We’re in the midst of a heatwave, which has meant many consecutive afternoons keeping cool in the shade of my parents’ back garden with the kids. Mum and I tend to cook one-pot dishes for the kids that tick all the boxes. Meals like stews which are pasta or pulse-based, lots of veg, a protein, enough liquid to make it saucy. These meals are usually tasty for the kids as well as nourishing and whole. But in the hot weather, the kids are too busy playing outdoors to care about sitting down to eat, and sloppy food just doesn’t inspire them or us.
So one day this week we decided to make them some pizza. Pizza is a winner because let’s face it, who is going to refuse to eat pizza? It requires minimal assistance with feeding – my 1-year old isn’t quite handy enough with cutlery yet, so needs to be fed and my 2-year old is so appalled by the attention that his brother gets while eating that he also requires assistance with feeding. Headache.
Pizza doesn’t have to be really unhealthy, particularly if it is homemade. Shop-bought pizza is notoriously high in salt, which is why I wouldn’t feed them to my kids. You can eliminate ingredients with high salt like cured meats, and you can also limit or eliminate salt from the pizza base mix.
Pizza is super-easy to make and you can usually whip together a basic pizza with ingredients you already have in the kitchen.
Mum whipped up some pizza dough using some strong bread flour, Allison’s easy bake yeast and this recipe which you can find on the back of the yeast packet/tin, and on the back of Allison’s strong bread flour bag. To be honest, you can probably select one of the numerous pizza base recipes from the internet.
For the toppings, I used:
Mushrooms – chopped
Half a red onion – sliced
Grated cheddar – quantity down to your discretion and pizza quantity
Dried or fresh herbs
Preheat your oven to high. The highest ours goes to is 250 degrees Celsius.
Make your pizza dough according to your recipe. I didn’t bother letting the dough prove as I was in a hurry. The dough feels nicer when you let it rise, but for pizza, it isn’t essential.
Divide your dough into however many pizzas you want to make. I made four small pizzas.
On a floured board, roll out the dough until it is roughly 2mm thick – basically roll it out pretty thinly.
Place your bases on your pizza trays ready for toppings. Spread tomato puree over the base to the edges. I don’t measure anything, so I can’t tell you how much I used, but you can see the coverage in the photo for a guide.
Sprinkle some chopped herbs from the garden or dried herbs from the cupboard. I used fresh marjoram and dried basil on this occasion.
Arrange all of your toppings except the cheese evenly on the pizza.
Lastly, top with the cheese. I do this last because the cheese protects everything from burning, and it sticks everything together and to the pizza base.
Crack some black pepper over the top if you wish and pop into the top of the oven.
I cooked mine in 10 minutes. Keep a really close eye on your pizza as when they’re at the top of a very hot oven, they will burn really quickly if you’ve had a lapse in concentration. Some pizzas may cook slightly quicker than that, or slightly longer, depending on your oven, so do stay close.
I made mini pizzas and chopped them into small segments, ideal for little hands. Just as we were ready to serve, the heavens opened, so we ended up dining in the conservatory instead of the garden!
They were still just as yummy indoors as they would have been in the garden.
Till next time.