12inchpetetreat

The place where pizza comes to be written about

Introducing the concept of The Time When Only A Pizza Will Do

I have come to realise in my time doing this blog, which continues to shock and provoke with every new entry, that there are some times when only a pizza will do of an evening. With that in mind, I have created an entirely new concept, that of The Time When Only A Pizza Will Do, or TTWOAPWD for short. It’s pronounced “tertwope-wudder” in case you were wondering.

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I had one last night. I had a TTWOAPWD and so I indulged it by dialling up my friends in Streatham and ordering this…

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The pizza that I ordered last night, who now lives in my stomach

…which is a medium stuffed crust from Dominos with chorizo, chicken and extra cheese, which I then dusted with Cajun spices because that, my nizzles, is how I roll. As I nibbled away at its cheesy finery, I expunged all doubts and feelings of dietary guilt from my mind. This, after all, was a TTWOAPWD – that pizza and its smooth transition into my digestive system was as inevitable as the coming of the night, the rising of the sun the next day, and the bottle of Shiraz that washed it down. What was I supposed to do on a TTWOAPWD? Make myself a tuna pasta bake?

So, what makes a TTWOAPWD? I would say that a combination of at least three of the following factors:

1) Personal or emotional upheaval. And there has been plenty of that recently – indeed, by the time the next instalment of this sporadic blog comes up, I expect to be writing it in a new home, as the delights of Tulse Hill grow worn and tattered before my very eyes. Call me a snob, but there’s only so much dogshit I can take.

A man experiencing personal upheaval, last night

2) A bad day at the office. A classic influencing factor in any TTWOAPWD and one that should be familiar to those members of what I call “la cosa pizza nostra” everywhere.

3) The desire to pamper oneself. Because what could be more pampering, more self-loving, then kicking back on a chaise longue, ordering a pizza such as the one depicted above, and getting gently pissed over a couple of episodes of Game Of Thrones? I can honestly only think of masturbation.

4) A general all-pervasive air of sadness. I have this all the time so technically every night should be a TTWOAPWD, but I just don’t think my heart would take the strain.

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A man exhibiting an all-pervasive air of sadness, last week

5) Withdrawal. When I gave in to the call of the TTWOAPWD last night, it was my first pizza for over a week, including self-constructed ones, and well, it’s obvious that that kind of nonsense isn’t going to sustain itself.

6) Big Life Decisions playing on one’s mind. Sometimes, it’s nice to switch off the brain when it has much to occupy it, and give it some rest. Well, the simple decision to get a pizza is like providing the tired mind with a doughy, cheese-coated pillow on which to gain sweet repose, which should be one of the ultimate aims of the TTWOAPWD.

Well, by my reckoning I scored 4.5 out of 6 for the above criteria, which more than qualified me for indulging in a TTWOAPWD, and I’m happy to report that it was one of the very finest. I was slightly weirded out by the fact that I tweeted the Dominos UK Twitter account to ask them for suggestions as to what I should have and they got it exactly right though. That rather suggests that they are watching me and listening to my calls. They’re probably reading this. I’d better stop now. But before I do, here’s a picture from Game Of Thrones. You need to get on this if you haven’t already. As a last word, I’d like to send out a big shout-out to Ben Hughes, a blogger right up there with the very best of them. He reads this blog and I’m very proud to know him. 12 Inch Pete Treat is all the richer for his support. *waves at Ben*

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He's frowning because pizzas haven't been invented yet

Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s here: the barbecue stuffed crust from Dominos, y’all!

I feel like I have let you down. I really do. Because this week something new, something momentous, something motherfucking EPOCHAL hit the pizza world, and I didn’t even know it was coming. In fact, if I hadn’t gazed idly upon my Twitter feed at about 4.45 in the PM on Monday, I would never even have known. I would never have known to discharge my work responsibilities as quickly as I could, nor to sprint to the station as fast as my corpulent dough-swollen legs could carry me. I would never have known to push people out the way, hurl myself through the door of the first train south, and bribe the driver to go barreling through red signals to get me home faster. Basically, on Monday, I had no idea that Dominos were unveiling a new, barbecue and mozzerella stuffed crust on that very day. And I call myself a pizza blogger with an ear to the grapevine? I’m a fraud.

