Last week during half term we had some friends come around to play for the day. I decided that it would be fun for the children to cook their own lunch, and thought that pizza would be the easiest option. I made up a batch of pizza dough and some homemade tomato sauce (recipes below), then prepared small bowls of toppings for the children to use. I used what I had to hand in the fridge, but you could add or substitute any of these toppings with your own ingredients. The toppings we had were chopped mozzarella, quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced spring onion, chopped pepperoni slices, grated cheddar cheese and chopped red and yellow pepper.
Each child rolled out their piece of dough with a rolling pin, placed the dough on a baking tray sprinkled with semolina (you could just oil the tray or sprinkle with flour if you don’t have semolina to hand), spread over the tomato sauce and added their own toppings. They finished their pizzas with a sprinkling of dried oregano. We baked them in the oven on a high heat for about 10 minutes, and then served them up with a plate of crudités (carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, red and yellow pepper slices and cherry tomatoes) and some sour cream and chive dip.
In all the excitement I forgot to take pictures of the children’s pizzas (which were truly works of art!), but here is a slightly blurry picture of Small Child enjoying his!
Below I have provided recipes for the dough and the tomato sauce, so you can try it for yourself.
I used the following pizza dough recipe slightly adapted from one of my favourite recipe books (River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall):
250g Plain White Flour
250g Strong White Bread Flour
1 tsp Quick Yeast
1 Heaped tsp Sea Salt Flakes
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Semolina, for dusting oven tray (optional)
Place the flours, yeast, salt & 325ml warm water in a large bowl. Mix roughly together, then add the olive oil and mix with your hands until it all comes together as dough. Tip out onto a clean work surface, scraping all of the dough out of the bowl, and start kneading. It will be sticky, but don’t add any flour at this point; it should get less sticky as you go along. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. You can add a little flour at this stage if it is still a little sticky, then knead for a minute or two more until you have a ball of dough. Brush your bowl with a little more olive oil, then place the dough inside, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm until it has risen and doubled in size.
This recipe made enough dough for 2 adults and 4 children. If you have any spare dough why not make mini pizzas or calzones to freeze for a future lunchbox?
I also made an easy tomato sauce for the pizzas, again adapted from a recipe from the ‘River Cottage Everyday’ book:
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, or 1 Shallot, finely sliced
1 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs
Heat the oil in a saucepan over a gentle heat, then add the garlic or shallot (or a combination of both if you like) to the oil. Fry until starting to turn golden, then add the tin of tomatoes and the herbs. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until you have a thick sauce. The sauce can be used as it is, or blended until it is smooth if preferred (I blended mine this time). Any leftover sauce can be frozen for future use on pizza or stirred into pasta.
Homemade pizzas are much healthier than takeaway or shop bought pizza, because you have control over all of the ingredients. You could make them even healthier by using wholemeal flours if wanted. I used all organic ingredients, and still managed to make pizza for 6 people at a very low cost. The children loved making their own pizzas and creating designs with the toppings, picky eaters were able to choose what they wanted on their pizza and of course they enjoyed eating them too! What would you put on your own homemade pizza?