Creating Your Own Pizza With Pizza Express

[AD] During half term we had the pleasure of heading along to the Pizza Express test kitchen in West London for a very special pizza making party.

In usual fashion we arrived once the party had started to a room filled with plums of flour and happy little faces; the boys couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

The dough was kneaded and spun like true professionals and they were then given a whole host of toppings to fill their base with.

A smiling face seemed to be a running theme amongst a lot of the children and it was lovely to see their creative minds at work; this leads me on to letting you know about a fab competition that allows the little ones to use their brilliant imaginations to create their own pizza that if selected could end up on Pizza Express’s very own Piccolo menu.

All you need to do is head over to the Pizza Express Site and select four toppings from a choice of 20 for your very own pizza and then give your creation a super special name to make it stand out from the crowd!

I know that my little ones would be over the moon to be able to visit any of their restaurants and order their very own creation.

The competition is open until Monday 17th June 19 and is open to all children up to the age of 13.

Once the children had finished their pizzas they were popped into the oven to cook whilst they took part in a game of pin the moustache on the waiter which proved to be very popular.

With the smell of pizza in their air everyone got scrubbed up and ready to eat. The meal obviously started with their infamous dough balls, followed closely by their very own pizzas.

For me Pizza Express is the only restaurant we visit that Frankie and his allergies are completely catered for. He doesn’t have to put up with a completely separate/bland menu but instead he can indulge in exactly the same food that the rest of his family and friends enjoy without any worry. From the soft and squashy dough balls to pretty much any pizza he fancies and to finish it’s not just a bowl of fruit or a boring lolly; he can have a ice cream…well sorbet that he never notices the difference with and even a gooey chocolate brownie!

It’s has been one of our top restaurants for family dining for a while now and after our pizza making extravaganza it will remain there for a long time to come I’m sure.

Allergy Friendly Halloween Ghosts

When you have a child with allergies times like Halloween can be a bit of a tricky time with treats around every corner.

I’m planning ahead this year and making sure number four has plenty of treats ready for the weekend ahead.

One of my easiest and most loved recipes for him are my Rice Krispie lolly pops

I have used the basic ingredients from this and changed it around a little to create these cute ghosts.

Allergy Friendly Halloween Ghosts 

  • 150g Rice Krispies
  • 3tbsps dairy free spread
  • 320g dairy free white chocolate 
  • Dairy free chocolate drops for face 
  1. Over a low heat melt the butter and marshmallows in a large pan.
  2. Once melted add Rice Krispies until completly covered.
  3. Take a small handful of mixture and mould into an elongated oval shape that is tapered at the end to create a tail.
  4. Place onto greaceproof paper and cool in the fridge for about thirty minutes.
  5. Meanwhile melt the white chocolate in a bowl over the top of a pan of boiling water.
  6. Once the ghosts have hardened up cover the top half in the chocolate, add a few chocolate drops for eyes and a mouth and place back in the fridge to set the chocolate.
  7. Once hardened they are ready to serve.

Summertime Snacks For Little Fingers

With all this heat I always struggle to get my little ones to eat.  

The easiest thing to make are small finger foods that are bright and colourful and catch their eye.

We were off out today so I prepared some small bits to eat off of cocktail sticks and they went down a treat!

  
The boats were made of cheese cut into a triangles with a cocktail stick inserted into the middle and a satsuma segment on the bottom.

The noughts and crosses sandwiches were marmite sandwiches cut into a cross with a pastry cutter.  I then alternated these with a piece of cucumber and half a tomato.  All threaded onto another cocktail stick.

To cool them down afterwards I placed a lolly stick into the top of a small yogurt and placed into the freezer until they harden.  Once hard you can simply take them out and remove the pot and you have a lovely refreshing lolly.

  
You could use any sandwich filling and vegetable combination that you like.  Or replace the sandwich for meat of they are not sandwich lovers.

  

  

Celebrating National Picnic Week

As I’m sure many of you will know I am a massive fan of picnics.  It means you can get out in the fresh air, take in your surrounding and enjoy some time together with good food.  Our favourite place to picnic is Priory Park in Reigate, Surrey.  It is a beautiful park with lovely surroundings and lots to do.

