It is seven in the morning. If I’m lucky I will get an hour to read the papers before Lakshmi wakes up. She’s had a fitful sleep waking up at least three times during the night. I sneak down and make a cup of tea as I download the Sunday paper.
Kavitha gave her dad a spa voucher for father’s day last year. The voucher was for two as she knew that her dad was unlikely to use his voucher if it was just for him. I looked through the offers. We can exchange it for other experiences. I chose a pizza making one. So today is the day.
Huw drops us off at the station and takes Lakshmi back home. We take the tube to Holborn. It is a ten minute walk from the station to the restaurant. We walk past King’s College. One of the buildings has pictures of its famous alumni pasted over the walls. Florence Nightingale, Lister, Hodgkin, Virginia Woolf, to name a few, with a bit of history about each. It’s too cold to slow down and read the information. When we get to the restaurant, we are still a bit too early and seek out a nearby pub to have a drink whilst we wait for our pizza making experience to begin.
The White Hart pub at the corner of Drury Lane looks inviting. The brief history of the pub on the menu says that it is the oldest and first pub to get a license. Established in 1216, it has been a popular watering hole for highway men and rogues over the past few hundred years. Dick Turpin used to be a regular and had his last pint here before he was hanged. Apparently it was the pub used by condemned men to have their last drink and comforts of a woman before succumbing to the hangman’s noose. We have a quiet drink as we wait for the time to pass.
As five o’ clock approaches we walk to our restaurant. We are one of the first to arrive but soon the rest of the customers arrive and we take our places. We are given some nibbles as starters and Ricardo, our chef, takes us through the steps of basic pizza making. The first dough we knead is put aside and given back to us to take away so that we can make our own pizzas when we get back home. Pizza dough which has already been prepared is brought around and we are shown how to get it into shape. Ricardo thinks I’m a natural and wonders who does the cooking at home. I lie. Next is a competition. Whoever can make the biggest pizza. As I knead and stretch mine into shape. A small hole appears in my dough and I get disqualified. We get to practice a couple of times and then finally we get our proper base to knead into shape and top up with our chosen toppings. It gets taken away to be cooked and we wait for the verdict.
My pizza tastes delicious and I finish half of it and pack the rest to have for my lunch tomorrow. There is no great skill involved in making pizzas but it was a fun evening. I doubt whether I’ll be making pizzas in the future, but at least I can say that now I know how to make one.