When the sun’s shining, June has got to be the most glorious month of the year in England, don’t you think? The countryside is lush and green, the roses are out in full force, and gardens are a hive of activity.
And after all those months of rain, it’s so refreshing to go out running without an umbrella (yes, I did actually resort to that, much to the amusement of others!) and head out on my beloved bike.
It feels so liberating to travel around on the bike. No queuing in traffic, no waiting for a bus or driving around looking for a parking slot, no expense. Just lots of fresh air, exercise and a chance to take in the beautiful views along the way ♥
I much prefer to take the scenic route into the city centre rather than along the main roads. It only takes a couple of minutes extra, but it’s so worth it. I get to see lots of gorgeous creatures along the way, like these beauties.
I always give them a wave and often stop to say ‘hi’. They’re very patient with me and this one in particular politely feigns interest in my incessant chatter 😉
Along with my exercise and travel routines, this time of year, my appetite changes too, and I’m craving lots of fresh salads, fruit smoothies and frappuccinos.
Though my appetite for pizza is year-round, the toppings change to suit the season. To celebrate the arrival of summer, for me, nothing beats our ‘Pineapple Sunshine Deepcrust Pizza’.
This is my vegan take on the classic Hawaiian pizza. The ham’s been removed, and replaced with an array of tasty, sunshine-filled veggies. If you wish, you could sprinkle on some vegan cheese, but these days me and the boys prefer to leave our pizzas cheeseless and let the veggies take centre stage.
If you’re a subscriber to The Vegan Kind Monthly Subscription Box (TVK), you’ll have spotted this pizza on the June recipe card. It was tucked in with a whole bunch of fab vegan and eco-friendly goodies, including a jar of Mr Organic Italian Sun-dried Tomato Pesto. It was the first time I’d ever tried this brand of pesto and I seriously loved it! It has the most amazing flavour and it works beautifully on the pineapple pizza.
For those of you that don’t receive the TVK box, I thought I’d share our pizza recipe here. I’ve also added some notes about gluten free and speedy options, as well as my vegan cheese recommendations (just in case you still love your pizzas cheesy 😉 )
Makes: 1 large deep crust pizza, serving 2-3 people
Hands on time: 20 minutes Resting time: 60+ minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes Ready in: 1 hr 40 minutes
210g / 7½ oz / 1½ cups fine wholemeal (wholewheat) or chapatti flour (I use the latter)
90g / 3 oz / ½ cup fine semolina
½ tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
170ml / 5¾ oz / scant ¾ cup lukewarm water
Base: 3-4 TBSP sun-dried tomato paste or pesto
1 small red onion, finely sliced
½ small red pepper, sliced
½ small yellow or orange pepper, sliced
2-3 TBSP canned sweet corn
100g / 3½ oz / 2/3 cup fresh pineapple, sliced into thin pieces
2 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1½ TBSP pine nuts
1 tsp dried oregano
Light sprinkling of cashew ‘parmesan’*, optional
Garlic, chilli or herb infused olive oil, for drizzling
Place the flour, semolina, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl. Pour in the oil and water and stir with a fork until it starts to come together, then work into a dough with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. Place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan) / 425F.
Tip the dough onto a surface dusted with flour and semolina. Knock out the air, then roll into a circle about 25cm / 10” in diameter. Transfer to a lightly oiled pizza tray or non-stick baking sheet.
Spread the tomato paste or pesto over the crust and add the veggies. (Be sure to add plenty as they shrink on cooking). Blot the pineapple with kitchen paper to remove excess juice before adding to the pizza. Sprinkle on the pine nuts, oregano, cashew ‘parmesan’ and a light drizzle of oil. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the centre of the pizza is cooked through.
This pizza is best served straight from the oven, however it can be served cold and any leftovers make a tasty addition to lunch boxes. The pizza will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
*Cashew ‘parmesan’: Grind together ¼ cup cashews and 3 TBSP nutritional yeast. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
GF option – I haven’t made a GF pizza myself yet, but ready-made bases/crusts are available to purchase in stores and online. In the UK, the Venice Bakery gluten free pizza bases come highly recommended (I’m looking forward to trying them myself!)
If you wish to add some vegan cheese, I can recommend the Violife brand. It tastes incredibly similar to dairy cheese, yet it’s made with coconut oil! In the UK, you’ll find it in independent health food shops and online.
For a super speedy dinner, we love to make French bread pizzas using a large multigrain baguette or ‘Grand Paysan’ loaf. Roast the veggies for about 15 minutes in a little olive oil. Slice the bread in half and lightly toast on both sides. Spread on the pesto, then pile on the veggies and serve.
What are your favourite things about June?
What kinds of foods are you enjoying right now?