Saturday night is treat night. For several years now, we have planned, cooked and eaten (well, my boyfriend largely does the planning and cooking) healthy meals during the week, and on Saturday we can forget about diets and weight loss and cholesterol, and splurge.
It's a great trick because it's not that we can't eat pizza, burgers, ice cream, chips - we just have to wait until Saturday, so it helps with will power when one of us is trying to lose some weight. It also means we don't get too tired of eating healthy meals, or too tired of cooking, because we have usually eaten out on Saturdays, or got takeway. No cooking, no washing up.
Then we had a go at homemade pizza. I don't think we will ever again be able to spend €30 between us on a couple of takeaway pizzas, when we can make even more fabulous homemade pizza for half that, and have enough to invite some friends over to share it with us. We can even open a nice bottle of wine, or some craft beer, and still spend far less than we would in a pizza restaurant.
Homemade burgers followed, with homemade bread buns, grilled cheese and bacon. Yum. Why go out to a noisy pub when we can enjoy something so much nicer and cheaper in the comfort of our own home? (I've been checking out recipes for barbeque sauce, might have to have a go at that.)
I strongly encourage everyone to have a go at homemade pizza. I've been making bread for years and thought pizza dough would be difficult, but its the easiest bread recipe I've come across. I use this recipe from the River Cottage Bread Recipe Book. It only needs to rise once before baking, so I can have it from the bowl to the oven in less than an hour, or it can be left to develop more.
My boyfriend mixes up a paste from tomato concentrate, which we always have in the cupboard. The only thing we need to go out and buy for this is the cheese, ham or other toppings. It's super quick and super tasty and super filling.
Saturday night is still treat night, but we are increasingly using it to invite people over. A couple of pizzas, a bowl of salad and a bottle of wine makes for an incredibly easy but really nice evening. Throw in some decent ice cream or even a pre-prepared tiramisu and we can call it a dinner party.
I've even been able to add some fresh basil - my first homegrown ingredient on a homemade pizza.