Friday, 31 July 2015

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Recently, i've been Pizza obsessed! 
I've made my own before, and since its so so easy, I thought i'd give it another go and share my tips and tricks with you.
The first, most important thing about pizza is the base. Without a good base, your pizza isn't going to turn out how you imagine (trust me, i've failed more times than i've succeeded!). 
The pizza recipe i'm going to share with you works best as a thin and crispy New York style pizza, it bakes nice and crispy underneath too... so no soggy bottoms!

Just a warning...
 this pizza dough needs 24 hours rest in the fridge,
 so if you're looking for something for todays dinner, this wont be for you.

For the Pizza base, you will need:

  • 600 g of strong white flour.
  • 1x7g packet of instant yeast
  • 350ml of warm water
  • a pinch of salt 
  • a sprinkle of sugar

(I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment to make my dough, if you have one of these, great! If not, get ready for a workout!)


Add the flour into the bowl 

Add the Yeast to the warm water and stir

Gradually pour the yeasty water into the dough and either stir with your hands, or mix on a slow speed

Once the mixture comes together into a dough kneed on a medium speed (or with your hands) for 10 minutes. The dough should become almost silky and elastic like.

Take the dough out of the mixer and form as many balls as you want pizzas and tuck the sides of the balls underneath to form a smooth top.

Dust balls of dough in flour and place on a floured plate and cover with an excess of cling film to allow the dough enough room to rise.

Place in the fridge for 24 hours

The next day, take your dough out of the fridge and turn out onto a floured surface.

Press along the perimeter using your fingers to form a crust

Turn your dough over and start to stretch it out.
Use these videos to help

Now it's time to channel your inner Italian... It's time to toss the dough!
You can learn the art here

Once you've got your pizza base sorted, it's time for the best bit!


I made 3 pizzas from this recipe:

Breakfast Pizza
Chicken & Nacho Pizza
Garlic Bread Pizza

I'll run through each step by step .

Breakfast Pizza:

Toppings include:
  • Tomato pizza sauce
  • Baked Beans
  • Sausage (Pre-cooked and sliced)
  • Cheese

First, preheat your oven to 180 degrees with a pizza stone (or upturned baking tray) in it.

Then, you're going to need to spread your pizza sauce onto your base. 

Your sauce can be made at home by simmering some tinned chopped tomatoes with some garlic, Italian spice mix & oregano (along with salt and pepper).

Now add the beans

Then the sausage

Finally, grate the cheese over the pizza

Bake on greaseproof paper ontop of your pizza stone or upturned baking tray for around 17 minutes.

Baking it in this peculiar manner ensures you get that perfect crispy base.

And there you have it! 
If you like you can crack an egg in the centre of the pizza around 6 minutes before you take it out of the oven. Why not add some black pudding whilst you're at it to make a fun new twist on the full English breakfast!

Chicken & Nacho Pizza:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees with a pizza stone (or upturned baking tray) in it. 

Toppings Include:

  • Pizza Sauce
  • Precooked chicken (Sliced)
  • Your favourite nachos (Crushed)
Spread your pizza sauce onto your pizza
(Just like before)

Grate cheese over the pizza base as you would for any other pizza. 
see previous pictures if you're unsure)

Next, sprinkle your crushed nachos (I used Cool Original Doritos) around the outer crust. Making sure it falls on top of the pizza sauce so it sticks.

To this, add your precooked chicken. I used Chicken Nuggets, but you can use chicken breast or whatever you feel like... go wherever the wind takes you.

Sprinkle some more nachos over the top of your pizza, as many or as few as you like.

Bake on an upturned baking tray or pizza stone for 17-20 minutes

Garlic Bread Pizza:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees with a pizza stone (or upturned baking tray) in it.

Ingredients Include:

  • Garlic Butter
  • Cheese
Spread garlic butter on your pizza base like it was pizza sauce

(To make garlic butter i mixed butter and pre-chopped garlic, it's really that simple!)

Then grate your cheese over the top.

Bake on greaseproof paper on an upturned baking tray or on a pizza stone for 17-20 minutes.

There you go!
My 3 easy pizza recipes which are sure to amaze whoever gets the pleasure of eating them.

Happy Pizza Eating!


p.s. If you try any of these recipes, please use the hashtag 'lialikestobake' & tag me in the comments

Sunday, 19 July 2015

My College Experience

Okay, so i recently finished my college education (College in the UK is for ages 16-19) (If you're not from the UK or not familiar with the British education system, i'm sure google can explain it better than i can!) and i thought i'd share some of the things i've learnt throughout the duration of my time in college. 

Before i started, i had a few assumptions/expectations about college life...

  • There would be a lot of parties.
  • I would continue to find my studies as easy as High School made them out to be.
  • I'd find and fit into a new group of friends.
  • I would keep up to date with all revision, tests and homework assignments.
  • That i would stay close with my High School friends.
Let me tell you now... none of this came true

Now i can't speak for everybody, but for me, college was a very challenging experience. To go from being one of the High Achievers in High School, to barely maintaining an average grade higher than a D was a bit of a shock to the system! On top of that, as our local college is deemed to be inferior to many other colleges by my parents, I was sent to a college not only further away, but on my own too. leaving all my friends and boyfriend behind. 

About my college experience: 

After the induction period had finished, I struggled to keep on top of work and the high intensity of lessons overpowered me and i was left feeling worthless and quite frankly down right stupid. Everyone else seemed to be coping just fine and i was left dragging behind. 
I kept quiet from my parents how much i was struggling as i didn't want them to get involved. i was scared that they'd think the reason i was doing so badly was down to not putting in enough effort. This was a really bad idea as it just kept building and building until eventually i ended up in a really bad place. 
My mum helped me a lot and spoke to the college. They offered me time to speak with college councillors and see if that helped. It didn't. They gave me the option of dropping out of the year and starting fresh the next year, but i turned that offer down (I was already hating college more than i ever thought was possible and exams were getting close so there was no point enduring an extra year than what's necessary!) so I ended up having intensive revision sessions will all my tutors, trying to pull me back up to where i was supposed to be (I also started baking a bit more and went to a little class in my town, it really helped me relax and de-stress)
Exam season came and went and i came out with acceptable grades (not the greatest of results but a lot better than i'd thought!)
Nearly everyone i spoke to after my first year told me that the second year is better and it all sinks in and fits together perfectly and becomes ten times easier and so on and so on. 
It was true to an extent, i did feel better. I felt like the things i struggled with the year before now seemed to be coming as a second nature, but it was still incredibly difficult.

I don't think anything can prepare you for the jump from High School to College. It is very underated! 
One of the things that has stuck with me from speaking to my tutors is this:
College is the hardest step. Nothing in the rest of your time in education will ever be as challenging or demanding as college. Once this is done, you'll be able to deal with anything you're asked to do. This is preparation for the real world.

I really hope she's right! 

I'm going to finish with my tips on surviving college with your sanity intact!:
  • People change, it's okay to grow out of friendships.
  • Don't try to be someone you're not to try and fit in. If they're your friends, they'll love you as you are.
  • START REVISING EARLY... I can't stress this enough.
  • If you're struggling with anything, tell someone. It can change the outcome of your life.
  • Get involved with things and projects to help others (i ended up painting a school in Africa!).
  • Don't forget to do things you enjoy in-between studying.
  • It's not the end of the world, there are always other options if college isn't your thing.

Thankyou for reading and i hope you can gain something useful from my experience.

Happy Studying!