Is it possible to make your own takeaway food for less than you’d pay for it readymade? In my new ‘make it or buy it’ challenge, I’ll be finding out this week.
Despite pursuing a more frugal lifestyle, I still occasionally have a weakness for a good takeaway. Sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back on a Friday night, putting your feet up and leaving the cooking to somebody else. Every week I get at least ten leaflets pushed through my door for pizza delivery companies, Chinese and Indian takeaways. But are we paying too much? Is it possible to make your own ‘takeaway style’ food at home for less which might also be healthier or better quality too? Despite people cutting back on takeaways during the credit crunch, delivery pizzas have remained popular. This week, as part of my make it or buy it challenge, I thought I’d investigate by making my own homemade pizza and comparing the price and quality to the takeaway versions.
Making a pizza at home is so quick and simple that I’m surprised more of us don’t do it instead of ordering them in or buying them readymade from the supermarket. If you have a bread-maker then it’s even easier to do so because you can get the bread-maker to mix and knead the dough while you put your feet up and have a cup of tea. To make my pizza I mixed 300g (11 oz) of strong white bread flour with 1/2 a teaspoon of fast acting yeast, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 15g (1/2 oz) of butter, 1 tablespoon of milk powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 210 ml of water.
When the dough was ready, I rolled it out on a floured surface and shaped it into a 10 inch (25 cm) circle – well, roughly so, as I was pretty hopeless at getting it into a pure round. Then I spread a few tablespoons of tomato puree across the pizza base with a knife. Next I cut up some vegetables, including our very first courgette of the season from our garden, and mushrooms.
To give it a meaty flavour, in place of pepperoni I threw in some slices of dried pork sausage that DJ likes to eat on top. Then, to prevent them from burning, I coated the vegetable and meat slices in a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar before placing them on top of the pizza and sprinkling some grated cheese on top. Lastly, I put the pizza on a baking tray and put it in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees C (gas mark 7) for about 20 minutes until it was ready. I served it with some mixed lettuce leaves from our garden and some fresh chopped basil – also grown by DJ.
I was a bit nervous when I took it out of the oven. Would it taste as delicious as the pizzas you can get delivered? Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t bad. The toppings were really fresh and tasty and it actually tasted like a pizza that you might buy. There also wasn’t that greasy sensation that you sometimes get from pizzas that have been delivered. I think this is probably a slightly healthier option, depending on how much of it you eat. However, it was a little bit doughy in the middle and took a bit longer to cook than I expected, so I think next time I’ll use half the amount of dough and make a thinner crust pizza.
However, how did it stack up price wise? Here’s a rough breakdown, dividing up the cost per kg of each item by the amount used. While our courgette was ‘free’, I’ve given it a nominal value due to the cost of maintaining our veg garden:
Flour – 22p
Yeast – 5p
Sugar – 1p
Butter – 7p
Milk powder – 2p
Courgettes – 20p
Mushrooms – 20p
Saucison sec – 50p
Tomato puree – 4p
Cheese – 42p
Olive oil – 25
To have a similar pizza delivered by my local delivery company would have cost me £13.99, so we definitely saved some money, even allowing for the energy cost of baking the pizza. The only downside was having to make it myself (and do the significant amount of washing up it created, too) – obviously the point of having a takeaway is not to have to cook – but it’s not a difficult meal to make.
Later in the week I’ll be investigating other takeaway options and whether it’s more cost effective to buy them in or make them ourselves. Hope you can join me then!
Do you make your own homemade pizzas? What are your favourite recipes and how much money do you save by making your own? Leave a message and let me know.