and I actually prefer the shape to a round pizza. Looks rustic, don't you think? Have tried Turkish cuisine(I make really good kısır), and I do like it alot but sometimes you just want a little taste of home :)

  7. It sounds wonderful. Halloumi on pizza seems like a great idea, too. I am always searching for a good whole wheat pizza dough recipe. Do you have one to share?

  8. @ Sarah- Yes! This whole wheat pizza crust recipe is from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry. I have made it dozens of times and it's no-fail!

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    2 tablespoons flax meal or ground flax seeds
    1 envelope (8 g or 21/4 tsp) Fleischmann’s quick-rising yeast
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup very warm water
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    2 teaspoons liquid honey
    1 tablespoon cornmeal
    Olive oil cooking spray

    1.Make crust: in a medium bowl, combine both flours, flax meal, yeast and salt. Mix well.
    2.Measure warm water in measuring cup, then stir in olive oil and honey. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix using a wooden spoon to form a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes.
    3.Spray another medium bowl with olive oil spray and place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 20 minutes.
    4.Meanwhile, spray a 12-inch pizza pan with olive oil spray and dust with cornmeal. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
    5.When dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to prepared pizza pan.

    I've played with the amount of whole wheat flour, depending on what I have. I've made it completely with whole wheat (which I prefer) and I've made it with white flour if I've run out of whole wheat. Both turn out fine. Let me know how you get on :)

  9. Wonderful, thanks! I'll try this and get back to you. I like that it only has a short rise; just enough time, in fact, to prep the toppings. :)