When we build our dream house, Big G will be given a sub-kitchen off the main kitchen. This will be for bread making, pasta making and coffee grinding, and there will be a wall of air which blasts every speck of flour or coffee from him as he exits.
Because he is excellent at all of those three things, but the required ingredients get everywhere, and these tasks always seem to be undertaken less than 24 hours after the kitchen is cleaned. So our dream house will both allow him to make a mess and me to walk barefoot in the kitchen.
We made pizza on the weekend. Well, Big G made pizza. I like the idea of pizza but the reality of sticky dough and overworked bases kneaded by grubby hands puts me off.
Also, semolina. Semolina is like a drunk dinner party guest – if invited into your kitchen it will get all up in your business and interfere with everything, you’ll never get rid of it and it will still be pissing you off 48 hours later.
But Big G made the pizzas, so that’s alright. And the girls helped.
We used Paul Hollywood’s pizza dough recipe: mix 250g of strong white flour with 160ml of water and about 20ml of olive oil. Add 5g of fast-acting yeast and 5g of salt and knead it for five minutes.
By all means let the kids help with this step; just make sure they’re the ones who have to eat the inevitable pizza-leather they create.
Leave it to rise for a few hours, covered in clingfilm and preferably in a warm spot.
When you are ready to bake, turn your oven up as high as it will go. If you have a pizza stone or tray, put it in the oven to heat up. This will help get a really crispy base. You could also use a thin baking tray or even the base of a large fry pan.
Divide the dough into balls and press each out into a circle, using your fingers first, then with a rolling pin.
We have a pizza peel – the big wooden slice used to shove pizzas in and out of the oven. Clearly you can manage without one, Big G just has high hopes for a pizza oven in the garden eventually. Dust your peel (or your pizza stone/baking tray/fry pan) with a 50/50 mix of flour and semolina to stop the dough from sticking and to make the base extra crunchy.
Then add sauce and toppings. The rule in our house is that you need to put at least three types of vegetables onto one’s pizza in addition to any meat (chicken and ham in this case). This weekend there was a choice of mushroom, pepper, sweetcorn, onion, tomato, courgette and leftover sweet potato, plus chillis for the grownups.
And cheese, obviously.
Bake until the edges are puffed up and crispy and the cheese has melted – this might be a good 10 minutes but keep checking.
What do you like on your pizza? And what would go in your dream kitchen?