Urban Dictionary offers the following definition of skive: “Doing anything but that which you are supposed to be doing during a specific time frame, e.g., pretending to do something for which you are being paid, such as your job, but instead doing other things (like having a laugh, phoning your friends, hiding from your boss, surfing the internet, playing computer games, having a sly cigarette).”
Ok, so I’ve done some, probably all of those things during my career, often at the same time. Apart from hiding from my boss, although that’s mainly because I’ve had bosses who gave the impression that they were doing their level best to hide from me. However, despite my form, I would not describe myself as a skiver as such. Nevertheless, I’m fairly sure that sitting at home watching telly while getting paid for being at work would fall within most people’s definition of skiving. And within practically everyone’s definition of “a good way to lose your job”. However, this is exactly what I did yesterday, and unbelievably it was completely legit. The mayor had decided that because of the bad weather the schools and university should stay closed for the day. Although the rest of Italy has been battered by flooding and tornados, and despite the ominous forecasts, all we’ve actually had here so far is a bit of a rainstorm last night. But who am I to argue with the mayor if he wants to give me a day off work? And as I looked out of the window at what even someone with the joie di vivre of Schopenhauer would be hard pushed to describe as anything worse than “a bit grey”, I wondered how we would get on in England with a similar policy. Nobody would go to school between November and March, for starters.
Anyway, the way I saw it, it would only be tempting fate to do anything even vaguely strenuous, so I decided to skive in the kitchen too. Dare I brave the capricious elements to venture forth to the supermarket, when I had been advised by the council authorities to batten the hatches? No; I would have to make do with what I had in the fridge. Which meant mozzarella and tomatoes. A pizza in the making. Some freshly proved pizza dough and a wood-fired oven and I’d be set. Like me, you probably lack the last two (unless of course you own a pizzeria), but why be put off by such minor setbacks? I’d make do with some bread and a grill. Pizza for skivers, basically, and, just like a real pizza, you can get as adventurous as you want, adding whatever toppings inspire you. But yesterday, anything beyond a couple of artichokes would have been just too much like hard work…
- 2 Italian flatbreads, sliced in half lengthways
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced
- 200g mozzarella
- A sprig of basil, oregano
- sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus some for the final drizzle
- A couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan (optional)
- A few grilled artichokes in oil (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients except the mozzarella, basil, artichokes and parmesan (if using) and spread on the sliced side of the bread. This is probably the right time to tell you that the result will be soft in the middle, like a deep pan pizza. So if you prefer a crispier version, toast the split flatbreads before topping and remove the seeds from the tomatoes.
- Top with the diced mozzarella and basil (plus any optional artichokes and parmesan), drizzle over some more olive oil, place the flatbreads on a baking sheet, and grill under a hot grill until the mozzarella is bubbling and starting to turn golden (5-10 minutes).