She is giving me evils because I am a fraud

Anyhoo, self-loathing aside, I was straight back to Cashmore Acres and on the blower to my local branch of D-Spots (that’s my cool hip-hop nickname for Dominos, which I have just this second come up with and never used before in my life) to test out this new crust of theirs. To insure myself lest it turn out to be a disaster, because heck, some ideas just sound better on paper than they do in the real world, I ordered a medium with spicy sausage and beef, and then popped open a Shiraz to wish it down. And within the stated half hour, this bad boy showed up.

My first ever barbecue stuffed crust pizza

Well, at the risk of starting to sound like some kind of brainwashed Dominos cult member who works 20 hour days in the communal fields harvesting chorizo all day for the good of the community, they really have hit the ball out of the park with this one. Chiefly because, well, it’s a stuffed edge pizza with barbecue sauce and mozzerella in it, what could possibly have gone wrong? Just look at it. Look at its sensual response to the Cashmore pinch. And look at that juicy sweet beef too. And who’s that peeking in coyly from both sides? Why, it’s Mister Sausage!

Squeeze me, for I am good

So, yeah. Completely fucking amazing, 10/10, pizza delivery will never be the same again, etc. But just to confirm that I am absolutely positively not in the pay of Dominos, here is an image to end things that will once and for all confirm my absolute impartiality. Barbecue stuffed crust, people. The future is now.

We will not be accused of favouritism

Filed under: My favourite pizzas

Pizza and a box set: The brilliance of The Wire, and my presence in it

Bubbles: has troubles

This one is going out to Luke Mackay, who can probably make a better pizza than I ever will.

Last month, for a variety of reasons, I was more or less forced into doing something drastic, and joining a gymnasium. I’m not happy about it, but them’s the breaks. I am also cycling to work a lot too, and not eating as much pizza, hence the rather scattered nature of recent postings hereon. Anyway, what all this exercise means is that I am usually spark out by about 10pm, and also rather knackered when I get home from work. So knackered am I, on occasion, that I don’t want to cook, as was the case last night. And last night, after a few good weeks of restraint, I folded, and got Dominos on the blower. And then I put on season one of The Wire, a dinner/DVD decision which was taken by many of my peers to be a good one (see below).

Praise for my decision to get a pizza and watch The Wire

I love The Wire. I know it’s a cliché nowadays to say it’s the best TV show in the entire history of ever, but some clichés, of course, become clichés because they stem from a kernel of absolute truth. The Wire really is that good, and in loving it as I do, I am simply exhibiting basic good sense and taste. But there’s another reason why I love it, which is that YOU CAN SEE MY WORK ON SCREEN IN EVERY SERIES OF THE WIRE. Yes, in a roundabout way, something that I wrought with my own fair hands, appears in every series of The Best TV Show That Ever There Was.

Jimmy McNulty: judgment sometimes faulty

Okay, to explain. Regular visitors to this virtual pizzeria will know that my first job was as a sub-editor, and then as a deputy editor, on a porn magazine, specifically Club magazine for the US market. You may even recall that, for a time, I was the ghost writer for Jenna Jameson, and, given the amount of hits that the merest presence of her name generated for this tinpot organisation the last time I mentioned her name, I am happy to reiterate this point once more.

I was there when we did this photoshoot!

Now, in the grand scheme of porn magazine things, Club magazine came a very distant fourth place behind the Big Three of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler, none of whom actually consider themselves to be porn magazines, bless them. Club was very much the leader in a chasing pack that included the likes of Swank, High Society, Cheri, Genesis, and crikey, I really am trolling for blog hits now.

Carver and Herc: puttin' in work

We may not have sold much, but one thing Club was very good at was getting ourselves product placement in films and TV shows – our team aggressively targeted film studios and TV companies to let them know that, if they needed adult magazines as a prop for a scene, Club would be happy to furnish them with all the copies they needed, something which the Big Three apparently refrained from doing. As a result, you can see copies of Club festooned about the place in the likes of Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin… Indeed, in Little Miss Sunshine, when the camper van is pulled over by a cop and he finds a stash of porn magazines in the trunk, he picks up a copy of The Best Of Club that I compiled, and you can quite clearly make out the cover line ‘Janine Shakes It In Your Face’ – and that’s one of mine! Likewise, when Michael Madsen is killed in Kill Bill 2, he falls over and knocks over a huge pile of Club magazines in his trailer. The top one falls open at the Up Front section, a porn news round-up WRITTEN BY ME – it’s at 1:37 on the clip to which I have linked.

