A Feast!

Beetroot and Cheddar Pizza à la River Cottage

As a school girl I used to have packed lunches more often than not, and one of my favourite sandwiches (apart from Marmite!) was cheddar cheese and beetroot. So when I saw a recipe for beetroot and cheddar pizza in River Cottage Veg Every Day (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) I knew I had to try it…

Since my success with yeast has been very limited over the years (only once has dough risen for me until today!) I was a little sceptical. But with Hugh’s recipe, and finally finding the perfect warm spot to leave the dough to rise (on the boiler in the cellar!) I think I’ve cracked it!

The dough is really elastic and airy, since it’s made with half plain and half strong flour. It rolled out well, and baked perfectly… crispy round the edges and cooked thoroughly in the middle. I adapted the topping a little, adding some blue St Agur cheese – and an olive. 🙂 It was really tasty.

The dough recipe is enough for 3 large pizzas, but I made two and just baked the rest as mini bread rolls. And you can add any topping you like!

Here’s Hugh’s “Magic bread dough” recipe:

  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasalt
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 325ml warm water

Sieve flours, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Stir in oil and water and bring together to form a dough. Put on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Put in a clean bowl, and coat in a little oil. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for a couple of hours in a warm place.

When it’s risen, punch the dough and divide into three portions. Roll out each piece until nice and thin. Place on a floured  baking tray, add topping (see below), and bake at 200°C for 10-15 minutes.

My adapted topping, per pizza:

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • half an onion, thinly sliced and sauteed in olive oil until soft
  • 6 slices cooked beetroot
  • 2 handfuls grated cheddar and one handful crumbled blue cheese
  • black pepper and a few dried herbs
  • 1- 2 tbsps garlicky olive oil