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South African food usually conjures up visions of bobotie, biltong and boerewors, and that’s just for starters. However, few people attribute a loaded pizza dripping with cheese as the food you would expect to find in sunny South Africa. They couldn’t be more wrong. Saffas have taken this Italian meal and added a twist of Africa. In fact, there are so many places to enjoy a good pizza in South Africa; one would think Italy had moved continents!

Pizza in a bite-sized slice

During the 18th century, the humble pizza was born in Naples, a town in Italy. Eaten by the poor folk, it was originally a flatbread spread with what meager toppings the working class could afford. These toppings consisted of a few herbs or mushrooms gathered locally. A far cry from the decadent pizza topping ideas we enjoy today! After all, pizza isn’t pizza without gooey cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms, at the very least!

Pizza, the poor man’s meal

As food for the poor, the pizza was not initially sold in upmarket restaurants or shops. Instead, street sellers would sell slices to the public, and the size of the slice was based on what the customer could afford. Many people felt that pizza was common, and it was often described amongst the gentry as disgusting! Nowadays, a slice of good pizza can be pretty pricey depending on the topping you choose. Moreover, most foodie places have pizza lurking somewhere on the menu due to its immense popularity amongst the young and old.

Margherita pizza fit for a queen!

1889 saw Queen Margherita of France visit Italy. The story goes that the royal wanted to try local food rather than her typical French cuisine. So, a pizza with various toppings was whipped up by none other than Raffaele Esposito. In true Italian style, each slice was a different type of pizza. As luck would have it, the royal gave a cheeky thumbs up after eating a slice of pizza, showing the colours of the Italian flag. Italy named the pizza in her honour, so the Margherita pizza was born!

24-karat pizza!

New York restaurant, sells the world’s most expensive pizza. Here you can get bling and pizza all in one sitting!

The pizza is made up of eight slices, each costing $250. Its topping consists of French Foie Gras and truffles, English Shilton Cheese and Caviar from the Caspian Sea. Then the entire pizza is showered with flakes of 24-karat gold – procured from Ecuador! Now that’s a rags to riches story!

All this talk of pizza has probably made you just as hungry as we are! So, let’s jump into a loaded pizza, Saffa style! We have chosen biltong pizza with green peppers for this recipe, the perfect pizza for watching the Cricket!

What you will need

For the pizza base

Makes 4 pizzas

  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 375 ml warm water
  • ½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt

What to do for the base

  • Sift the salt and flour into a mixing bowl and make a small well in the flour.
  • Combine the yeast, warm water, sugar, and olive oil in a separate bowl and allow to stand for five minutes.
  • Pour the combined yeast and water mixture into the flour well and gradually mix it. Then dust your hands with flour and finish mixing the flour and yeast mixture until it forms a firm dough.
  • Next, place the dough ball onto a clean surface, dusted with flour and knead for approximately ten minutes. The dough should become smooth and be springy to the touch.
  • Place the dough ball into a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil, cover with clingfilm and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and roll it out into rough circles or rectangles. Place each base onto a greased and floured baking tray.

For the topping

  • 2 green peppers sliced
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 500 g mushrooms sliced
  • 70g Soffritto tomato paste
  • 250 g sliced beef biltong
  • 500 g mozzarella cheese
  • Italian spices for seasoning (optional)
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 30 g fresh basil leaves sliced

What to do

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Spread the pizza bases thickly with tomato paste
  • In a shallow skillet, fry the onions, peppers and mushrooms in olive oil. Add a dash of salt for flavour.
  • Once the onion mixture is cooked, spread evenly over the pizza bases.
  • Next, spread a thick layer of sliced biltong over the pizza bases.
  • Then, cover the biltong layer with generous quantities of mozzarella cheese.
  • Sprinkle each pizza with Italian herbs and bake for approximately fifteen minutes.
  • Finally, remove the pizzas from the oven once the cheese has melted thoroughly. Garnish with handfuls of sliced, fresh basil leaves.

Serve with an ice-cold beer or a klippies and cola while sitting around the fire with family and friends!

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