Dead Michael Madsen and some smut that I wrote

Anyway. One of the TV shows who embraced the presence of Club magazine the most enthusiastically was The Wire – it’s up there in every series, and indeed I once asked the show’s creator David Simon about its recurrence and he revealed that it became a bit of a running gag in the show. I hesitate to ever use the phrase “how cool is that?” but HOW COOL IS THAT? Anyway, the long and short of it is that every issue of Club magazine that is featured in The Wire comes from my spell as deputy editor, when one of my duties was the writing of pithy, amusing, often distressingly pun-laded lines for the cover. So when, in season one, Herc is seen reading a copy of the magazine while on a stake-out, that’s my work you can see there being clutched by his meaty mitts. In season two, when dockers’ union boss Frank Sobotka’s flabby sidekick Horseface is seen leering at a copy, he is leering at something WHAT I MADE. Seasons three and four see Jay Landesman reading well-thumbed copies around his office, well-thumbed because MY PUNS WERE SO BLOODY GOOD. And it also features in season five, although I can’t for the life of me remember where, because that’s my least favourite season. Everybody knows that journalists aren’t that noble.

Omar Little: indeed

So there you have it. The Wire, and my tenuous but not completely unremarkable presence in it. All that remains is to report that I accompanied the first two episodes of season one with a medium stuffed crust with chicken and spicy beef from Dominos and it was ace – the base was as thin as I think as I’ve ever had on a stuffed crust, while the crust itself was extravagantly plump and oozing piping herby cheese. Simple pleasures, dear pizza lovers, simple pleasures.

To finish, lest we forget what this blog is all about, here's the pizza I had last night

Filed under: Movie And A Pizza, Uncategorized, Weird stuff from the pizza world

If you want the pizza of your dreams… you’ve gotta Do It Yourself

I like seafood. I like pizzas. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that I like seafood pizzas. How much do I like them? I like them so much that I would punch a corgi to death on live TV, on the day of the Queen’s Jubilee, naked except for one injudiciously positioned bill-sized envelope complete with plastic window for the address, so you can basically see everything anyway, if there was a seafood pizza at the end of it. I LOVE SEAFOOD PIZZAS. Have you got that?

However, because I live in England rather than one of the world’s civilised nations, my options for seafood pizza from a regular delivery outlet are not great. None of the major retailers do decent ones (Pizza Hut doesn’t do one, likewise Dominos, likewise Papa John’s) and even if you are NOT one of the major delivery outlets, your idea of a seafood pizza probably means tuna (which I don’t like), anchovies (which will stink your flat out) and prawns.

That is not what I want on my seafood pizza. Yes, I want prawns, but I want lots of them, a veritable carpet of the little pink fuckers, effectively forming a second “sauce” between the tomato and the major toppings. Then I want squid – and I’m not talking about horrid rubbery rings of calamari, I’m talking fat, meaty chunks of squid the size of meatballs. And then, above all, I want scallops because scallops are AWESOME. But where am I going to get a seafood pizza like this? Why, with all that going on, I’m going to have to make it myself!

So I made it myself.

This is the pizza I made before it was was cooked on my dead fancy pizza stone

At the moment, Sainsbury’s do a mighty fine pizza base from which to work from, just the right thickness to be indulgent but to still allow you to think you are pursuing a healthier option. So I used one of those on top of my fancy new pizza stone, which is already starting to yield results. After a thin layer of pizza sauce, on went an almost complete blanket of tiny ickle prawns, and then oodles of squid and ten scallops, pre-fried to the point that they were sealed and edible. Then some olive oil, chilli flakes, a little bit of grated Gran Padano and onto the by-now-piping-hot pizza stone for 12 minutes at Gas Mark 7. And here’s what came out the other end.

Look at me! Look at how delicious I am!

Now, I know I would say this, I KNOW that I would. But for the expenditure of about £6.50 and the minimum of effort, I got the pizza that I have been more or less dreaming of constantly for the last several months (even while awake and in conversation with other people), and enough leftovers to do it again with anchovies two nights later. Dicing with food poisoning, yes, but it was worth it and besides, I could do with losing the weight. This just goes to prove two old sayings: firstly, that if something’s worth doing, you should do it yourself, and secondly, that scallops are THE FUCKING NUTS.

Did you hear that? I just said something nice about you.

Filed under: How to..., My favourite pizzas

The first pizza of a new era!

Yippee! Whizz! Bang! Eeeeek!

