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Let’s make pizza, and other things my son says

It’s fair to say Steve and I are food lovers. We both enjoy getting into the kitchen and making a mess – which would be a whole lot easier if we had a dishwasher – and the majority of our social outings revolve around food, farmers’ markets, restaurants and delis. It’s pretty awesome.

So it came as a shock to have a child who just wasn’t that fussed about food. He could have taken or left solids as a baby, and would have happily lived on bananas, porridge, pasta or honey toast for the better part of a year.

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There are, however, a few solid favourites guaranteed to get him into his cooking stool, apron on and whisk and rolling pin in hand. What’s more, not all of them involve cakes, banana bread or biscuits (although let’s be real, if he gets to lick a batter-covered spoon he is THERE).

Tortillas were up there for a while, as was bolognese and fish, however these days when I ask what he’d like for dinner that week he always replies with “pizza! Every night I want pizza”.

He’ll choose to top his with cheese, ham and sometimes pineapple (while I sneak finely chopped veg on too) while Steve and I will jazz ours up with zucchini, roasted pumpkin, red onion, garlic, mushrooms, anchovies, whatever protein is going, and a hefty dose of cheese.

A few years ago my brother showed me how easy it is to make your own pizza dough, seemingly effortlessly combining the flour and water on the benchtop while we watched on. The kicker is that it also freezes well, meaning you can always have some ready to go #winning. We’ve never looked back.

And because lately I’ve been kneading and rolling on a fortnightly basis with my little helper by my side ready to roll out the dough and sprinkle on the toppings, I thought I’d share our fail safe pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups plain flour (we’ve used wholemeal, unbleached white, spelt etc and they’ve all worked well)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Method

  • Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the combined water and olive oil and mix together, at first with a spoon and then with well-floured hands.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. It may take a while but a good song on in the background helps.
  • Leave the dough to rise in floured or oiled bowl until it has doubled in size. On cooler days sitting on top of a warm oven will help this along.
  • Halve the dough and set one half aside for the freezer. Roll out the other half, pierce it all over with a fork and then add whatever toppings take your fancy. We still divide this piece into 1/3 for the child and Steve and I share the other 2/3.
  • Cook in a moderate to low oven for about 40 minutes, keeping an eye on it.

 

To freeze the dough, simply sprinkle some flour into a freezer-proof lidded container and place the dough in. Then, 24 hours before you need it, move it to the fridge to defrost and to the bench about an hour before you roll it out so it can warm up. Then just knead it again, roll it out and off you go.

Et voila! Perfect pizza.

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