Friday, 17 June 2011

School Dinners - Pizza Margherita

Part of my professional life is managing the catering at a large comprehensive school. I took over in January 2010 with the mandate and freedom to transform the school's food. You'd be forgiven for thinking that your kids meals are improving, particularly after the shame of 'Jamie's School Dinners'. There are many reasons why things haven't changed much across the UK. The current guidelines are not legislation and the caterers range from enthusiastic, to well intentioned to downright opposed to changes in their working day. Its a bit of a lottery which cook your kids school has got. Anyway its complicated.

I'm very fortunate that my school wants the kids to eat healthily and the food that we now serve is fantastic. The vast majority of it is made from scratch with a minimal reliance on processed items. We are almost there in terms of our menu having a nutritional 'green light', just a few tweaks here and there. I have been able to prove that all of this is relatively straight forward and not the palaver others make it out to be, although we have had our ups and downs.

The best part and also the most frustrating is getting the kids to try new things and to have them involved in the process, last year we had pupils in the canteen making and serving chocolate and butternut squash cupcakes which was great fun. However, it is heartbreaking to see my Thai salmon fishcakes being wasted. But we are getting there and its safe to say that there's not a smiley potato face or a turkey twizzler in sight.

Today is chip day. Fish and chips or homemade pizza and chips, with the option of salad or peas. I'm not cooking tonight but one of the advantages of having great school food is that I can bring home the occassional meal for my kids. So pizza it is then. Here is my recipe for pizza marguerita.

Pizza Margherita

Home made cheese and tomato pizza is amazing. My advice is to keep it simple. Kids just love making this as it teaches them how to make bread and shows them how healthy pizza can be when you make it yourself. Beats a takeaway anyday!

Makes 4 six inch pizza’s

For the bread dough:

  • 500g strong bread four
  • 330 ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 7g sachet yeast
  • 1 tsp salt

For the pizza:

  • 8 tbsp tomato sauce (the recipe I gave recently or make your own simple version by frying 1 sliced clove garlic in 1 tsp oil, add a small tin of chopped tomatoes and a tbsp of tomato puree)
  • 2 x mozzarella cheese balls (sliced up)
  • Bunch of basil
  • Any additional toppings you fancy
1)    First make the dough by putting the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix to a dough. Knead for 10 minutes then cover and put somewhere warm until it doubles in size. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2)    Knock back the dough, divide into 4 and then roll out into a 6 inch circle and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.

3)    Spread 2 tbsp of sauce on the base and then add a few slices of cheese, a few basil leaves and any other toppings you may want. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is golden. Serve with a green salad. Delicious!

No comments:

Post a Comment