Ham and mushroom pizza

Pizza

How to make Pizza from scratch

Simple Pizza recipe

Making pizza is far easier than many people think. Here is a simple recipe to make the dough and cook it with toppings of your choice.

Ingredients for the pizza dough (for one 11 inch pizza) – increase quantities for more pizzas

  • 150g plain flour (or Farina Tipo 00 if you can get it)
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried yeast (I use Fermipan Red Dried Yeast)
  • 2tsp extra virgin olive oil (plus generous additional amounts to rub onto the dough before each rise)
  • 100ml of lukewarm water
  • a generous pinch of fine sea salt

Note: Flour and water may need adjusting up or down, depending on the humidity in the room and the specific flour you are using.  Always add water gradually to achieve the right consistency, and have additional flour to hand in case you need to add a little.

Method

You can watch the video of me making the dough for 3 pizzas here:

Place the flour into a large bowl and mix in the sea salt. Make a well in the middle and add the sugar and yeast.

Gradually add some of the water and start mixing the flour into it with a large mixing spoon, then add the oil and keep mixing the flour in from the outside of the ‘well’. Keep adding water until you have more or less mixed in all the flour and have a wet and uneven/lumpy dough. At this point, remove any dough sticking to the spoon and proceed by hand, kneeding long enough to have a soft, malleable dough that almost doesn’t stick to your hands (it needs to stick a little or it will be too dry). Add extra water or flour if needed. This process should only take you a minute or two.

Tip: I find the best way of kneeding is to pull away from you, then fold the dough over itself with your knuckles, then keep rotating the dough and repeating this action – see video above. When the dough is ready, it will be quite springy to the touch. Shape the dough into a ball (you can separate this into separate portions for each pizza later, or make separate dough balls now).

Take a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil into your hands and rub it all over the dough ball. Place the dough ball back in the bowl (or if you’ve made separate dough balls, place each one in a separate bowl) and cover with a dry cloth or clingfilm. Put the covered bowl(s) into a warm, draught-free place (I find the airing cupboard ideal) for 1.5-2 hours, until the dough ball(s) has/have roughly doubled in size.

After the dough has rested the first time:

If you still have one single dough ball for all your pizzas, place it on a floured surface (a large wooden chopping board is ideal, but a clean kitchen work surface will work equally well) and, using a dough cutter or a smooth-bladed large knife, cut it into equal portions according to the number of pizzas you are making.

If you had already split the dough into separate portions, work with each dough ball individually.

Take each portion of dough and work it by grabbing a ‘corner’ at a time and pulling away from you with your finger tips, then folding it into the centre, repeating for each ‘corner’ as you rotate the dough. See video above for demonstration of how to do this. Shape each portion into a ball and rub generously with extra virgin olive oil again. Place into a bowl and cover with a cloth or clingfilm. Leave it in a room-temperature draught-free place for 1-1.5 hours (I leave it in the kitchen at this point – if the dough is warm – e.g. from the airing cupboard – when you make the pizza, it can stick to the pizza paddle).

You’ll know it’s ready when it’s more or less doubled in size.

Pizza dough rising
Pizza dough before and after second rising

Place one dough ball onto a floured surface (e.g. wooden chopping board) and gently stretch it out to make a pizza shape (you can also start the process by moving the dough around over your knuckles – make sure you don’t wear any rings or it will tear!) – see video above. Once you have the desired shape and size and the dough is nice and thin, you can pinch around the edges to give you a slightly thicker crust.

Top with your chosen toppings – see some suggestions in the pictures below – transfer to the oven using a pizza paddle and bake in a hot pizza oven, if possible (this will only take 1-2 minutes…follow pizza oven instructions, but you’re likely to need to rotate it during cooking to ensure it cooks evenly).

Ooni Pizza oven

Tip: If you don’t have a pizza oven, I find it works better to cook it in a pan and under a grill than to bake it in a conventional oven (though if you have a pizza stone for the oven, this helps).

To cook it in a pan, place the shaped dough into a pre-heated pan or skillet that has been very lightly oiled, over a high heat. Put the toppings on when the base is already in the pan – this will start cooking the base. Then, once topped, place the pan under a very hot grill to cook the top.

Note: You can also use the dough to make Focaccia (recipe coming soon) and Calzone.

Pizza topping suggestions:

Pizza | Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Boozy cake with gin-infused fruit, sliced

Boozy Fruit Cake | Gin-infused fruit cake

This cake came about as a flash of inspiration after I’d made some festive gin liqueurs and didn’t want to waste the delicious fruit. It’s quick & easy to make, and if you haven’t made gin liqueur to give you the boozy fruit, simply soak the apples in your favourite tipple instead (see suggestion below), and use the mincemeat straight out of the jar 🙂

Boozy cake with gin-infused fruit, sliced

Ingredients

  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 100g butter (I like using salted butter, but you can use unsalted if you prefer)
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • all the fruit from the mincemeat gin liqueur and toffee apple gin liqueur, after you have sieved all the gin into bottles and squeezed out as much from the fruit as you can, plus the rest of the open jar of mincemeat that you didn’t use for the gin

If you haven’t made festive gin liqueur, you can soak the fruit in any alcohol of your choice. I have done this with Rum as follows:

Place approximately 80g of dried apple rings, 2 sweet red apples (peeled, cored and cut into segments) and a full 400g jar of mincemeat into a large glass bowl, add a couple of generous tablespoons of clear honey, cover with dark Rum and stir. Cover and leave to stand for 2 days, stirring from time to time. Then sieve the liquid into a sterilised bottle (the Rum liqueur is delicious!), squeezing any excess Rum out of the fruit. Roughly chop the fruit and use for the cake.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan).

