Hello! My name is Hannah and I’m a second year Nutritional Sciences student here at MMU. This is the third entry in a series I am starting with MetMUnch called Challenge Hannah.
Each week, MetMUnch sets me a challenge brief for a meal to invent that can be cooked for myself and my family. I will talk you through what I have cooked and why, and any nutritional benefits of the food I am eating!
This week I was challenged to get as many colours onto my plate as possible. This challenge was music to my ears for me, as I already enjoy making my dishes colourful. As someone who enjoys cooking, I believe presentation is very important as we eat with our eyes before our mouths.
Therefore, creating a colourful dish can really attract people and reel them in. This also worked well for me as I had lots of ingredients in my fridge that needed using!
Gathering inspiration for this dish was not difficult for me because as soon as I think of colour, I think of fruit and veggies. What’s a brilliant dish to incorporate colour and is quick and easy to make?
I have previously made pizza dough in the past, however this time wanted to experiment with something different and also easier- puff pastry. I used shop bought pastry for convenience, however I expect this recipe would be even nicer if it was homemade.
With my brown coloured base decided on, I got to choosing my colourful toppings. I really wanted to replicate the rainbow with my toppings, and to ensure I acquired as many different micronutrients as possible.
Time To Get Colourful!
I knew I was including red due to my tomato base, and white due to my cheese (I used fresh mozzarella), so for toppings I went for:
Dark red: sundried tomatoes
Orange: sweet pepper
Yellow: cherry tomatoes
Blue: blue cheese
Purple: red onion
Light brown: pine nuts
That’s a total of 10 colour!
A lot of these ingredients I already had in my cupboards and fridge which was a win win situation meaning I got to reduce my food waste, and the cost of shopping went down. The topping options for this pizza were endless as anything can be chucked on.
Also, as the puff pastry I bought was vegan, this dish can be easily made fully vegan by either using vegan cheese or not having it at all. Also, I used bog standard tomato puree for the base as I didn’t want to make a sauce out of tinned as I didn’t want the puff pastry base to be soggy.
Different Colours = Different Benefits!
There are lots of benefits to eating the rainbow. This is mainly due to the phytochemicals (plant chemicals, phyto = plant in Greek) that fruits and vegetables contain that can have health benefits on the human body. For example, red foods contain lots of antioxidants, one of which is lycopene.
Lycopene is reported to have properties that reduce free radicals in our body, which are compounds naturally produced during metabolism that can cause inflammation and have harmful effects on the body.
Orange and yellow foods are high in carotenoids. Carotenoids help produce vitamin A in the body which is extremely useful for our eye health.
Green foods contain a compound called sulforaphane. Some studies have suggested sulforaphane can help prevent blood vessel damage and some cancers, but more research is needed.
Blue and purple foods also contain anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant and the colour of white foods such as onions are caused by anthoxanthins, which have been reported to potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammatory conditions.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out your puff pastry to about ½ a cm thick in a rectangle shape. For reference, I used 2 pre-rolled puff pastry packs for 4 people.
2. Once rolled out, cut in half to make the individual pizzas. Then, score a line with a knife, being careful to not cut all the way through, around the perimeter of the puff pastry about 2cm in from the edge.
3. Whisk an egg (can use nut milk for vegan option) and brush on the border you have just created.
4. Using a fork, poke holes in the centre of the pastry sheet.
5. Place on a greased baking tray and pop in the oven for about 10 minutes until the edges are beginning to get golden and it’s all puffed up.
6. Remove from the oven and using a knife or spoon or fish slice (whatever you have with a flat surface, I used a palette knife) push the centre of the pizza down so that the edges are raised.
7. Use a spoon to spread over the tomato puree, about 1.5tbsps, and cheese (we did ½ a mozzarella ball each)
8. Go wild with the toppings, this bit is up to you! If you’re using fresh basil, save this to put on top at the end.
9. Place in the oven for around another 10 mins or until the cheese is all melted, and toppings cooked.
Although I used a lot of different toppings, I didn’t do large quantities of each as the base is not extremely strong and I didn’t want it to sag. Also, often with pizzas less is more so there’s no need to go over the top!
This meal was an all-round winner, cheap, nutritious, quick, great for kids and used up leftovers in the fridge. I will definitely be making this again!
Hannah has recently started her own Instagram account, follow her here – https://www.instagram.com/onthemenu2night/