Before we moved house we had a dirty Dominoes Friday night pizza habit. The stress of trying to move made it worse, all we could think of on a Friday night was ordering pizza in and collapsing in a heap on the sofa while the kids watched TV and we aimlessly scrolled on smartphones. It was costing us a fortune and felt really unhealthy.
Then we moved house, and no one delivers takeaway here, except for one kebab house. It’s 2 miles to town where you have to pay to park, or 5 miles to a village with a chippy.
Mass produced supermarket pizzas weren’t really cutting it for us either. So you can imagine my excitement when David from Firepod pulled into our drive two weeks ago. Max the greyhound was drooling and Mr A was thrilled he was working at home that day.
David gave us a demo of how this amazing gas fired portable pizza oven works, using the red firepod – they come in a range of fab colours – he then left the black one for us to have a play with. As well as for home use, they are perfect for small glamping sites, and as we develop our vintage caravan and barn, we’re thinking one day we can also offer them to guests. You can also take them travelling, they come with both long and mini wooden legs, they also have a hot lava stone and a griddle for BBQing, making them perfect for camping trips.
There is a lovely story behind meeting David. You might remember earlier this year I did a huge walk around London for Comic Relief, dressed as the Mad Hatter and joined by a gas fired pizza oven on legs? That was David and his most amazing Firepod. He’s invented this awesome beast, with help from Italian chefs he befriended while working as a ski instructor – how cool is that? It also turned out someone who works with David is ex Drama GCSE student of mine. It was so wonderful to meet her 15 years on.
The whole family was so flipping excited by the firepod. It’s totally going to become part of our lives, and a Friday night ritual. Being outdoors making pizza totally beats TV and scrolling the internet. Here’s our rather messy, over excited, but super tasty, new and improved Pizza Friday!
I don’t push my kids to be involved in photos and they often don’t want to be these days. But as you will see, they took over when it came to their enthusiasm for the Firepod. They LOVED the pizzas and LOVED making them all by themselves. ‘Send this pic to Firepod!’ they said. We all loved the Firepod and it’s a joy to write about it.
The science of pizza making
David learnt from the Italian chefs that pizza ovens need to be hot, but not as crazy hot as some manufacturers are currently making them. The gas fire heats the hot stone inside to the perfect temperature and cooks your pizza in 4 minutes. I love how fast they are made!
I love that dough has a mind of it’s own but with a few little tricks of the trade, you learn to master it quickly. I love learning about the ingredients, 00 flour in the dough and polenta on the board to stop it sticking and give it that authentic taste. I love all the topping possibilities, David also showed us how to make garlic dough bread, which was totally out of this world delicious!
Cost of Firepod pizzas
After touring lots of food shows demonstrating the firepod, David calculates he has got the cost of a pizza down to less than 50p. Yet they taste like pizza you would pay very good money for in a restaurant. We also calculated a Firepod would pay for itself in about 8 pizza delivery orders.
In terms of cooking, while I love cooking, when it comes to Pizza Friday I like it to be easy! I love that there is a little bit of culinary challenge, but not so much to put you off. You can learn as you go. I love that while it is easy to end up with a pizza shaped like Africa, or the UK, perfect round pizzas are a challenge you can learn to perfect.
Making a firepod pizza
We’ve made our dough in the bread maker for convenience, David suggested using 00 flour. You can also make it by hand or you can also buy pre made dough in most supermarkets.
Take the dough and press it out on a board floured with polenta. Then stretch it round the edges, working round the circle, section by section. If the dough wouldn’t stretch we sometimes found it needed more time proving or kneading – google is a font of tips and advice!
It’s fab to see my youngest cooking, he rarely has the patience, but loved this.
Add sauce, leaving an inch around the edge and keeping it really thin so the pizza is light enough to move in and out the oven. Then mozzarella and toppings.
Then, with the Firepod fired up and the gauge displaying cooking temperature range, whack it in using a paddle. You have to shake the paddle gently to encourage the pizza on to the stone, Mr A mastered this really quickly, but I need more practice. Make sure the pizza has lots of polenta on so it doesn’t stick.
You get amazing fire proof gloves with your firepod, but Mr A worked out if you are sensible you can do without. They are essential for some jobs though, you can flip the stone if it gets messy and the fire will just burn it off. NO cleaning. Fridays just got even better!
We’ve been trying the firepod out in different areas of the garden. The clever thing about it is you can easily take it places, it has two sets of legs, short and long, so it’s great for camping trips or picnics – you can also use the griddle and hot lava stone which also comes with it. In fact I am only just getting my head round the cooking possibilities, it’s much more than pizza. David also suggested a special super lightweight gas tank which you can buy in Homebase, this is one we already had.
How amazing is this? Alright, we burnt bits, but it adds to the taste. Plus you can just flip the stone and it cleans itself.
Max spent the whole time drooling, we did give him little taste.
All hail Pizza Friday!
Video coming soon! More info on how to order a firepod here. Thanks to David and Firepod for supplying the Firepod for this post.