Meals – Day 17: Crumpet, Lazy Lunch and Pizza!

17 Mar
Saturday morning. I can tell that I’ve had a coffee yesterday, but generally I’m feeling fine.
This morning, I promised myself, I’d have a crumpet for breakfast. Only minor trouble is, I haven’t got a clue how to make them. So while I get on with my regular morning ritual, I check out a video on YouTube – the Hairy Bikers seemed to be doing pretty well with theirs. Of course I can’t possibly follow their recipe. Got milk? Nope. Baking powder? Nope. Sugar? Yeast? Forget it. But what I do have is self-raising flour, and I recall some of the cheap pre-made crumpets I had before seemed to smell a bit like vinegar. And Matt the Vegan used to eat them- in fact, he was the one that introduced me to them. Anyway, there can’t have been any milk in them. So I decide to try to make a crumpet with just what I’ve got available.
To credit the Bikers, their video showed me what consistency the batter needed to be, so I set to work. I was hoping that the baking powder in the self-raising flour would react with the vinegar and help release small bubbles of carbon dioxide. So I use a hand-held blender to mix some flour with water to about the right consistency, add about a tablespoon of vinegar, quickly mix again and pour the batter into a  pastry ring set into a hot skillet. It seems to work, more or less. But I keep worrying about the bottom of the crumpet burning. The good news is, the crumpet doesn’t burn. It’s likely that the vinegar is to credit for that – acids slow down the Maillard reaction.
However, my crumpet doesn’t have quite as many of the characteristic holes as it should. My batter may have been just slightly on the thick side. The crumpet itself may have been to thick. But for a first time effort, I’m content. I top it off with a fried egg (I just love having egg on Saturdays) and enjoy my tasty mis-creation.
It tastes fine. It’s fluffy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a crumpet. And there’s always next time. Perhaps I should make the batter ever so slightly thinner next time. And roast it on both sides. Drench it in proper butter. Otherwise, not bad.
Lunch was a bit more of an issue. I had plans to go out, but as I slept in, it was a bit of a rush. Not having gone for groceries on Friday night, I decided I’d just grab a quick lunch from the supermarket. So I got myself a little potato salad, a banana and an apple, and ate the lot.
Day 17 Lunch: Potato salad (+an apple and a banana, not shown)
Now, that wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure it was worth it. Half a day budget gone on lunch. Convenience definitely comes at a price. Fortunately, supper was already paid for.
Ah, supper. I’d been looking forward to it. At long last, I had managed to get together the ingredients to make a proper pizza. Here’s what I did.
I had about half an onion left. I cut of a few thin rings and reserved them. I chopped the rest small and slowly sauteed them in some oil to brown. I added a chopped clove of garlic and some mixed herbs, then sieved tomato. I knew I only needed enough tomato sauce for one pizza, so I used as much tomato as I thought was needed. I still had two carrot sticks left from the vegetable bag my colleague donated, so those went in too – I basically decided to try to get as close to a proper ragu as I could. I sliced off a little bit of liver off the last frozen portion, chopped it small and added that as well. Once all was done and fragrant, I turned off the heat, then added about half a bunch of my frozen bag of basil and blended it all together. That concluded the tomato base sauce.
For the dough, I checked my favourite pizza dough recipe. This recipe makes for a dough that’s not stiff enough to roll, so you have to stretch it instead. Sometimes you’ll stretch it too far and you’ll have a hole in the pizza. No worries, just plug it with some dough from the crust. Never mind it looks like a moonscape- it’ll be covered with sauce anyway.Of course I didn’t have all the ingredients, but I certainly could add mixed herbs and some garlic. Also, as I liked the texture of my “failed ravioli” oven dish, I decided to mix in a rather small lump of margarine as well. I pre-baked it, then topped it with the tomato base sauce, followed by the reserved onion rings, the rest of the bunch of basil, sliced mushroom, strips of cheese and finally mixed herbs.

It then went into a hot oven at “full whack”. When it came out, it looked like this:

Day 17 supper: Pizza!

Now that was a proper pizza by any standard. Bursting with flavour. The basil really made a difference there. The crust worked great. Flavouring it with garlic and herbs made it tasteful on its own. That tiny lump of margarine got rid of any chewy, rubbery bread texture without making it too pastry-like. Then dessert – the reduced “strawberry sundae” thing from a few days back. Very nice. What more could a person wish for?

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