Like all families we have a few traditions, in our case they revolve around food. Tonight was pizza night which always gets some healthy debate going, you see I like to be adventurous with the toppings and the rest of the family seem to prefer a plainer approach, added to that Fraser is of the belief that his base is better than mine which I hotly deny even though I secretly agree.

Making Pizzas becomes a family affair, making the dough in the morning and then all of us doing the prep as we chat through the day. My idea of Lamb, spiced red cabbage and Goats cheese has been vetoed in favour of prosciutto and potato, Smoked Salmon and leek, and that old monster the ham and pineapple.

Make lots as what’s left will freeze really well, we always triple the recipe so that we have lots left over for the lunch boxes over the next few days, it sure beats processed food.

Family food is so much more than just slamming something on a plate and eating on the hoof. Make the time to prepare together and eat together and use that time to talk, tonight the prep time was taken up with Alex’s French homework. Listening to Anne delve into her memory and try to extract her schoolgirl French was a joy that even the dog joined in with, Bon appétit.

Pizza

For the tomato sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium clove garlic, peeled and crushed

450g ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1 dessertspoon chopped fresh basil

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the base:

1 tsp active dry yeast

Pinch of sugar

165ml warm water

250g plain flour

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Place yeast, sugar and water in a bowl.  Set aside until bubbles form.  Meanwhile, make up tomato sauce by heating olive oil in a saucepan, adding onion and garlic and cooking for 2-3 minutes to soften.  Then add chopped tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook over a medium heat for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes have reduced.

Add flour, salt and oil to yeast mixture.  Mix to form a smooth dough and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and allow to stand in a warm place for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Knead and shape into one large or several small balls.  Flatten with back of hand.  Place on greased baking tray, add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce, add toppings (see below) and bake at 180˚C for 20-25 minutes for a large pizza and 10-15 minutes for smaller pizzas.

Toppings:

  • Ham, red onion and mozzarella.
  • Olives and mozzarella.
  • Smoked mushrooms and mozzarella.
  • Pancetta and parmesan.
  • Red onion and goats’ cheese or feta.

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