Check out this article from Ellie Saunders in which our Yurts our featured!! Read away!
So who doesn’t like pizza? Most people do right and making them yourself makes the pizza experience even better! There’s loads of different styles, ranging from your classic Roman thin based pizza to your hand stretched ancient Napoli, then there’s your thicker American bases from Chicago and of course the sorry excuses of certain fast food chain pizzas.
I’m going to give you a recipe for the Queen of pizza doughs. From Naples, the birth place of pizza, where they’ve been making pizza as we know it the longest; (let’s not get into Turkish pizza!) So they know the deal, they live and breathe Pizza all over Italy, but in Naples especially it is everywhere. I’ll also tell you a quick way of cooking it that will revolutionise your homemade pizzas!
This recipe requires a wee bit of time but the result is worth it! Most pizza doughs will be made in a few hours with lots of dried yeast, but can still taste amazing. The full 24 hour slow rise with small amounts of yeast we use here really develops that flavour.
So here we go:
This will make around 8 Pizzas. You can always freeze the unused balls for another day.
1kg 0.0 Flour (most supermarkets have this)
2 Tbsp Salt
2g Fresh Yeast (ask your baker or in your supermarket usually by the butter)
That’s it, no olive oil, no sugar, simple and effective!!
Dissolve your yeast in the 600ml of water, in a measuring jug. Put all the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the centre. You can just dump all the flour onto a clean work surface but I find this helps keep the flour carnage under control. Pour your yeasty water into the well and add your salt, then use a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together. After about 5 mins move to your work surface and beat the living daylights out of the dough for 15 mins, I mean really go for it!
After you’ve taken all that tension and stress out on your lovely pizza dough, put it lovingly back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel for 15 mins.
Now get a bowl, some weighing scales and a big knife. Cut your dough into 220g balls and one at a time fold the dough twice in on its self before rolling it into a perfect ball. A good technique is keep your hand in a claw shape over the dough. Make fast circles pushing the dough into the surface as you go, this will force out the air and make a perfect ball. Put the balls into a flour dusted container, ideally plastic storage containers or something similar, then dust with more flour and cover with cling film. Now it’s a waiting game for 24 hours.
1 500g tin or jar of the best quality Italian Plum toms.
Pinch of Salt
The sauce must be uncooked and be the best quality toms you can find. Grown on the slopes of Mt Vesuvius, San Marzano are considered some of the best, but if you can’t get ahold of them use the best Italian plums you can find.
Blend the toms with a pinch of salt, keep some texture in the sauce though, you don’t want a puree.
How to cook your Pizza; A Miraculous Discovery
If you have a wood fired oven then you know what to do here! If not have a look at how to make one in our previous post. For those of you without a wood fired oven don’t fear.
Pizza lovers worldwide have found a way to cook your pizza way better than just putting it in the oven for 20 mins on a pizza stone or tray.
Get a medium sized frying pan, no oil, searing hot, full wack, as well as getting your grill on full with the rack in the oven as close to the grill as possible.
Roll your dough out to the size of your pan, put your Dough in the the pan, you will see the dough instantly bubbling. Quickly put your sauce on and cheese and some other toppings. Go sparingly though, ‘less is more’ is the Italian way. It will also cook better with less topping.
Use a spatula to look under the pizza, when it’s nicely browned put your frying pan under the grill until the top is browned and only just burned, just like a woodfired pizza. Eat straight away and witness the wonder.
Nearly everyone loves pizza and making your own oven makes it that bit more special. You can buy an oven for thousands but it’s much more fun to make your own, using materials lying around and with minimal impact on the earth.
Here’s how we made our oven in the garden, all for under £20. We’ve wanted to do this for years and we’re loving it now its finally been made.
Here’s a rough guide for anyone who wants to have a go at doing it yourself. Just to inspire inspiration and imagination
A word on Cob.
Cob is a mixture of sandy-sub soil, clay and straw. It is mixed by crushing it all together; in our case jumping up
and down on it, but it can be done with a digger. Animals in the past were used to mix the Cob hence the name Cob horse. Cob has been used to make houses, barns, walls, etc. some are still standing strong today. We have a Cob barn here at Kent’s which is a beaut of a building. Some of the positives of using Cob are that it’s insulating, and fun and easy to work with, hence why its used for pizza ovens. I’ts also breathable and flexes with heat.
The basic mix is 2 parts sand: 1 part clay: 1/2 straw and water. Mix on a tarp and get dancing.
The Basic Run Down
Base – Made of bricks, breeze blocks, railway sleepers, cob, cob and rocks or anything you can think of really.
We used old tyres stacked on top of each other then put cob in between and on top. In each layer we put old glass bottles, smashed up bricks and other bits of rubbish that we could hide in there. Using glass bottles under the oven floor also helps insulate it further.
Oven Floor – Ideally made from fire bricks but you could use a big slab of rock or normal bricks
We placed some normal bricks on top of the tyres, this was to protect them from the heat of the fire. We put a thick piece of ply wood we had lying around on top of the tyres so that we had a flat base for the bricks. Then we put a layer of sand then the fire bricks. The fire bricks we got from an old fireplace. Ideally you would use new ones so that they fit tighter together but old ones will work. Now the oven is ready for the dome!
The Oven/Dome – Made from Cob (Straw, clay and sand)
Here’s where building sandcastles as a child really payed off. Using sand and water we made a dome as a former or mould for the cob. We then put wet newspaper over the sand, so that we knew when to stop when removing the sand later .
