Our Berry kitchen, 190pp.
by the families of Berry Public School
Create a Cookbook, location unknown, 2013
Cooking on page 32
This book should go down in history—mostly because I bought it on a whim AND paid full price for it. I never pay full price for a cookbook.
It all started other day when we drove to Berry, New South Wales, to drop off Kodai (a friend from Japan), so he could take the train to Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney.
We set out from Rosedale about 9 a.m. and gave ourselves plenty of time to visit a couple of touristic stops and get to the train station on time, in case traffic was bad. Traffic was fine and we arrived in Berry about 12:30 p.m. That was about two hours before the train would arrive/leave, so we headed into town for some lunch.
I knew a nice place, the Emporium, where I’d eaten a week earlier when I drove to Berry and took the train to Sydney to meet Kodai when he arrived from Japan.
We finished lunch with plenty of time to spare, so set out to explore the delights of Berry. It didn’t take long for Poor John to spot the Pompadour Chocolate Shop, or for me to spot their table of Our Berry kitchen cookbooks.
The cookbook is a fundraiser for Berry Public School and, while I wouldn’t normally spend $35 on a cookbook, I loved the fact that the recipes came from school families and that ALL proceeds go to the school.
So I bought it and now I’m cooking on page 32–33. It’s a recipe from the Salmon family.
Turkish lamb and sumac pizza
2 cups plain flor
generous pinch salt
7g sachet dried yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
400g lamb mince
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
handful parsley, chopped
200g tub hummus
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
4 English spinach leaves, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped into sticks
200g fetta, crumbled
sumac, for sprinkling
2 lemons, quartered
Fire up your pizza oven or preheat oven to its highest heat. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven.
To make the pizza dough, combine flour and salt in a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and warm water and set aside for 5 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to flour and mix thoroughly.
Turn mix out onto a well-floured surface and knead well until it comes together into a smooth elastic ball. Set aside until ready to roll.
To cook the lamb, heat oil in frying pan over medium–high heat and fry onion and garlic until golden. Add lamb gradually and fry until all lamb is added and browned. Drain off any fat. Stir in chilli flakes, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt and pepper, then fry mix for a few minutes until lamb is fully cooked. Add pine nuts and parsley and fry for 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Gather and prepare your other topping ingredients and set aside, ready for assembling.
Divide the dough into two or four pieces (depending on pizza size required). Using a floured rolling pin or your hands, roll each out onto well-floured surface into your pizza shape. Make sure surface is well-floured surface so dough doesn’t stick.
Spread each pizza base with hummus, then sprinkle each with approximately 1 tablespoon of mozzarella. Top with lamb, followed by spinach, zucchini and fetta. Finish with a generous sprinkle of sumac and a light sprinkle of mozzarella.
One at a time, cook pizzas in your pizza oven or on the pizza stone in your oven. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of your oven, but should be between 3 and 7 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over hot pizza. Yum!
How it played out
Made mostly as written—changing only two ingredients. I didn’t have any spinach on hand, but did have plenty of rocket (arugula), which I adore, so I reckon it was a great modification. Didn’t have quite enough toasted pine nuts, so topped up with toasted slivered almonds.
Always make my own hummus, which takes just a few minutes. This recipe is from my long-time friend, Elias, who is from the Middle East.
Simply whip out your food processor or blender, and prepare as noted. And if you love hummus, make a double batch so you have some left over.
1 clove of garlic, chopped (more if you like)
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2–2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
Add and buzz:
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (save a few for garnish)
juice of 1/2 a lemon (I usually use juice of a whole lemon)
Add and buzz:
2–3 tablespoons water (to get desired consistency). You won’t need much if you use the juice of the whole lemon
hummus on a plate
Drizzle and sprinkle with:
1/2–1 tablespoon oil
sweet paprika and chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
A kneading time wasn’t specified, but I figured that 5 minutes was more than adequate.
I opted to make two larger pizzas, using my hands and a rolling pin to get shapes something close to a circle. The second one looked more like a map of Tasmania.
I was also a little cavalier when it came to adding the toppings, using my own order. So I did hummus, then meat mixture, zucchini, rocket, cheeses and sumac.
We don’t have a pizza stone at our beach house, so I cranked the oven up to 250°C, and each pizza took about 10 minutes to brown nicely.
Neighbours knocked on the front door about the time this came out of the oven. ‘Oh, just a sliver,’ they said, and then promptly put out their plates for more. That’s what happens with a moorish recipe.
We all added extra salt and sumac (be heavy-handed if you like this flavour). Very nice to come across a recipe that makes use of non-typical pizza ingredients.
This isn’t your typical el-cheapo school fundraiser. It’s a classy book loaded with tempting and delicious-looking recipes and lovely colour photographs. Try resisting the sweet pictured on the cover.
I hope someone from the school has a chance to drop in and let us know how sales are going.
Update: Chris Jallard (see comments below) dropped in to say sales have already passed 2300—with a target of 4000. If anyone’s interested, and I highly recommend this cookbook, you can order through their website. Tell them Peggy sent you. 🙂 Not often you get so much value for what amounts to a $35 donation to such a worthwhile cause—the school library! Thanks to Berry Public School and all the families, chefs and businesses who contributed to the book.
P.S. Looking for some adventure? Be sure to check out my travel blog.