Skinny pizza, skinny me

Pizza. Delicious, cheesy, herby, tomato sauce covered pizza. Pepperoni pizza, tuna and anchovy pizza, margherita, roasted veggie pizza. Pizza Express, ASK, Franca Manca, Fire & Stone, Pizza East, wood-fired pizza ovens – delicious crispy-based and deep-pan pizzas with all manner of toppings are everywhere and seem even more delicious and appealing when you’re on a diet. But never fear, there is a skinny pizza cheat recipe out there for you.

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Yes, the Hairy Dieters have done it again – a tasty, quick cheat’s way to eating pizza while on a diet. Ok, so it’s technically not pizza pizza as the base uses a tortilla rather than dough, but you still get that crispy crunch to the base, as if you really were eating a Roman style pizza.

Each tortilla gets a layer of passata:

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Followed by a slice of ham:

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10g of light cheddar crumbled over the tortilla:

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Sprinkle with herb de Provence and put under the grill at a high temp for 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Top with olives and salad leaves – job done! Great recipe to have on hand when you’re pushed for time but want to stay healthy!

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The City Break Series: Venice

At the start of September my family and I departed for a long weekend trip to Venice. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to go somewhere more, so my excitement levels were pretty high! One of my favourite books growing up was Daughter of Venice by Donna Jo Napoli, and her descriptions of the city were so vivid that I was desperate to visit that part of Italy.

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When I was at college I did a project all about Turner and his paintings of Venice, again this just increased my desire to visit the city.

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I’d never realised before that the islands of Venice are shaped like a fish, which you can see when you study maps of the city. I was worried that I’d built the city up so much in my head that when I arrived it somehow wouldn’t live up to my expectations. This was so not the case, it’s as beautiful and enchanting as I’d hoped and every photo you take looks fantastic – I don’t think it’s possible to take a bad photo of Venice!

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Obviously, the food was another great reason to visit Venice: pizza, pasta, gelato…..bring it on!

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We rented a gorgeous apartment overlooking a canal in the Dorsoduro region, near the Accademia bridge. We had a roof terrace which was great for having the whole family round for dinner – one night we got a load of takeaway pizzas, Italian red wine and all watched the sun set from the roof – bliss.

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My grandad is a huge ice cream fan, and he always loves buying them for everyone if we’re on a trip anywhere. He has an amazing knack of hunting out ice cream vans as well, we were once walking along the Thames and he said how much he fancied a 99 flake, we rounded the next corner and there sat a bright, colourful ice cream van! Obviously in Venice, we wouldn’t need to hunt around for long to find some delicious gelato. On every corner you can find row upon row of gorgeous, smooth, creamy gelato flavours and it was so hard to choose, good job we were there for a few days and could try more than one flavour!

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Our holiday to this city of romance didn’t fail on the love front – on our last night while having dinner on the pontoon, my Aunty and her partner announced they had gotten engaged! It was the best news and the loveliest way to end our holiday to Venice! There were quite a few happy tears shed while we enjoyed caprese salad, lobster, tagliatelle, tiramisu and champagne!

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Pissaladière

Pissaladière ~ a Provençal style onion tart (a bit like a pizza!)
Served with pan-fried mackerel fillets

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In today’s Emerald Street email there was a recipe for Pissaladière from BRUNO LOUBET and it looked delicious! Tom and I decided to make it for dinner, and it was nice to share the cooking – I made the dough and Tom marinated the mackerel fillets and caramelised the onions. The kitchen smelled so good while we were cooking: freshly baked bread, fried onions and garlic – amazing!

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Home grown Basil

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The recipe was really easy to follow and was surprisingly quick to put the whole meal together. I recently quizzed my friend on how she got her bread to bake so well and she said it really is down to how long you knead the dough for, so that’s what I did. I kneaded, and kneaded, and kneaded the dough, and I stretched and stretched it until it went smooth and elastic. it was so worth it and the bread had a really good texture.

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Rosè wine was recommended to go with the Pissaladière and we had some of my favourite Pinot Grigio blush wine in the fridge which went so nicely. I think we will definitely be making this again and there’s also plenty leftover for lunch. I think the nice thing about this meal is that you could swap in different fish, or add chorizo or Parma ham as the topping. I think next time I would use
chorizo to give it a bit more bite of flavour.

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Supporting our local food producers

This weekend has become a total food-fest for me and Tom: we discovered Forest Hill were holding a mini food market in the station car park so we popped down the road for a little look-see and it was well worth the visit. We enjoyed an anchovy, caper and olive wood-fired pizza made in the back of an adorable little pizza-oven-van and I treated myself to a carrot-cake cupcake. We tried some wine produced in Forest Hill and some homemade damson jam which was delicious!

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We also decided to go and take a look at The Horniman Museum which is amazing, it’s a local museum with acres of gardens and fruit and veg patches tucked away in Forest Hill. We wandered around the gardens looking at all the food they’re growing and enjoying the amazing views across the whole of London. I’m so excited we’ve found a local garden, it will be such a nice spot for walks in the summer!

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