Election Night triumph for novice Pizza Party candidate

Here in Australia, we’ve just had an election for our national parliament. Despite my best efforts – one vote in each of the two assemblies – it became clear yesterday that the incumbent conservative government has been returned, albeit with a very small majority.

The actual voting took place two Saturdays ago, following a campaign which was protracted, by Australian standards, and which aroused a low-level of enthusiasm, both generally and in our home. However, Maggie and I decided that we would follow the count on television, maintaining our energy-and-tolerance-levels with a smorgasbord of pizzas.

The photos show the pizzas just before they went in the oven. Commencing from the top left, we made four different pizzas: passata topped with seared calamari, basil pesto and prosciutto; (plenty of) passata topped with poached chicken, basil pesto, black olives, anchovies and wilted onion (think, chicken cacciatore); a ‘margherita’ style with chopped basil, bocconcini and prosciutto over passata; and a mere smear of passata topped with roasted pumpkin, shredded sage, bocconcini and some of the wilted onion.

Pizza calamari    Pizza chicken

Pizza Margherita    Pizza pumpkin

The result of this election-night pizza run-off? The calamari candidate suffered from the absence of its usual running mate – pieces of prawn – and was exposed as being one-dimensional; it came in last. The ‘chicken cacciatore’ was like one of those wannabes that sound good but lack the ability to punch through with verve and flavour; nice enough, but it deserved no better than third.

The modified ‘margherita’ was the pre-election favourite; a reliable and solid performer, with a good balance of simplicity and palate-appeal. However, it was overwhelmed by a late swing to the roast pumpkin, a novice pizza party candidate but one blessed with a popular past-a heritage.

So, a happy result and one of the few highlights of the election count. When the result was confirmed a few days later, the roast pumpkin team returned for a victory lap, substituting ricotta for the bocconcini and adding some thin slices of garlic to the wilted onion.

(For the wilted onion, Maggie takes a purple/red onion, halves it lengthways and cuts thin slices, which are tossed and steeped with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then we cook them in a pan (skillet) over moderate heat – say, midway between sauteing and frying – for about 5 minutes.)

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About rmgtravelsandfood

Maggie and I are both in our early 60s and live in Melbourne, Australia. This blog is devoted to our shared passions for travel and fine dining at home. As cooks, we are skilful and adventurous within a framework of mainly traditional ingredients and techniques, and we aim to prepare nutritious food that looks good and tastes delicious. Our evolving repertoire is influenced by both our travels and Melbourne's vibrant food culture. While we are young enough, our priority travel destinations are overseas, although we do spend a few weekends each year exploring south-eastern Australia. As travellers, we are most comfortable with a combination of organised and independent touring. Our first overseas journey together was to Italy in the northern autumn of 2008. We later travelled in France (2009), Spain (2011), Singapore and Cambodia (2012/13). All trips from 2014 onwards are documented in this blog.
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