Friday, 23 November 2012

Make it, eat it: cauliflower pizza bases

When it comes to junk food, I'm definitely more of a savoury person. Sure I like cakes and ice cream, but in a toss-up between chocolate and crisps at the vending machine, I'll take salt and vinegar crisps every time. Give me chips, pizza, burgers and all things dough and salty, throw in a little grease and lashings of mayo, and I'm a pretty happy bunny. The way to my heart is through cheese, meat, and anything on puff pastry.

You'll see I mentioned pizza. I love pizza. Doughy or thin crust, meat or veggie, as long as there's cheese and a tomato-y sauce, I'm happy. I recently ordered a large pizza, and chicken wings, AND potato wedges from Dominos, all for myself. I was utterly disgusted at the fact that I couldn't eat the last slice - I pride myself on the sheer amount I can eat! Three hours later, I wasn't so disgusted. In fact, I was disgusted at how much I had eaten. Lying in bed, clutching my bulging stomach, trying to find the best position to lie in so that my stomach was neither squished nor squishing every other organ in my body, and breaking my spine. I'm not getting myself into that position again.

Nevertheless, I still love pizza (I ate the remaining slice for breakfast), but I wish it wasn't, well, quite so unhealthy. I'm not the sort of girl who can eat a quarter and leave the rest for other meals, it will all go in one sitting. Which leaves me feeling happy, satisfied, and not at all guilty. I don't have it that often, after all.


For I have found the answer to the nation's, nay, the world's, pizza woes. *Spoken with an awed, hushed voice* CAULIFLOWER PIZZA BASES. Yes, you read that right. Cauliflower. That slightly gross-tasting (unless smothered in homemade cheese sauce and followed by a heart attack) and water vegetable transforms, with the help of an egg, a little cheese, and as many spices as you like, into a pizza base that actually tastes like dough. Italicised because even I, who was so sold on this concept, couldn't actually believe what my tongue was telling my brain. 

It might not look like much here, but that's because I used the cooker
light to take the photo. Like a pro.

Not only is cauliflower low in everything, leaving room for extra cheese and delicious toppings, the recipe also uses no flour. Gluten-free pizza, here we come! 

This is how we make it:

  •  115g cauliflower florets, frozen or fresh
  •  2/3 of an egg, whisked (annoying amount - if you want to use the whole egg I'd up the cauliflower to 150g)
  •  30g cheese, grated
  •  small clove of garlic, crushed/garlic powder
  •  mixed herbs/oregano/any spice you want your base to taste of
  •  1/2 can tinned tomatoes
  •  your favourite toppings

  1.  Heat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2.  Put cauliflower florets in a microwave proof container and cook for 5 minutes. Do not add water.
  3.  Using a stick blender/food processor/grater, pulse or grate the cauliflower until coarsely shredded, until slightly smaller than the chunks in cottage cheese.
  4.  Mix the cauliflower, garlic, herbs, cheese and egg together. Cover a baking tray will greaseproof paper or spray liberally with oil spray (this base tends to stick a bit!).
  5.  Spread the cauliflower mixture into a 1cm thick base. Put it into the oven to cook for 20 mins, check and leave for a further 5 if necessary - you want the base to stay together when removed.
  6.  Meanwhile, cook any toppings that cannot be eaten raw. Either make your own pizza sauce by cooking tinned tomatoes, finely chopped onion, oregano and pepper until it has a coarse, dry texture, or buy some. Too much liquid, however, will make the base soggy.
  7.  Spread the pizza sauce onto the base, and cover with toppings. Don't put too many on, as the base is quite fragile. If you've used mature cheddar in the base you don't even need to put it on the top!
  8.  Put the pizza under the grill for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye out for burning.
And there you have it. A delicious, healthy, incredible piece of cuisine that should work, but really, really does.

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