Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I love PIZZA!

I had a huge craving for pizza yesterday and I’ve been cheating lately when I’ve been making it. There is an Indian take-away at the end of the street that makes fresh naan bread. I've been using that naan as it makes a great thin pizza base but yesterday I thought I would finally give making my own dough from scratch a try. I’ve been putting it off as I thought it would take too long and be too difficult but I found a recipe on that only used 5 basic ingredients for the dough.

This pizza had the tomato base with olives, with salami, prosciutto, mushrooms and mozarella.

I’m so glad I tried this, I was worried it wouldn’t work out and I would be eating sandwiches for dinner, but it was so easy. Pizza is literally going to be the flavour of the month at my house.

Here is the dough recipe, it makes roughly 2 large pizzas, more if you like a thinner crust:

• 450g (3 cups) plain flour

• 2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast

• 1 1/2 tsp salt

• 310mls (1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water

• 1 tbs olive oil

• Olive oil, for greasing

• Plain flour, for dusting

1. Measure all your ingredients.

2. Place the plain flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix well

3. Make a well in the centre and add all the lukewarm water and olive oil to the dry ingredients.

4. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined and then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. It should be soft and slightly sticky.

5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes, or until the dough is almost smooth.

6. Brush a large bowl with olive oil to grease. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over to lightly coat the surface with the olive oil. This will prevent the surface of the dough from drying out as it proves. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean, damp tea towel in a warm place. Leave dough until it doubles in size - about 1 hour.

7. Brush two 27.5cm (base measurement) round pizza trays with the olive oil to lightly grease. Sprinkle with a little flour. (I don't have pizza trays so I just free-rolled into the most pizza-like shape I could manage)

8. Preheat oven to 230°C. Place an oven shelf in the lowest position and another shelf 2 positions higher. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll one portion of dough out on a lightly floured surface until almost large enough to line the prepared pizza tray.

9. Lift onto the tray and use your hands to gently ease the dough out to the edge, allowing it to come a little up the side to form a thicker edge when baked. Prick the dough with a fork, avoiding the edge. Repeat with the other portion.

10. Spread your sauce on the dough and add the toppings of your choice.

11. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Swap trays around in oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes. The pizzas are ready when they shrink from the sides of the trays and slide off easily.

This recipe is from, I have broken it down and changed the order around as it was quite confusing to follow. The recipe from taste does has some helpful tips, detailed explanations and great toppings ideas and can be found HERE.

This was my version of meatlovers. I put the tomato base added olives, mushrooms, meatballs, salami and ham. Then added a layer of BBQ sauce and topped it with mozarella.

Alex made a very simple tomato sauce for the dough. He cut up a few cloves of garlic and a small onion and fried them in some olive oil. He then added a can of chopped tomatoes, a few herbs, salt, pepper and olives and cooked it until the sauce thickened up.

This sauce was much nicer than using tomato paste as you get some nice chunks of tomato. You can make the sauce and prepare your toppings while your dough is proving to kill some time. I also read that you can freeze pizza dough, awesome news for lazy me. Wrap dough portions in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge then bring to room temperature before rolling out.

Close-up of the Meatlovers, so good I ate it for breakfast. Mmmm cold pizza breakfast

I wanted to try to make a dessert pizza with nutella and banana but I had to make the base quite thick as I don't own a rolling pin yet. So stay tuned for the dessert pizza experiments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guilt Free Shopping To Help Queensland

Queensland, Australia is really doing it tough at the moment. They have just started the recovery process after the devastating floods and then they receive the bad news that they are expecting a tropical cyclone. Not just any tropical cyclone but apparently one that would be Category 5 and would be the worst Australia has experienced. So Northern Queensland braced themselves for the onslaught of Cyclone Yasi's 200km+ per hour winds and all the damage they would cause.

Though there has been a trail of destruction left behind by Yasi, there has yet to be any reports of deaths. After 35 deaths caused by the floods it is definitely welcome news, I hope that it stays that way. The Premier's Flood Relief Appeal is now the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal, so please help or donate to a State that sorely needs it. For more information on how to help or donate please refer to my previous blog post on the Queensland Floods HERE.

The other way you can donate as well as have some very guilt free shopping is to buy something from eBay's FASHION.TO.AID, where a host of Australia's leading designers and retailers have generously donated items to auction for this very worthy cause. The best thing about this is if you purchase from FASHION.TO.AID, 100% of all the money made will go to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal. So get yourself some new shoes while helping out those who really need it HERE

(Pictures from