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May flowers

It has been a while since I shared any pictures of what we’ve been cooking and eating at home recently, so I thought I would look back through my albums and share some with you all.  Following on from my post about cutting out cheese temporarily for health reasons, this has now been extended to a lot more things, specifically wheat, sugar, and yeast.  It has been a challenge recently, but I hope I will get to the point where I am happy to share more with you.

So here’s some of the food we’ve been making and eating during April and May…

Sorrel, fresh garlic and white asparagus frittata

Sorrel and white asparagus frittata

This was inspired by watching an episode of Two Greedy Italians where they met an elderly lady who knew all the wild herbs and plants growing around her mountain home.  She picked some wild greens and made a kind of frittata, popping the cooked greens through a mouli first to remove the tough bits.

Sorrel and white asparagus frittata

I don’t think my sorrel had many tough bits, but being rather short in both supply and knowledge of wild greens, I wanted to try out the idea anyway.  It was great fun mouli-ing the sorrel and then mixing into my beaten eggs.

We’d not tried white asparagus before, but it was available in our organic grocery – I sliced peeled the outside, sliced them in half, blanched them and then laid them on top of my fritttata.  Topped with a dollop of raw basil pesto (this stuff is amazing and I live off it at the moment) it was pretty tasty.

Lemony garlic baked chicken with rice, asparagus and leftover aioli

Lemon garlic chicken and rice

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Friday was N’s birthday, which could mean only one thing – a fantastic weekend of good food.  I sat down and imagined if I were N, what would I want to eat for my birthday weekend.

So the feasting began on Thursday night with a curry from our favourite takeaway.  The British favourite of chicken tikka masala, with poppadoms, mango chutney, onion relish, and garlic and coriander naans.  We balanced this, of course, by having brown rice…

We also made chocolate brownies, enough for N to take to work and for us.  Following Nigella’s recipe from her book How to be a Domestic Goddess, we baked a tray of chocolate brownies with enough chocolate, sugar and butter to use of one’smonthly recommended allowance.  Three and a half bars of 70% dark chocolate…one and half pats of butter…and what I can only remember as a jug of sugar.  But seriously, these chocolate brownies were heavenly.  It really matters what chocolate you use – if you used Bourneville it would taste of Bournville, so make sure you buy the best dark chocolate you can afford. 

brownie debris

brownie debris

When I came downstairs on Friday morning to examine the insides of the brownies after N had taken half the tray to work, I thought that I had undercooked them.  It looked (and tasted) like the liquid mixture I had scraped into the pan before cooking.  These brownies improve with age.  In fact, the centres of each square almost transforms into a truffle, it is so dark and dense and soft.  I will post the recipe another day as it is one everyone should try.

N finishes work early on a Friday, so I laid out the table with all his cards and gifts (the bunnies spent their pocket money on two jars of sweets from our local old fashioned sweet shop), hung a string of balloons across the living room, and piled chocolate brownies into a mountain, dusted them with icing sugar and stuck in some candles.

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My birthday present to N – the best sirloin steak I could buy from Little Heath Farm, with melted blue cheese and chips.  I admit, the chips weren’t homemade, but there is something intrinsically scrumptious about the finest quality steak served with frozen chips – perhaps they serve to highlight how incredible the steak is.

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As you might imagine, but Friday night we couldn’t eat another thing.

Saturday evening we made homemade pizzas (which had been planned for Friday tea, but were pushed on a day due to the last minute revelation of steak and chips).  We ate the pizzas standing up in the kitchen straight from the oven, served with thin slices of Parma ham, crisp wild rocket, torn basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  They were so delicious that they were eaten up before I had a chance to take a photograph – such is the way with truly divine food – you just can’t wait to faff around with the camera, you just have to eat it straight away, hot from the oven.

Next weekend it’s my birthday, which means another excuse to eat more good food…yum.

pizza and champagne

pizza and champagne

Tonight N and I are celebrating five years since we started going out.  We are celebrating with homemade pizza and a glass of our favourite bubbly – Cuvee Flamme by Gratien & Meyer from the Loire (http://www.gratienmeyer.com).  Who could think of a better way to see in such an important day?

homemade pizza

homemade pizza

This morning started like any other Saturday, but my plans were quickly cut short.  Whilst carrying out the dangerous job of…drying my hair…I experienced an excruciating spasm in my back, and was rendered unable to move and stuck lying on the floor for about an hour while N called NHS Direct.  It was just common back pain, nothing more serious, but damn painful.  I am now dosed up on painkillers and with strict instructions not to spend more than 4 hours in bed at a time…tonight I am psyching myself up for a night of DVD’s and late night TV.

Anyway, back to what I really wanted to talk about – THE best pizza ever.  Sadly, I can’t take any of the credit for it, that goes 100% to N.  N has been doing a lot recently, including DIY and studying for his masters.  I decided that as the weekend was starting to stack up with DIY chores, that he needed some treats to get him through.  I already knew what would be top of his list – beef and pizza.  He’s been going on about making pizza since before Christmas, so I stocked up on some buffalo mozzarella, tinned cherry tomatoes,  semolina flour and Parma ham. 

summer tomatoes

summer tomatoes

Our favourite pizza recipe is from Jamie Olive’s Jamie’s Italy book.  We especially enjoy the ‘fried pizzas’ which involves frying the pizza bases prior to baking in the oven.  N finished early on a Friday so by the time I arrived home at 6pm he was already underway with the dough.  Within the hour four beautiful silky pizza bases were resting on the worktop. 

I whipped up some tomato sauce using a tin of cherry tomatoes, a couple of cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of honey.  The sauce was spread over the bases, and topped with a mixture of that dreaded squeaky version of mozzarella (left over from a lasagne) grated, a couple of torn pieces of buffalo mozzarella, and some dried herbs.  They were popped in a hot oven and when cooked topped of with some slivers of Parma ham.  Of course, I am biased, but to me, these pizzas, made by the man I love are THE best pizzas.

a thing of beauty

a thing of beauty

Homemade Pizza

Makes 4 medium-sized pizzas

400g strong white bread flour
100g semolina flour
1/2 tbsp salt
7g dried yeast
1/2 tbsp golden caster sugar
approx. 325ml lukewarm water

In a large bowl mix the flours and salt, and make a well in the centre. To your warm water add the yeast and sugar and mix with a fork – leave for a few minutes.

Pour the yeast liquid into the well in the flour and using a fork slowly mix the flour into the liquid. It will start to look a bit like thick porridge. When the dough comes together and is too hard mix with the fork, use your hand and begin to form it into a ball.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth springy soft dough. Lightly flour the dough and wrap in clingfilm or cover with a bowl and leave for about 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into four pieces and roll them out on a floured surface. Once rolled out, leave them for up to half an hour before you want to cook them. If you’re going to stack them on top of each, to ensure they don’t stick together make sure you flour between them or lay a piece of foil or greaseproof paper between each base.

Preheat your oven to 250°C / gas mark 9. Place your bases on a baking tray and spread over your tomato sauce and add your cheese – we used a mixture of grated ‘plastic’ mozzarella and torn buffalo mozzarella. Bung in the super hot oven for about 10 minutes or until golden.  Top with shreds of Parma ham, slice and eat.

This recipe is taken and slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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