Oh dear…as I write this I am feeling very full…excuse me…Some peppermint tea might be in order…Ah…that’s better…Thank goodness for elasticated-waist trousers…that’s all I can say…
Why am I feeling so fat when I’m on a budget food challenge, you may ask? Well, all I can say is its Kerry’s fault. She left a helpful comment on Saturday’s blog entry, in which she made the obvious suggestion that instead of buying the pizza which was still outstanding on my shopping list following my visit to the farm shop, I should make one myself! And so this lunchtime I got down and doughy in the kitchen.
Admittedly this isn’t the first time I’ve attempted to make a pizza. A few years ago when I was really skint I tried out a recipe, but the results were mixed. The main problem was trying to get it in a vague pizza shape. Despite the use of a rolling pin, most attempts ended up strangely resembling the Isle of Wight. And the dough didn’t really taste much like pizza dough.
This time I adapted a recipe from an old book my neighbour leant me called The Cost Conscious Cook by Maggie Brogan.
225g plain or wholemeal flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
Half packet of fast acting dried yeast
You combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and then gradually add the water in using a rounded edge knife until you have a sticky dough. Then you knead it on a floured work surface for 10 minutes (I did this, forgetting that I could just get our bread maker to do it for me! But there you go, it’s probably character-building), roll it out to about 1cm thick and place on an oiled baking tray in a warm place (I put it in the oven on a very low heat) to rise.
While it was busy rising, I made up a tomato sauce using about two tablespoons of tomato puree, ¾ of a tin of tinned tomatoes and olives, chopped onions and garlic (from the first garlic bulb picked from our veg patch no less! The house stinks of garlic now!), a splash of balsamic vinegar, seasoning and half a chopped chilli I found languishing in the fridge, and just reduced it down. When the dough had become puffy, I smeared on the sauce, added chopped up sweet pepper, frozen peas and almost forgot the cheddar cheese! I had to take the pizza out after five minutes and sprinkle it on. What an idiot!
And to begin my foray into wild foods for the food challenge, for good measure I added some dandelion leaves onto the pizza when it was done – wilting them as you would spinach, as well as making a little nasturtium leaf side salad.
The pizza was absolutely delicious, which was a real surprise after my past attempts. I think making up the tomato sauce instead of just smearing tomato puree and canned tomatoes on top made a real difference. And the dandelions worked well. I wasn’t sure at first, because when I tasted a couple before I cooked them I found them a bit sour. But DJ explained that he’d discovered it was actually the stalks that were tart, not the leaves, so I cut them out. The nasturtiums were also rather peppery, not unlike rocket, so I think next time I’ll use them sparingly among other salad leaves.
And it was certainly a frugal success, costing roughly £1.40 to make compared to a bought Dr Oeker pizza costing £2.10 from Asda, which we normally buy. It was also about 1/3 bigger and much more filling. Sorry…must go and lie down now as too fat…
Do you make your own homemade, cheaper versions of fast foods? If so let me know your recipes!