Those of you with children will know how much fun it can be – NOT - to have your little ones accompany you to the supermarket. Aisles and aisles of tempting treats that turn kids into “I want” monsters. And I will admit that on far too regular a basis I find myself compromising and buying them the least of the evils they’ve requested just to get them to stop asking for anything else (that’s generally a condition of the whole deal – I will buy x if they don’t ask for one single other thing). These days, going to the supermarket alone, by myself, is just about the ultimate in luxury (you can tell I don’t get out much).
What is it about kids and store bought food? I think you can be the best baker or cook in the world and kids would still have a thing about store bought cookies, or hotdogs, or takeaway pizza. I guess it’s the whole forbidden fruit thing. I grew up at a time and in a world where everything was fresh and homemade, but on the rare occasion that we had store bought cookies I thought they were sooo good. Chips Ahoy and Oreos – tv advertising definitely had its desired effect on me – were such a treat. And I probably thought they tasted pretty good.
Now I really don’t like store bought cookies, with the exception of dark chocolate covered digestives (slathered with mascarpone they take on new levels of decadence). But that’s a tangent I won’t get into right now!
I will say the same about takeaway pizzas, by which I mean the big American style ones. We make pizza at home almost every week and while we all enjoy it, the other 3 members of my family also have a real fondness in their hearts for Dominos pizza. More forbidden fruit I guess. Me – I’m generally not crazy about Dominos. I much prefer the homemade ones. What I REALLY like are thin crust authentic Italian pizzas cooked in a smoking hot wood fired oven. But it’s not like we live in Italy or have a wood fired oven – in my next life maybe.
Because of how I feel about takeaway pizza, I will admit to having mixed feelings when I was recently approached about a blogger’s challenge. The challenge was to recreate the latest Dominos pizza, the “Spanish Sizzler”. The pizza was described as follows:
The Spanish Sizzler brings a combination of fiery heat and sweetness using classic chorizo sausage and hand-picked roquito peppers, combined with juicy roast chicken and green peppers. These tasty toppings are added to Domino’s fresh dough base, along with vine-ripened tomato sauce and 100 per cent mozzarella cheese to create a Spanish feast fit for any señor or señorita.
Well, to this senorita the pizza did actually sound quite good - anything with chorizo and some chilies in it catches my eye. And more importantly it sounded like a do-able challenge (i.e. we could fit it into our normal pizza making routine). So I decided to give it a go.
First: the research. We needed to try the Dominos version – we being the man, the boy, the girl & I. This was going involve the whole family. I envisioned it being a bit of a panel thing: try the takeaway one, saving a bit for a comparison; recreate the pizza at home; compare and decide one which each of us preferred. Totally scientific… or not. On the day I decided would be Dominos day, I used their Pizza Online service. I will say that for a busy family, being able to go online in the morning and order for a specific delivery time is quite useful. I told the family about our dinner plans. There was mass excitement that we were getting takeaway pizza that evening (yes, we live life on the edge!). Made mental note to self to force vegetables into everyone before the gorging on pizza began.
The pizza was as described. Good amounts of chorizo and chicken. And I quite liked the smoky roquero chilies. As for the other 3, well, let’s just say I just managed to save 4 slices before the 2 large pizzas were devoured. I needed those pieces for the comparison that would soon follow…
Onto the challenge. Saturday is traditionally pizza day in this household. The man really likes the Dominos pizza crust so I decided to branch out from the normal pizza crust we make to try and make it more Dominos-like. I had read good things about Jamie Oliver’s pizza dough, so decided to try it. While the dough was rising it was time to get the chicken cooked, chorizo cubed, peppers, chilies and mozzarella sliced.
I’ve got to say the pizza looked pretty good straight out of the oven. There’s something almost sinfully appealing about the reddish oil that leaks out of chorizo as it cooks, melding with the other flavours. I made one pizza without chilies to keep the girl from giving me a complete telling off – chilies are not her thing (which at age 4 I guess is ok). I, on the other hand, am becoming worryingly addicted to chilies and chili sauces.
Anyway… how was the pizza? The verdicts from the distinguished panel of judges were as follows:
- Me: I preferred the homemade one. Not suprising. Loved the toppings – thanks go to Dominos for the inspiration.
- Man: no preference – his only feedback was that I should have cut the chicken into smaller chunks. And he liked the Jamie Oliver crust.
- Boy: preferred the Dominos version. Not suprising – he’s 8.
- Girl: we’ll say no preference – she just ate her pizza and was much more interested in what was on tv at the time!
All in all it was a fun challenge. We’ll be using this combination of toppings again. It would be a great way to use leftover chicken. And as for the chorizo, well, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: almost everything tastes better with some chorizo added to it.
Spanish Sizzler Pizza (recreated)
Pizza dough: I used this recipe.
Pizza sauce and overall method: I used this recipe.
- 2 chicken breasts, roasted and cut into 1/2 cm chunks
- 250g dried chorizo (generally it comes in rings), cut into 1/2 cm chunks
- 1 green pepper, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then each half cut into thin strips
- 2 long red chilis, cut into fine rings
- 3-125g balls of mozzarella, each ball cut into 8-10 slices
Makes 2 – 30cm/12 inch pizzas. Feeds 2 adults + 2 kids or 3 adults.