08 November 2014

Pizza: Homemade and Dining Out


We love pizza.

It's one dish that's never turned down in my house. I have to be strict, because left to their own devices Graham and Cooper would sit down to it two or three times a week. I try to restrict it to once a week or once a fortnight. You can have too much of a good thing.


I've tried and tinkered with quite a few recipes for pizza dough and pizza sauce and now I have it down to a fine art, with one favourite sauce, one wholemeal dough and one basic white dough.

Pizza dough is actually very easy to make and a great introduction to bread making. Make extra and pop some in the freezer for quick evening meals. Just pop it in the fridge in the morning before you head to work and it's there waiting for you when you get home. For the sauce I've perfected a recipe I whizz up in my blender in seconds. It's rather delicious!

I also have a great standby recipe for the days I don't have time for dough and have none standing by in the freezer. It's a pizza with a base of puff pastry instead of pizza dough. It's very good as you can imagine, although a bit more calorific.

We also like to eat out and yes, pizza still features. We don't have a great Italian or pizza chain in Dundee, but when we're in nearby Perth or St Andrews we like to visit Pizza Express. Their pizza is always good and it's a great place to take kids.

On this occasion, we visited a rather swish Pizza Express in an old church building in Morningside, Edinburgh after a fun day out at Dynamic Earth.



Once we were settled and Cooper had his hat on and some colouring and stickers to hand, we had a look at the menu. While we were deciding we ordered drinks and some of their new Noci.

Noci are a sweet and slightly spiced mix of almonds, peanuts and cashews toasted in harissa spices, They are rather addictive. Be warned!

I decided to try some new dishes on the menu.

The Dough Balls Formaggi, which are dough balls baked with Gran Moravia cheese, served with garlic butter and the steamed Broccolini which is cooked with garlic butter and chilli flakes, finished with Gran Moravia cheese. They were both excellent. In fact I could have happily sat down to a big plateful of the broccoli as a main course, although it did have a quite a kick.


I knew I would struggle to eat my pizza too, but I couldn't resist so leftovers were earmarked for lunch the next day. I went for the Melanzane Pizza, which had a spicy arrabbiata sauce and was topped with marinated aubergine, baby mozzarella and Gran Moravia cheese. It was thin and tasty and it had a bit of a kick too.


Cooper enjoyed his meal. He can often eat like a bird, but happily plows through all the courses at Pizza Express. A starter of dough balls with salad, a plain Margherita pizza, followed by ice cream and a bambinoccino.

Graham was really pleased to have vegan options for a change. It can be a bore trying to find something he can eat on a menu.

He had dough balls with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, followed by the Pianta Pizza, which was spinach, chestnut mushrooms, pine kernels and artichoke on a spicy arrabbiata base, finished with rocket and extra virgin olive oil. He finished of his meal with some refreshing raspberry sorbet.

After our meal we headed home, stopping on the way so Cooper could visit his Nana and Grandad. A great day out!


To finish this pizza extravaganza I would like to share some pizza recipes from some of my favourite bloggers:


  1. Pear Pizza with Stilton and Walnuts - Greedy Gourmet
  2. Paneer Pizza from Scratch - Fuss Free Flavours
  3. Samphire and Goats Cheese Pizza - The Hedge Combers
  4. Roasted Mushroom Flatbread Pizza with Lemony Garlic Sauce - Food to Glow
  5. Homemade Wholemeal and Lentil Pizzas - Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
  6. Pizza Primavera - Franglais Kitchen


Disclosure: Thanks to Pizza Express for inviting us along to try there new menu. As ever I was not expected to write a positive review and an opinions expressed are my own.

19 comments:

  1. We are massive pizza fans in our house too but like you I try to limit it. I do like a wholemeal dough or even a 50:50 can be good and it sounds like you all made the most of Pizza Express, always a favourite family restaurant!

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    1. I'll have to try a 50:50 too Laura and yes Pizza Express is always good and great for kids.

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  2. The pizza's at Pizza Express are always delicious, but I find it so hard to spend out on any pizza now when I know how easy, and satisfying, it is to make your own at home! I look forward to checking out these recipes :) x

    http://www.songssillinessandsuch.co.uk

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    1. It is good to make at home, but sometimes it's nice to have a treat and go out.

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  3. That Noci looks ever so nice! The Piccolo menu is always very popular with D too. I also can't help but have the little dessert at the end - a good way to feel like you are treating yourself!

    We haven't made pizza in ages - really ought to give it a try now that Roo is settling down a bit.

    I love paneer - and had a bit of a bad experience with a takeaway substituting chicken for it. Perhaps I should give the recipe you linked a go.

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    1. Yes the noci was good. Would be great just as a nibble with drinks. I am sure Helen's recipe would be fab. She shows you how to make your own, which is always going to be better.

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  4. We love making our own pizza but are luck to have a Pizza Express in St Albans and visit it fairly regularly.

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    1. It is a good choice. I really like their salads too.

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  5. I often make Pizza at home, it gives me the choice of a really thin base which is my favourite. Our Pizza Express is very small and much of it is glass so if the restaurant is full it is very, very noisy. Not my first choice - not because of the food though which is usually very good. GG

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    1. Ahh that's a shame. A noisy restaurant is never much fun.

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  6. Jacqueline, I love making pizza at home, especially the dough (I'm a breadaholic!). When we get pizza out, we certainly don't find any places (in the US) with 'Pizza' in the name that look anything like that Pizza Express in Morningside, Edinburgh! I envy you your darling little taste tester Cooper!

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    1. It's funny how different things can be in different countries. It was definitely a good place to dine. Homemade is great through, although I do like the chance to sit back and be served sometimes.

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  7. I do enjoy pizza, but also try and limit it to one or twice every couple of weeks. It has been years since I have made my own dough since I can just pick up a dough at my neighbourhood pizza joint since I am friends with the owners and add my own toppings. I really need to learn to perfect my dough and I have a recipe in mind.

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    1. I remember you worked there for a while years ago and really enjoyed it. Fresh dough on tap must be handy. I don't know why we limit pizza though, it's pretty healthy. Bread base with a Fresh tomato sauce, a little cheese and stacked with veggies. Not a bad option.

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  8. I have to admit that now that my daughter is away at uni we have not yet had a pizza - either at home or out! But back in the day, when out in Edinburgh, Pizza Express was always a favourite pizza restaurant, where there was always something for everyone. And its friendly and family-friendly atmosphere cannot be faulted. A great choice if not making your own. PS thanks for linking to my vegan mushroom flatbread pizza with lemony garlic sauce. :-)

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    1. I agree a good choice, but there would be uproar if I took pizza off the menu in our house.

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  9. Thomas loves pizza too. Think he would eat it all the time. Pizza Express is one of my favourite restaurants too

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    1. I know I don't understand people that don't like pizza and Pizza Express is excellent.

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  10. We love Pizza Express - can not fault it.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x