Coming up with the perfect pizza topping surely couldn't be too difficult, could it? Simply bung a load of your favourite foods on the base and then stick it in the oven for 10 minutes and devour. Job done.
When I received the invite I was offered the chance to choose any ingredients I wanted. Now the temptation was to go for the weird and wonderful, but I contemplated long and hard on what to choose and wanted to go for a pizza that would have a bit of balance and not too much going on.
In the end I decided on a Spanish/Cypriot theme and requested chorizo, morcilla and halloumi cheese. My mate Adam also came with me and sent a list featuring chocolate, chillies, orange zest and a number of other weird things. Surely he wasn't going to combine all of them was he? Time would tell.
The other bloggers present had also chosen various different ingredients and there was a huge table filled with all the requests.
The table of ingredients - morcilla to the front right!
I spotted a number of interesting toppings: manchego and feta cheese, roasted pumpkin, avocado, boiled potatoes and courgettes just being a small number of the requests made.
However, before we could add our toppings we had to make our own pizzas.
Mark from Pizza Express took us novices through our paces and had us stretching, tossing and kneading the dough before he showed us how to add the sauce and spread it evenly across the base.
Once this was done it was time to add our toppings. Mark warned us not to add too many as it might make the pizza go soggy, but it looked like most of the people ignored this advice and piled on as much as they could!
Our masterpieces ready for the oven
In the end I tried not to over elaborate and went for chorizo, morcilla, red onion, and yellow peppers. On one half I put halloumi and on the other mozzarella.
Adam went a bit crazier and had a half and half concoction of chicken, chilli and chocolate on side and chorizo, red peppers, onion and basil on the other.
The final results - now on to the tasting...
Despite his protests to the contrary, Adam's chicken, chilli and chocolate monstrosity tasted as bad as it sounded. Milk chocolate and chicken don't mix* - trust me, don't try this at home...
As for mine, well I was quietly pleased with it. The only thing that didn't work was the halloumi (you live and learn) but the rest worked well together and with a bit of tweaking who knows, you might see it on the Pizza Express menu in the future.
We got into a good chat with the girls opposite (hello Emma, Helen and Sarah!) and they all agreed that Adam's pizza didn't look the best, but as the drink flowed he was able to demonstrate some of his other talents.
As we discussed what we'd do if we did it again he suggested putting as many different types of meat on the pizza and calling it the 'Zoo' or to make the world's poshest pizza featuring foie gras, truffles and swan! Let's hope one day he gets to fulfill his dream.
The final part of the night was to fill in a postcard and enter our pizzas into the competition to win the £5,000 prize. Naming the pizzas was good fun. I went for a fairly dull Spanish Sensation, Adam's plumped for 'Decadent Extravaganza' and I won pun of the night for suggesting Em-azing for Emma's.
All in all, a really good, fun night and a big thanks must go to all the staff for making us so welcome and for looking after us splendidly.
* the obvious exception being a Mexican mole.