Friday, 20 January 2012
Making pizza with Lola and Finn - Homemade pizza
Lola and Finn love the whole pizza thing. And whilst I admit to a weakness for a Domino's Vegetarian Deluxe (seriously!), I do like us to make our own. And so do Lola and Finn. There not massively interested in the whole pizza dough making rigmarole, (except when I have forgotten to retrieve it from the mantelpiece above the fire and it looks like it is starting to escape - then it's exciting!) when it comes to toppings then Lola and Finn are right in the zone, picking their salami, their ham... How much mozzarella is too much? More tomato sauce please! ...and on it goes.
I know this is a way of trying to get vegetables into kids, but with Lola and Finn it fails, with their pizzas being cheese laden meaty affairs, so I make a tomato sauce and try to hide the vegetables that way, if I have a mind to.
The pizza dough recipe is Gino D'Acampo's, from his 'I' 'The Italian Diet' (shame I don't follow that recipe as closely as maybe I should...) and the tomato sauce is my creation. The quantity here makes four nicely filling pizzas, and any leftover tomato sauce usually makes an appearance later in the week a top of a pile of fusilli pasta.
The toppings I list here are not exhaustive; they are merely suggestions based on what we have used in the past. This is all about creativity so go where your pizza craving takes you.
Makes 4 generous size individual pizzas
For the dough:
1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons dried yeast
280ml warm water
360g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
A glug of olive oil
One onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
Two tins of tomatoes (I use tinned cherry tomatoes)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon basil pesto (very optional!)
salt and pepper to taste
Basil leaves.... and so on.....
First, prepare the pizza dough. Mix the salt and yeast together in a jug with the water. Sift the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the water mixture, along with the olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything well to create a wet dough or just put the dry ingredients together and then add the liquids and knead using the dough hook on a mixer, which is what I do. If you are working by hand, turn out the dough onto a clean well-floured surface and work it with your hands for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a greased bowl and cover with a tea-towel or greased cling film. Leave in a warm place to rest for at least 30 minutes until the dough nearly doubles in size. I tend to leave it as long as it takes me to make the tomato sauce.
To make the tomato sauce. In a big enough frying pan, put a glug of oil over s medium heat and fry the onion until translucent but not coloured, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Then add the tinned tomatoes and the oregano. Press the tomatoes to squash them if necessary.
Allow the tomatoes to cook down until the sauce visibly thickens. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent it sticking. When you're happy with the consistency, taste and add salt and pepper as required. Put into a bowl to allow it to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 220c, Gas 7.
Knock the dough back and knead a little. Cut into four equal size pieces and try(!) to form each piece into a pizza base - something I am yet to manage with massive success.
Put each base onto an oiled baking sheet and then allow the topping to commence!
One the pizzas are topped, place into the hot oven for about 10 - 15 minutes. Obviously the thicker the dough and the more 'adventurous' the topping may require more cooking. I tell Lola and Finn that their pizza will be soggy if they pile it too high, and indeed the best pizzas are the ones that are more modestly topped (like mine!)
Once cooked, cut into quarters and serve. I like a lightly dressed salad with my pizza but no-one else does. They just pick them up and tuck in!