The trouble with designing a pizza, or perhaps the beauty of it, is that there’s just so much choice.
Like a painter who has no subject before them to guide their work, the pizza creator is limited only by imagination – and, one hopes, a good sense of taste – in choosing the canvas, colours and textures of their design.
So it was that I found myself pondering endless possibilities for the latest five star makeover mission, to spruce pizza up with our own particular brand of spit and polish. Bewildered somewhat by the choices, I did, in the end, what I often do – I lead my pizza down an Irish road.
This pizza may look like an Italian favourite, but it’s got lots of Irish flavour
It would have to be said that the Germans can really get quite exercised when it comes to the delicacy that is white asparagus. Seriously. This was just one headline that I found in my asparagus-related travels around t’internet:
Motorist beats a woman selling over-priced white asparagus in Berlin.
Ouch. A cautionary tale for anyone considering a career in the roadside asparagus-selling business, that’s for sure.
Just coming into its short season right around now, white asparagus is grown under cover of soil in order to achieve the bleached effect. It is a sweeter and more delicately flavoured cousin to the green spears I’m used to, and was the theme for this month’s Five Star Makeover.
White asparagus, albeit looking rather golden after its makeover
Irish 'sushi': presenting the mackerel potato roll
Sushi, and more particularly the notion of eating raw fish, is not something we’re especially used to in Ireland.
We like our fish cooked or, at the very least, cured or smoked. In fact, for an island nation, we are often guilty of underappreciating the quality and range of fish on our shorestep. Take mackerel – cheap, full of flavour, and with the extra brownie points that come from being sustainable. Popular with the Japanese either raw or salt-cured as a sushi fish, I thought I’d give mackerel and the sushi roll an Irish interpretation which involves (a) cooking the fish first (I’m Irish, remember) (b) replacing sushi rice with potatoes (well, obviously) (c) using the cooked mackerel skin as a wrapper instead of seaweed, though seaweed does feature, in the form of dillisk added to the potatoes.