Happy new year! And indeed it is a happy new year for some of you, although God only knows why. Perhaps you have a fulfilling job or a healthy bank balance or work somewhere sunny or something, in which case, what are you even DOING HERE? Why do you even need the quirky mixture of irreverence and recipe tips that is 12 Inch Pete Treat? You’ve already got it going on! You don’t need this! Go on, be off with you! Sorry if I seem to be in a bad mood, but in the last half an hour alone I have been emailed pictures of a man in a Santa hat with a ruptured scrotum, and some CCTV footage of a woman defecating in a supermarket aisle. WHY?

Yes, it’s 2012 (insert “which means the world is going to end this year” style comment here) and I have started it as I mean to go on – with a pizza. Yesterday, you see, was January 3rd, which is deemed by those in the know to be “the most depressing day of the year”, and it’s fair to say that I didn’t exactly skip home whistling Dixie and yelping cheery halloos to woodland creatures as I passed them gleefully by. It pissed down with rain, I felt like crap – and when that happens, ladies and germs, only a stomach full of pizza is going to ease my woes.

So I decided to go for the supermarket option. No, don’t worry, I haven’t gone mad, it’s just that it’s that time of year when fiduciary concerns (rather than my appalling diet) lead to a tightening of the old belt, and besides, me and The Better Half have decided to boycott Papa John’s for a while, while they attempt to address their “total inability to get a customer’s order right” gremlins to a satisfactory degree. So I went to Co-Op, picked up one of their fancy thin crust margueritas (which come with a dusting of pesto and baby plum tomatoes) and pimped it with some of our left-over New Year’s Eve salami and some turkey breast, and then gave it a little injection of tabasco just so that I’d know it meant business. I then baked it on my fancy new pizza stone that I got for Christmas. And here is the resultant pizza, nestling snugly on my legs.

Legs: model's own

Well, I can report that my first pizza of 2012 was solid, tasty without being spectacular, and lifted me out of my rain-soaked ennui into a much heartier mindframe, accompanied as it was by a bottle of Chilean Shiraz and the excellent Deadheads, which is such a good comedy zombie caper that I decided to watch it, and indeed plug it in this blog, a second time. I am now officially Twitter chums with some of the cast, and say what you like, you don’t get that kind of after-film service with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Technically, the first pizza of the new era for this blog and its affiliates was the Iberica (chorizo and black pudding) snarfed by TBH on January 2nd at Rocca of Dulwich Village, but we forgot to take a photo of it. She seemed to enjoy it.

Right then, onwards and upwards. I’m intending to now not have any pizza for a month, but a) that won’t be stopping me from writing on the subject, and b) I tried to go a year without pizza once and lasted three weeks, so I don’t hold out much hope for my succeeding.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Why is pizza great? The social network community responds!

Generally, I have what I believe to be a healthy distrust of Twitter. It seems to be generally a rather silly and transitory thing, heavily populated by spammers and freaks and people like this dude and people pretending to be Sam Allardyce when they are actually not. But occasionally, like a frog vomiting up its own stomach to better aid its own digestion, it throws up something startling and worthwhile and amusing, and one such endeavour was produced by the much-more-successful-journalist-than-me and Scritti Politti musician Rhodri Marsden, who in August of this year Tweeted a request for 140-characters-or-less summaries of awful first dates and was inundated with miniature accounts that were as hilarious as they were varied. Indeed, I hear that Rhodri – that’s a portrait of him up there – bagged himself a bad date book deal as a result (see: much more successful than me) and I shall be keeping an eye out for it, being as I am someone who has been on, and indeed the cause of, a great many bad dates.

Anyway, to keep the Christmas pizza blog productivity ball rolling, I decided to utilise the social media outlets of Twitter and Facebook to provoke a similar inundation of content, by simply positing this thought-provoking teaser: “Complete the following phrase: ‘Pizza is the greatest thing in the world because…?’” And what I got in return from the world out there, is about to follow. Generally, these are from Twitter, should you feel the need to seek out those who wrought them and follow them. And why shouldn’t you?

@mullies “You must not ask ‘what is great about pizza?’ You must instead ask, ‘what is NOT great about pizza?’”

Pete’s note: I can’t possibly let Rosie win this competition, but she tries again later anyway and that one is much better so that’s something to which you can look forward.

Mat Dale, Wolverhampton. “…Pete Cashmore says so!”

@comedyfish “Surely that is complete as it is.”

@lordcarla “…They demonstrate not everything can be explained.”

Pete’s note: Not only is this one of my favourite suggestions, but the good Lord then went on to try to goad Russell Grant into submitting an entry. Sadly, Russell decided to decline to take him up on it.

