Queen E. Diamond Jubilee Week: Homemade Pizza Express

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s time on the throne, I decided we should eat British all week! We usually only eat British on occasional Sundays, but celebrations and chance to dream about our home away from home don’t come as often as we would like.

Fridays are pizza nights for us, so I decided to try and recreate the pizza with a salad in the middle that I’ve had twice at Pizza Express (once in Liverpool and once on Baker Street in London). Pizza Express is a chain restaurants that have become our trusty fallback favorite for 4 reasons: 1) they are everywhere 2) the food is pretty good 3) they give you a choice when it comes to wine glass size- regular and large (God bless’em) and 4) they serve dough balls instead of breadsticks.

I made the dough balls first.





Ok- so I had to make a pizza with a hole in the center. I settled on using an oven safe bowl and cut a circle around the bowl with my knife, remove the middle dough, grease up the bowl and put it back in the center.


I used a Cabernet pizza sauce I created and froze two weeks ago. You will noticed I added a rim of dough to keep my toppings from running all over the place.


And then added my toppings: 3 cheese for John and marinated olives, mozzerella, fava beans and fresh grape tomatoes. Why not go a little exotic when you’re making a pizza with a hole in the middle anyway.


In the oven it goes!


When I took it out I had a momentary panic that I wouldn’t be able to remove the bowl without hurting the pizza.
But, no worries, it came out with a little wiggling. Without the salad it kind of looks like a pizza donut.


Then all you do is add the salad to the middle and you have a Pizza Express creation right in your kitchen.


Oh, and my wineglasses weren’t “large” enough so I had to drink two of these to keep the experience real!



Sunday Night Dinner: August 29, 2011- Fresh Tomato Extravaganza!

A good friend gave us some fresh tomatoes from her and her boyfriend’s massive garden. This caused me to ditch my original dinner plans and make cheesy broiled tomatoes with fresh garlic, mint, basil tomato sauce!

tomatoes with seasoning and basil- pre-cheese.

post cheese pre broil-- they kind of look like eggs!

Post broil

As you know, I love my mint, basil, garlic tomato sauce and since the season is dwindling down, I wanted to make another round.

When we’re in England we like to eat at Pizza Express. It’s a chain that seems to be all over the UK with slightly fancy pizzas, wine, and dough balls. Dough balls are the British equivalant to breadsticks. They are about the size of an average super ball or large marble. That sounds tiny, but it’s just the right size. If we had dough balls in the US they would be tennis ball sized and stuffed with cheese. We like the simplicity of the British dough ball just the way it is. We make ours using Pilsbury canned breadstick dough and then make a little garlic butter dipping sauce. YUM.

John making dough balls.

Dough balls!

They’re so cute and you can just toss them right in with your pasta like bread-meatballs!

Of course I didn’t think of that until after I took the photo!