2019 Pizzas #29: Dad’s Famous Hogmanay Pizza

I knew, when I decided to log pizzas on the blog for 2019 at the end of 2018 (a year in which I logged ciders, but now knew I would not be continuing to do so due to my decision to stop drinking alcohol), that the last pizza in the log would be Dad’s homemade pizza that he makes every Hogmanay. I also knew that it would be the best pizza I ate all year, because it is (and continues to be) the best pizza I have ever eaten.

A few notes about this pizza:

  • I always knew I would learn to make it myself at some point because it’s an important family recipe, but I did not expect that I would not end up posting this blog until after I had indeed made one myself for the first time.
  • I took pictures of the 2019 edition, but accidentally deleted them (this is NOT something that usually happens with me – I’m normally very careful about keeping all my photos!) so the pictures in this post are from other years instead.
Hogmanay pizza
Sitting ‘patiently’ with Grandad while Dad made the pizza, 1986.
Hogmanay pizza
Mum and Dad enjoying the spoils, 1995.
Hogmanay pizza
A whole pizza to myself, 2002…
Hogmanay pizza
…and again, 2005. In those days I used to eat the pizza earlier in the evening and then head out for a long night on the tiles! It was a great stomach liner in the days when I still had to worry about such things…
Hogmanay pizza
Dough rolling, 2009.
Hogmanay pizza
A perfect slice, 2018.
Hogmanay pizza
Dee’s famous Hogmanay pizza? Had to make it myself in 2020.
  • The basic recipe is in a 1979 cookbook that Dad has always used (‘The Art of Cooking’), but he learnt the best technique from some Italian friends-of-friends back in the early ’80s.
  • I brought about fifteen schoolfriends back to the house on Hogmanay 2000 when we were doing our alcohol-fuelled rounds of each other’s houses, just so they could all experience the brilliance of Dad’s Hogmanay pizza. Many of them still talk about it more than twenty years later.

The sauce is the absolute taste of Hogmanay for me. Since learning how to cook it myself, I’ve adapted some of the techniques when making pasta sauce. Toppings-wise you can have whatever you want, though for me it’s always been mostly peppers since I went veggie in 1999. The dough is thick and filling, though not filling enough that I don’t manage at least four large slices every Hogmanay!

I’m actually quite surprised that, in the end, I only ate twenty-nine distinct pizzas during a calendar year. I clearly have my recurring favourites.

A new food series for 2020 starts in a couple of weeks. I’m only one year behind now!

2019 Pizzas #28: Nkd Pizza Garden Party

You might notice we’ve skipped #27. It’s another pizza that’s missing a picture! Thankfully it’s one that I will almost certainly have again, so I’ll catch up with the log at some point.

We’re into the last few days of 2019 now, and today’s entry is a pizza that I had during a boardgaming break when spending time with friends in Edinburgh. On this occasion we ordered from Nkd Pizza in Morningside, which has since unfortunately closed down.

Nkd Pizza
Nkd Pizza Garden Party… or the empty box after the eating, at any rate.

I’m glad I did get to sample this pizza while the Edinburgh branches were still open. (Most remaining branches appear to be in the ‘southern north’* of England – there’s apparently a branch in Burnley of all places, so I may be able to sample this pizza again next time I’m visiting the in-laws in Colne!)

The pizza was just the right size, which is more difficult to get right than it sounds. Too-big pizzas usually result in overeating on my part because I don’t see the point in saving the rest for next-day reheating when there’s only a slice or two left. Too-small pizzas, on the other hand, are unsatisfying. This one was perfect… for my particular appetite on that day, at any rate! It was really tasty too.

*A term that perhaps only makes sense if you live in north-east England or Cumbria. The endlessly interesting thing I have learnt from my nearly ten years of living in England (at the two extremes of the country) is that English people generally consider ‘the north’ to be everything north of where they are and ‘the south’ to be everything south of where they are. Growing up, I was often told by my Lancastrian relatives that southerners erroneously considered ‘the north’ to be anything north of Watford; when I lived in Southampton, I was fascinated to find that the opposite was also true, i.e. that northerners erroneously considered ‘the south’ to be anything south of Sheffield. As a result, the entire swathe of England between Watford and Sheffield falls into what I call ‘Schrodinger’s England’: simultaneously north and south at the same time.

