Pretty Maids All In A Row

By Andrea Pavee

Sundays and Public holidays are my challenge days. It is then that I attempt to cook up something special for the family.

Last Sunday, it was Italian (our favourite), again.

Remembering I had a couple of boxes of frozen pizza crust, pizza it was!

I must confess do “cheat” in cooking, from time to time, whether it is using frozen pizza crusts or laksa paste.

In our busy workaday world, shortcutting food preparation certainly shaves off preparation and cooking time, leaving you with a little breathing space to eat and enjoy the company and camaraderie with your family. This is especially so since Asian dishes do come with a lot of prep work, whether it is slicing, dicing, pounding or grating ingredients for that perfect meal.

However, to give dishes that “uumph”, I always add a dash of this, and a sprinkle of that, to enhance the unique flavour of the food.

In the end, I made 4 pizzas for a hearty Italian lunch; a bacon cheese pizza, two pepperoni cheese pizzas and finally, a Mozzarella-Parmesan pizza.

I usually brush the crusts with olive oil and tomato paste before adding in the toppings. For a more flavourful, or perhaps festive base, you can use the bacon drippings from the pan. It lends a smoky and rich flavour.

To speed up baking time, I preheat my oven while preparing the pizza.

In addition to the pizzas, I decided to prepare an appetizer to go with the meal.

Since the pizzas were a substantial meal, the appetizer had to be something light.

With grapes, rock melon and Gypsy ham in the fridge, I thought a fruit and ham skewer would pair well with the meal.

To prepare the ham, I sliced it lengthwise, and rolled it up. Picking up a wooden skewer, I slipped in the grape, followed by the rolled ham, a slice of melon and rounded it off with another grape.

As I prepared them and left them on a plate, it occurred to me that they looked like pretty maids all in a row, hence the name.

While I ended up serving my maids in brandy glasses, they can be plated over a bed of uncooked beans as an alternative.

Rock melons also pair very well with prosciutto or parma ham. Additionally, roasted bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes or diced hard cheese can be added for a more substantial offering, if you like.

Enjoy!

Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 18 May 2021

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