Food challenge: A Pizza the Frugal Life

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

150ml water

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!


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9 Responses to Food challenge: A Pizza the Frugal Life

  1. Christine says:

    Well done Piper. A frugal success and one that you can repeat using any ingredients that are available for the topping. Have you seen these recipes at Frugal Recipes From Wartime Britain?

  2. sharron says:

    spam spam and more spam christine … all i can say to war time food … fab! and long live spam it\’s gawjusssssss
    kids dont agree .. but then kids hate anything thats nice;)
    i make everything myself .. i dont buy shop made stuff at all .. just the basic raw ingredients and i bake all day … pasta to full blown sunday roast with all the doings … ok .. im hungry now .. witches!!!!

  3. Storm says:

    I never buy ready-made stuff.  Everything, except for things like flour, is from scratch.  This is not to live the frugal life, because sometimes it\’s really expensive, especially if you\’re making cakes, but because it tastes better and you know what\’s in it.  I usually make around eight pizza bases at a time from a standard bag of strong flour (I double prove them – they seem to go further like that), then I open freeze the ones I\’m not using immediately.  I usually make huge pizzas with different toppings to suit the people I\’m feeding at any given time.  Do you use dried pulses at all?  They\’re really economical…

  4. Tattyhousehastings says:

    Hello Piper
    Sounds yummy, remind me of the time my mum told my grandma pizza was my favourite food, but grandma said bought food was too pricey, so she made me one with peas and carrots on! Was lovely, although think she actually used a pastry base, and sort of imagined it was a quiche without the eggs!
    Try wholemeal flour if you feel a bit bloated – I am kind of getting a bit wheat intolerant, especially of white flour now I\’m in my thirties, think that sadly its just getting older…
    oh, and talking of grandma, she used to make the best meat pies with corned beef, after I turned vegetarian I used to dream about them, and her homemade sausage rolls…

  5. Unknown says:

    I much prefer pizza made with a scone base. My family love a tuna version. Make scone dough, then top with a medium lightly fried onion, 7oz drained can of tuna flaked, then sliced tomatoes( really ripe meaty ones) then  grated cheese mixed with teaspoon dried herbs.
    When this is cooked it has a nice crispy base.
    I had heard that broad bean tops, the ones you pinch put and normally compost, made a nice cooked veg, but although I love broad beans, these were not good, perhaps someone has a recipe. I cooked them as I would spinach. 

  6. AMANDA says:

    Whilst I agree in pricipal to cooking/baking from scratch it is actually cheaper to buy ready made sometimes. I buy a Dr Oaker pizza every week which along with some oven fries feeds 3 of us. I thought about making my own pizza but when I\’d worked out how much the flour, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, veg & cheese would cost to buy I opted to stick with the bought one! Obviously the cheapest way is to batch bake and freeze but as home economics at my school only involved making swiss rolls and fairy cakes I\’m a little uneducated in that department. Sigh….
    On a brighter note my 12 year old stepson says he will be moving on to how to make lasagne at school next year so there is hope for the future generation. A bit too late for me though, maybe he could teach me.

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