Thursday 8 March 2012

My Mum's Pizza

{Mum and I circa 1976}

We all have family and heritage recipes. We all cook things that are dear to us.  The act of cooking and eating much more than that, as the as memory, the remembering, the loss, happiness, regrets of our lives are all wrapped up in what we feed ourselves and our loved ones.

My Mum has always made a very simple, plain scone based pizza. In it's essence it is part of the culinary landscape of the 1960's, where those that were adventurous cooked spag bol with mince and Tom sauce, curry with left over chicken and madras powder- these were all derivatives of the original authentic dish and massively adventurous for 60's Britain. And it is so, so easy to make a 'proper' yeast based pizza dough, but somehow the scone based pizza took off- a real 60/70's home cooking trend. And you know what the fact that I still crave it, cook it and write about it here is testament to the fact that it is more than culinary nostalgia. It might not be a looker but man it tastes good.

A plain scone base and a simple homemade tomato sauce topping and sorry, wait for it -a Cheddar cheese. You know its not that strange, I happily read Giorgio Locatelli say that in fact Italians don't mind pizza with a stronger cheese than mozzarella, and in fact Italian immigrants to the UK positively love pizza with stronger UK cheese on top- so hello authentic permission I believe!

When I grew up I lived right next to the school gates of both my primary and secondary schools. Coming home for lunch was a regular thing and my Dad came back too as he worked nearby. My Mum had a fine range of 70's dishes to feed us- Tomato Cheeseburgers (more later!), Leeks wrapped in ham with cheese sauce, cheese souffle, homemade Quiche and this gorgeous pizza.

Mum and Dad vacated the house for my 18th party and I asked Mum to make me some trays of this pizza. Many an inebriated teenage lad scoffed at the pizza but to a man they wolfed it down. Taste it and you will be hooked and if I tell you that it is totally storecupboard ready I will tempt you even further!



225g/8 oz self raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
50g/2 oz butter
about 150ml/1/4 pint milk

Sift the flour with the baking powder into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Using a fork add the milk slowly to make a soft but not sticky dough. Roll out into a rectangle on a floured surface and carefully lift to a greased and floured baking tray.


One tablespoon of olive oil
One onion finely chopped
One 400g tin of tomatoes
Pinch of celery salt
Teaspoon of Italian herbs
Teaspoon of oregano

Fry the onion till turning golden in the olive oil, Add the tinned tomatoes and herbs and seasoning. Cook for 20 minutes on a low simmer till the sauce has reduced. Don't be tempted to add any sugar to the tomato sauce as you would for a pasta sauce. You want a tart, tomatoey sauce here as the scone base is ever so slightly sweet and its the taste contrast that makes it so yummy!

To assemble;

Smooth the tomato sauce on top of the scone base, add whatever topping you want. Mostly we have this with just the tomato topping, cheese on top and some black olives. Top with grated cheese- you can use mozzarella or better still strong cheddar. The recipe is easily doubled up and I often do this.

Cook in a moderate over for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbling- serve with a lovely crispy salad and coleslaw. Yum

Thank you for reading, have a lovely weekend when it comes, Jo xx


  1. Yum, sounds fantastic! I've actually made "pizza" by putting marinara sauce and cheddar cheese on a tortilla and grilling it :) You're right, a stronger cheese is very tasty. Loved hearing your thoughts on family and old recipes - thanks for sharing,

  2. That is the sweetest thing. Your mom is adorable.

  3. You have cool parents! Thankyou for the recipe :) x

  4. Thatnk you NGO- great you found me. Write in tights and Andrea- yes my Mum is the greatest! I am wanting her curtains in that picture! Jo x

  5. Ooh I do like a homemade pizza :) Loving the pic of you and your mum – had to show N to see if he recognised her! ;)

    1. Hi Zoe, My mum looks so different now. She is blonde for a start! I love this pic too- its really happy times, Jo xx


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