Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pizza and changes


Ok, so I haven't been totally honest with you.

Or rather, recently I have been omitting a part of my life in this blog for various reasons. First of all, because I was waiting for a certain outcome before mentioning it. Secondly, because my blog is my happy place and I do not want the stress of my daily life to permeate it. 

There has been a lot of stuff going on at work. Let's just say finance is not a great place to be working these days.

Our division was sold and we are moving in a matter of days. The saga started over a year ago (yes, it has been a long, exhausting wait) but the last few months, the last few weeks in particular, have been a whirlwind of meetings with management and unions. There has been a lot of whispering by the coffee machine. Each and every person has a point of view, and not one is positive.

It has been emotionally taxing to say the least. All this talk, these conspirancy theories day in and day out have really worn us out and eroded what little self assurance we still had. We have said goodbye to friends and colleagues who were moved to other departments or offices after working together for many years. We have watched our team fall apart over more or less serious issues. People we trusted disappointed us, we have been left guessing about our future and what lies ahead of us.

There was no clarity, no certainty until yesterday.

Now we know. Some of it is good and some is bad.

We still have a job. And a nice office right in the center of town that I can bike to.

Something you don't take for granted when you find out you might have to wake up at 5am to get to work (in a dangerous place right by the urban fringe) by 7am, even on holidays, due to the nature of our jobs. And that you might have to pay for help on the same salary and that you may only get to see your children for an hour a day before bedtime. So yes, I am grateful.

But these deals never take place without some damage, some loss, some resentment. Things will not be the same. And the future still holds a lot of uncertainty.

I have gotten through this year by remembering how fortunate I am and how some people I care about are experiencing much more difficult circumstances right now. It helped me to keep in mind that these are minor mishappenings in the course of life. I have focused on the one thing that gives me strength and that pushes me forward.

My family. My husband and my children.

Knowing that they are there for me at the end of a long day. Knowing they are healthy and that we all have each other. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job, the indipendence it gives me. I love being out there in the world, doing my part. But ultimately I work to live and not the other way around.

So what better recipe to write about than the pizza we made last week end. It was a true family effort, teamwork, little and big hands working together to prepare our evening meal. It felt so good, sitting in the kitchen together, music blasting from the IPod, laughing and making a mess. My children were so excited, the room was warm and cozy despite the first autumn chill in the air. I knew once again that this is all I needed to be happy. 

It was good but for one thing. I made the mistake of trying out something I knew I would probably regret. When I was at the supermarket I saw that an upscale brand of buffalo mozzarella was marketing a new kind for pizza. I was tempted, although I usually know better than to buy mozzarella for pizza rather than the real thing. It melted well and stayed more gooey whe cooling down but it burnt easily. This somewhat ruined the pizza because I had to take it out earlier than I had planned to and the bottom crust was a little undercooked. Luisa's (or should I say Jamie Oliver's?) recipe was certainly not to blame.

Please, bear with me if my posts slow down a bit in the weeks to come. I may need a little extra time to adjust, to figure out where I stand, to make all the parts of my day fit together in a new routine. I will still be cooking and thinking up things to write, it may just take a little longer to share.


3 1/2 cups flour 
about 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 packet active dry yeast/ 7gr instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

tomato sauce
buffalo mozzarella
olive oil

Put flour into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. In another bowl mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil with the water and let stand for a few minutes. Pour into the well. Using a fork, slowly work the flour inwards towards the liquid from the sides. Sprinkle in the salt. Keep mixing and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with clean, flour-dusted hands or in a stand mixer. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
Oil a bowl lightly and place in the ball of dough and turn to coat it with oil. Then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it in a warm place for about an hour. When you uncover it the dough will have doubled in size.
Dust a surface with flour and gently punch to deflate it with your hands. The dough can then be frozen or stored in the fridge. If you make your pizza immediately, pat out the dough onto the oven pan or make individual pizzas. Let the dough rest about 15 minutes before cooking it. Top with whatever ingredients you like and bake in a very hot, preheated oven (I baked it at 250°C on the top rack) for about 10 minutes for thicker pizza (less if the dough is very thin), until crunchy and bubbling.
We topped our pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies and olive oil.



  1. Well, maybe pizza wasn't perfect, but a family pizza always is! :)
    I'm sorry to hear about your work problems, but I think that in these days there are only a few people without working problems... :S

  2. I adore homemade pizza...even if the cheese wasn't ideal it's the sharing time with your family, cooking wonderful recipes, breaking bread that really count. Sorry to hear you've had such a tough time of it over the last year, but hopefully the simple joys of food and family will win through in the end :-)

  3. I love that this was a true group effort! You are lucky to have the comfort and support of your family in times like these!

    I'm right there with ya in the busy department, and I'll be here waiting for you when you have the time =)

  4. Fiona, I wish you all the best in this very difficult time and we will always be here cheering you on from the other side of the plate :) By the way that pizza looks delicious!

  5. we never know what lies ahead but we know we need each other to get us through. such a moving post and am glad your family were there for you. The pizza looks delicious since it was made by the whole family, I guess you enjoyed eating it. Love the photos.

  6. I don't see anything wrong with that pizza! Actually it looks awesome! Reminds me of the pizza I made at home using pasta da pane!
    Sorry about work, but it sounds like the worse part is over now

  7. A huge truth i have learned in Italy is that family and pizza always help in difficult times. I hope the adjustment goes well.

  8. We're going through some similar moments in my office as well. These are not happy times. Good to know that, for now at least, the worst is over. And of course, pizza helps!

  9. Hi all (hello Frank, nice to meet you!), thank you for your encouragement. These days so many of us are going through tough times, it is not an easy moment for any economy. Things are looking up, the first days at the new job are tiring but going ok. Looking forward to sharing a new post and wish all of you in the same situation good luck.

  10. Thank you for sharing on my blog-hop!


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