In my opinion one of the greatest pleasures in life is enjoying delicious food with kick-ass company. Food isn’t just a means for survival (I mean, technically it is); but its also a darn good excuse to come together with friends and family to catch up on gossip, celebrate an occasion or share a wee funny story or two. It is in so many ways the essence of simplicity. To sit down, eat and share company; but for me simplicity is often the most satisfying.
Chances are, if you’re trying to cook healthier dishes for family and friends, they’ll often be a few skeptics who are rather less than enthused to try slightly different ingredients. Personally, when I first started incorporating healthier ingredients into my diet my family thought I was a bit bonkers. I’ve found that the best way to win over the opinions of family and friends and encourage them to try healthier foods is to let them sample all your yummy creations!
If I were to name one of my absolute food weaknesses. One food I couldn’t live without… It would be bread. Little more than flour and salt and water, but such simple ingredients can be made into so many delicious foods. Especially in the form of pizza! Perfect for sharing.
Spelt flour makes for a perfect whole grain alternative to wheat flour when making pizza bases. It has a rich nutty flavour and has higher protein and fibre levels than your average wheat flour. Spelt is rich in minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin such as E and B-complex vitamins. Although Spelt flour still contains the protein gluten, it contains lower levels than wheat flour. If you find that wheat upsets your stomach, or you just want to avoid wheat or cut down on gluten, spelt may be a good choice for you as it’s often a lot easier for the body to digest.
I’m making a twist on your average pizza, using spelt flour as an alternative and without adding yeast to the dough. It’s quicker and therefore so much more convenient if you’re in a rush and want to throw something yummy together without all the hassle.
- 200g whole-spelt flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tbsp water (more if needed)
- 350g butternut squash
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ red onion sliced
- Caramelised onion chutney
Base: add all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the oil and the water gradually combining to form a dough like texture. When it starts to form a dough, pour out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until all the mixture is combined and easy to form. Then roll out the dough to form the base of the pizza. For me, this recipe is much better when rolled out quite flat to form more of a crisp base.
For the toppings: this part really is up to you. Whatever flavour combinations take your fancy; maybe even mix it with half and half toppings! I’ve gone for something a bit different using oven roasted butternut squash as a base to my pizza instead of your typical tomato base. Start by cutting the butternut squash into cubes and placing onto an oiled baking tray with salt, pepper and smoked paprika sprinkled on top. Bake at 200ºc for 20-25 minutes until soft. Alternatively you can microwave this for around 5-6 minutes if you’re in a rush. Once the butternut squash is soft, mash it up using a potato masher, and spread evenly over the top of the spelt base. Add the sliced red onion, brie (as much as you’d like) and the parmesan to the top of the butternut squash puree. Then add small spoons of the caramelised onion chutney evenly over the top of the base. Bake at 200ºc for 15-20 minutes.