Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Binge - Pizza, Swine & The Mid-Year Slog

There is more than just swine flu in the air. There’s also cabin fever going on, stuck at home as we are, fully supporting our kids’ midyear exam slog. How can we potter out for dinner while they’ve got their faces buried in books, noses firmly mashed to the grindstone, such being the unhappy product of our sunny island’s much lauded education system?
And like many moms valiantly trying to help our offspring, I too have been entrenched of late in the P4 syllabus, explaining the principles of English grammar, matter and the lifecycles of various creatures. What matter is it that 10 May is Mother’s Day? Isn’t 11 May the English paper?....I suspect many are staying at home this weekend, whether for the sake of the swine or the slog.

Which brings to mind – buying dinner in on the weekend and pizza - a typical ‘buy in for dinner’ food.

After once waiting over an hour and a half for a pizza delivery to appear, I have changed my pizza buying strategy to something a lot more primitive - I’d take the short drive out to buy the pizza from the restaurant and bring it home myself. This works for me as I get the pizza faster, fresher, crisper and warmer, too. I spare myself the seethingly long wait for a typical pizza delivery which, if dragged for anything beyond 45 minutes, sets me pacing up and down my living room like a tiger in a temper, eye on the front gate and ready to jump on someone’s jugular.

Good pizzas these days are plentiful, and priced as competitively as lousy pizza. So why settle for mediocre ones, especially when many of them deliver too?

Recently I was reminded that Spizza (Tel: 6377 7773), which does islandwide deliveries ($3-$6) does really good thin-crust ones. Considering its part of the Senso group, their pizzas at $22 are reasonable, and they offer pastas, salads and even wine ($16 a bottle), too.

I’ve also been nipping out to Etna (110 Upper East Coast Road, Tel: 6444 9530), a little Sicilian restaurant near my place. Helmed by Italian chefs and patronized by neighbourhood Italians, it does a roaring business of take away pizzas. And because I am quite happy to drive there and buy it back, I avail myself to the entire menu too, which includes really good pasta and desserts (yay). Best that I’ve tried are the carbonara, scallop linguine with pink sauce, the margherita and etna pizza….gorgeous stuff including the best pizzas in the east! If my memory serves me correctly, the pizzas go for $19 and pastas start at about $16. At these prices, I ask again – why would anyone settle for middling thick crust pizza? Plus, if you live near enough, I think they do deliveries too.

And finally, assembling a pizza the cheat’s way is an inexpensive alternative to buying in. I like Dr Oetker’s pizzas which is probably the best frozen pizza you can get from the supermarket. While the toppings are decent, I pile on additional ingredients before bunging it in the oven. You can get these pizzas in most supermarkets, even in the heartland supermarkets like Shop n Save in Bedok. But if there’s a ‘naked’ store-bought pizza crust in the freezer, I like to get a little creative with the toppings and add a ‘bit of Asia’ to it and wash it down with beer or an Alsace riesling. Shall I share a little recipe?

Green Curry Pizza
Serves 2-3 hungry bears

1 store bought pizza crust, 12 inches
1 packet green curry paste
1 small handful Thai basil leaves and mint
2 cups left over roast chicken, or pan fried chicken, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, thickly sliced
1 cup shredded mozarella
1 red chilli, sliced

1. Smear the curry paste over the pizza base.
2. Arrange the ingredients (except herbs) over it, bake for about 15 minutes at 180C.
3. Top with basil and mint leaves and serve it up.

by ew


Anonymous said...

Yummy. Am going to rush out and buy all those pizzas you have described. Great blog. Keep up the good work.

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