I love pottering about in the kitchen; I find stirring, chopping, rolling and mixing completely therapeutic – that kind of mindless manual labour that’s both soothing and uncomplicated (although I mostly do the kneading in the KitchenAid, if I’m honest – I’m far too lazy for that). There’s only one thing that makes pottering nicer, and that’s the chatter of people. One of my favourite evenings is a weekend night when the boys are both home, maybe with friends/girlfriends in tow and we have an impromptu pizza night. I can only fit two at a time in the oven, so there’s a whole pizza production line going on, with people chatting and munching – I love it. My one photograph – snapped before someone grabbed a slice – is completely rubbish (I’ll rephotograph it, I promise) but I wanted you to experience this lovely, fun family evening as soon as possible. Here’s my foolproof, easy home made pizza recipe, that you can jazz up/double up as much as you wish:
Easy home made pizza (makes 2 large)
300g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
200ml warm water
1 big glug of olive or rapeseed oil
Tomato pasta sauce (either bought or home made – try my leek and tomato sauce you can leave out the leek and just use onions if you want)
1 ball mozzarella, sliced or chopped
Grated cheddar (we get through a large block, but then I tend to cook quite a few)
Toppings: whatever takes your fancy: pepperoni, ham, onion, chilli, basil…
To make the dough
Weigh out the flour, then add in the yeast and salt (I always put them on different sides of the bowl). Add the glug of oil to the warm water, then stir in until it starts to come together.
Either knead by hand for 10 minutes or in the machine for five until you get a nice, soft, elastic dough.
Cover loosely and leave the dough somewhere warm to puff up.
Meanwhile, whack your oven up to its highest setting and get all your ingredients together: grate the cheese, chop the onions, tear basil, etc.
Knock the dough down and you’re ready to go. Split into balls, then roll out using plenty of flour (I find the best way is on a sheet of bake-0-glide – it has a bit of ‘grip’ and stops the pizza dough pinging back.
A friend of mine (thank you Rubbish Wife) told me that if you scatter semolina over your baking trays it will stop the pizzas sticking, and it really works!
Spoon over the tomato sauce (you need less than you think), then scatter with the cheese and finally dot over your preferred toppings. Finish with a dribble of oil
Then just pop the pizzas into the hot oven and bake for around 10 – 15 minutes depending on the amount of toppings and the thickness of the crust, until golden, sizzling hot and even a little charred at the edges.
Once you’ve made your own, I promise you’ll never go back. Even if it’s to make them completely plain and drizzled with olive oil and a scattering of garlic to accompany a big dish of pasta. Delicious!