L E T ‘ S   U P   T H E   C H E E S E   L E V E L S

There’s something about going tomato-free that takes the whole pizza experience up a notch, if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a regular, tomato-sauce covered pizza any day of the week, but once in a while the indulgence of an extra-cheesy, dairy-laden ‘white pizza’ (in Italian, ‘pizza bianca’) is a treat that can’t be beaten.

I’d not tried one until a couple of years or so ago, and it was a total revelation. Creamy and rich, and comforting in all the ways a traditional spaghetti carbonara is but with the added bonus of a light, fluffy bread base. What could be better?

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This recipe is a riff on the pizza recipe I named, maybe in a fit of arrogance (that I still totally stand by…), ‘the very best homemade pizza!’

The dough gets a long prove and is stretched out into rounds by hand, before being part cooked in a searing hot frying pan to create lightness before being finished off in the oven.

The beauty of the recipe also means that you can pre-prepare the pizzas- cooking the bases in a pan and topping them once cooled will let you put together a whole stack of pizzas that can then be stored in the fridge, and cooked whenever you fancy!

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Enough about bases, let’s talk a little about toppings before we move on to the recipe itself.

We’re topping the pizza with a mixture of grated parmesan and creme fraiche, and a handful of sweet courgettes and buttery mushrooms. Shredded buffalo mozzarella ups the cheese stakes, and a few spoonfuls of tangy onion chutney finishes the job.

I made this particular batch of pizzas the Friday before last, and left one prepared for Jason to cook for his dinner that evening, since I was heading out to London for the night.

He told me later it’s the best pizza I’ve ever made him. And that, ladies and gents, is saying something.


The dough recipe linked below makes enough for 4 pizzas, whilst the toppings are enough for 2. You can either double the topping quantities, or pop different toppings on the other two pizzas, or I often like to make a little bread loaf with the leftover dough. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients ::
1 batch basic bread dough (recipe and method outlined here!)
1 courgette
4/5 large chestnut mushrooms
1 garlic clove
Pinch dried thyme
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
100g creme fraiche
30g parmesan
Pinch salt
2/3tsp sweet onion chutney per pizza

- Prepare the bread dough according to instructions listed in my recipe for ‘the best homemade pizza‘, stopping once the bases have been cooked off in a frying pan and transferred to baking trays.  Whilst the bases are still hot, rub each one over with the cut side of a clove of garlic.

- Finely slice the courgettes and mushrooms, and cook until soft in a little butter and garlic oil, along with a pinch each of dried thyme and sea salt.Transfer to a sieve once cooked through, and when the vegetables are cool enough to handle, carefully squeeze as much of the excess liquid out as possible, to prevent the pizzas getting watery whilst cooking.

- Top each cooked base with a couple of spoonfuls of the creme fraiche and parmesan mixture, and spread to a thin layer. Layer on a few rounds of courgette and slices of mushrooms, then half a ball of shredded mozzarella to each pizza.

- Finally, dot on some tiny spoonfuls of caremelised onion chutney, before transferring the pizzas to an oven preheated to 220 degrees celsius to cook for around 7 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted.

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Don’t be put off by the idea of making the bases- it really is so simple, and *so* incredibly satifisying! I hope you love the recipe as much as we do…


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T H E   S H E P H E R D ‘ S   L I F E .

It’s been such a long time since I shared a little ‘what I’m reading right now’ post! And there’s really only one reason for that- because I’ve not read anything in a pretty long time…

Which is bad! I can’t think of a single reason now why I hadn’t picked up a book in ages before the last couple of weeks, other than the fact that I feel I spend most of my ‘reading time’, reading blogs! I guess that’s the way things are for us internet-dwellers, right?

~ ~ ~

I actually bought the The Shepherd’s Life for Jason as one of his Christmas presents this year. He’s so fond of all things rural, and a quick glance through the book’s blurb whilst standing in Waterstone’s one busy afternoon in early December told me that this was a book for him.

He ploughed through it during the few weeks after Christmas then promptly handed it over, saying that I just *have* to read it. And you know? It’s every bit as lovely as he said!