Towards the end of last summer I had lost my mojo a bit and our picnics became very samey, and consisted of the usual sweaty sandwich, packet of crisps and a boring cereal bar.

I have made it my mission this year to create fun, interesting and memorable picnics that we will all enjoy and hopefully remember in years to come.

My first picnic of the year was made for a festival a few weeks ago which went down a treat with everyone.

To celebrate the start of national picnic week this week I put my thinking cap on and can up with some ideas hopefully you will be inspired to give a try.

The first couple of ideas were made up simply because I picked up the wrong tumblers whist shopping in Tesco.  Once I had opened them I realised they were infact a normal plastic tumbler with a raised section inside to pour a shot!!


These infact came in really handy as I made some vegetable crudités and added some salsa to one and sour cream dip to the other.


Next up for the fab tumblers was a mozzarella, avocado and tomato salad.  I sliced each of the ingredients up and placed around the edge of the tumbler and the added some balsamic vinegar and olive oil to the little well in the centre.


Simple sandwiches for my little allergy buddy were made with his wheat free bread and filled with ham and salad.  I then I  took a toast press that I had bought for Valentine’s Day to create an “I Love You” message on the top to make it a little more interesting.

I came across some mini bagels in Tesco that I filled with hummous and spring onion and cheddar and onion apple chutney.


My sister was coming with us and she is a massive fan of hallumi.  I sliced it into bite size chunks and wrapped each piece in a slice of streaky bacon.  I placed them on a greased baking tray and cooked them for about 10mins on 200C fan/180C or Gas Mark 6.


My boys adore olives and a few years ago I made an olive spider for Halloween.  They are just a black plum that you attach eight cocktail sticks to to made the legs and them thread on black olives.  For the eyes I just used a couple of sugar beads that you decorate cakes with and stuck them on with a little bit of icing.


The last of the savoury snacks was a mini corn in the cob. These were just cooked in boiling water for 10mins then once they were ready I placed a wooden skewer into the bottom of each of them and placed theminto individual  sandwich bags with a knob of butter and secured the end.  Just little you get in fried chicken shops!

Next up I got the tumblers out again to create a multicoloured jelly.  I picked three different coloured jellies that I mixed according to the instructions  and poured the first colour into the small well.  I placed them in the fridge to set which took about 10mins.  Then I filled the tumbler half way with the next colour and put them back into the fridge to set again for another 10mins.  I then added the final colour and placed into the fridge until we were ready to use them.  These are best done the night before.


We all love marshmallows in our house so I made some super easy skewers by alternating strawberries, marshmallows and grapes.  These would have been lovely with a chocolate dip!


Our last little treat were melon lollipops.  You can use any melon and cut it into any shape you like.  I used a gala melon and cut it into slices which I then halved.  I put a small hole into the bottom of a cake case and then inserted a lolly sick into the bottom of the melon then slip on the cake cases. These looked great but didn’t travel that well.


There was minimal cooking in all of these ideas and they were loved by everyone.  Even if you added on or two of these ideas I’m sure it would really cheer up any picnic.


        
Try and dedicate a little time this week to get out with your family and celebrate national picnic week.


Allergy Free Rice Krispie Lolly Pops

  

I saw this recipe on the side of a cereal packet years ago but it’s something I have never used.  As you know if you have seen my blog before, my fourth child has multiple allergies and I like to try to find different things for him as a treat.  

When trying to convert recipes this does not always go to plan but lucky for us this was a hit.

  • 150g Rice Krispies
  • 3tbsp dairy free spread
  • 320g Marshmallows
  • 1 large bar of dairy free chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • 16 lolly sticks

Over a low heat melt the spread and marshmallows until they are all melted together.  Then add to the Rice Krispies and mix until they are all coated.

  
In a large, greased baking tray press the mixture in tightly and leave to cool.

   
  

 

Once cooked cut into 16 reclangular shapes and insert the lolly sticks into the bottom.

In a small bowl over some boiling water melt the chocolate.  Once melted dip the top of the lolly in the lay on some grease proof paper and coat the chocolaty end in sprinkles.

Once the chocolate has hardened they are all ready to pick up and enjoy.