SERVING pizza to a picky Italian might have constituted insanity, but I had fresh yeast, flour, fresh oregano and tinned plum tomatoes. The result was simple, delicious and cheap (about pounds 2.50 to feed three). This inspired our new series on pizza recipes. The first is from Gillian Jones of St Ives, Cornwall, who found it in Cuisine Nicoise by Jacques Medecin (Papermac, pounds 7.95). She will receive a bottle of 1986 Chianti Classico Felsina Berardenga from Winecellars in London.

Fresh yeast equivalents are usually given on dried packet yeasts. However, dried yeast sometimes gives a beer-scummy flavour. Check that fresh yeast is a light colour with no dark slimy coating.


Serves 6-8

Ingredients Base: 1/2 oz/15g fresh yeast

4tbs milk

1/2 lb/250g plain white flour

2tsp salt

2 eggs

4tbs olive oil

Topping: 1 large or 2 small onions

2 cloves garlic

bouquet garni of thyme and

oregano or marjoram

3tbs olive oil

2oz/50g black pitted olives

10 anchovy fillets, rinsed

salt and black pepper

Preparation Make sure milk and flour are both room temperature. In a mixing bowl, cream yeast into milk, leaving for five minutes. Add flour, salt, eggs and 4tbs olive oil. Work into a smooth, elastic dough. Set in warm place in lightly oiled bowl to rise for two hours.

For the topping, slice onions. Heat 1tbs olive oil in thick-bottomed pan. Add onions, bouquet garni and pinch of salt. Sweat over low heat for half an hour, taking care not to brown. Now the dough can either be pressed over the base of a tart tin, or rolled out. Cover and leave to rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F/200C/gas 6. Bake pizza for 10 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and spread onions over dough. Sprinkle with 2tbs olive oil. Dot with olives and anchovies. Season with pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Next week more pizzas. Recipes are welcome for our next category: cooking with pork. The prize will be a bottle of Hugel Gewurztraminer Jubilee Reserve Personnelle 1986 from Reid Wines in Bristol. Send recipes, stating source if not original, to: Emily Green, Weekend Features, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.