I Heart My Friends: Grilled Pizza Two Ways by Chasing Delicious


Just under a year ago I was trawling through food blogs, as you do, bookmarking recipes and researching new foods, when I stumbled across Russell and his lovely little blog Chasing Delicious, based in Texas. It was a brilliant name and the more I read Russell’s stunning prose, gazed upon his beautiful photography and laughed heartily at his wit, the more I came to realise that his blog name was entirely apt for his being.

Over time Russell and I have become great friends (though we missed each other when I was in Texas, sadly), I’m even a contributor now for the new format of Chasing Delicious. He is charming, gorgeous and downright hilarious, and I’m absolutely thrilled that he offered to write me a guest post today, as well as incredibly honoured that this is the first one he’s ever written. And you know what? Russell being the way he is couldn’t just give you one recipe, no, he’s given you two different variations of his grilled pizza with room for more! That’s just the kinda chap he is! So, I’ll leave you in Russell’s more than capable hands – thank you, my dear!

The bright glare of the eager morning sun begins to break through the curtains in my small, cozy hotel room highlighting the hundreds of years of blemishes and scars the walls hold dear. The busy sounds of shops opening and tourists gallivanting about on the narrow, foreign street below seep in with the burgeoning sun. I resist the urge to join the masses. I’m on vacation. I can afford to sleep in. The curtains, now failing at keeping the sun from my room, simply diffuse the bright morning light bathing me and the ancient room in an idyllic glow. The smells of cured meats and baking breads begin to waft in to my room perched not far above a collection of delicious shops. Each wave redolent of delicious perfection tempts and tantalizes my virgin nose. Suddenly a smell so very familiar and comfortable dances its way to me. I am enveloped in the beautiful aromas of bread, strong scents of melted cheeses and the just slightly pungent, acidic fragrance of a perfected-over-the-generations tomato sauce.

I can no longer resist. I leap from my not-so-comfortable hotel bed and throw on whatever clothes happen to be on top of the pile so delicately stashed in my suitcase. I run to my brother’s room seeking a partner for my culinary journey and to my astonishment the king of sleeping in is already awake and sporting the same eager, excited face as I. Clearly he has smelled the pizza as well. We run to the stairwell, leaping down three steps at a time taking little care to hide our anticipation. Our gallop comes to an abrupt stop as we reach the open hotel doors, beyond them is the pristine, perfect-in-all-ways, better-than-a-post-card venetian street. Our looks of excitement change to pure flabbergast. We are two foodies obsessed with pastas, pizzas and soccer, and we’re in the motherland. With little more than a thought we merge into the human traffic flowing down the narrow streets weaving our way in and out, up and down, through and past one small street after the other. Our noses do the work. We simply glide along waiting for the smell of perfection to bring us to our first pizza shop.


I’ll Take My Christmas Pizza To Go – Fire & Stone, Spitalfields


Every so often in life two great pairings come along, ones that blow your mind and change the course of life as you know it. Romeo and Juliet. Fred and Ginger. Sonny and Cher. Cheech and Chong. Starsky and Hutch. Turner and Hooch. Christmas and pizza.

Wait, what? That’s right, Christmas and pizza. When I heard that Fire & Stone had a special Christmas pizza on offer that boasted a gravy base with turkey, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and brie on it, I called up the Young & Poor team and demanded that we have our Christmas party there. Christmas pizza?! How could you not be intrigued.


Project Food Blog Entry #5: Recipe Remix – Coming To Terms With Pizza


So here we are again. Round five of Project Food Blog hosted by Foodbuzz.com. Can you believe it?! Halfway into the competition and still standing. As the only Brit left I’m slightly shocked, and also incredibly grateful. Thank you for voting for me, for all your wonderful comments and emails – I’m very appreciative, as is Nom Man, who was so happy he devoured the remaining chocolate truffles and promptly fell into a sugar coma. So he’ll be absent from this post, but he said to tell you that, ahem: “NOM MAN SAY HE LOVE YOU”. So. There you go.

For this round we were told to create our own version of pizza.

So I’m a little weird. A little?! I hear you ask; yeah, okay, I’m a lot weird, but one of the weirdest things about me is that whilst I am happy to eat pretty much anything on my plate, offal, chicken feet, fish eyeballs (yes, I have been there), I… well… I don’t like pizza. I don’t know what it is about pizza that I so dislike: it’s too… bread-y? Or greasy? Or just… bland? Maybe a combination of all three. I’ve had people who have tried to convince me otherwise, have made me deep-dish, thin-crust, Italian, Chicago – baby, I’ve tried ‘em all – and the only two I’ve vaguely liked were Otto Pizza’s cornmeal crust pizzas, and a thin-crust I made with David. But still, when given a choice, I’m not going to go for the pizza. Sorry. Maybe that makes me a little insane (a little more insane), but it just ain’t my thing.


"I Just Want More Crust" – Otto Pizza For The Win!


I first heard about Otto Pizza from two girls I work with. They’re sisters, and apparently one of the best friends of their older brother had gone travelling around America, tasted a cornmeal crust pizza, come back to London, quit his job and gone all in on the UK’s first cornmeal crust pizza joint. Now I’m not a fan of pizza – I find it greasy, stodgy and too… well, bread-y – but both girls were insisting that Otto was the place to go. “The cornmeal crust,” they insisted, “is out of this world. And their toppings are awesome. You’ve got to try ’em out. You’d really like it.”

Despite this praise I was still unconvinced until I went home, did a little research and discovered that Rich and Tom, the co-owners of Otto Pizza, hadn’t just gone anywhere in the States, they’d gone to Dove Vivi in Portland, OR. Portland. My home for a year. Foodie heaven. The place I’ve been trying to get back to ever since I lived there. That did it – I was sold, and I hadn’t even tried the pizza yet.


A-Pizza, A-Pasta, We All Fall Down


I’ve never been a fan of pizza. I can’t quite place my finger on it, I think it’s because whenever I eat it I feel greasy and bloated afterwards, and there’s too much bread. That sounds ridiculous because I like bread, but pizza feels like an effort to eat – it’s too doughy, y’know? I have to really chew my way through that sucker, and the entire time I’m eating it I’m thinking that I’d really rather have something else. I also think that all pizzas end up tasting the same, no matter what topping you put on it. It’s just a big, greasy, clumpy mess of bread and cheese.

Most people think I’m insane for not liking pizza, a friend of mine once said that it was the perfect meal: “You’ve got your carbs, your protein, your fat and your vegetables. What could be better?” I think I pulled a face and walked away in disgust. The boyfriend loves pizza and had been telling me for a while that he would make me a pizza someday and I’d love it. When we were in Spain that occasion finally arose, except that I was the one making the pizza, and he did the toppings. Or at least one of the toppings. As he said, “the topping is the easy part” – gee, thanks for leaving me with the hard part, David!

What came from our pizza endeavours were two very large, rectangular pizzas, a chorizo, mozzarella, onion, pepper and mushroom pizza, and a goat’s cheese, rocket, sundried tomato and olive pizza. The former was a wee bit oily, thanks to the chorizo, but the latter was amazingly crisp, crunchy and delicious. I even ate two slices. I have now discovered that I like thin-crust, crunchy-base pizza. I’ll even eat the crusts, something I never normally do.