Grant: Simply will not be provoked into giving an opinion on pizza

@bagpuss75 “…Of the calories.”

@sharronf9eom “#ikea gift card”

Pete’s note: I suspect that this one may have come from a Spambot.

@dannyuk “…You’d never accept any other food delivered hot in a cardboard box.”

Erica Grima, Sutton. “…They were invented by the Italians.”

Holly Miller, Ironbridge. “…They’ve not yet invented triple Decker pizzas that dispense cash and give you compliments about how healthy and terrific you look.”

Adam Ralph, London. “…They potentially mean that Pete’s time on this planet will be relatively short-lived compared to someone who doesn’t base their existence on a combination of dough, cheese, tomato and toppings.”

Pete’s note: Adam is someone with whom I used to work, and whose intelligence levels are reflected in two celebrated anecdotes. One is from the time when Adam, a self-proclaimed Manchester United fan, met United’s Denis Irwin at a dinner and asked him where he was the night that United first won the Champions League. He was met with the response, “I was playing at left back.” The second comes from the day that the rapper Lethal Bizzle visited our offices, and Adam bounded up to him and said, “Can I get an autograph, please Dizzee?” Lovely chap, mind.

Lethal Bizzle: Not to be confused with Dizzee Rascal

@helenwrites “…There was an apocalypse and all other food (that isn’t cheese, bread and sauce) ceased to exist.”

@auntselly “…They are a great example of stimulus diffusion and you can make smiley faces on them with vegetables when you are lonely.”

@danbeames “…Of the cheese and the sauce and the bread and the oh great now I want a pizza.”

Robert Wilde, Leeds. “They just are. Okay?”

@MandrewB “…No matter how many times I look at this it’s still funny.”

The funny thing to which MandrewB is referring

@thegarethmclean “…Pizza adverts just tell you what’s on them and that they taste nice.”

Pete’s note: Gareth, in addition to being a superb writer, shares my – and probably your – hearty disdain for seasonally absurd perfume and aftershave adverts. In that since, this is ostensibly  a private joke between he and I. But now you can all share in it, and enjoy a terrible seasonal perfume advert by clicking here.

@EffBeeee “…You can fit every food group on one slice and can insert in mouth without any need for cutlery. Innit?”

@mullies “…Life is like a Papa John’s pizza. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Pete’s note: What Mrs Pete is referring to is the lottery-style approach to processing an order with which Papa John’s of Crouch End seem to operate. Order something seemingly simple like her favourite – chicken strips with a barbecue drizzle – and you will inevitably get something else entirely, and then you have to enter into a process of bargain and counter-bargain with the store itself, which usually takes about 20 minutes and will consist of them offering you fresh dips, free garlic bread, but never the original pizza you actually ordered. Tell them that they have gotten your order wrong yet again and they will flatly deny this has happened, even claiming to have “no record” of messing up an order before as if your own memory is not a reliable enough witness for the prosecution. Eventually exasperation will take hold and you ultimately have one and a half options left: either eating, or looking at, a pizza for which you have paid but which you did not actually order. One last avenue of recourse is to Tweet at Papa John’s nearly-inactive UK Twitter feed, or email them a complaint which will 99% certainly be ignored. This is why we tend to use Dominos nowadays, to be honest.

Matt ‘Bowski’ Sharpe, Lancaster. “…Pete Cashmore said so!”

Pete’s note: Sadly, Bowski is the second person to pursue this line of thinking, so probably won’t win. But he is an excellent battle MC and you can see him taking on another excellent battler, Innuendo, at the Barmageddon battle event in Wolverhampton on January 28th.

Bowsk dog: Has the skills to pay many household bills

Tracy Kiss, Portsmouth. “…They just ‘izza’!”

Adam ‘Mos Prob’ Felman, Brighton. “…They look exactly like Neil Sedaka.”

Pete’s note: This one might actually be in with a good shout.

Sedaka: Pizza-esque?

@katherinealee “…It’s not bloody turkey.”

@gillpea “…It’s whatever food you fancy on a ready-made plate and there’s no washing up.”

Suzy Griffiths, London. “…They are bloody tasty, there are loads of flavours and you can eat them whilst lying down.”

Suzy: Eats pizzas lying down.
Well, that’s all for the moment, although I am hoping that this one will run for a while and I can keep adding to it as more and more people are stirred from their Boxing Day sloth and feel compelled to explain their own, unique reasons for loving pizza. I can’t imagine I’ll get a book deal out of it but it should be a laugh.