Whisk the butter and golden caster sugar until they become light and creamy, then gradually add the eggs, continuing to whisk as you do so. Add a little flour with the last of the eggs to avoid the mixture splitting, then fold in the rest of the flour.

Add the boozy fruit, stirring the thick mixture well, to ensure the fruit is evenly distributed.

Place the mixture into a greased 2lb loaf tin and place into the pre-heated oven for about 65 minutes (check that a wooden skewer comes out almost completely dry before taking the cake out of the oven).

Leave the cake to cool almost completely in the tin before turning it out onto a cooling rack, to avoid it falling apart.

Boozy cake with gin-infused fruit, sliced

This cake will keep for a few days, wrapped in clingfilm and tin foil – if you can keep your hands off it long enough!!!

Boozy gin-infused fruit cake – Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Festive Gin Liqueurs in bottles

Festive Gin Liqueurs

Mince Pie Gin Liqueur | Toffee Apple Gin Liqueur | Jasmine Tea Gin Liqueur

Festive Gin Liqueurs in bottles

I recently attended a virtual Gin & Beer event – hubby had the beers, I had the gins – and the gins were provided by The Friday Night Gin Club. As I liked the gins I tasted, I went onto their website to get the link of my favourite one (so my daughters could get it for me for Christmas!) and explored what else was on there. I discovered that they sell a fab Gin Liqueur base that comes in a gorgeous bottle, and decided to have a go and make some indulgent liqueurs.

Each bottle is 70cl, so I decided there was enough there for me to make some for myself and some as gifts in smaller bottles (easily found at various online retailers). I ended up making 1x200ml bottle of mince pie gin liqueur, 1x200ml bottle of toffee apple gin liqueur (both of these as gifts), 1x200ml jasmine tea liqueur (for me) and split the rest evenly between mince pie and toffee apple gin liqueurs to go back into the 70cl bottles.

In order to infuse the flavours, I did the jasmine tea liqueur directly in one of the small bottles, the mince pie liqueur in a Kilner jar and the tofee apple one in a lidded glass mixing bowl.

These are so easy to make and really delicious – and you can use the fruit to make a scrumptious boozy cake (see recipe) afterwards (alternatively, the apples are delicious to eat as a very boozy dessert)!

Guidelines for all three liqueurs

Wash the containers you’ll soak the gin and fruit in, and the bottles you’re going to pour the sieved gins into, thoroughly in hot, soapy water and allow to air dry. Ideally, sterilise them before use (I did this by using the steam nozzle on my espresso machine).

Gin liqueurs infusing

Mince Pie Gin Liqueur

Ingredients

Method

Place the gin liqueur base and the mincemeat into a lidded jar. Stir and leave to infuse for 2 days, stirring / shaking occasionally.

After 2 days, sieve the liquid into your chosen size of gin bottle (place a small sieve over a funnel and pour into the bottle).

The liqueur will settle as it sits in the bottle, so make sure to give it a good shake before serving.

It is delicious neat over ice, but also with a drop of ginger ale! Yum!!!

Toffee Apple Gin Liqueur

Ingredients

Method

Blitz the Werther’s Original candies in a powerful food blender (e.g. Nutribullet) until they are reduced to a powder.

Place the powdered sweets, the liqueur base, the dried and fresh apples into a lidded glass container, stir and leave for 2 days, stirring / shaking occasionally. Initially, the Werther’s Original powder will form a kind of sticky caramel in places, but this will soon dissolve.

After 2 days, sieve the liquid into your chosen size of gin bottle (place a small sieve over a funnel and pour into the bottle).

The liqueur will settle as it sits in the bottle, with the toffee sitting at the top, so make sure to give it a good shake before serving.

Delicious served neat over ice. Enjoy!!!

Jasmine Pearls Gin Liqueur

Ingredients

Place the jasmine tea pearls and gin liqueur base into a lidded glass jar / bottle and leave to infuse for 24 hours (longer if you want a stronger taste, but check flavour regularly to ensure it doesn’t become bitter). Stir / shake occasionally while it is infusing.

Sieve the liquid into your chosen size of gin bottle (place a small sieve over a funnel and pour into the bottle).

Delicious served neat over ice to fully enjoy its delicate flavour, just like jasmine tea itself! Yum!!!

Festive Gin Liqueurs in bottles

Festive Gin Liqueurs – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!