Delicious VEG staples #3: Home made pizza
There are so many great reasons to eat more veg, more often. Reducing GHG emissions, improving health, saving money and preventing animal suffering are just some of the reasons for the growing interest in plant-based alternatives.
It can be a little daunting to get started - particularly if you usually cook with meat. To give you some inspiration, the VEG Action Group will be introducing you to some of our members and their favourite tried and tested plant-based staples. These are the kind of dishes that are completely nourishing but require little thought or effort and are cheap and/or easy to produce. Something to cook when running late home from work, or when you just don’t have the energy to go all out!
Tell us a little about yourselves…
We have lived in Woodend for over ten years. Sara loves gardening and is the leader of the Permaculture Garden action group. David has an academic background and is the president of MRSG. We both enjoy reading and learning about small-scale agriculture from European historical and cultural perspectives. We also enjoy the quest of growing much of our food (vegetables, fruit, poultry, and bees) on our 1 acre property.
What are the main considerations you have when planning your meals?
Our prime consideration when planning a meal is to see what is available in the garden or what we have preserved in-season. We are omnivores, but as our cooking is largely driven by what is available in our garden or larder/cellar, it includes many vegetarian dishes.
What are your favourite ingredients to work with and why?
We get excited about anything we have grown. Sara's favourites are the winter turnips and David strives to harvest tomatoes and potatoes as early and as long as possible. We have also planted a small vineyard of pinot noir vines and an olive grove which should give yields in 3-5 years.
Can you tell us a little about one of your staple dishes?
We eat very seasonally and are very dependent on what is freshly available in the garden or what we have preserved and stored in our cellar. The most versatile staple recipes involve soups or pizzas. We bake our own sourdough bread so we always have a piece of dough in the fridge. When we are tired, pizzas are an easy way for us to pull together a casual meal of flavour and substance. We try to limit ourselves to four or five toppings including a good olive oil, garlic, onion, herbs, beetroot, pumpkin, tomato, zucchini, chilli, potato, olives, often a cheese, and sometimes an anchovy or two. We usually have a green salad with our pizza, and relax with a glass of wine and a funny DVD.
For tips on pizza making (including the dough) see Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s perfect pizza recipe. (unless of course you already have sourdough in the fridge like us).
Sometimes we bake the vegetables before putting them on the pizza. It depends how thin we slice the veg whether we cook them first - we usually put the sliced veg in a closed roasting pan while the oven heats which is generally enough.