2019 Pizzas #26: Chicago Town Tomato Stuffed Crust Takeaway Loaded Cheese

If I could digress with regards to a 2021 pizza for a minute: recently I have been enjoying Chicago Town Deep Pan Four Cheese mini pizzas for brunch, as I am intermittent fasting again. I break my fast at 2pm and a mini pizza feels like a nice substantial thing to eat at that point. It has the same delicious tomato sauce as this 2019 example, which was a much larger pizza with a few more bells and whistles.

Chicago Town Tomato Stuffed Crust Takeaway Loaded Cheese
Chicago Town Tomato Stuffed Crust Takeaway Loaded Cheese.

This pizza didn’t come with any vegetable toppings, so I put peppers on before it went in the oven, like I often do with plainer margherita-type styles.

What was great about this one was that the delicious tomato sauce is contained in the stuffed crust as well as in the topping! I usually find cheese stuffed crust to be a bit heavy, and so this was a much nicer alternative.

I’m not eating that many large oven pizzas at the moment (need to get rid of that lockdown weight first!) but I will probably go hunting for this pizza again at some point.

2019 Pizzas #25: Balti Masters Vegetarian Pizza

It’s great to be back logging 2019 pizzas… in 2021 ?

Those of you who’ve been paying attention will notice that I have skipped over #23 and #24. This was because they were both café pizzas that I forgot to take pictures of. I hoped to be able to return to said cafés and order the pizzas again in order to rectify this (despite one of the cafés being in London and the fact that I don’t remember its name… I’m ever optimistic!) but then PANDEMIC, and I’ve no idea when I’m going to be able to eat out in cafés again or even if the cafés in question have survived this horrible period, so it’s time I moved on. After all, I’ve got two whole new food series to post about for 2020 and 2021, and it’d be nice if I could be up to date with those by the end of this year. Maybe one day I’ll be able to log those missing pizzas.

Anyway, here’s a nice takeaway pizza that I discovered in November 2019.

Balti Masters pizza
I’m so hungry just looking at this!

Geth’s family were visiting, and we needed a nice easy takeaway meal with lots of options, so we went for Balti Masters, which offers various Indian food, kebabs, pizzas and other things. I had the vegetarian pizza, and it was really filling with a lovely sauce – really good quality, which you don’t always get with multi-food-type takeaway places.

We ended up ordering from there a few times in 2020 too, as it’s a good go-to when Geth fancies an Indian takeaway.

Parallel lives

Taking a break this evening from the old photos and returning to the here and now. Hogmanay, like the rest of 2020, feels a bit confusing and bittersweet. I think 2021 will eventually be better, but it will take some time, so I certainly don’t feel like celebrating tonight. Just a quiet evening at home with BBC Scotland on TV.

It’s my first ever New Year away from Scotland and so this year I had to learn to make Dad’s famous Hogmanay pizza for myself and Geth. Through the magic of video chat, Dad was able to help me with the dough, and on the whole it turned out really well. I hope I’m equally lucky with the Lancashire hotpot for New Year’s Day tomorrow.

Hogmanay pizza
Fish pizza for Geth, veggie for me.

I completed my first year of running every day this morning! A year ago, I noticed that Smashrun did a special virtual badge for running every day during a leap year, which was what motivated me to start my run streak. Today, I finally got the badge, and a bonus one to boot:

Smashrun badge
Smashrun badge

I’ve spent a large part of the year trying not to think about the Parallel Universe Where Coronavirus Didn’t Happen: the races, the gigs, the trips abroad, the time with family and friends. But there are other parallel universes that are a lot less happy – ones I only narrowly avoided due to sheer dumb luck, or the grace of God, or whatever you want to call it. The parallel universe where I hadn’t started a run streak on the first of January, and as a result didn’t run at all after March because I had no race-related motivation. The parallel universe where I hadn’t quit drinking, and ended up drinking more and more as a result of lockdown and stress. The parallel universe where loved ones weren’t able to stay safe this year.

