Lilly Higgins: A pizza Italy in your own garden

I love calzones, the crescent-shaped pizza filled with the most delicious cheeses

Calzone

Calzone

 

This time last year, it was near impossible to buy a pizza oven as demand was so high. This year is much the same as sales of pizza ovens soar once the weather improves and we socialise outdoors. The thought of eating home-cooked pizzas in the garden on a warm summer’s evening is just so lovely.

For many years, I dreamt of having a traditional brick pizza oven, but then fell for the convenience of a purpose built portable pizza oven. I got mine a few years ago but am only now getting the most use from it. Key for me has been preheating the oven and giving it enough time to really build up a store of heat so that the dough puffs up as soon as it hits that stone. I also turn the heat up in between pizzas.

I was originally using wood but found it too temperamental and needed something more reliable. I bought a gas attachment this year and it has made a huge difference, simply flicking a switch for instant fire instead of messing with sticks. Very important when there are hungry mouths to feed awaiting their pizzas.

My current favourite is with nduja, a spicy Calabrian sausage, pineapple (controversial), blue cheese and mozzarella. It’s got heat, spice, fruitiness and tang. Tuna, plump black olives and red onion is also very good. There are always a few margaritas too, and some scattered with Gubeen chorizo.

I also like to throw in the odd calzone. This is something I really love, a crescent-shaped pizza filled with the most delicious cheeses and folded on to itself. The edges are sealed like a Cornish pasty. I like to add a spoon of tomato sauce and a little mozzarella on top too. I use Jamie Oliver’s basic dough recipe for my calzones, from his book Jamie’s Italy, a lovely collection of authentic Italian recipes.

Recipe: Calzone

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