One of the most simple dishes which most of us will have tried at some point in our lives is pizza. Italy, where the pizza originated from, is one of the best places in the world to eat a slice of pizza, where you will find a very fine crisp base with a sparse topping, often of tomato and cheese, although olives, ham, mushrooms, anchovies, rocket, red onions, pine nuts, whatever takes you fancy, can go on top. I think homemade pizza is ideal for a children's party, or one way to keep children happy adding the toppings. Just give them a dough base and their favourite toppings in dishes and let them get creative. A sure way to get children to eat something or try something different.
The very first pizza I made though when I was much younger, was hung on the wall by my cousins who had come to stay. So if your pizza making is not a success first time, don't give up. Plus, supermarkets do sell the pizza base which is also an option. You can then just add your favourite toppings.
In most cases tomato and mozzarella cheese are the two main toppings, I like to make my own tomato sauce, although the pizza sauce from Waitrose is a good alternative.
- 10g dried yeast
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 450g strong white bread flour
- 1tsp salt
- 350ml lukewarm water
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 small bunch of basil leaves chopped
- 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
Add your favourite toppings.
- Pre-heat the oven 250C/500F/gas 9 or light your pizza oven
- Oil a baking sheet or flour your peel
- To the 350ml of lukewarm water add olive oil and yeast and mix well until the yeast as completely dissolved. Set aside letting the mixture froth up.
- Mix the flour and salt together in a large baking bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yeast mixture to the well.
- Bring together to form a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface, flour your hands and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth springy dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, dust the top with flour and cover with an oiled piece of clingfilm.
- Leave in a warm place for around 30-45 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
- On a lightly floured work surface, turn the pizza dough out and divide into balls, several smaller balls or 4 large ones, depending on the number of toppings or guests.
- Flatten out and roll out in a circle until you have a thin base, place on your baking tray or peel and top with your favourite toppings.
- Place in a hot oven for 6-10 minutes, until the base is crisp. I suggest you bake one at a time.
Easy tomato sauce:
- In a pan add a drop of olive oil and your crushed garlic clove, cook until it is slightly turning a golden colour.
- Add a tin of tomatoes, basil leaves and a good twist of salt and pepper.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, squashing the tomatoes with your wooden spoon.
- The sauce will thicken slightly
- Take off the heat and leave on one side until the pizza bases are ready.
- The tomato sauce does keep in the fridge for a few days if you have any left. If I have any left I use it as a sauce for spaghetti.