I didn’t end up in the best timeline, not in the slightest. But I also didn’t end up in the worst. I survived, and I have hope. Bring on 2021. Even if I kind of wish we could just skip the first half of it.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Proclaimers – ‘The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues’
Travis – ‘The Last Laugh Of The Laughter’

Hogmanay pizza, 1995

Dad always makes homemade pizza on Hogmanay. I eat a lot of pizza, but Dad’s recipe is my favourite, and it’s super special because it only gets made once a year. This year, I’ll be spending New Year away from Scotland for the first time in my life due to the pandemic, and so I’ll be attempting to make the recipe myself.

Here’s a photo of Hogmanay (aka pizza night) from 1995.

Hogmanay pizza, 1995

Today’s earworm playlist:

Robbie Williams – ‘Soul Transmission’

Christmassy weekend vibes

Another busy day. I got my day job work for the week finished – so barring any last-minute jobs next week, I’m clear for Christmas! – and finished off the coding for my game (just the graphics to implement now). Geth and I also went to Asda to do our last big Christmas shop. Because we’ll be forming a bubble with Mum and Dad for Christmas, we’re following the guidance to isolate between today and the 23rd, so no more shop visits until post-bubble.

I’ve been very good with my diet for the last few weeks, but Christmas eating sort of begins this weekend! I’d been having trouble finding fancy mince pies that didn’t have any alcohol in them, so I was delighted to see some salted caramel ones in Asda today. Looking forward to trying lots of different ones over the next few days.

I’ll be back with an update on Monday, and hopefully a link to my brand new Christmas game!

Tonight’s pizza – a treat to celebrate Geth’s Christmas holidays!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Pet Shop Boys – ‘Heart’

Friday feeling multiplied

One last mile-long run for now…

…as I feel ready to move onto some slightly longer sessions over the weekend.

I’m in a real Friday mood this evening. I’ve had a really good first week working on my NaNoWriMo and am steadily hitting my wordcount every day. I also did a good chunk of editing work for Geth’s latest paper today, as he’s submitting it this evening, and we are having takeaway pizza to celebrate!

I’m really enjoying getting some videogaming time in as well, and am looking forward to starting the planning for my next game project this weekend. All of this extra time is brought to you by my almost-complete avoidance of social media and news websites over the last few days because I don’t want to hear anything about the US election until all the states have called. It’s been a very nice few days as a result and has made me think that I really need to limit social media, forums and the like on a permanent basis!

I’ll be posting vlog links as usual over the weekend and will be back to update on Monday. Hopefully with tales of more interesting running sessions and a finished plan for another text adventure!

Celebratory chocolate already on the go while Geth puts the finishing touches on his paper.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Cast of The Lion King – ‘Circle Of Life’
Barenaked Ladies – ‘If I Had A Million Dollars’
Ed Sheeran – ‘The A Team’
Wham! – ‘Club Tropicana’
Florence & The Machine – ‘Shake It Out’

The weekend approaches

A very warm mile today…

…and then I spent most of the day doing day job work again. I’ve broken the back of it now and am hoping to finish early tomorrow so I can get back to my game creation!

Geth and I are semi-celebrating tonight, because his academic project bid is very nearly ready to send off (he just needs one last letter from a collaborating party). As we also both did well with our weight loss this week, we are treating ourselves to takeaway pizza as a bit of an early weekend treat. Waiting on it now and getting a bit impatient 😀

Another hopefully early start tomorrow before the storms arrive, and then I can settle in for the weekend…

Blue summer sky
The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days, but sadly I’ve been too busy to spend much time outside!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Carter USM – ‘And God Created Brixton’
Andy Taylor – ‘I Might Lie’
Carter USM – ‘Glam Rock Cops’
Duran Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’
Manami Kiyota – ‘Satorl Marsh’
The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’