Homemade Pizza

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Simple, inexpensive and delicious, pizza done well is a favourite amongst many, and is certainly one of mine. 


Making it from scratch makes for a fun dinner with friends/housemates/the bf and you get the joys of customising it exactly to your present requirements and eating it fresh and toasty from the oven!

The below recipe (which is enough for 2 large pizzas) seems lengthy in ingredients but a) is so worth it and b) everything is incredibly easy. However, do feel free to switch things up as you see fit, eg gorgonzola and figs instead of tomato and salami maybe??

You will need: 

Dough:
500g Strong white flour
1/2 tsp salt
7g yeast (1 sachet)
300ml water, lukewarm
2 tsps sugar

Tomato sauce:
A 400g tin of plum tomatoes
A tbsp tomato puree
A shallot, finely diced
A clove of crushed garlic
A heavy sprinkle of dried herbs and seasoning.

Toppings, anything you want! I'm using:
2 tbsps pesto
Half a red, yellow and green pepper, sliced
A large handful of mushrooms, sliced
Balsamic onions (sliced red onions cooked in EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar)
Milano salami
2 balls of buffalo mozzarella
Spring onions, sliced
Basil leaves, for sprinkling

Firstly, the dough. 

If you've got a bread maker, toss all the ingredients and leave on the dough setting to prove for 40 odd minutes or until it's doubled in size.
If not, mix the salt through the flour and pop in a bowl, creating a well in the middle. Mix the sugar and yeast into the water, then pour into the well. Slowly bring in the flour and mix until you have a dough. Knead for 10 minutes to build elasticity and leave in a greased bowl covered with clingfilm until doubled in size.


Once your dough's proved, tip out onto a floured surface and divide into 2 pieces, putting one piece aside. Roll each out with a rolling pin until it's the size you want/of your baking tray. 


Pick up the dough and stretch it out using your hands/the weight of the dough to create a thicker crust and thinner centre. You want the base to be pretty thin so it cooks quickly.


Next, the sauce.

Fry off the shallots in some extra virgin olive oil before adding the tomatoes, puree and garlic. Squash the tomatoes into the sauce and cook for a few minutes before adding the herbs. Cook on a high heat until the sauce is nice and thick. Then spread all over your pizza bases and mottle in a tablespoon of pesto per pizza for added yumminess.



Set aside and chop up your veg.


Toppings on pizza time! Crisp, fresh veg first, caramelised onions next, little curls of salty salami next and finished off with plenty of mozzarella for oozy, cheesy goodness.



Pop in a preheated oven (200-220C) and bake until you get a burnished crust with fluffy inner, the protuding salami's all crispy and glistening, the veg is roasted and the mozzarella has melted everywhere: roughly 10-15 minutes. 






Whilst it's still a risk to the roof of your mouth, adorn with torn basil leaves, slice immediately and serve!




A Winter Walk

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Sometimes, being at home and out in the countryside is a feeling you just can't beat.

I'm pretty fortunate to live near some beautiful areas, perfect for a stroll if you can catch a break in the gloomy English winter weather(!) so I grabbed my coat, camera, a flurry of scarf and took off for a spontaneous afternoon...




Virginia Water, in my hometown of Surrey, I'd say is best visited when it's covered in great big plumes of azalea and rhododendron in the spring. But in the winter months, it has it's own special appeal if you can visit on a day like we did, where everything's basked in a golden, autumnal glow.




It's no where near as busy and almost a bit magical when you can get off the beaten track and explore it's more secluded trails.




And there are still some flowers in bloom!




There are plenty of little hidey holes and secret passages to explore, quaint little bridges, leaves that look like stained glass windows and a whopping big lake in the middle to watch the sunset over, snuggled up together in your winter gear.





Of course, after a terribly 'exertive' day (throwing leaves and running around through forest like children...) you need to settle down for a hearty and warming dinner after the sun has set so we popped over the road to Piccolino's, the purveyor of tasty and good-value Italian food.

Our menu of choice; bruschetta, crab ravioli, rigatoni ragu and a touch of a good red wine.






A super simple, but amazing day.

As a final note, I ought to mention that I've had a hiatus from blogging. This has been due to illness and I'm hoping to be on the road to recovery and back posting on a regular basis. 

I'd just like to thank you, for your patience and understanding through this not very easy time for me and I look forward to getting right back into it :)


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