Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 73: Italian flavours

Today's soundtrack: Secret Affair - Time for Action

Double Italian today, with the action in Rome (of which more later) combined with today's culinary delights. Yesterday's bread rolls were merely a prelude to today's efforts, which involved the construction of home-made pizza - from base to topping (well, ok, I didn't cure my own sausage, but be fair...)

So while I finished the ironing, the breadmaker kneaded the dough for the pizza bases. My task, when the breadmaker had done its bit, was to convert the sloppy lump of dough into a pair of 12" pizza bases. Which I (just about) managed. The first took a bit of work, but the second stretched itself into shape relatively easily. The trick seems to be to handle the dough as little as possible - the more you wrestle with it, the harder it gets to make it go where you want. I didn't (quite) get to the stage of chucking the dough up into the air, spinning it into a disc, but that will come, have no fear.

Once the dough had risen in the (now empty - apart from the towel collection) airing cupboard, it was time to get topping. Passata (note for next time - rather too much passata), mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms, garlic, basil and parmesan, and we were good to go. And my, it was good. A bit sloppy (but not in a bad way) due to a surfeit of tomato sauce but very, very tasty without the cardboardy, processed taste that often comes with shop-bought pizza. I'd say healthy, if that was not an outright lie. But certainly the difference made by using fresh dough and quality ingredients was evident in the taste. Even if I say so myself!

So while we were tucking into us pizza, we settled down to watch what was happening in Rome. I'd turned down a couple of generous offers to head into Manchester to watch the match in the pub, on the basis I wasn't sure which way my affections would lie. Always had a soft spot for Barcelona, for personal as well as footballing reasons, and still have a couple of replica Barca shirts in the wardrobe. I did resist the temptation to wear one, though. By the same token, I am probably better disposed to ManYoo than many other teams. They did provide us with the spine of our team, after all, and now I'm over the departure of The Boy, I'm keen to see him do well. Especially following his pre-match interview where he confirmed his ongoing support for Everton and his intention to bring his kid up with two loyalties. Nice one, Wayne.

So I watched the match pretty much as a neutral. Early on, it looked like United were going to rip Barca apart, and very nearly opened the scoring though Park. How different the match might have been had they scored then. As it was, Barca scored with their first attack and, from then on, the complexion of the game changed dramatically as Iniesta and Xavi took a grip on midfield. United battled to no great effect, and Barca continued to grow in confidence.

A bit of a rally at the beginning of the second half following the introduction of Tevez for the ineffectual Anderson, but once Barca had scored their second (a fine cross and header by the totally unmarked Messi) it was to all intents and purposes over.

In the end Barca were clear (and worthy) winners. At this level, United need to do something about central midfield, stop wasting The Boy out wide and decide whether Vidic has now been 'found out' for his lack of pace. Of course, even an average ManYoo are better than 99% of the teams out there - but Barca were, eventually, streets ahead in this final.

Anyway, the Big Game is coming up this Saturday...bring it on!

Bit of nu-Moddage on the soundtrack today, from Secret Affair, probably one of the best of the second wave of Mod bands that surfaced in the late '70s/early '80s. 'Probably one of the best' actually equates to one or two half decent singles, but 'Time For Action' and particularly 'My World' were slightly better than half decent.

Before they were Secret Affair, they were the New Hearts, a slightly punky band who supported Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers in 1977. 'Just Another Teenage Anthem' was their only non-hit, but again, not a bad slice of punk-pop in a Gen-X ish sort of way.

No comments: