Pizza: a dish of Italian origin, consisting of a flat round base of dough baked with a topping of tomatoes and cheese, typically with added meat, fish, or vegetables.
My dad used to tell me “you should marry an Italian so you can eat pizza every day”. I Love pizza, ok, no let’s be honest, I am obsessed with pizza. Every birthday I only wanted to have pizza (I am the only pizza lover in my family), and eat it all by myself. I ended up getting married to a pizza lover, and I am not complaining.
So where did pizza originate? There seems to be an ongoing argument about where this fabulous meal originated, and it all depends on your definition of pizza. Some believe pizza (flat bread with cheese) was “invented” around the 5th or 6th centuries where Persian solders cooked flatbread on their shields. The cookbook of Marcus Gavius Apicius (it’s said he was the Gordon Ramsey of his time) contained one particular recipe where it called for flatbread topped with oil, chicken, garlic, peppers and cheese (by the way, one of my favourite combinations). Modern day pizza with tomato base only came about much later in the early 1500’s, when tomatoes were introduced into Europe. Naples lower class used these “demon” fruit and added oil and herbs to their concoction and produced the world’s first tomato sauce which gave rise to ‘modern’ pizza, named “Napoletana” pizza.
Today you can add anything to a pizza and it will be acceptable it seems. You can select a thin crust or deep dish, and in South Africa even a crust stuffed with cheese or sausage. You can add sweet or savoury toppings, whatever your heart desires. The latest craze seems to be the pot pie pizza (yes, I will try and make it LCHF friendly). Before our change in lifestyle we use to go out for pizza probably once a month and always order the same thing: thin crust with cream cheese, chicken, bacon, garlic and peppadews. And the key to this combination was the real wood fire ovens used.
Wood fire pizza stands out head and shoulders about any mass produced franchise pizza, or at least here in South Africa. So it was only logical that it would form part of our newly renovated “lapa”, I mean second to having a braai in any weather condition, now we can make pizza in our own wood fired pizza oven. We even named our home pizzeria – Alʹ Matos – yes we are obsessed.
The challenge came in when we changed our lifestyle. How can you indulge in the doughy heaven of a real pizza without the dough? Once again I took to Mr. Google to try and find a perfect recipe which will dampen the craving and still be enjoyable. The all famous Cauliflower pizza base was the first we tried. It was not bad and nobody believed me when I told them it is cauliflower, the only downfall was that it’s not very firm, so eating pizza with your hands (the only way to eat it) was a bit too messy.
We tried one of the shop bought seed flour pizza bases, which was firm enough to use in a wood fire pizza oven and we could eat it with our hands, but I am not a fan of seed flours. I felt full after 2 slices and the next day I was very bloated. So it was not a workable option for us either.
I then tried the Fat Head pizza base, made with mozzarella, cream cheese, eggs and almond flour and totally fell in love (again) with low carb pizza. It ticked all our boxes of expectations and the flavours were to die for. And we will most likely use this base from now on.
But, we have a much bigger challenge, finding a pizza base that does not contain dairy, eggs or nut flours. Little M can’t have any of those so for now she gets just a gluten free pizza base which contains rice and potato flour. I would love to hear from anybody that has cracked the code for the above combination.
Some of our favourite flavor combinations are:
1. Bacon, spinach, garlic and avocado
2. Cream cheese, chicken, peppadews and garlic
3. Bacon, mushrooms, peppers, garlic, chilies
4. Spicy mince (beef or ostrich) with mushrooms, peppadews and onions.
The great thing about making your own pizza is you can add whatever you like to it. Hubby added a few slices of banana once, I like some blue cheese and brie. Making pizza even when you are following a low carb lifestyle is such a fulfilling experience. We eat pizza at least once a month and each time we find new and exciting ways to top our pizza.
Hope you enjoy pizza and perhaps next time try a new flavour combination, you might be pleasantly surprised.