Author: Mel

Help for Calming Nerves before an Exam:

Help for Calming Nerves before an Exam:

Exam season is upon us and many young people are facing the pressure of tests. Here are some strategies for calming nerves before an exam and ways to help with the feelings of anxiety surrounding test stress. Preparation: Remind yourself that you are prepared. Revision […]

Dear New Whippet Owners…

Dear New Whippet Owners…

Embarking on the life-changing journey of pointy-nosed parenthood? Congratulations! This advice for new whippet owners offers a collection of top-tips and fabulous nuggets of knowledge shared by us and also the wonderful community of whippet and hound owners in the Mad About Whippets Facebook group.  […]

Step by Step Pizza recipe

Step by Step Pizza recipe

step by step pizza recipe

This step by step pizza recipe delivers for those wanting a fresh, crunchy base, with the extra bonus of being much lower in fat than the takeaway versions. Alter the base thickness to suit your preference and top with anything of your choice- or see the serving suggestions below for some inspiration?

You will need:

To make 2 large, thin base pizzas

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of dried instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil (plus a little to oil the trays

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 c/ gas mark 9. In a mixing bowl (electric or hand), mix the dry ingredients then add the oil. Add enough warm water to make a rough dough, this will be about 300ml.

2. Knead the dough in the mixer, or by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and stretchy. Then put in in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film – putting it somewhere warm (like the airing cupboard) for an hour or more.

3. When you return to your dough you will see that it has risen considerably! Knock the dough back and split it into the number of pizzas you want to make (2 very large ones or 4 smaller).

Roll and stretch the dough to the size/ thickness (bear in mind it will rise slightly) you want (tip-stretching rather than rolling keeps more air in the dough but is more tricky). Put the base on an oiled tray or pizza stone (a final chance to stretch it a little more) and have fun topping them!

4. With a can of good quality plum tomatoes, blend to a smooth topping, or for more texture, hand blend. Spread over your base(s). There is no need to add anything to your tomato sauce. You are now ready to dress your bases…

so for the toppings!

  • Note: Make any of these vegan friendly by using a cheese alternative or by skipping the cheese
  • cooking times here are for a large pizza. Reduce time or monitor smaller pizzas, cooking until they are crisp and golden


Mushroom, spinach and egg?

Pan cook your mushrooms with pepper and garlic. Blanch the spinach by pouring boiling water over it then squeezing the water out of it (when cooled). Arrange your toppings and add some torn mozzarella and grated mature cheddar (I used reduced fat here), cook for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. After 8 minutes, remove the pizza and crack an egg in the centre. Return to the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

Red pepper, courgette and basil?

step by step pizza recipe

Oven roast, or griddle your courgettes an peppers in wedges. Cut and arrange on the pizza base. Add some torn mozzarella and grated mature cheddar (I used reduced fat here), and cook in the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes. Take out of the oven and add the torn basil leaves.

Kale, Goats Cheese, Walnut and Honey?

This is a pizza not needing the tomato base so add the ingredients straight on to the dough. Prepare the kale by removing any stalks and blanching in boiling water. When cooled, squeeze excess water out and lightly salt. Arrange over the base with the walnut pieces and goats cheese. Cook for 10-12 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey.

This is delicious with or without the honey sweetness so exclude honey and use a cheese substitute to make this vegan friendly- or try an alternative sweetener such as maple syrup.

Our step by step pizza recipe:

This can be altered to suit the size, amount and topping preferences of your audience. Get the family involved, get creative and try some of your own delicious toppings. You can also make the base with wholemeal flour for extra texture and taste.

We hope that you enjoy our step by step pizza recipe!

For more of our eating in recipes click here.

Fabulous Scottish Gin

Fabulous Scottish Gin

This is an opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful Scottish gins made by clever producers who capture of beauty of the land, sky and sea of Scotland using quality, local botanicals to give us the perfect G&T! Hills & Harbour: Made by the folk […]

Halloumi & Vegetable Flatbread Recipe with Tahini Dressing

Halloumi & Vegetable Flatbread Recipe with Tahini Dressing

This is a super easy, healthy, and tasty recipe which can be pimped up or down to suit the taste-buds of your audience- see the adaptations through the recipe. Best served with our homemade flatbread recipe, but can be served using shop bought flatbread too. […]

Homemade Flatbread Recipe

Homemade Flatbread Recipe

Halloumi and Vegetable Flatbread recipe

Flatbread are super versatile and much easier to make than you would think. Use this homemade flatbread recipe to make your own in advance to save serving time- they stay fresh for couple of days. These really are worth the time and effort.

You will need

(to make 6 flatbread):

  • 350g self raising flour
  • 175g yoghurt (use soya yoghurt to make vegan friendly breads)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a little warm water to bind the dough

Method:

  1. To make your flatbread dough, first mix the flour, baking powder, salt and yoghurt either by hand or using an electric mixer.

2. Add small amounts of warm water slowly and gradually until you have a soft dough- if you add too much simple compensate with a little more flour. Knead your dough (on a floured board or in the mixer) for 5-10 minutes.

3. Use a little fry spray to oil some cling film and wrap the dough, putting it in the fridge.

4. Remove the dough from the fridge about half an hour or so before making the breads. To cook the bread, split the dough into balls of approximately 85g. This does not need to be absolutely accurate!