The Shepherd’s Life’s title tells you most of what you need to know about the book. It’s written by farmer James Rebanks, and tells the story of his life and heritage running a farm bought by his Grandfather, then passed on to his own father, in a rugged valley in the Lake District.

The book begins with a prologue, in which James recalls the first time he came to realise that the farming way of life he had grown up with was considered by some to be unambitious and ‘provincial, and talks of ‘cultural imperialism’ and the strangeness of those who claim ownership over land they’ve perhaps only visited on a handful of occasions. He writes about being a ‘forgotten people’, and his desire to bring to light the lives men and women have been quietly living, throughout Great Britain, for many thousands of years.

The book plots the course of the year, split up into four sections- Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring. He describes the yearly rituals of bringing the sheep down from the fells from their wild grazing, and the skill of the sheepdogs, and the way the farmers work together to ease one another’s workload.

It’s a quiet sort of story- describing in raw, poetic detail the farming year in all its intricacies and hardships and toils. And because of that, it’s beautiful. A world away from Instagram notifications and packed tube carriages and 5:2 diets and never-ending fashion weeks- instead, it’s about tradition, and knowledge being passed through generations, and a way of existing that, as James writes, has been almost unchanged for 5000 years.

~ ~ ~

I’m about two thirds of my way through the book now, and am just adoring every page of. It really is a treasure- I can’t recommend it highly enough!


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L E T   T H E M   E A T   C A K E

Some afternoons just call for cake. Monday afternoons always fit into that category, if you ask me, mainly because I’m yet to meet a Monday that wasn’t in need of a little sweetening.

Yesterday afternoon fit the bill exactly so, and since my best friend Jo happened to be around for a couple of hours over lunchtime, we met up at a little cafe for a slice or two of cake.

The cafe is a new one called The Little Latte, which is set in a little village about a 25 minute drive from Guildford. We drove past it a few days ago, and I made a mental note to pop in after spotting the sweet little window display and beautiful shop front.

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Between us we sampled a slice of the Ferrero Rocher, and banana and honey cakes, as well as some hot chocolate to round out the experience.

The banana and honey loaf was the *clear* winner- I’d never thought to add a sweet, nutty layer to the top of my banana cake before, but will definitely be giving it a go!


Jo and I had our usual debrief of all that’s going on in our lives these days- dissecting conversations we’ve had and dates we’ve been on (well, Jo, not me!) and working through our daydreams and concerns and problems in the way that only you and your oldest friend can.


It was the perfect Monday pick me up, and the nicest way imaginable to kick off a brand new week.


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Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve got a serious case of the TGIFs this week, and am *so* excited for the weekend ahead. Keeping all my fingers crossed that the beautiful weather we’ve been having the past few days lasts through Saturday and Sunday…

Here’s what’s made this week lovely one!

1. Watching Cooked, the new food documentary series on Netflix! It’s beautifully shot and totally fascinating.

2. Realising that up a winter moisturising routine has actually worked. My skin has never felt this great in cold weather!

3. A happy hour spent baking lemon drizzle cake, whilst listening to Ben Howard. It gave me such a lovely summer feeling, and the cake wasn’t half bad either…

4. Having plans to spend a whole day in London with friends tomorrow! I’ve been looking forward to it all week long!

5. A particularly delicious dinner of tahini and soy stir fried veggies with noodles. SO tasty!

6. Rewatching old episodes of the US Office. I’ve watched each one so many time over, but it never fails to make me laugh.

7. Seeing blossom everywhere! It’s so uplifting, isn’t it?

8. Taramasalata or hummus with pitta bread, by the truckload. I’m *obsessed*.

9. The bunch of beautiful white stocks currently making our whole living room smell like spring!

10. Waking up to sunshine! I feel as though I could’ve put this for every point, this week. Yesterday’s beautiful weather put me in the *best* mood! I’m so, SO ready for the last of the grey weather to disappear and for spring to arrive in full.

Three posts I’ve loved reading this week :: Deb’s revelations about churros || this recipe for a banana, coconut & cacao smoothie || & this cute post about snowboarding from Naomi!

What’s made it to your happy list, this week?

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