Recipe of the Week: Doves Farm Gluten Free Pizza

Yummy gluten-free pizza. NOM.

The thing I hate most about not being able to eat wheat is that I can’t just pick up the phone to Domino’s and be delivered a huge, melty, cheesy, doughy pizza. Not without it making me rather ill, anyway. When my boyfriend treated himself to Pizza Hut last night, it looked and smelt SO GOOD that I decided to have a go at making my own version this weekend. Whilst watching the latest episode of Glee and having a glass of wine, naturally.

I’ve tried to make gluten-free pizza dough before with various “quick ‘n’ easy” no-yeast recipes that don’t involve waiting for the dough to rise (I’m a very impatient baker/eater), but I haven’t yet found one that works that well. This time I decided to start dinner before I got mega-hungry, do it the “proper” way and follow the Doves Farm recipe on the back of the flour packet.

This recipe is for a veggie topping, but I don’t believe in pizza without pepperoni so I loaded mine up with that plus mushrooms, sweetcorn and grated mozzarella. For the tomato sauce base, I just spread with tomato purée then seasoned with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Before going in the oven, I gave it a good sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce. Scrummy.

I decided to split the cooking times 50/50 (20 minutes for the base, then 20 minutes with the topping on) because I was worried about the base not cooking all the way through – a common problem with gluten-free baking as the dough doesn’t rise in the same way as wheat-based dough – or the cheese burning. It’s in the oven as I write this, so fingers crossed…

Served up with rocket, spinach and watercress salad.

The verdict? Pretty good actually. The dough cooked nicely all the way through and had that light, cakey kind of texture that you always get from rice flours. It’s not the perfect substitute for a take-away, but it certainly did the job of fulfilling my pizza craving. I’ll definitely be using this recipe again as it was an absolute doddle to make and relatively speedy. Plus, it made SO much pizza that I have ¾ left to eat cold tomorrow! Result. Although…. maybe I’ll just have one more slice..

NOTE: Just realised the ingredients on the packet of flour are slightly different to the one on the website, though the method is the same. Here are the measurements I used:

450g Doves Farm White Bread Flour
½ tsp Salt
2tsp Quick yeast
2tbsp Sugar
325ml Warm milk
1tsp Vinegar
2 Eggs
6tbsp Oil

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Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Parmesan and Paprika Scones

Harry Eastwood's Parmesan & Paprika Scones

 

It’s been a while since the baking bug last struck me. But a lazy Sunday afternoon with the rugby on telly persuaded me to get out my mixing bowl, pastry cutters and rolling pin and make something yummy. Time to re-kindle my love affair with Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache. After baking my way through a fair amount of the sweet stuff in this book – my copy of which is now looking incredibly well-thumbed – I decided to try my hand at something savoury.

Made with butternut squash as a main ingredient, the Parmesan and Paprika Scones (page 134) are, like everything else in the book, a healthier way to enjoy the things we love. Having a body that doesn’t really agree with wheat, it’s fantastic that most recipes in this book are wheat or gluten-free. This particular one uses spelt flour. An ancient relative of modern wheat, spelt does contain an amount of gluten, so unfortunately it’s not suitable for those with coeliac disease. However, as it contains significantly less gluten than common wheat, most people with wheat intolerances are fine with it. Seeing as this is the first time I’ve baked with it, I’ll have to let you know if this is actually the case.

The recipe calls for white spelt flour, but because I like my scones with a bit o’ rough I opted for wholegrain (plus it was all that Sainsbury’s had). And although the book suggests you use a food processor, mine is teeny-tiny so I only used it to blend the squash, honey and cheese together. Then I shoved everything in a mixing bowl and got stuck right in with my hands – my favourite kind of baking.

If you do a lot of baking, re-usable silicone mats are a brilliant (and far less wasteful) alternative to baking parchment. You can pick them up for pretty cheap: here on eBay they’re under £3 including postage. Completely non-stick, you can cook anything on them and they’ll save you all that scrubbing at your baking trays. I just lightly rubbed some flour onto one and cooked the scones straight on top.

Being entirely impatient (and pretty hungry after neglecting to eat lunch) I decided to tuck right into mine while they were still warm. Slathered in plenty of cream cheese with a nice mug of Twining’s English Breakfast Tea proved the perfect means of enjoyment.

Slathered in plenty of cream cheese. Mega-nom.

 

If you think this recipe sounds totally delicious (and trust me, it is) you can pick up a copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache here. Massively recommended if you need a regular baking fix without the diet-related guilt.

Swishing is the new shopping…

Like most women, my wardrobe spends most of its time being 50% full of stuff that either: a) I’ve only worn once, b) I have never worn or c) I bought because it was a total bargain but doesn’t suit me OR go with anything I own. While a good number of these clothes end up at the local charity shop or in the recycling bank across the road, most are just too damn nice to give away.

The solution? Swishing! Not only does it mean I can get rid of the aforementioned articles safe in the knowledge that they’ll be taken home by someone who’ll cherish them, but I can swap them for stuff I actually DO want. It’s a total win-win, and fabulous fun.

Brighton’s My Swish was set up by Sarah Maddox and Leila McKellar in order to help women across the South East with the same dilemma as mine. As well as bringing swathes of fashion-loving women together to drink tea, eat cake and cleanse their wardrobes; these charity-linked events are good for the planet and the soul.

How it works

First, you need to collect up all of your unwanted clothes, bags, jewellery and shoes, then chuck away any that you’re pretty sure nobody would want. You know that diamanté-studded denim stuff that was cool in the ’90s? Yeah, that. The same goes for that well-worn Primark T-shirt.

When you check in your pre-loved bits ‘n’ bobs, you’ll be awarded either 10, 20 or 50 points per item depending on quality and label; so the better the things you bring along, the more swishing points you get to spend on new stuff. Result!

Once you’ve checked in your clothes, there’s around an hour-and-a-half before swishing starts as everything gets sorted – that means you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some cake (included in your ticket price) while everything gets sorted out and priced up.

As soon as the call to start swishing goes out, it’s an every woman for herself frenzy. Within minutes the rails are empty, but there’s no need to despair. As people try stuff on and reject it, it all goes back out there. The changing area is awash with women dishing out compliments whilst doing a remarkably good job of masking their jealousy at stuff they’ve missed out on – it’s also a great place to lurk if you want to nab the unwanted items before they head back to the public domain.

After the first My Swish event I went along to, I came away with two pairs of shoes, two dresses and a handbag; this time around the total went up to two more pairs of shoes, two more dresses, a cardigan and a golfing jumper. Much cheaper than a weekend shopping trip would’ve cost me, and I still got my “look at all my pretty new things” fix.

If you don’t spend all of your My Swish points in one go, just bring your little card along with you next time and carry your swishing currency over to the next month. So there’s no need to worry about not getting your money’s worth.

Sound like fun? Make sure you don’t miss out on the next Brighton swish at The Blind Tiger Club on Sunday 1st April. Tickets are only £6.50 in advance, 10% of which goes to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. See you there ladies!