Filed under: Uncategorized

The pizza nightmare before Christmas

Merry Christmas pizza lovers!

Yes, I really have done a blog entry on Christmas morning, because it’s two and a half hours until The Bull opens its welcoming doors and, quite frankly, if I don’t find something to do then I’m going to start to get the shakes. I hope you had a nice Christmas Eve and are continuing to have a nice Christmas day. I have had one pizza-related gift today, a KitchenCraft Pizza Stone set, so I am very pleased and ready to get my turkey on.

I got this for Christmas, innit?

HOWEVER. My Christmas Eve was less than perfect, and the reason why is pizza-related. See, already, I’ve drawn you in, haven’t I? My evening started, as is often the case in these festive times, at the pub, specifically The Royal Oak, my second-favourite pub in all of olde Wolverhampton town. I had a few wines there with my good friend James Brodie and then, because he wasn’t feeling too great, we decided to retire to the warmth of his flat and watch a film, in this case the Edward Zwick film Defiance, a typically Zwicky war epic about the Bielski Partisans. To accompany the film and the bottle of fine wine I was enjoying, I decided to order a pizza from Dominos and, feeling as if I should play it safe and not be too left-field in my yuletide selection, I went for what is fast becoming my regular order – a medium stuffed crust with sun-dried tomato sauce, chorizo and chicken strips. And then I waited, safe in the knowledge that I would be heartily pizzafied within the half hour.

Well, no such hearty pizzafication took place. Because what arrived (within the half hour, just like I predicted) was this.

Oh dear. Oh dearie dearie me.

Okay. Deep breath.

It’s readily apparent to anyone who reads this blog – and there are now millions of you – that I love Dominos and that Dominos are good to me, if not good for me. They give good pizza, and have really upped their game since they joined the stuff crust revolution. But… Well, look at this. For one thing, it’s obvious that they have got the order wrong and sent me chicken and pepperoni rather than chicken and chorizo, as if believing me to be entirely sausage-non-cognisant. But worse than that, just look at the greasy deposit on the bottom of this box. It is swimming in fatty run-off! This isn’t a nasty pizza like a Pizza GoGo Alligator, this is just a pizza that is nasty! So nasty that I only ate half of it.

But it got me thinking. Although I have great pizzas from Dominos all the time in London, I have never had a good one from Wolverhampton – in the days when I used to order the Double Decadence base (which I now accept to be the pizza equivalent of smoking crack in a Matalan car park) I would, in Wolverhampton, get a base literally dripping with the cheese sauce filling, rendering entire slices almost inedible simply because they were too liquid-floppy to guide into the mouth. I never had that in London. And now this soggy monstrosity, a far distant cousin to the delightfully fluffy, poised Stuffed Crusts that I order to my palatial Tulse Hill home. Which leads me to the question: are Dominos making their pizzas differently in Wolverhampton? To put it as succinctly as I can, and in the Ali G style to boot: is it because we is fat? Are Dominos pandering to, and contributing to, our natural Black Country obesity? In the future, when I order from the Wolverhampton branch, should I request the pizza “in the London style” so they know to go easy on the nasty?

So, my Christmas Eve pizza was a bit of a wash-out. But I’ll live, although having seen the size of the turkey my mom’s in the process of knocking out, possibly not for much longer. Have a very merry Christmas, and enjoy a little festive cheer by backtracking to my guide to making a Christmas deep dish pizza, stuffed with turkey and pigs in blankets. It’s the right thing to do.

This is what Christmas pizzas should look like.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Movie And A Pizza #5: Parenthood accompanied by a Topps Medium Stuffed Crust with meatballs and chicken

In any modern relationship, there has to be give and take, which is why, rather than waste precious time arguing about what films we should be watching, Rosie and I agreed that we would put a “rotation” system firmly in place, and so for every one of the “bloke” films that I make her endure, she gets to show me a “girl” film that she thinks I might like. This means that in recent weeks, I have been introduced to the delights (actual) of The Princess Bride and the delights (sarcastic) of Pretty Woman, for example. And so it came to pass that, this weekend, we decided to watch Parenthood, which I can only guess from the shoulderpads was a film made very firmly in the 1980s, and which stars Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves, Leaf Phoenix (who we all now know as being Joaquin) and a bunch of other 1980s types like Martha Plimpton, who I think is dead now. To accompany this film, I went for a medium create-your-own from Topps Pizza with a garlic and herb stuffed crust, chicken and meatballs.

