Pizza Margherita; Orange & me

Pizza Margherita is a classic that is on every pizza menu on this side of the pond.

Traditionally, a Margherita has tomato sauce, basil, a sprinkling of cheese and 4 black olives – with pits. The addition of ham would make it something other than a Margherita.

I’m not so fussy…. And we like ham on our pizzas.

As you know I have switched to using puff pastry for my pizza crusts as it’s lighter and more suitable for 2 people who, inevitably, eat the entire pizza.

But this is the pizza crust I made for years, and when I get hungry for a ‘proper’ pizza, this is the one I make.

The crust is simple…. and great forearm exercise. I never bother using the machine. Kneading such a small amount of dough by hand is so easy.

Pizza Margherita

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • Pizza Crust:
  • 2/3 cup warm water, 105 – 115F, hotter will kill the yeast
  • 1 pkg (2 tsp) active dry yeast 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar  you need this to ‘feed’ the yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt   you need this to ‘control’ the yeast
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • Pizza Topping:
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 – 5 tomatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 4 – 5 slices (3oz, 100gr) Prosciutto, Bayonne or other dry cured ham, torn
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ball fresh Mozzarella, sliced thinly, then slices torn into chunks
  • 1/3 cup green or black olives, cut in half



  • Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let sit a few minutes to ‘proof’ – start to look foamy to prove that the yeast is still alive.
  • If you have a mixer with a dough hook put the yeast and all remaining ingredients in mixer bowl.
  • Blend with dough hook attachment until well mixed then kneed for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Put in a warm place to rise.
  • If making by hand put yeast in large bowl along with all of the rest of the ingredients minus 1/2 cup flour.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Put remaining flour on work surface, add dough and kneed until smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes. As remaining flour is incorporated dough will become less sticky.
  • Put in warm place to rise.
  • After dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes, punch down.
  • Lightly butter a pizza pan or large baking sheet.
  • Roll dough out with a rolling pin as best you can.
  • Then put on pan and stretch it to fit, patting it out with your fingers.  If it keeps springing back wait a few minutes – or accept that your pizza will be slightly smaller than anticipated.  Try not to put any holes in the crust. 
  • To assemble the pizza:
  •  While dough is rising, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.
  • Add oregano and mix well.
  • Spread onion/garlic mixture evenly over crust.
  • Lay tomatoes evenly over crust – they should be touching and cover the entire crust.
  • Bake at 450F (225C) for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and add ham, half the basil leaves and cheese.
  • Return to oven and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese bubbling.
  • Remove from oven, add remaining basil leaves, slice and serve.

Print Recipe

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

The same could be said for ignorance of a contract.

Our internet / phone bill was three times higher than usual for last month.

We don’t actually get a paper bill. I get an email with the amount. I can look at the bill online.

I looked.

Their website has to be the most difficult site I have ever tried to navigate – and I know what I’m doing. I can’t imagine someone not at all computer savvy trying to find their way around.

I digress.

I discovered two things;

  • I have the ability to buy and/or subscribe to stuff online and have it charged to my phone bill. (Why would I want to do that?)
  • I do not have to enter a password or even be aware that I am doing this for the charges to be valid.

There were three monthly subscriptions on our phone bill. We had no idea what they were or how they got there. (During the course of my many conversations I learned that this can happen by attempting to close a pop-up ad sent by a scam site and that a weather site is the worst offender for said scam.)

I called Orange to have them reverse the charges as we did not make the charges.

Knowing that this was going to be a challenging conversation I opted to call the line for English speakers.

I called, went through the phone tree and was on hold for over an hour. (They have the worst hold music – one horrid song that repeats endlessly. I think it’s meant to make people hang up). My call was finally answered. I explained the problem. He explained how it could happen. I asked for the charges to be reversed, He said he didn’t have the authority to do that. He would send a memo to his boss and I would hear within 48 hours.

Four days passed.

I called again.

I was on hold again, I explained again, the person explained again, I asked for a reimbursement again, I was told again that said person couldn’t do it. This time, I was told someone would call me.

A few more days went by…. No one called.

I printed out the details and went to the Orange store / office. Apparently, it’s a common problem – I explained the issue and the person reached down, grabbed a paper and handed it to me. It was a series of screenshots and directions on how to deactivate the auto-pay bit (which I had already figured out and done). I said I wanted the charges reversed. I was told that she couldn’t handle it. She gave me a number to call.

I called the number. I was on hold again. Finally a person answered who spoke faster than anyone I have ever heard – in French. I explained as best I could – in French. He answered me in rapid-fire French for about 2 minutes straight without giving me a chance to speak. He put me on hold.

He sent me back to the service for English speakers. Apparently he couldn’t be bothered to put up with my French. I tried!!!!

So…. I was on hold again, I explained again, the person explained again, I asked for a reimbursement again, I was told again that said person couldn’t do it. Once again someone would call me.

I don’t give up easily.

I went back online and decided to try ‘chat’. I knew it would be in French but I figured a ‘chat’ would give me enough time to understand the questions and give an answer.

Finally I had someone who could handle the issue… And he told me that it wasn’t their fault I clicked when I shouldn’t have.

I politely disagreed.

Then I politely disagreed some more.

Finally he said he would give the problem to his supervisor and I should expect an answer in 48 hours.

Sound familiar?

That was Friday afternoon about 4 pm.

Saturday morning, 8 am, I had 10 emails waiting for me…. 9 of them told me they had cancelled the subscriptions and deactivated the auto-pay (I had already done both). The 10th gave me detailed instructions on why it happened and how to prevent it.

At the very end was a line saying that they would reimburse me on the next bill.

I guess I wore them down.

They almost wore me down first. I had to have an extra glass of wine with dinner…..

I like a hearty local red wine with pizza.

Last update on September 27, 2015

5 thoughts on “Pizza Margherita; Orange & me”

  1. Well, I can tell you that Orange is obviously the French equivalent of Comcast. Because I’ve gone through the same routine with them a dozen times for different things before finally getting some kind of response/satisfaction. And the problem is, they’re the only game in town and they know it.

    Your pizza dough is MY pizza dough! And yes, shame on me, I like a thick, poofy crust. But I used to work in a pizzeria and so hand toss mine when I make it. Not for the faint hearted, but a nice, even crust is usually the result.

    Unless you put your fist through it…

  2. Been there, done that but with different problems every year. My French isn’t good enough , my husband’s is much better but he gets me to hang on until they answer! Inconvenient as it was, we gave up when our phone was suspended a week early before we left.

  3. nightsmusic, you ‘hand toss’? I’m so jealous……

    Kate, sometimes, persistence pays. Sometimes.

    Gill I had that happen when we left Ireland. Easy to turn off; impossible to turn back on. Do you call the English help number?

    Zoomie, it was a challenge – dog with a bone and all that

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