I love entertaining friends at home. A fun way to have a meal together is to make pizzas. We all go to the kitchen and our entertainment resembles a party. We speak, we laugh, we look at what each other uses for her/his pizza, we use the ingredients from one and another and finally when we sit at the table we end eating it all. Sharing the process of making pizzas with the guests is always a good-humored and enjoyable gathering.
Last July, when our dearest friend Nuno came to Portugal on vacation, we had two of these pizza making meals. One with a group of longtime friends and the other, a lunch with the kids. Attending the latter were David and Daniel, Nuno Santos, Graciete and Nuno Vaz who is already a veteran of these gatherings and usually cooks the best pizzas. The last time his pizza was the ultimate rage was in a gathering at Carlota's, where Nuno surprised us all with a pizza having dates and bacon.
This particular pizza session with David and Daniel started with both of them in the kitchen preparing a fruit smoothie that they would drink later at lunch. They chose their favorite fruits and then with the aid of Ricardo, who - I suspect - was enjoying as much as the kids, blended several peaches and plums with a delicious natural orange juice they also prepared. Immediately after finishing they all started drinking the smoothie so heartily that it barely reached the table. Of the many plums the kids ate at dessert, they were delighted to taste the particular sweetness of Elva's plums (Greengage plums). It is very interesting to see a child's reaction to the discovery of a new flavor.
After the smoothie preparation, it was pizza making time. David and Daniel made their own pizza. Daniel chose not to use tomato sauce. They chose pineapple, chicken, mushrooms, bacon, broccoli, oregano and grated mozzarella cheese as ingredients. These pizzas were the most original of all the hand made pizza sessions, not by the ingredients themselves, but by the way they were laid out on top of the dough. They both "drew" a smiling face using the ingredients as paint. Daniel used broccoli for the hair while David used pineapple for the eyebrows. These kids imagination is astounding. One just can not imagine how thrilled and amused they both were by making their own pizza and having it eaten later by everybody. And truth be told, we - the grown ups - were also very excited. Their pizzas turned out to be very good indeed.
Nuno Vaz and Graciete made a pizza with tomato sauce, Iberian pork farinheira (pork smoked sausage), pineapple, olives, savory and grated mozzarella cheese. Again, it turned out to be very good. Myself and Ricardo made a pizza with tomato sauce, chouriço, mushrooms, olives and both fresh and grated mozzarella cheese.
For dessert we had one of those eat-again-and-again delicious coconut pudding made by Manuela, Nuno Santos's mother. I made a cherry clafoutis, based on a recipe from Maria de Lourdes Modesto.
This was one of those gatherings that made me feel blissful. I hope that one day both David and Daniel remember this lunch with a a big smile on their faces.
[ Originally published in Portuguese as Pizas com pequenos e graúdos ]