The lazy days of summer in the Bush call for relaxing times at the braai and around the pool. We have the cuzzies here to visit – D and D, H, Z squared and MJ. We’ve had some “lekker” braai’s but yesterday the craving for proper wood fired pizza struck. What to do? In the Bush. Miles away from civilisation (OK, that’s an exaggeration, probably only 30 mins from Hoedspruit), but not one of us motivated to go and seek out the holy grail of pizzas – a major quandary.
H decided we would make the pizza on the braai, but for this we needed to come up with some or other pizza oven. After sorting through pots and pans and coming up with a complete blank, I led the troops over to chalet 4 and the storeroom. We gingerly poked through various piles of old equipment and wooden poles – a proper snakes, spider, and scorpion hazard, and still no inspiration. Perhaps bricks would do the trick?
There are some old bricks and rocks in a pile at the back of the storeroom and we inspected these dejectedly, realising that building a pizza oven on top of a braai was really a little more advanced than our skill set (or level of motivation) allowed. The female part of Z squared is studying engineering, so we toyed, very briefly with the idea of major metalwork and soldering, but that thought process did not last long at all. Never mind a lack of equipment, in temperatures well above 30 degrees a soldering iron and safety wear would be like taking sauna in your own clothes!
Then, we suddenly had a breakthrough. Hubby discovered a cut off drum behind the caretaker’s cottage. My sense of hygiene revolted a little, but on further inspection, we realised it might do the trick. Out came the bleach and Handy Andy and after some heavy scrubbing, voila – one pizza oven ready for action. It even passed H’s hygiene scrutiny. I have to mention at this point that it was not the most aesthetically pleasing solution ever. But with a little imagination, we could overlook the fading green paint and rust and focus on the potential result – Wood fired pizza.
Some things are meant to be, and fate looked upon us kindly. The “pizza oven” fitted perfectly on the braai.
In the meantime, H prepared the pizza. She is no ordinary “cook”. She makes Jamie Oliver look like a rank amateur. She is the kind of chef who will find a way to add magic (and a shedload of chilli!) to any recipe. I would simply have plopped ready made pizza bases with a couple of ingredients onto a foil and carried on merrily. Luckily for me, when it comes to culinary cuisine, H would not have any of it. The pizza dough was lovingly hand-crafted and allowed to slowly rise over a couple of hours resulting in it being pliant and stretchy. The ingredients were painstakingly chopped and fried where required, and by evening, we were good to go.
The skeptic in me was still a little unsure of how well our “pizza oven” would work, and when I saw how manual the pizza insertion process was, I snuck off to make sure that my stash of Burn Shield was sufficient, just in case. The original Z and MJ handled the fire and the dome expertly and my initial concerns evaporated almost immediately. They were pros!
I am not fond of thick pizza base pizza (my offspring would completely disagree with me on this point). I would have to be ravenous to even consider eating it. Just as well because the base on this pizza was thin, crisp, and delicious. Words really cannot do it justice.
My favourite ingredient was the chilli olive oil that we bought from Spif Chicken in town a couple of months ago, but the bits of basil also added a unique twist. Thinly sliced braai meat from the previous night was the final flourish on some of the variations. The bubbly, cheesy, wood smoked result was delectable.
Best. Pizza. Ever.
A definite repeat of that braai coming up in the next week. I made sure I stocked up on mozzarella on my trip to Hoedspruit for provisions this morning!
Disclaimer: feel free to try this out, but preferably in full safety gear if you are going the “old drum on top of a braai route!”. We are not responsible for mishaps especially if the Braai Master has been ignoring Uncle Cyril’s beverage restrictions. Seriously peeps, rather buy a pizza oven!
Please remember to follow us on FB: Bateleur Lodge Moditlo and IG: allysbushtales and a share, as always, would be much appreciated.
#allysbushtales #pizzainthebush #braaiwithadifference #moditloestate #bateleurlodge