You are not a good film

Let’s do the pizza first. Not going to lie to you here, the pizza was almost an afterthought really, we weren’t even in a pizza frame of mind, it was, to be frank, a pizza to fill a gap rather than one to love and cherish. Ironic, then, that I would end up cherishing mine and, unless I miss my guess, young Miss Rosie liked her own serving (we did “two medium pizzas for £13.99” deal, and you cannot, as they say, be upset with that) of chicken with barbecue dip. It may not look like much, but my little beauty was fluffy and surprisingly light, with a quite subtle garlic and herb stuffed crust, rustic meatballs and chunky chicken bits. Topps’ garlic and herb dip isn’t going to win any awards – that’s assuming that there ARE awards for pizza industry dipping pots, I’m tempted to guess that there aren’t – so I ended up going it alone, but it mattered not. I would describe my Topps experience, which was probably my first for several years, as a welcome walk on the dirty side on a night when, with the wind howling outside and the radiators struggling manfully to expunge the chill in Cashmore Acres, a nice little dirty pizza is just what the soul required.

It didn't come like this - I'd eaten a slice already, you understand

What the soul DOESN’T require, though, is a toss-awful load of grievously dated 1980s navel-gazing bilge without a storyline of which to speak and precisely no sympathetic characters. To make matters worse, at one point Steve Martin wears a pair of pants so tight that you can clearly see his junk. There are no well-rounded people herein, just walking bundles of tics and neuroses – you don’t want them to work through their difficulties and achieve some collective understanding, you just want them all to burn in an unexplained electrical fire for the entire final reel. So you have Tom Hulce as a middle-aged dick with gambling debts. You have Dianne Wiest as a thin-necked she-dick with a face like a tortoise whose kids, like, TOTALLY don’t get her. You have Phoenix playing a pre-pubescent dick who, irritatingly, carries a mysterious paper bag with him wherever he goes to communicate his innter torment – I never got to find out what it was because I fell asleep, maybe it was the actual point of the film written on a stone tablet. You have Rick Moranis, a man who has never knowingly been a prominent part of any half-decent film and who did his best to befoul the sublime Ghostbusters, as a nerdy dick (what a stretch THAT must have been) trying to pipe excess knowledge into his young daughter. Basically, every major character in the film is a dick, apart from Mary Steenburgen, who is just there and cooks a lot, like gastronomic anaglypta. It’s not funny, it’s not smart, there’s no great empathy or insight into The Way We All Are here, it’s just a teeming petri dish overflowing with complainers and those about whom they complain. The only things that interested me at all were a) that the young Phoenix looks uncannily like Kieran Culkin, who plays Phoenix’s nephew in Signs (look, I was really struggling at this point) and b) director Ron Howard’s creepy brother Clint, the dude from Gentle Ben, apparently has a cameo role in all of his bro’s films. Which is nice for him. Awful film. And I’ve just done some additional research and apparently Martha Plimpton now looks like Rebecca Adlington. Here she is, look.

One of either Martha Plimpton or Rebecca Adlington, I'm not saying which

THE VERDICT

THE PIZZA: If this is what Topps can be bringing to me to accompany my Saturday night movie adventures, then they may just find they get to do it more often. Here, Topps, have an 8/10.

THE MOVIE: I don’t want to trash any movie that my beloved recommends too heavily but Parenthood is just AWFUL. She tells me that I have to watch Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café next – they have laws against this kind of thing, right? 2/10 for Parenthood and I’m being generous.

Filed under: Movie And A Pizza

A Christmas pizza and an ambition fulfilled!

I’ve done it.

You see before you a very happy and proud man, or at least some words being typed by a very happy and proud man. You see, in addition to hoping that I could one day produce a pizza blog that was fiendishly brilliant in its execution and monolithic in terms of the hits it attracts (both aims which I have achieved with ruthless efficiency), I have always wanted to make my own pizza, from start to finish, with no help from anybody. And then eat it. And, although this may not sound difficult at all, we need to remember that a) my other half is much better at making pizzas than I am, and b) I am a man.

But I did it last night. And, more to the point, I did it in style, and did so with a seasonally-appropriate mode of presentation too. Last night, I made a – if I dare say so myself – completely magnificent Christmas Chicago-style deep dish pizza, stuffed hilariously yet deliciously with turkey and pigs in blankets. And it was a triumph, ladies and gentlemen, a ravishing festive triumph. I ate 70% of it, by way of proof, and the serving size is RIDICULOUS.

