Franco Manca

By now I’m sure everyone knows that I love pizza – and if you don’t then where have you been? I swear I must have some italian blood in me from somewhere. Pizza is all kinds of awesome. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this, I can’t be can I? I mean there’s something so right about the perfectly soft yet crispy dough smothered in tomato sauce, sprinkled in cheese and piled with toppings, don’t you think?

So yes, I love pizza, which is why it surprised me when I discovered a pizza place nearby that I haven’t been to. I know it totally shocked me too. But it’s true. I was in Balham with Fi to meet a friend for lunch and said friend suggested we go to Franco Manca for pizza. When someone tells you it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had? Well obviously you jump at the chance to eat there. So it turns out that this friend of mine, she knows good pizza. Yippee for me as it was so so good.

The menu at Franco Manca is very small with six pizzas and two salads, plus daily specials. But you can customise your pizzas with extra toppings as you wish. I like this though as it meant I didn’t have too much to choose from, too much choice is always an issue for me. I ended up going for number 6, the tomato, cured organic chorizo (dry & semi-cured) and mozzarella. My two lunch companions chose number 4, a ham and  mushroom pizza. The service was super fast and our pizzas arriving within 10 minutes. Now I know pizza cooks quickly but this seemed amazing to me, especially as I was sitting next to the kitchen so I literally watched them make and then bake my pizza. So the pizzas arrived and they were so so good. Like mouth watering and delicious and so moorish. I didn’t want to stop eating! Plus they look pretty scrummy too.

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So if you are ever in London and happen to see any of these places then go in and start eating straight away.

Now if you after reading this you really want pizza, take a look at this homemade pizza post.

Lau xxx

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Pizza

I don’t know about anyone else but I absolutely love pizza, if I go to a restaurant and it’s on the menu then 99% of the time I will have to order it. But I’m incredibly fussy about the topping I like. I will only eat pizza with these toppings; any kind of cheese, tomatoes, spinach, ham, egg, tuna, ham, rocket or bacon. I’m sorry but if a pizza has any other ingredients added I will certainly be picking it off. Which inevitably causes problems as I end up with greasy fingers and cheese under my nails. To try and combat this problem, Fi and I have been trying to move away from ordering take away pizzas. Instead we’ve been making our own pizza dough, which allows us to create our own individual pizzas and feel less guilty about the number of calories we’re consuming, because let’s be honest, a homemade pizza isn’t going to be as bad for you as a shop bought one. It’s also become a staple dinner option when we’re catching up with friends.

So, on that note, here is the recipe that we use. Makes 4 individual pizzas.

500g strong white bread flour
1 sachet of dried yeast
1 tsp salt
2tbsp oil
360ml tepid water

Mix the yeast with the water and add the oil. Put the salt and flour into a large mixing bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix together to form a dough.

Turn out onto the work surface. The dough can be quite sticky at this point so make sure you sprinkle flour on the surface.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it’s stretchy and smooth. Place into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film and leave to rise for 90 mins in a warm place.

We like to leave this in the fridge over night instead, so we always make it the night before we need it.

Once risen divide the dough into four pieces (or into however many pizzas you want to make) and start to flatten out, honestly I’ve found that it’s easier to shape it with my hands, but if you’d prefer to roll it out with a pin then go that way. Once you’ve got your desired thickness, start to compile your pizza.

In our flat, this means liberally spreading the base with a tomato sauce. We use either our homemade tomato sauce (recipe to come soon) or a basic pasata from the cupboard. Next add your cheese and other toppings. This is where you can get adventurous – I’ve seen people add everything under the sun to their pizza while others are satisfied with just your basic mozzarella and tomato. That’s the beauty of making your own pizzas no arguments over toppings or eating something that you don’t really want.

So get your aprons on and start experimenting with base thickness and toppings. Let us know what your favourites are. Also keep an eye out for our homemade tomato sauce recipe coming soon.

– Lau