Soundbites -little phrases that convey so much more. Politicians live and die by them. One of the most memorable in the food sense is drawn from Michael Pollen’s important thesis on food and eating:
‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants’.
This initial premise goes on to spawn an important discussion on what is food (clue, something your Grandmother would recognize as food) and what is a balanced diet. Yet such a mantra is easy to lose faith in when life gets crowded with so many other priorities and demands. For many of us, weeknights are a challenge. Who has the inclination and energy to cook a meal from scratch after a day working? Batch cooking is a great way to keep a stock of food, but if your freezer storage is as limited as ours this may be a limited option. Before you call for that delivery pizza though, try this recipe. Prepare the dough the evening before, stick it in the fridge, and next day, let it warm and puff up as you gather toppings.
So our recipe below is for a no-knead method. Something we have talked about before – see here for a short explanation and video, and here for a great post by Sally of My Custard Pie about making bread dough in this way. No knead / low knead means low fuss and not much attention needed. Gentleness wins over force any day, and in our experience this method yields a wonderful loaf.
We have a recipe for a batch tomato sauce that we have talked about here. We do sometimes use shop bought sauces, and particularly like the Loyd Grossman range as some of the others are higher in salt and less flavourful.
In the spirit of being healthy, you can cut the calouries by using low fat cheese (purists will of course decry us for saying this) and adding lots of seasonal vegetables – here, some fresh tomatoes, courgettes and spring onions – here is our take on Pizza Primavera.
We add some fresh oregano and basil after baking for flavour and scent, though you could scatter dried oregano on as you put the pizza in the oven.
If you have a pizza stone, it helps really get the base crisp. Since the stone needs to be hot, we have a bit of a 2 stage transfer process of pizza from worktop to a chopping board / pizza paddle to the stone. To avoid the dough from sticking to things at any point, we use lots of semolina flour or bread flour on each surface to help the pizza slide across easily. Semolina is good for 2 reasons –
– it gives a crunchy finish to the crust of pizza.
– the grains act like little wheels to help move the pizza effortlessly.
- 500g (4 cups) strong bread flour
- 1 sachet quick yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 300ml (1 and 1/2 cup) cold water
- 50ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- 125ml (1/2 cup) tomato sauce
- 4 to 6 tablespoons grated cheese
- 1 courgette
- 1 spring onion
- 2 large tomatoes
- 4 to 8 tablespoons semolina or flour for rolling
- handful of basil and oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Put the flour in a large bowl.
- Add the quick yeast and then pour in the water and olive oil.
- Using a spatula, mix the liquid into the flour until it is combined.
- Finish by using your hands to make it into a rough ball,and then put it into a clean oiled bowl.
- Seal the bowl well with clingfilm and put in the fridge overnight.
- Next day, get the dough out an hour before you need to bake it.
- Take it out, gently fold it on itself a couple of times using oiled hands.
- Place it back in the bowl and cover it.
- Preheat oven to 220DegC (430DegF).
- If you have a Pizza stone now is the time to put it in the oven to warm up for around 40 minutes.
- Set out your toppings.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the pizza dough into individual portion sizes.
- Scatter semolina or flour on the worksurface generously.
- Roll and stretch the dough to around 1cm (1/2 inch) thin.
- Spread the sauce and scatter cheese on the base, then desired toppings
- Scatter semolina/flour generously onto a chopping board or pizza paddle. Slide the pizza onto the board and then use this to slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone.
- Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and the base is slightly browned.
- Scatter fresh herbs on the pizza and some chilli flakes if you like.
Here are some healthy pizza ideas from other food blogs
Spelt flour Pizza – higher in fibre from Fuss Free Flavours
The Cauliflower crust pizza base – very low calorie – here is Kellie at Food to glow’s version
Katie’s Barbecue Turkey Pizza
Jac has this super low cal pizza
And Camilla’s Quick Ciabatta Pizza’s
And other healthy midweek meals:
This clever Pizza fish from Jeanne at Cooksister
And this super quick Cod with Miso by Urvashi Roe
What is your way of keeping things fresh and healthy on a ‘school night’?