First layer – About 4″ thick, we made up cob balls and had a bit of a cob ball fight and practiced our throwing and catching skills. Building from the bottom up and over the sand castle we made our first layer then left it for a couple of days to dry. Then we cut out the hole for the doorway and removed the sand.
Second and insulation Layer – This layer was much the same but h
ad more straw and some sawdust in the layer for added insulation, its all about keeping that heat in with an oven like this!
Third Layer – This layer was much like the first layer just to further protect and insulate the oven.
Archway Entrance and Chimney – Bricks Cob and Gas flue pipe, you could use an old terracotta plant pot or any other tube like thing that can withstand heat.
We made this part as an afterthought, it’s not essential but makes the oven run smoother and looks great. We had to make an extension to the front using some thick slabs of wood and a couple of fence posts. We then put some more bricks on top using cob below to keep them in place. We made a former here from some plywood, just drawing the size of arch we wanted, then cutting it out with a jigsaw. We used 2 pieces of wood then nailed them together so that the brick archway could rest on top. We placed the ply former in the doorway then started to build the bricks into an arch using the cob to stick them all together. Then we filled in around the archway and linked the doorway to the main oven putting a piece of old gas flue pipe in as a chimney.
For about a week we started small fires in the oven every couple of days and once it was dry we fired it up for the first time.
After about a month we lime rendered the oven to protect it from the Cornish winter. You could make a clay plaster or use old tiles to create a mosaic
Hope this inspires some new Pizza enthusiasts out there. Once we’ve nailed the right dough recipe we’ll put that up to.
We have some new faces at Kents, Debbie the duck who we hatched ourselves in an incubator has become a first time mother! She spent 1 month in the bushes and surprised us all when she led 5 healthy ducklings to water 1 day earlier than expected. Debbie being a runner duck notoriously known for being terrible mothers,was certainly a bit wild, spending often up to an hour off her eggs and quacking and sprinting all over the garden. So when she led her ducklings to water, them all less than 24 hours old we were happy for her. She is now smashing her runner duck reputation out the window by being an amazing mother teaching her young all the ducky things needed in life.
Blue Legs another of our own incubated chickens was sitting on eggs at the same time, however starting with 10 eggs she has slowly been rejecting her eggs kicking one out one day then eating one the other. We were not hopeful. Hatching day came around and blue legs was down to just 4 eggs. She came down from her run to have a bite to eat and we saw one of her battered eggs with a crack in it! Over the following few hours she managed to hatch just the one sole survivor. At first she was very confused as to what the little white fluff ball was doing under her so she gave her a few pecks. Now however shes joined Debbie in the mothers club and is teaching her chick the ways of the chicken!
Fancy winning a holiday and helping protect our oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife? We are offering the chance to win a two night getaway in one of our cosy yurts. A yurt can comfortably host four friends, a small family, or a romantic weekend break for two. The prize is offered as part of the Surfer’s Against Sewage 2016 raffle. SAS is an environmental charity campaigning on issues such as water pollution, marine litter, and climate change, which are causes we are very much into! You can buy tickets online or from us or your local rep. Read more about SAS’s great work and the other amazing prizes on offer on the SAS website.
The chickens now have a new ‘tree house’ home out in the Orchard. The house is built up on legs with a rickety ladder. The idea being that the chickens can go up and down but a fox can’t. So they will be able to come and go as they please without needing to be let out every morning and shut in at night. The chickens (and Toulouse the goose) will also keep the weeds and grass down around the young trees, provide fertiliser and eat the bugs, which means fewer pests for the fruit trees. They have taken a little bit of encouragement to get used to the ladder. Here’s Lucky the hen heading to bed for her first time up the ladder, as the sun sets and the sea mist rolls in over the fields.
This time of year is great for foraging fresh spring greens. We’ve been eating a lot of foraged food while we wait for the garden to get into full swing. Beech leaves in salads, nettles in pies, soups and curries and wild garlic in pretty much anything!!
Wild garlic can be easily recognised at the moment by its head of spikey white flowers and its garlicky scent. Usually found in abundance in woodlands and along paths and shady roads – though we wouldn’t recommend picking from the roadside. Rather than pulling up the whole plant just take a few leaves from each plant. The fresh leaves and flowers are the best part to eat and this means the plant can grow back over and over.
Here’s our recipe for wild garlic hummus:
2 cups of Wild Garlic and flowers
2-3 Tbsp of oil from a jar of sun dried toms or artichokes (or just olive oil)
125g of dried chickpeas, kidney and black eyed beans, soaked overnight then boiled for approx 1 hour. (or 1 tin of pre cooked)
Juice of 2 lemons or limes and zest
2 tbsp of tahini
Sea salt and black pepper
Get your food processor or your potato masher and large bowl out and ready.
Blend the cooked chickpeas and beans to a rough puree adding the oil, juice from the lemon, tahini and the chopped wild garlic leaves (saving the flowers).
Season to taste then place into a bowl and garnish with the flowers and lemon zest.
Easy as that bish bash bosh.
The great thing about wild garlic is that you can get that great garlic taste without the hassle of peeling garlic cloves. Just chop some leaves and there you go.
After a break over Jan and Feb we’re now spring cleaning and preparing everything for the busy season. The yurts will officially open on the 4th of April. We’re also ordering in a few more yurts and will have some for sale soon! Here are a couple of pics of our guys at the workshop in Mongolia. Please get in touch if you’re interested 🙂