4. Use a rolling pin, roll the balls (on a floured surface) into circles of approximately 22cm- again this does not have to be exact and perfect circles are not necessary.

5. In a medium to hot, dry, non-stick frying pan add your raw dough circle. Keep a close eye on them as the pan heat can be tricky to get right. When you see bubbles appear in the dough it is time to turn the bread over using some tongs.

6. Repeat this with the other side of the flatbread until it puffs up.

7. Put to one side and repeat with your next flatbread. Keep your flatbread warm by wrapping them in foil.

Try using this homemade flatbread recipe with our Halloumi and Vegetable Flatbread with Tahini Dressing recipe.

DoppleGanger Cambridge Review: Plant Based Burgers

DoppleGanger Cambridge Review: Plant Based Burgers

DoppleGanger in Cambridge city centre has recently opened its doors, offering fantastic plant based burgers; this is super satisfying food which as a meat eater, I would choose time and time again. Ordering: This is a cool set up and even ordering reflects this. Order […]

Thai Food in Cambridgeshire- No77, Caxton Review.

Thai Food in Cambridgeshire- No77, Caxton Review.

Unassumingly tucked away, roadside near Caxton, there it is- the funky No 77 Restaurant offering super-tasty Thai food in Cambridgeshire. This wasn’t my first visit, I have been a number of times including visits to the pop-up events at the beginning of held annually which […]

Fun Scent Games for Dogs

Fun Scent Games for Dogs

ways to tire your dog

With around 300 million olfactory receptors in their amazing noses (compared to a humans 6 million), it is clear to see why dogs love to sniff! It helps them make sense of the world around them and allows them to use their brain as nature intended.  These scent games for dogs can be used to mentally stimulate and tire your dog (cue yawns), adding enrichment to their life.

Hide and Seek:

scent games for dogs

Hiding a treat, or a favourite toy is a great way of encouraging your dog to think; also using their sit and wait command skills while you do the hiding.

Start simple with ground level, quite obvious hiding place (under a cushion with a little poking out), and progress to putting the item underneath things or on different levels. Use an excited “where is it?” as they search and they go wild! Why not take the game outside too?

Food Finding:

scent games for dogs

Kong and other brands of food hiding toys are a big hit with dogs- particularly the food focused like mine! Hide something tasty inside and let your dog work out how to extract it. Pointy Faces have a wonderful range of treat holders, lick mats and strategy games- their ‘Turnaround Strategy Game’ is on myn to buy list! For a homemade option, use an empty water bottle but supervise this carefully as chewing the bottle can result in sharp plastic.

Caution- consider those with a sensitive tummy when you fill your treat holder.

Find the Treat:

scent games for dogs

Use down turned plastic cups, a bun tin , or four way drinks holder to hide a treat for your dog in one of the cups or sections. Cover each section with a ball and let them sniff their way to the reward by nudging the cup or moving the ball.

Pick a Hand:

scent games for dogs

Hide a tasty treat in one of your hands and encourage your dog to nudge the correct one. Give lots of praise (and the treat) when they choose the correct hand by nudging or sniffing.

Bubbles:

Dogs love chasing bubbles. Dog safe, flavoured bubbles (peanut butter, bacon etc.) are available online.

What’s in the Box?

scent games for dogs

Scrunch up newspaper and put it in a box. Pop some treats or kibble amongst the paper and let your dog find them. My dogs love this activity and it offers an alternative to the unwanted shredding of toilet rolls!

*With all of the food based game, remember to account for the food in the dog’s daily allowance to avoid unwanted weight gain!

Sniffy Walks:

scent games for dogs

If the weather is rubbish, or your dog isn’t feeling the walking vibe how about a sniffy walk? Just giving your dog the time and freedom to have a sniff is hugely beneficial and mental tiring for them. This can be used to the owner’s advantage for the reluctant walker, dog on restricted walks, or just as a fun alternative to a standard walk.

Our Other Favourite (non-sniffy) Games:

Tug of war: Dogs love tugging a rope toy with another dog. Just look at this example of willpower!

Good old-fashioned fetch: Your dog will love the interaction of throwing a ball, Frisbee or rope toy and chasing after it. With a sighthound the bringing it back part of the game is less easy! Teach the fetch command with lots of praise or a treat when they bring it back to you.

scent games

Agility Training: Agility is a superb bonding experience for owner and dog. It really stimulates the dog’s mind and challenges the owner too. Look for local agility classes, or perhaps make some agility courses of your own?

games for dogs

Chewing: For lots of recommendations for chewy toys for the most destructive chewers, and information about the psychology behind chewing, including breed information see this article by Your Dog Advisor by clicking here.

We hope that you enjoy playing these scent games for dogs and activities with your talented noses. Please tell us about your favourites in the comments below-we love learning a new game or two.

For more doggy products and fun click here.

Breakfast Banana Bread Recipe

Breakfast Banana Bread Recipe

Searching for a change from toast and cereal? This healthy breakfast banana bread recipe is super-easy, tasty, and filling. Also delicious served as an anytime cake. The pictured cake contains dates and walnuts. You will need: 3 ripe bananas 3 large eggs 75ml sunflower oil […]