Chapter Three – “Jnntne”

Jnntne pizza (made 4 large pizzas, served 30)
For the base

  • 1.5kg strong, white bread flour
  • 3 sachets yeast
  • 6 tsp salt
  • 9 glugs (or thereabouts) olive oil
  • Water, to combine

For the sauce

  • 2 tins chopped tomato
  • 1 carton tomato purée
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mixed herbs

For the toppings

  • Ambiguous cheese*
  • Whatever you can find in the storage room, this time olives and red peppers
  1. Make bread dough, as before (chapter 1). Divide into 4 bowls
  2. Leave to rise for 1 hour whilst you make the tomato sauce by adding all the ingredients into a saucepan and leaving to reduce on a medium heat
  3. Oil 4 baking trays
  4. Roll out dough with rolling pin/cup into rectangle/the shape of your tray until a bit thinner than you normally like your pizza
  5. Spread cool(ish) tomato sauce onto base, as much as you like
  6. Sprinkle on cheese, or throw it, whatever your preferred method
  7. Top with as many toppings as you like/can
  8. Bake in preheated oven (220C) for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until crisp and golden
  9. Cut into as many squares as you can, put onto a serving tray and fight off any small grabbing hands on your way to the table
  10. Watch it vanish before you’ve had time to serve a ladle of…

Sweet (?!) carrot and lentil soup (served 40)

  • A generous pouring of olive oil
  • 4 cups lentils
  • About 18 carrots
  • 6 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 stock cubes
  • Plenty of kettles of water
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder, coriander
  • More cumin, more chilli powder and another cheeky stock cube (and let’s face it, more salt)
  1. Smooth cut (see Chapter 2) onions and garlic and add straight to the pan with oil
  2. Add cumin, salt and a little sugar* and leave to sweat with the lid on until very soft
  3. Add carrots
  4. Add lentils and enough water to cover and more
  5. Add double concentrate stock and more water
  6. Bring to the boil and, if you remember, turn down to a simmer
  7. Season
  8. Season again
  9. Blend until smooth and taste-check with everyone in the room
  10. Serve with pizza, cultural curveball but trust us, and everyone in the Orange House, it works

*DISCLAIMER: We do not recommend making this recipe on Epiphany, a Greek national holiday. We did, having promised pizza, and it resulted in a panicked trip to the local minimarket (seemingly the only shop open in Athens) for whatever cheese we could lay our hands on. Unsatisfied with the minimarket selection, we roamed the streets of Exarchia before stumbling upon Pizza Sandwich where we begged the confused lady behind the counter to sell us four pizzas’ worth of cheese, just without the pizza. 

“Jnntne” means “it makes me crazy” in Arabic and was Nour’s reaction when he managed to steal a piping hot piece of pizza from the tray in the kitchen before it went onto the table. We’d originally planned a week of soup and bread but made the mistake of asking what people’s favourite foods were in our first English lesson. We took note as one after the other, they all shouted “PIZZA!”

So the menu swiftly changed.

And we were joined by more helpers than ever before for the Orange House’s inaugural pizza Friday. It turned out our class was fairly representative of the residents and visitors of the OH as the pizza was demolished as soon as it touched the table.

As for the soup, whilst the pizza may have stolen the limelight, once people overcame their initial excitement, it was clear that the soup was a winner too. For all but one…

Whilst drawing the design for the much anticipated kitchen mural, we asked Mohamad if he had enjoyed the soup. He replied that he had but that (to Kim and Flo’s confusion) it was a bit too sweet. It was at this point that Daisy sheepishly admitted to having added a Syrian teaspoon of sugar to the onions in an attempt to caramelise them(…?) So on Mohamad’s recommendation, sugar didn’t make it onto the ingredients list. And we’ll be taste-checking with him more often!
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