When I was young, I was a picky eater. Luckily, I grew out of it.

Now it's safe to say I will eat almost anything (except green peppers - no thanks).

But for many years, my parents struggled to get me to eat.

I would eat eggs, toast, my grandma's buttermilk scones and not much else.

Oh, but I would eat pizza. It had to be my mom's homemade pizza, though.

I didn't like a lot of takeaway pizzas. The crust, sauce and toppings had to be just right.

Homemade pizza

Now, my kids are similar - they like certain pizzas, but not all. Luckily, they like my homemade pizza.

They are not very adventurous - sticking with pepperoni or chorizo as their only toppings - but at least they'll eat it.

Tuesday 9 February is International Pizza Day, so it's a great excuse for making homemade pizza for yourself and your family.

Homemade pizza is a real crowd pleaser. \ Janine Kennedy

It's really not difficult to make a nice pizza dough - you just need yeast, sugar or honey, water, flour, oil and salt.

And time - of which we have plenty.

Long rest

Because my pizza dough only rises once before its baked, I don't knead the dough for very long. Just enough for it to come together.

Then, give it a nice, long rest for 1.5 hours and roll it out or press it directly into the pan.

When it comes to toppings, the sky is the limit. My favourite is a potato pizza with white sauce instead of tomato.

Parma ham or pancetta, thinly sliced potato and spinach with gooey mozzarella cheese - heaven (see the video below).

Another favourite combines Gubeen chorizo, caramelised onions and roasted red peppers.

Get creative with your toppings and get the kids involved in making their own personal pizzas - they'll have a lot of fun (it does get a bit messy but that's all part of it).


Find Janine's pizza dough and garlic white sauce recipe here.

Top tips for making the perfect pizza

1 The hotter the better

  • If you're trying to bake your pizza at a lower temperature, you just won't get the crispy, bubbly, caramelised toppings you crave. Most professional pizza ovens are 400°C or hotter - they cook the pizzas quickly; often using a stone base (which is why pizza stones are a popular choice for home cooks).
  • 2 No need to cook your tomato sauce

  • When I was cooking pizzas in restaurants, we'd simply use really good-quality tinned tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt and a punch of sugar and blend it all together. That was the sauce! It's so easy; no need to buy special 'pizza sauce' in the shop.
  • 3 Toppings matter

  • When I have mushrooms or onions on my pizza, I like to saute or caramelise them first. They add so much flavour to the end product if you take that extra step. Don't forget to season them with salt and pepper.
  • 4 Think about the cheese

  • Mozzarella cheese adds that stringy, melty cheese pull we love in a pizza, but if you want to add a different cheese to the mix, you'll get that texture and also some great added flavour. Crumbly feta is wonderful with tomatoes and olives; Cashel Blue is perfect with salty pancetta and sweet pear; and St Tola goat cheese is really good with a spicy chorizo and sweet peppers.