National Pizza Day I think is as good an excuse as any to publish this post. And to ensure it makes sense, I’m gonna start at the end and finish at the beginning!
Last weekend, I had what turned out to be the brilliant idea of making homemade pizza. After running the London Winter Run it seemed like the perfect way to spend an evening indoors and enjoy some good food. It turned out well… although the process takes about an hour (but only maybe 15 mins of work) your pizzas only then take 5/6 mins to cook. With the added bonus of knowing what’s in your food, choosing the toppings and no need to be stingy with said toppings!!
And because I’m one to share the fun, I have the very simple pizza recipe to share with you:
Serves 4 | Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 30 mins
14g fresh yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
Tomato margherita sauce
1 clove of garlic chopped
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
6 basil leaves torn
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g grated mozzerella
8 basil leaves torn
How to prepare
1. Preheat the oven 230 degrees. Place a flat baking tray into the oven to warm.
For the pizza dough:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar, oil, flour and salt, and add 325ml of lukewarm water.
2. Using your hands, bring the mixture together into a ball of dough, tip out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for five minutes until you have a smooth, elastic ball of dough.
3. Place in a large bowl and lightly cover with cling film. Leave to prove for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
To make the tomato sauce:
1. Gently fry the garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until soft then add the basil, tomatoes and season with salft and pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes until thickend. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
To assemble the pizza:
1. Turn the proved dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and gently knead for one minute to knock out the air. Divide the dough into four even-sized balls.
2. To assemble the pizza, roll out one ball of dough at a time to the thickness of a pound coin.
3. Carefully place each rolled out dough onto a thin baking tray dusted with semolina flour. Spoon and spread one tbsp of the cooled tomato sauce over the base, then scatter the grated mozzerella and two torn basil leaves on top.
4. Carefully transfer the assembled pizza onto the hot baking tray in the oven by sliding it in. Cook for five minutes or until golden. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and repeat the same process with the next three balls of dough.
I made my pizza vegan by using this vegan cheese. It doesn’t melt as well as actual mozzarella so I highly recommend you do as the packet / recipe says and take the time to grate it.
So where did I get this brilliant idea from? That would be a batch cooking masterclass I went to earlier in the week with John Lewis at the Waitrose Cooking School. It was a great evening showcasing how one simple tomato based sauce could be used to make a multitude of dishes (including said pizza). On the evening I also got to try my hand at making my own pasta (not too arduous a task) and got to devour everything that was made on the night.
Apparently, we’d all save a staggering £1,493 per year if we incorporated batch cooking into our daily routines which isn’t half bad. I’m a massive fan of the time saving aspect too especially when life gets busy, I’m active and time poor. Check out this page over on John Lewis for tons more tips about batch cooking and other recipes using the tomato sauce; you have to give the recipes a go and let me know what you think. Everyone was LOVING them over on my Instagram Stories so I’m excited to finally share them with ya!
And I don’t think I’ll be buying pre-made pizza too often now I know how simple it is to make! …So who’s already nailed batch cooking? Any tips for us?!