Tag Archives: weeknight winner

Homemade pizza

I am going to tell you how to make a pizza in 20 minutes. That wasn’t really a lie. Slightly bending the truth, I accept that. But wait! You honestly can make a pizza in 20 minutes. You just need to be sneaky… sneaky is good. Sneaky pizza is very good.

Now tell me you don’t want to make it. That would definitely be a lie.

Ingredients:
For the bases (makes 4):
3 tbsp olive oil
1 packet (7g) fast-action dried yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
600g strong white bread flour
large pinch salt

For the pizza:
a few tbsp tomato paste
50g cheddar
50g mozzarella
oregano or Italian herbs
any other toppings you like

Method:
1. Put the yeast, sugar and oil into a jug with 335ml lukewarm water. Set aside for a couple of minutes
2.  Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, then add the liquid. Mix until it all comes together, then knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes
3. Oil a large bowl (or use the same one) and put the dough into it. Cover with a teatowel and leave somewhere warm to rise for an hour
4. Preheat the oven to 230C (fan 210C). Briefly nead the dough again on a floured surface , then split into four and roll out each piece to a 1/2 cm thickness
5. Transfer the pizza base to a baking tray. Spread on enough tomato paste to cover the base, then add the toppings and sprinkle with cheese and herbs. Bake for 10-12 minutes

This pizza was truly delicious – I had it with anchovy paste mixed in with the tomato paste, and onions on top. Stinky but delicious. The second time I made it, I had it with mushrooms. Less stinky, still delicious. This pizza tastes way better than the ones you buy in the supermarket. And because you’ve made it all yourself, it feels positively virtuous. Well, it may not help your daily vegetable intake but the fact that it’s completely handmade has to count for something, right?

The real genius lies in the fact that you can freeze the spare bases by wrapping them in clingfilm. They take barely any time to defrost (I just put one on a baking tray when I get home from work), then barely any time again to whack on the toppings and bake. Not to mention that you can have your pizza exactly how you like it, AND you can save pennies in the process. Great news if you are saving for your imaginary vintage china collection, or, you know, a house in which to keep said china collection (amongst other things). Normally I wouldn’t consider eating pizza off a vintage plate but in this situation I would say it is completely justified. Eat and be happy =)

Leek and cheese crumble

Today is a good day, because today is the day that I have a big stack of wedding invitations ready for posting tomorrow. Yes, invitations made, inserts printed and stuck in, names written, envelopes addressed, stuffed and stamped, and all banded together in a neat little stack.

Planning your wedding is fine if you have approximately 2(+) hours of spare time every single day for about 6 months, and a very long attention span for that sort of thing.

It was about 8pm by the time I started to think about making dinner. The dish I had planned was going to take an hour to make, which just wasn’t going to happen, but it was either that or give in and have filled pasta from the freezer, as apart from leeks, cheese and creme fraiche our fridge was fairly bare. So I changed the recipe and did it in half the time. I don’t think it suffered from it, and I certainly didn’t.

Ingredients
a knob of butter
2 leeks, chopped into rounds
1 onion, finely chopped (or roughly chopped, if you’ve spent half your evening stuffing envelopes, it really doesn’t matter
80g Wendesleydale or other similar cheese
1 slice brown bread, breadcrumbed
some chives, chopped
about 4 generous tbsp creme fraiche (I used around 1/3 of a 300ml pot)
pepper for seasoning

Method
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks and onions, cover and sweat until soft
2. Meanwhile, crumble your cheese into a bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and chives; season with pepper. Preheat the oven to 180C
3.  When the vegetables are cooked, add the creme fraiche to the saucepan and stir until the veg are all covered. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish, top with the cheese/breadcrumb mixture and bake for around 20 minutes until crisp and golden on top

Recipe notes
So the original recipe has you bake the leeks, which is why it takes so long. I thought it was pretty tasty as is, and using the saucepan doesn’t make any more washing up as you need to warm the creme fraiche through before adding to the leeks anyway. The other thing I like is that it takes 20 minutes in the oven, just long enough to cook some potatoes and veg to go with it, and clean up your kitchen a little bit. So I do declare this recipe a Weeknight Winner!