On Sunday, on the first proper sunny day of the year, in North Wales anyway, we downed paint brushes and perfected our pizza dough, instead. And by perfected, I obviously mean that we unwrapped it from its Northern Dough Co. packaging and rolled it out. I'll talk about toppings in a minute, but have you met The Firepod pizza oven, yet? Let me introduce you.
The Firepod was kindly gifted to us a couple of years ago after we agreed to help test it and provide feedback. We're a family that loves pizza. Really loves it. The four of us spent a week in Capri and ate pretty much nothing other than margaritas and gelato for the entire time we were there. And I'm not going to lie, we're picky. Really picky. Not many pre-prepared pizzas pass muster in this house. I've tried to serve the supermarkets' best, only to be faced with eye rolls and comments of, 'Can we have a sandwich, instead?' But, The Firepod? We're unanimous. It makes bloody amazing pizzas.
The story behind The Firepod is also a love a great pizza and the want to recreate a holiday favourite at home. But with home ovens not reaching the temperatures required for the best results and very few easy to use/quick to use outdoor alternatives on the market, the only solution was to design and develop a version to rival the pizzerias of Naples (or the Alpine ski resorts in the case of The Firepod team).
The key features for us are:
The Firepod is compact and portable, making it incredibly easy to store, move around and transport. For the £399 price tag, you receive two pizza stones, a pizza paddle, a pair of heat-resistant gloves, a cover, and a gas pipe and regulator with 27mm clip-on fitting. It comes on the shorter set of legs but you can buy the quadpod stand for an additional £49.99.
It heats up incredibly quickly and cooks your pizza in a handful of minutes - pop your pizza in and it's ready before you get anywhere near the bottom of your glass of wine.
We can now make and eat better pizza at home than we can find in a restaurant (outside of Italy, obviously). Crispy bases, yummy toppings and the freedom to run around the garden in between courses. Living the dream!
You can buy an additional reversible griddle/skillet (£125) which means you can use it as a BBQ or even to make your morning pancakes on. We don't have this yet but it's on our list to buy as it will make the pizza oven truly versatile and we'll get even more use out of it.
The design makes us smile. The Firepod has got that retro cute thing going on. It looks brilliant and the colour options are far from boring.
And here it is in action, Paul in charge of the oven, and the boys taking on the role of official taste testers.
We've tried and tested a fair few pizza recipes and ingredients, and here's our recommendation for the best pizza:
The dough: We used the Original dough from the Northern Dough Co. You can buy it frozen from the supermarket and you just need to defrost it and roll it out. Each box contains two balls of dough big enough for two 12 inch pizzas. We prefer the normal to the wholemeal version.
The sauce: The Pizza Express Passata is a favourite of ours. I don't know why it's different from other passata but it's a great one to pop in your basket if you find yourself in Tesco.
The cheese: We're a family divided over cheese. The boys like the grated cheddar/mozzarella mix from a packet whereas Paul and I like fresh mozzarella. To be fair, doesn't all cheese taste pretty amazing when melted?
The toppings: We cannot get enough of chargrilled spring onions (I pop them in a pan on a high heat for a couple of minutes before adding them to the uncooked pizza), fresh cherry tomatoes and thin slithers of chorizo. It's possibly THE best combination ever. Go on, try it!