Our fridge died this week. We’ve had our suspicions for a while…funny smell despite rigorous cleaning, milk not lasting quite as long as it should and a strangely warm temperature inside, but it’s officially done and has been replaced by our landlord.
The funny thing about it though, is that it’s made me pay way more attention to what I’m purchasing at the market and what I’m using to cook. There’s a fairly quick turnover (except for that cabbage I still haven’t felt the urge to work through) and very little goes to waste.
This past weekend, Mr416expat pulled an epic fast one. Friday afternoon I got a text saying that my hair appointment had been cancelled by the salon and that he was off early and wanted to meet me at work. I thought it was strange but was having a hectic day and didn’t really think too much beyond that. When I left the hospital to meet Mr416expat, I found him standing outside the main doors holding a suitcase. Turns out, he’d cancelled my hair appointment and booked us in an adorable cottage in the Cotswolds. I was just about as surprised as I was the day he proposed! He’ll be posting pictures soon, but my favourite part about the trip, apart from spending time with Mr416expat, was going to all the amazing markets and farm shops.
Daylesford Organics is a neat (fancy) shop selling all sorts of lovely stuff. I got some great cured meats, cheeses, bread, and butter. It was a beautiful store and had a really interesting gardening section. You could take courses on everything from hen keeping to artisanal bread making. I could have spent all day there!
We also had the opportunity to check out a local farmers market in Chipping Norton. There I picked up some mozzarella, vegetables, apple juice and pear juice. The vendors were really friendly and eager to tell you about their produce.
Some of our loot from the Cotswolds
All of this is to say that my fridge was broken but full of fresh produce that I really didn’t want to see go bad.
Enter pizza. It’s a great way to use up a variety of fridge contents and makes great leftovers! Thekitchn.com has a great thin crust pizza dough recipe. I adjusted it to use 50/50 whole wheat and all purpose flour. It came together quickly and was easy to roll out. The tomato sauce I made the night before and had thrown in the fridge. The toppings varied as the pizzas went in the oven…a variety of cheese, with cured meat and red peppers. It worked really well and was a great alternative to frozen pizzas!
mozzarella, red peppers and cured meats
Pizza dough – adapted from thekitchn
3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don’t need to dissolve it during the first step)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat your oven (including the pizza stone if you have it) to 500 degrees.
In a small bowl heat the water until it’s lukewarm. Add the yeast to the water and stir it until dissolved. Set this aside while you measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine. Add the water-yeast mixture and combine it all together.
When it’s come together turn it out onto the counter and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough and roll out according to the size of your pan.
Pizza sauce – aka tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic
3 can whole tomatoes
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper
Add a splash of olive oil to a large pot and warm over medium heat. Chop the onions and add to the pot, sweating onions until translucent. Add the garlic, tomatoes, chili flakes and salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 30-60 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency (longer simmering = thicker sauce)
Top your pizzas with everything except the cheese and bake for 8 minutes. THEN add the cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, the crust is crisp and you can’t stand to wait any longer.