Pizza 2Among our friends, Michael is known as the pizza king. His pizzas are simply divine and so, after much persuasion, he finally let me share his secrets with you…

Pizza 11As I have a bit of a problem with wheat (I usually look about six months pregnant after eating it!), we found a delicious alternative a couple of years ago: spelt. In my opinion, it tastes so much better than wheat and it is believed to be a healthier option too. So Michael’s first pizza secret – use spelt flour.

Pizza 3His second pizza secret? If you’re not lucky enough to have your very own pizza oven, use granite stone placed within a conventional oven. Seriously, it makes a massive difference to the pizza. It’s just yummy!

Pizza 10PIZZA DOUGH
INGREDIENTS
400 grs spelt flour (the white works better)
11 grs sachet yeast
300 mls water
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch salt
METHOD
Combine the sugar with the warm water. Add the yeast and leave for 4 minutes.
Mix the salt into the flour, then pour in the olive oil before adding the water mixture. Combine until it forms a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead to release the gluten – it should be soft and stretchy.
Place the dough into a large lightly-oil bowl and cover with a damp cloth (you might want to cover with a bit of clingfilm first to prevent a bit of a sticky mess on your cloth). Leave in a warm place for 1 hour.
Knead lightly to reduce the volume but don’t allow all of the air to disappear.
Leave for 2 hours before giving it another very gentle knead.
The dough will be ready 1-2 hours later.
In the meantime, place your granite stone in the oven and heat to 220 (about 40 minutes)

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Pizza 8TOMATO SAUCE
INGREDIENTS
4-6 plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt & Pepper
METHOD
Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water to remove the skin. Then blitz two of them in a blender with the garlic, until smooth. Add the remaining tomatoes and lightly blitz so the sauce isn’t overly smooth. Season to taste.

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Pizza 5MAKING THE PIZZA
Split the pizza dough into four parts (or less if you’re going for mini pizzas). Take the first and roll it, either with a rolling pin or using your hands (depending on the thickness you want). When it’s the desired size, spread 1-2 dessert spoons of the tomato sauce on top (leaving about 1cms gap around the edge) before adding grated cheese and then whatever other ingredients take your fancy! Use a spatula to gently ease the pizza onto the now hot granite stone. Bake for about 12 minutes – just keep an eye on it. You’ll know when it’s ready.

Pizza 1TOPPINGS
Here are just a few of our own favourite pizza toppings:
1. Goat’s cheese, wild rocket leaves, presunto (that’s Prosciutto for those of you that don’t know Portuguese!), pesto (see below for pesto recipe)
2. Spinach (previously wilted), goat’s cheese, egg (break the egg onto the middle of the pizza before placing it to the oven)
3. Goat’s cheese, presunto, capers, wild rocket
4. Sliced chourico (that’s Portuguese for chorizo), chopped olives, goat’s cheese
5. Finely sliced courgette, pesto, goat’s cheese

PESTO
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Handful fresh basil leaves
100 grs parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
METHOD
Blitz all of the ingredients together in a mini-blender.
Michael is obsessed with pesto. I reckon it’s one of his favourite things to eat. Me, on the other hand, I’m not too fussed about it to be honest. Probably because it’s made with parmesan cheese and I’m lactose intolerant 🙁

N.B
We stopped adding mozzarella to our pizzas because we don’t believe it adds to the flavour but feel free to add it to your own if you like the texture!

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