I love a curry. And I love a pizza. In fact I love most takeaways but frugal living doesn’t allow for many of these little luxuries.
But, do you know what? They are the simplest things to make and so cheap too. Especially, if you use leftovers, which I pretty much always do!
Ok, so I know the pizza base will need to prove (well, it doesn’t have to but it’ll be a lot nicer if you let it!) but once you’ve made that first dough you can put some in the freezer for next time.
Even better, make loads more and freeze portions for a few pizzas. It won’t take you any longer to make but it just means that on another day you can grab it out of the freezer while you’re on the way out of the door in the morning and when you come home you’ll be about 10 minutes from a fab pizza – faster than a delivery pizza (if you’re one of the lucky few to actually have that option around here!).
The other thing you can do, for speed, is to make extra tomato sauce and you’ll have it waiting in a jar in the fridge for that fakeaway moment.
As I’m sure you’ll have realised, if you’ve been reading my column, I love chorizo (and as much chilli as I can get my hands on!) so I always have some in my fridge. It lasts for as long as you’ll need it and beyond.
It’s brilliant stuff. And it transforms meals. But in this case, it’s not going to be a subtle background flavour, it’s going to be the main event on the beautiful pizza that you’re about to make with me! At about £2.50 (good old Lidl) for a really long piece of chorizo, you’ll get lots of great value meals from it. You don’t need a lot.
If you want to make it a little healthier, of course you can adjust the toppings - peppers, red onion and mushrooms all sit fantastically on a pizza - and you can swap half of the white flour for wholemeal, if you’d like. I often do.
The great thing about making your own pizza is that you can add whatever toppings you fancy. Use leftovers and get creative. I’ve made coconut lamb, mint and feta before, made from leftovers, and it was delicious. I’ve also made beetroot and ricotta. Get adventurous. Make something you can’t get at the local takeaway.
I also often add ingredients to the base. I’ve used garlic, wild garlic, chilli and various herbs before and they’re all great.
Another great thing about this is that I make the pizza dough from the same recipe as my bread, so you could make a loaf at the same time.
Now, on to the curry. I think I would happily eat curry every night. And we do often eat it multiple times a week!
The brilliant thing about curries is that, aside from the spices, you don’t need a lot more ingredients and you can also make them really healthily without compromising on flavour. My favourite curries always have lamb in them. And that is always from a leftover roast. Of course you can use whichever meat you fancy but lamb is fantastic, particularly in Indian-style curries. Chicken thighs are amazing in south East Asian style curries – Thai, Malaysian etc. I pretty much always use them as they are such great value and so flavoursome.
If you don’t already have a cupboard full of herbs and spices, it’s worth trying to build this up so that you can make meals from every area of the world, whenever you fancy. Once you have them, they are key to frugal, tasty cooking.
My must-have dried herbs and spices are ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, crushed chillies, ground cinnamon, curry powder, Chinese 5 spice, oregano, mixed herbs, thyme and star anise.
If you’re using leftover meat you can have the curry simmering away after about 10 minutes’ work. So it’s really quick and easy. And hugely cheaper than a takeaway.
If you’re feeling adventurous you could make your own chapatis or naan bread too! There’s no room today but I plan on giving bread a full column soon so I’ll give you some great recipes then.
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BASIC PIZZA DOUGH
500g white bread flour
1 tbsp salt
1 heaped tsp sugar
7g fast action yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
300 mls tepid water
I use a mixer with a dough hook to start off the kneading on all my bread doughs. But you can do it all by hand easily.
Combine all the ingredients together. I don’t even bother putting the yeast in with the water first (only if it’s fast action though). I just throw everything into the bowl and start mixing.
Knead it until you have a smooth, springy dough. I do about 3 mins in the mixer then I stretch and knead the dough by hand for a further 2 or 3 minutes.
If you weren’t using a mixer, it would be approximately 10 mins by hand. Leave to rise for about an hour-and-a-half.
Knock back the dough and give it a little knead.
Leave for a further 30-45 mins to rise for a second time.
Knock it back again and split into 4 pieces (for 4 thin pizzas).
You could get away with one rise but I like to do two, when I can. You can freeze any that you don’t need at this point, if you’d like.
Roll out to the desired thickness. I do it until it is at the point that it can easily develop holes. I pick it up and stretch by hand too. If you get any holes, just stick them together again. It really doesn’t matter.
Now add your tomato sauce and toppings.
To make the tomato sauce, just combine the following ingredients in a bowl.
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp crushed chillies
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp pesto - optional
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Pinch salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
I brush garlic butter or a drizzle of olive oil over the base, add the basic tomato sauce, lots of cheese, lots of sliced chorizo, sliced mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of dried oregano.
Bake for 8-10 mins, gas 7/ 220c