Recipe: Mozarella and asparagus pizza

Herbs for asparagus and mozzarella pizza

Herbs for asparagus and mozzarella pizza - Credit: Rodgers

This year staycations will again be the order of the day. The UK isn't cheap, but glamping is one of the more inexpensive options.

I'm a big fan of camping and self-catering because it gives me the chance to research and cook with local ingredients. I do like going to restaurants, but I mostly spend the meal wondering why I'm paying so much for something I could cook better myself.

A few hours drive from North London, Kate and Seb have set up Norfolk glamping site Round the Woods, with yurts dotted around a large meadow. Over the last couple of years they hand-built a permanent structure, the Willow Roundhouse, in a yurt-type design based on eco principles: walls made from straw bales, a compost toilet and a woodburner. There is a large skylight in the middle, with interlacing oak struts like the aperture of a camera lens. On the floor they've created a wooden 'mosaic' of a tree.  It's both modern and rustic. Take wellies and slippers.

Before you set off, check out the facilities. Round the Woods has a pizza oven so I started my pizza before leaving Kilburn and took my dough on holiday in a big cling-filmed bowl in the boot. By the time I arrived, the mixture was trying to escape so I hastily shoved it back in to the main body of dough. Lacking a spare tea towel, I used a bed sheet to cover the dough as it rose again! You've got to be creative and resourceful when glamping.

Foraging for nettles in Norfolk

Foraging for nettles in Norfolk - Credit: Rodgers

I made use of  local Norfolk ingredients such as asparagus and Mrs Temple's Binham blue cheese. I picked early morning nettles (do this away from the road, wear gloves and pick the tender tops), wild garlic and three cornered leeks. In a few weeks time you could add locally foraged samphire to your pizza. 

Nettle and mozzarella pizza made in Norfolk

Nettle and mozzarella pizza made in Norfolk - Credit: Kerstin Rodgers


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Asparagus and nettle pizza with mozzarella or Norfolk cheese (makes 2 or 3 pizzas

I've used Richard Bertinet's basic olive oil dough as a base. I leave it a few days to catch a few wild yeasts in the air, giving a sourdough flavour to the base.

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Ingredients:

For the dough:
500 g strong flour
20 g semolina
320 g water
50 g olive oil
20 g sea salt
20 g yeast (use fresh or fast action, if using fresh use double)

For the topping:
500 g slim asparagus
2 balls mozzarella or Norfolk Binham blue cheese
handful stinging nettle tops
handful of other foraged herbs. I used wild garlic/three cornered leek flowers/sage leaves/flowering rosemary/wild fennel/chickweed
50 ml olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Method:
If using a machine, add the water (cold) and olive oil first. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until it is coming away from the sides. Then knead and fold by hand for a few minutes.

If making by hand, add the flour, salt, semolina first. Then add the water, yeast, and oil. Form a cohesive ball of dough.
Then( for both methods): leave in an oiled covered bowl in a cool place for a day or until doubled in size.
Finally cut the dough in two or three parts, depending on how big you want your pizzas.
Preheat your oven. If using a pizza oven, start burning the wood about an hour and a half beforehand. When the wood has burned down, push the coals aside -you don't want a mouthful of burning coals.
Using your hands rather than a rolling pin, carefully stretch the dough into a circle. The edges should be thicker. Try not to squash any bubbles in the dough. Place either on parchment paper or on a peel.
Or put into an oiled oven tray, letting the dough spread out naturally with some gentle pressing.
Add your toppings and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Put in a very hot pizza oven or normal oven- minimum 350C. it should bake in about ten minutes.

Book the Willow Roundhouse at https://www.roundthewoods.co.uk/roundhouse

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