The clean-up

After years of neglect, it was time to clean up the basement workshop. This is going to be more than a one-day project… but Phase I (culling and tidying) makes the most visual impact in the least amount of time.

Eventually I’ll get around to phase II, which will involve going through the boxes of crap and culling some more. New shelves will be needed, too… but this will have to wait until after Coronavirus passes enough for the hardware stores to be open.

Drive-thru Nation

Monday afternoon in the suburbs, Coronavirus edition. I decided to take advantage of the beautiful blue skies and relative warmth (13°C, but windy!!) and go out for a little bike ride to get some fresh air and clear my mind.

This is a bit of what I saw.

Mangiare!

Life under quarantine, lock-down. shelter-in-place, “go home. stay home” orders, or what have you, can get tedious. Fast. Time is no longer that go-go-go linear rush along the X-axis of so many charts. Time is now a muddled mess, at least from Monday through Friday, with each day blending into the next.

Until Friday afternoon that is. Most people I know still remember how to “do” Friday. Virtual happy hour! Conference calls with beer and wine! As someone who worked from home before Coronavirus (and is likely to well after we’re done with it) I could get used to that. It’s all very civilised.

The other thing that Friday brings—even under lockdown—is the weekend, when there’s more time to cook “slow” and make everything from scratch.

Despite not having any Italian DNA, I think I must be Italian, deep down. If I was condemned to choose to eat one country’s cuisine for all eternity, it would be Italy’s.

Italy is on my travel bucket list—I’ve never been!—and when we’re allowed to travel again, it’s going to be my first non-business destination.

In the meantime, I’ll visit via my kitchen.

Preparing coffee on the stovetop using a little Bialetti Moka pot is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s also one of the simplest and best ways to make coffee at home without spending hundreds or thousands on an espresso machine. Freshly ground Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger espresso blend helps, too.

And of course, pizza. How can you discuss Italian food without pizza? (Unless of course you’re not talking about Naples.)

Pizza from scratch is the ultimate weekend recipe, because you need to plan ahead.

Mix the flour and water. Autolyse for 30 minutes.

Fold in the yeast and salf. Wait an hour or so.

Fold the dough again. Put it somewhere warm(ish) for 6-8 hours to rise.

Make the dough balls. Rest for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 more.

Now you can make pizza.

And that’s the quick recipe I use. An even better recipe that I sometimes use takes about 24 hours from initial dough mixing to popping into the oven.

Unless you have dough lying around in the freezer, homemade pizza just isn’t something you can make on a whim at 17:00. Not unless you’re fixing to make a midnight snack.

It’s taken some time to master this recipe, but now that I have, ordering pizza in is now almost always a disappointment.