If you are in this photo, then please be aware that you are a topping and act accordingly

And here’s how I did it. First, I knocked out the dough according to the method laid down by Jamie Oliver, which is just how we do dough. Stick a base in the Cashmore 9” springform pan with a little overhang. A layer of mozzerella on the bottom (to be honest, I made a bit of a booboo here and used sliced buffalo mozzerella and didn’t squeeze out all of the liquid first, so there was a tiny bit of milky leakage when I made the first cut, but this is justified by the fact that I got to use the term “milky leakage”) and then in piles the meat. As I mentioned, this was turkey, in the form of some Bernard Matthews slices – I KNOW this is not ideal, but they did the job nonetheless – and some pigs in blankets, which were in this case party chipolatas wrapped in half-rashers of pancetta.

Pigs in blankets looking all snug in their pastry futon

On goes the lid, lots of knife holes to let out the escaping fumes, a layer of tomato, basil and chilli, and then another shredded ball of buffalo mozzerella and some grated parmesan and we’re ready to spend 40 minutes in the oven at 190 degrees.

Look at you, all warm and toasty

After twenty minutes, I covered the top of the pan with foil to present the cheese from over-browning, and dead on forty minutes I popped open that springform motherfucker (inappropriate swearing alert) and out came THIS.

Hi there everybody! I am Pete's Christmas pizza and I am the most delicious thing ever!

And when I took a slice out of it, I was met by THIS sight.

Plump sausages! Juicy melted cheese! Ay papi!

And THIS is what a slice of it looked like. And I can tell you that it tasted like sausagey, hammy, turkeyesque Heaven, and with the tree at Cashmore Acres twinkling prettily and a glass of Syrah in my hand, it finally kickstarted the Christmas spirit inside my weatherbeaten, cynical old heart. Once again, pizza is proven to be a force for good.

Four of these = happy Pete

And it keeps well too. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: tomorrow’s breakfast, today.

Son, you're headin' for a reheatin'...

Merry Christmas! Don’t worry, I’ll be posting more stuff, it just seemed appropriate to say that now. To end, here is a rare picture of me looking proud and happy, to communicate the concept that my Christmas deep dish pizza made me proud and happy.

Seasonal joy and goodwill to ALL!

Filed under: How to..., My favourite pizzas

In praise of the Pizza GoGo Alligator

You know you want me, don't you? Well, COME AND GET ME!

There are times in a man’s life when he craves a warm glass of Chateau Neuf Du Pape in a 5 star Sicily hotel, and others when only a cold pint of Strongbow in a rough-as-boots Wolverhampton pub will suffice. Likewise, there are times when a man craves the company of a witty, intelligent woman, but also times when he just wants to get off with a random in a minidress behind a bottle bank. And so it is with pizza – sometimes you may crave a wood-fired oven effort bestrewn with fancy toppings like rocket and rucola, but there are also times when you want to get nasty.

Well, on Wednesday, I decided I wanted to get nasty.

Before you start thinking that 12 Inch Pete Treat is about to go all “erotic confessional” on you all, I am still, sadly, referring to pizzas when I speak of nastiness. And when I want to get pizza-nasty, I ring up Pizza GoGo in Streatham and order their Alligator. Ah, Pizza GoGo Alligator, how I love thee! Basically, an Alligator is Pizza GoGo’s version of the all-the-meats pizza – crispy bacon, pepperoni, salami, beef and garlic sausage. It is not a pizza with a great deal of finesse, and indeed on occasion it can leave a greasy residue on the bottom of the box, as befits its nasty nature. It varies wildly in quality from branch to branch – good news for anyone who is serviced by the Sydenham branch of GoGo, because their Alligator absolutely rules the Earth – but the Streatham branch provides a very good (by which I mean, downright filthy) Alligator. Just look at it up there! That’s Wednesday night’s one, by the way. Look at all that meat!

Add a garlic and herb stuffed crust to the mix (GoGo’s stuffed edges are surprisingly un-nasty and bring a little refinement to proceedings, like finding out that the tattoo on the back of that random in a minidress is actually a quote from Sartre) and you really do have yourself a winning nasty pizza. I recommend you order a couple of GoGo’s agreeably fiery chilli dips too. The good thing about the GoGo sizing system is that the large is never quite enough – it’s not particularly, well, LARGE – so you have to go XL, which means 15 glorious inches of nastiness to enjoy. You won’t eat it all, but the Alligator lends itself particularly well to breakfast reheating.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Pizza GoGo Aligator. Baby, you are NASTY.

Filed under: My favourite pizzas