Monday, 23 February 2009

Pizza time!

Over the last year or so I have been trying to broaden my culinary horizons and starting to cook new dishes and foods, outside of my usual comfort zone. Bread was number one, which I am now pretty good at the basics but feel its time to step up a gear and over the weekend ordered the River Cottage Bread handbook..will blog any successes! !

So, as dough is becoming more friend, than foe, Saturday was home made Pizza day! I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe from his Jamie at Home series but decided the quantity was a bit big for us so I halved it, this still gave us four good sized bases, 2 which have gone into the freezer once the proving stage was done, (am thinking Calzone for them!) leaving two for our dinner!

Jamie makes it look very easy on tv, in particular the whole sieving flour onto the work surface, pouring warm liquid into the centre and then use a fork to mix. Didn't quite go to plan and involved grabbing a clean tea towel frantically to mop up the liquid that was trying to make its bid for freedom but I got there in the end! Our work surfaces are a little off balance so that might have been partially to blame, the other being my cack-handedness!!

Sieved flour, Pre-well:

Once I got past the above stage it went really smoothly, within minutes a lovely smooth, soft dough appeared and then into a floured bowl next to the storage heaters, for a little rest, with the odd sneaky peek! Luckily it rose beautifully!

Off to snooze:
Yippee its risen!

Jamie recommends for cooking the hottest your oven can go, now being in rented property and the element only being replaced a short while back, I was a bit concerned and only went as far as 230o on the dial, though I have a fan oven so was still pretty hot! I am yet to get a pizza stone so used a holey bottomed chip tray and a cookie sheet, which worked pretty well and produced a lovely, crispy but still soft base.

Topping the pizzas was great fun, though trying to manoeuvre assembled pizza onto hot tray was a little fiddly, next time I think I will roll pizza out onto baking parchment and use that to transfer onto the tray!

I had intended to make Jamie's quickest ever tomato sauce for the base, though before going out shopping had mis-read recipe slightly but it did work well, with a bit of jiggling:

1 carton (370g) of chopped tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 clove garlic
2t tbsp olive oil

Gently heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes but don't let it burn, add the tomatoes and warm through, drain through a sieve, discarding any mush left behind, return to pan and simmer to reduce a little.

I bought a selection of goodies for topping: Mozzarella, Milano salami, Pepperoni, Sweetcorn, Mature farm cheddar, grated and Danish extra creamy blue cheese cut into small chunks - this was leftover from other dishes, would use something stronger next time, personally I adore gorganzola! I had all the above except the salami but did sprinkle over dried chili flakes and a swirl of garlic & chili olive oil! They took about 10 minutes to cook and were delicious.

This is the other half's pizza:

My pizza!
All in all, a good fun and messy afternoon! Though I highly recommend a metal scourer for cleaning all the flour off the counters afterwards!

If you have any of the toppings leftover, they make a great breakfast roll the next morning!


  1. Oh yum! Your pizzas look beautiful!

    I love the look of risen dough, I just want to keep it in the bowl and gaze at it forever. I'm a bit odd like that.

    Katie xox

  2. We use this recipe too and I remember Stephen having some issues with the method when he first made it!

    We have an even easier tomato sauce recipe, throw some cherry tomatoes in a pan with some oil and garlic and squish them down, cook for about 20 minutes.

  3. Nice. with blue cheese too, Yummers!

    I get to do one pizza type in my house - it has to be American hot with extra pepperoni style.
    Next time I've promised myself to make 2 smaller ones instead, with a 4 cheeses for me.

  4. They look yummy, Anne! I remember making pizza at least about 3 times in Home Ec at school..first with ready made base, then with a base just- add- water mix and then finally making the pizza base from scratch...great fun! These days due to lack of time, tend to cheat and buy ready made pizzas or ready made bases.

  5. Katie - don't worry, I kept peeking too! Is almost a shame to beat the air out of it after!

    Kerri - love the sound of your sauce, will definately give it a whirl next time!

    Gill - I like mine spicy too, last time from ASDA had pepperoni, spicy beef and jalepenos, was delish! Though I have some evil Discovery jalepenos which I am currently struggling with!

    Tracey - am sure they did the packet ones at school but think I made cookies instead..hmm..Do normally get ASDA stonebake but was great to try at home, will definately make again!


  6. Great looking pizzas! I'm very impressed you made your own dough

  7. Mm, that looks delicious. Now I have a problem... I have been browsing so many food blogs today that now I want to cook everything for tonights dinner! ARGH!

  8. I make a right mess when try and make bread on the kitchen surface.

    Next time you make it brave the max temperature on your oven. As long as you keep an eagle eye on it it won't burn and it cooks really well. When I did the bread course at River Cottage we cooked our pizzas in the woodfired oven the temp in the oven was +400oc and cooked the pizzas to perfection in less than a minute.

  9. Wow, those look amazing and good on you for making your own dough!


  10. Hi Anne,your pizzas look great and scrummy mmmmm.

    My apologies for not calling by in a while due to gastric influenza.

    Rosie x

  11. I make pizza dough every week, but I do cheat and use my best friend the bread machine to knead it.
    Yours looks really crisp and the topping is superb with all that melty cheese on top.

  12. Your pizza looks really good. That melted cheese, yum!

  13. Anne, please pass by my blog and collect an award ;o)


  14. Jules, I am glad am not the only one to make a complete mess of the counter tops! Thank heavens I bought a pack of 12 scourers in the pound shop recently! ;-)

    Many thanks to everyones kind comments, pizza dough is definately a keeper and really worth the effort!


  15. That is a great looking pizza dough and finished pizza.


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