So I’m still suffering from hideous jetlag after our recent trip to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream (much more of this coming up). We got a night flight back from Orlando and it was practically empty, which meant we could all spread out and I spent most of the flight spread out across a row of four seats, snoozing blissfully, and only woke up when they started opening up the blinds and tidying up ready for landing. Still, I’m now suffering that weirdness that crossing timezones always seems to bring – for me, this means an increase in my usual clumsiness, a general heavy tiredness, and a craving for junk food.
I’ve been pretty healthy this year so far, so when the boys had a friend round this evening, I thought I’d have a go at making our usual home made pizzas a little more healthy. I’m not massively keen on a 100% wholemeal pizza base as it can be a bit heavy, but half and half seems about right. I used a light, slow cooked tomato and leek sauce, and then topped with some spiced chicken. Here’s how I did it:
Makes four pizzas.
For the pizza base:
500g strong white bread flour
500g wholemeal flour (I didn’t have wholemeal bread flour and it still worked fine)
1 tsp salt
600-700ml tepid water
1 tsp caster sugar
A 7g sachet of yeast
So first, weight out the flours and stir in the salt.
Measure out the 700ml water (you might not need it all) and add the sugar and the sachet of yeast to the water (which needs to be just warm – it won’t work if the water is too hot). Give it a mix with a fork. It should start of foam up. If it doesn’t do anything within about ten minutes, chuck it and start again.
Pour the liquid into the flours and stir it round until it starts to come together, then either knead it by hand for a good 5-10 minutes, or knead it with a dough hook in a food mixer. Either way, you’re looking for a nice, soft, springy dough.
Cover the dough loosely with cling film (I tend to use a shower hat that I pinch from hotel bathrooms), and leave it in a warm place like the airing cupboard for about an hour.
If you want to use a jar of tomato pasta sauce that’s fine, but choose carefully as they can often contain a lot of hidden sugar, or use my recipe for slow cooked leek and tomato sauce (link above).
When you’re ready to cook, whack the oven on as high as it will go and assemble some baking trays, flour and your chosen pizza toppings.
Check on your dough. It should be light, bubbly and soft. Punch it down, then tip it out on a floured surface and give it a knead. Divide into four. Roll each piece out until it’s roughly the right shape, then transfer onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and press it out nice and flat.
Smooth over a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce and top with whatever you like. I used half-fat cheddar and some chicken that I stir-fried in a little oil and some jerk spice blend. If you’re not catering for teenage boys, go wild and add some actual vegetables like sliced red onions, peppers and mushrooms too.
The pizzas will take about 15-20 minutes to cook but keep an eye on them as this will depend on the toppings and how thickly you rolled them out.
And that’s it! Serve with a flourish and hopefully without jetlag, which means that unlike me, you won’t drop one entire pizza on the floor while getting it out of the oven.