Sunday, 8 June 2014


For me, I associate Pizza with a hangover. After a long heavy night on the old cider you might as well be talking to a corpse when it comes to how I feel the next day. Cooking a great meal is the last thing on my mind so it's pizza ordered to the door, inhaled and goodbye to the diet. However having got to grips with bread dough and falling in love with making homemade bread making Ted's Rolls the last couple of weeks I wondered if I could have a crack at making a homemade pizza and let me tell you: Best Pizza Ever!!!
First of all for that scrummy crispy pizza base you have to invest in a pizza stone. You don't need to spend a fortune. I had vouchers from M&S so I bought this one to my left which was £15 at the time of writing and it worked a treat. Don't worry that you'll be spending money on something that you'll only use once too. I've seen recipes online where it can be used to make cookies, tandoori and a whole host of other foods so don't think you'll be wasting your money. If anything, the way my pizza turned base turned out today was worth the price tag alone and remember that you would probably spend £15 on a takeaway pizza that would be nowhere near as tasty. Trust me on that!

Secondly, a pizza can be a fabulous way of turning the weeks leftovers in a glorious weekend treat. The tomato sauce for the base is leftover sauce used to make Jon's Lasagne. If you make any dish with a tomato sauce base during the week and end up making too much, keep the extra in your fridge or freezer and save it for when it's pizza day. The fact it's been marinading for a couple of days too will mean that the taste will be so much better too. If you don't have any leftovers then open a 400g can of chopped tomatoes into a saucepan with 3 grated garlic gloves and 2 tbsp of oregano. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes and hey presto, a quick and simple pizza sauce ready to spread on your dough.

For your topping, use whatever you like. I've given you a recipe below but this is merely a serving suggestion, use whatever you have left in the kitchen. The only topping I really had to buy was the pepperoni, all the veg was left over from the weeks cooking, the mozzarella and grated cheese were again leftover from the lasagne and the Parmigiano Reggiano from the corn cobs made earlier in the week. Its such a great way to clear out your fridge/cupboards at the end of the week and you'll feel great for not throwing out any tasty fresh food. 

Remember - Love Food, Hate Waste!

Pepperoni Pizza (makes 2, 13 inch pizzas)

For The Dough

500g Strong White Flour
1/2 Tsp Fine Salt
7g Dried Active Yeast
1/2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
325ml Lukewarm Water

For The Topping

1 Medium Onion
4 Spring Onions
2 Roasted Red Peppers
200g Chestnut Mushrooms
Approximately 300ml Pizza Sauce;
(Leftovers Or See Quick Recipe Above) 
1 Large Mozzarella Ball
1 Pack Of Pepperoni (About 24 Slices)
120g Parmigiano Reggiano 
1 460g Bag Grated Cheese (Your Preference)
(Or Whatever You Fancy - The Choice Is Yours)

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 220 degrees (200 fan) before making your dough. 
  2. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl and set to one side. Add the yeast, sugar, oil and water into a jug and leave for about two minutes to allow the yeast to start activating. You should see bubbles starting to form on the top of the mixture. If not, your water is too hot or cold so start again and adjust your water temperature accordingly.
  3. Make a well in the flour and pour in a third of the yeast mixture and mix together until combined before adding another third of the yeast mixture. Mix again and repeat with the final third of the mixture until the dough has all come together into a ball.
  4. Tip the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough with lightly flour dusted hands for around five minutes until you have a smooth and springy dough. If the dough is too sticky then add a smidge of flour but don't got mad or you will ruin the dough. Be patient and keep kneading, the dough will soon come together.
  5. Place the dough into a very lightly oiled clean bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm, dry place to rise for 1 hour. 
  6. If your using a pizza stone, place it in the oven so that it gets super hot in time for baking the pizza.
  7. Whilst the dough is rising, take the onion spring onion, peppers and mushrooms and chop into equal sized pieces depending on how chunky you like your pizza toppings.
  8.  Place them all into a very lightly oiled pan on a medium heat and fry for around five minutes to draw out some of the moisture from the veg. This will prevent the dreaded soggy bottom on your pizza base, especially if you do not have a pizza stone! If your veg is starting to brown then remove from the heat immediately. Youdon't want to cook them now, that will happen later in the oven.
  9. After frying the veg, tip them into a colander to allow any remaining water/oil to drain from them.
  10. Whilst your still waiting for your dough to rise get all your other toppings ready. Make sure your sauce is cool, slice the mozzarella ball (enough pieces for 2 pizzas) and place into a bowl and put your parmigiano reggiano and grated cheese into another bowl. All ready to go! 
  11. After the dough has been rising for an hour it should of at least doubled its size. Knock the air out the dough and tip out of thebowl onto a lightly floured surface. Split the dough into two equal pieces, take one half and put back into the oiled bowl and recover with the damp tea towel so it doesn't dry out.
  12. Roll out the other half of the dough so it is thin and big enough to cover the pizza stone. 
  13. Carefully remove the pizza stone from the oven the oven and transfer the dough (ideally with a pizza peel) to the pizza stone. Trim off any excess dough and leave to one side.
  14. Take a ladle and pour on a layer of the tomato sauce onto thedough base and spread around with the under side of the ladle. Your tomato sauce should cover the whole base but it should be thin enough be able to see the dough through it otherwise you again will increase the risk of a soggy bottom.
  15. If you have lots of excess dough and love a nice crust to your pizza, roll it into a long sausage shape and use it to line the circumference of the pizza as in the picture to the right. 
  16. Next, layer on half of the fried vegetables, mozzarella and pepperoni slices over the sauce. Make sure everything is spread evenly so that not only will each slice have a piece of everything but it will also be evenly cooked all over.
  17. Cover everything with a layer of the parmigiano reggiano and grated cheese and on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the crusts golden brown. Leave on the stone whilst you use a pizza wheel to slice into as many slices as you like.
  18. Repeat from step 12 again with the remaining half of the ingredients to make your second pizza. You can either eat the first pizza now whilst the second one bakes or keep it warm by covering with foil and putting back in the oven for the last few minutes of the second pizza's bake.
As soon as you take your first bite you will understand what I mean when I say this is ten times better than any takeaway pizza. Grab yourself some dipping sauces to dip your crusts into and you have the ultimate homemade pizza experience for a fraction of the cost of having one delivered.

You could even prepare the second pizza and then freeze between two sheets of baking paper, ready to take out and bake. Ideal for a lazy/hangover day!

So what are you waiting for? Throw those pizza shop leaflets away, get kneading your dough and raiding your cupboards to see what fantastic pizza creations you can come with today!


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