Whoever came up with the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side” is genius. It’s such a simple phrase yet it’s profoundly true on so many levels. I think, sometimes, the sum total of our existence boils down to that.
I’ve built a coping mechanism, if I can call it that – whenever I have a strong craving, could be a beautiful country that I want to live in, I play this phrase in my mind and then this form of absolute contentment creeps in, to put my desire to rest temporarily.
Of all things, the reason why I thought of writing about this popular phrase today is the rains. It’s practically raining all day in Bombay and that’s not something unexpected considering it’s the monsoons.
The sky is perennially a deep grey and it’s almost as though the trees and flowers have been given a fresh coat of painting; they spontaneously become prettier. The smell of rain is rather intoxicating, to the point that you don’t want to get out of your bed.
There is nothing quite romantic as the rains. However, when you’ve been engulfed by greyness and the sun hasn’t so much as peeked at you in a long time, the romance slowly withers away and the next thing you know, you are begging for a ray of sunshine. That’s the kind of situation I am in right now.
On the brighter side, this weather is great for eating all things delicious. And there’s nothing more therapeutic than rainy day baking. I had the perfect ingredients for a delicious homemade pizza. Steaming, unctuous pizzas with a side of rain, what more can one ask for?
For pizza dough
- 325 g (2 ½ cups) plain flour
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For pizza topping
- ¼ cup yellow pumpkin, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup zucchini, peeled into strips
- ¼ cup onion, sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced into rounds
- ½ cup provolone, grated (you can use parmesan or any kind of blue cheese)
- 1 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (or dry herbs like basil, oregano…)
- Extra virgin olive oil, to top
Makes 4 small pizzas or 2 big pizzas
- Combine flour and salt in a big bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside.
- Combine lukewarm water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Whisk together and set aside for 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the well created. Using your hands, mix the dough until it comes together.
- Tip the dough on a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough springs back to your touch.
- Make a ball out of the dough and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and allow it to rest for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C. If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven. Otherwise a normal baking sheet will do.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Using your hands, flatten each piece and stretch it towards the side to spread it. You can use a rolling pin to get a really thin crust. Dust a pizza peel with semolina or polenta. Place the pizza on the peel. Top it with all the chopped vegetables, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle cheese. Push the pizza into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Repeat for all pizzas. Serve immediately.
Note: if you don’t have a pizza peel, a chopping board with a handle will work just fine.