Thursday, 9 February 2012

Valentine's Day Grain Free Pizza GF SCD

In the '60's and 70's, Valentine's Day wasn't commercialised. It was the day when someone anonymously declared their love for another by sending unsigned cards or gifts and the fun part was trying to guess who had sent them!
But it's a lovely excuse to make something different and meaningful and most of the ingredients of this pizza are considered to be aphrodisiacs!

  • almonds - these have been regarded as fertility symbols for centuries. Samson courted Delilah with the fragrance of almond branches since it was supposed to arouse passion and the Romans showered newly-weds with almonds.
  • tomatoes - known as the love apple or pommes d'amour, tomatoes were once forbidden by the Catholic Church since they were believed to corrupt the faithful! 
  • asparagus - once considered to be a food for the gods by the Egyptians, it is rich in potassium, folic acid and vitamin E which can help to stimulate sex hormones. In 19th Century France grooms were served three courses of asparagus for their prenuptial dinner!
  • mushrooms - during the 11th century, the Normans traditionally prepared a wedding dish consisting of a pound of mushrooms to be served to the groom only.
  • carrots - known to have a long tradition as an aphrodisiac, it is actually the vitamin A combined with vitamin E which has a positive effect on the sex hormones. The Ancient Greeks referred to carrot as a philtron, meaning love charm, believing carrots would make both men and women more amorous.
  • onions - in France, there was a tradition to serve onion soup to newly-weds the day after their wedding to restore sexual vigour and onions are recommended in both Hindu and Arabic texts on the art of making love!
  • garlic - used for centuries in Chinese medicine to help sexual problems, Tibetan monks were once forbidden to enter the monastery if they had eaten garlic because it was believed that it aroused passion. It is known to improve circulation, enough said!
  • oregano - "aphrodisiac" comes from the name of the Greek goddess of love and happiness, Aphrodite, who supposedly created oregano to bring joy to mankind. Oregano was once used as an ingredient in love potions and spells to help restore relationships.

The pizza base I made in this recipe is dairy free but feel free to use my other pizza recipe which is only slightly different if you can eat dairy. I actually think that one works better. But since one of us is dairy free and the recipe makes enough for two hearts (one had cheese on top), I amended it slightly. Also, if you can eat dairy, don't forget you can sprinkle cheese all over the top!

Grain-free, Dairy-free Valentines Day Pizza GF SCD

Pizza Base

230g cooked haricot (navy) beans or 390g carton organic haricot beans
200g ground almonds (almond flour)
1 large egg
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

Tomato Sauce

1 small onion
1 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 400g carton chopped tomatoes
250ml passata
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped tsp dried basil or a handful of torn fresh basil leaves


3 small carrots
a few mushrooms
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
dried oregano

Set the oven to 180°C. Prepare the vegetable toppings and set to one side.

Slice the carrots into small batons, toss in some extra virgin olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until just cooked. 
Rinse the asparagus and steam for 5 minutes.
Wipe and slice the mushrooms.
Prepare the pizza base, this can be done while the carrots are roasting. Rinse the beans and drain. Tip all the ingredients except the egg into the food processor. Pulse to mix the ingredients. Beat an egg and add to the mix. Pulse until combined.

The mixture is quite wet and sticky! Prepare your baking tin. Brush a baking pan with extra virgin olive oil. I used the base from a heart shaped cake tin (there is enough mixture for two) but a non-stick cookie tray or an enamel tray measuring about 30cm x 21cm would work well, then you could cut 2 heart shapes out carefully. Spread the mixture over the pan with a fork or spoon or use your fingers to press it in.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan. Chop the onions finely and cook over a medium heat until soft. Add the garlic, carton of tomatoes, passata, basil, salt and freshly ground black pepper and continue to cook for about 15 minutes until it is nice and thick and much of the liquid has boiled down. A little more than the picture below.

Brush the pizza base with a little more oil then spoon the sauce over. Arrange the vegetables over the top - perhaps a little more creatively than me - and either spray with extra virgin olive oil or brush the oil over the vegetables using a pastry brush. Sprinkle plenty of dried oregano (about 2 teaspoons) over the top. Cook in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are nicely roasted.