Pizza

Ham and mushroom 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!

Spiced bean, pea, lentil and tomato soup

spiced lentil pea bean and tomato soup

This is a really hearty soup suitable for the whole family.  I made it as part of my liquid post-gastric-sleeve diet, but it would be equally suitable for anyone on a low-fat diet, or a reflux diet, or of course just someone who enjoys a wholesome nourishing soup! 

Because I need to be on liquids with ‘no bits’, I blitzed it as finely as I could, then put it through a sieve, but under other circumstances, I’d either just blitz it but not sieve away all the fibre goodness from the bean and lentil hulls, or would take some of the beans and lentils out before blitzing, then add them back in, to give the soup more of a chunky feel, so it’s up to how you like your soup! 

spiced bean pea lentil and tomato soup

Ingredients (for 2 very generous portions for people not on my diet!)

  • 2 handfuls dry cannellini beans (these may need soaking in cold water overnight before you cook them – check the pack for instructions)
  • 2 handfuls dry yellow split peas (these may need soaking in cold water overnight before you cook them – check the pack for instructions)
  • 1 handful dry green lentils (these may need soaking in cold water overnight before you cook them – check the pack for instructions)
  • 1 handful dry red lentils (these may need soaking in cold water overnight before you cook them – check the pack for instructions)
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1l chicken or vegetable stock (I used 2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots and 1l water)
  • 0.5l water
  • half a teaspoon Ras El Hanout spice mix
  • optional: low-fat cheese triangle (1 per portion) or a sprinkling of powdered milk or whey protein powder to add more protein into the soup (for post-bariatric surgery liquid diet supplementation)
  • optional: sea salt, to taste

Method

Place all ingredients (aside from the salt) in a large saucepan or stockpot and bring to the boil.  Boil on a high heat for 10 minutes. 

Turn the heat down, cover, and simmer / boil gently for about an hour and 20 minutes, checking that the beans and lentils are soft and easily squashable (otherwise cook a little longer). 

Liquidise in a jar blender or using a hand-held blender in the saucepan, then, if you’re using this for the post-bariatric surgery liquid diet, sieve to ensure there are no bits left.  If you are not following this diet, and prefer a chunkier soup, you can either just liquidise it but not sieve it, or take out some beans and lentils before liquidising the soup, then add those back in, so it has a more chunky texture.

Taste and add a sprinkling of sea salt if you feel it needs it.

Note: If you are following a post-bariatric surgery liquid diet and need to supplement your liquid nutrition with protein, you can add a little powdered milk, whey protein powder, or a cheese triangle melted into the soup. 

Serve and enjoy! 

Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or medical professional.  These are simply ideas based on meals I have created to suit my own dietary needs and, as I’ve enjoyed them, I wanted to share them. If you are unsure about the suitability of any ingredients or recipes on my blog for your own requirements, please check with a health professional first. 

Lemon-scented cous-cous salad

lemon-scented cous-cous salad

This fat-free, low-carb, low-calorie salad is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach

Lemon-scented cous-cous salad, served with seared tuna steak

I’ve created this salad for my pre-surgery diet before my weight-loss surgery, but despite the lemon-scent (obtained from grating in some lemon zest), if you take out the tomatoes and replace them with additional vegetables, e.g. cucumber, sweetcorn, freshly shelled peas etc, it is also suitable for anyone following a reflux diet.  I am tolerating tomatoes quite well now my reflux has settled down a lot, and as my diet is so severely restricted for these few days before my surgery, I have opted to use the tomatoes. 

You can have this salad on its own, or serve it with a variety of meat or fish.  In this instance, I served it with a delicious seared tuna steak, seasoned with sea salt, garlic and chilli. 

Ingredients (for one generous portion)

  • Three small tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (see note above if you are following a reflux diet)
  • 1/3rd of a red pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/3rd of a yellow pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 2tbsp cooked cous-cous
  • 1tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/3rd of a lemon, finely grated
  • sea salt, to taste

Method

Mix all ingredients together.  Serve & enjoy!

Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or medical professional.  These are simply ideas based on meals I have created to suit my own dietary needs and, as I’ve enjoyed them, I wanted to share them. If you are unsure about the suitability of any ingredients or recipes on my blog for your own requirements, please check with a health professional first.