Quick and Easy, no proofing time, thin crust pizza

Hot, crispy, straight from the oven, into the tummy... Yummy!
Hot, crispy, straight from the oven, into the tummy… Yummy!

Just a quick post today to share this wonderful recipe for a no-fuss thin and crispy pizza recipe. It requires no proofing, so you can make the dough and immediately roll it out for baking. I use a normal desk top oven, so I have to heat the oven at maximum temp for half an hour before the pizza dough is to be baked.

Thin and Crispy Dough (adapted from  http://www.fearlesshomemaker.com) This recipe makes two 12 inch pizzas.

2/3 cup of water

1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used mauri-pan brand)

1 1/2 cup bread flour + 1/2 cup wholemeal flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Italian herbs (dried – I used McCormick’s)

2 tbs olive oil

Mix all the above ingredient. Knead until dough is slightly sticky but elastic. Form into two balls. If not using immediately, place one of the balls in a greased bowl and leave in fridge until ready to be used. Meanwhile, roll out the first ball of dough thinly. Spread with pizza sauce, start from the middle, working out to the periphery and bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes before turning the pizza around so the front gets rotated to the back of oven. This should ensure the pizza bakes evenly. Bake for another 3 minutes, remove from oven. Place cheese on top of pizza, and other toppings. Don’t overcrowd as thin crust pizza will get soggy if too much topping is placed. Bake a further 5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before cutting.

Pizza sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced fine

400 gm can of chopped tomatoes (I used Cirio brand “Polpa” tomatoes)

1 tsp Italian herbs

A handful of torn fresh basil leaves

2 tbs olive oil

Salt and sugar to taste (instead of sugar, finely grated carrots can be used)

Method:

Saute garlic in olive oil till fragrant. Add carrots (if using) stir till a little caramelized. Add tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes, add Italian herbs. Simmer for 5 more minutes, add salt, adjust seasoning. Finally, toss in fresh basil leaves and immediately remove from fire. Cool before using.

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Zucchini Fritters

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It has been a while since I have had the time to come to this blog. A lot has changed, but the past year has given me the extra appreciation of the gift of time. Time to sit down and listen, time to reflect and most importantly the time to do housework and cook for my loved ones in peace. It is a blessing that I had taken for granted until it was taken away for a period of three months. Thankfully that period is over and I can now once again enjoy being at home, with the precious boys and the kitchen.

Today, I prepared a recent discovery for a post-swim snack: Zucchini Fritters. Yes, I perhaps should experiment with baking these yummy, golden discs to make them healthier. However, these are just so flavourful as they are. All of us generally forget that each patty is full of veggies. Try them, eat them hot or at room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated (I used purple ones, feel free to use normal, orange ones)
1 yellow onion, grated

Mix all the grated ingredients in a bowl, add 1 tsp of salt, leave for 10 minutes. Drain, place all in a clean tea towel and squeeze dry. Place back in bowl.

Add to the vegetable mixture the following:

1 beaten egg
1/4 cup chopped, fresh spring onions
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup flour + 1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix all, form little patties. Heat oil for shallow frying. Fry till golden.

Drain and blot with paper towels.

Ramsay’s Scrambled Eggs

It has been a while since I blogged. Mostly due to being very busy at work, and not being very committed to trying out new things, or baking any old thing. Oh well, sometimes we all need a break!

However, I have become rather addicted to Gordon Ramsay on TV. Yesterday, while “You Tube”ing around, I came across his video on how to make sublime scrambled eggs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1SM73Qi1BQ

As we were out with the little cub the whole afternoon yesterday, I took the opportunity to nip to Cold Storage and get the sour dough bread, creme fraiche, some mushrooms (I could not find any big, fat, button mushrooms, so ended up buying Swiss Brown Mushrooms instead,) and cherry tomatoes (couldn’t find any on the vine!) Of course I forgot all about the chives.

This morning (Sunday,) I woke-up at 6 am, and went back to sleep at 6.30. Woke-up again at 9.20 am – gasp! Hubby and cub were both up for ages. Came down to calls from the cub – “Mama! You are up! I am hungry!!” (Oops! I forgot that I had written a note the night before for the fawn saying that I will be preparing breakfast.) Owwwwkay!

So quickly prepared the mushrooms and tomatoes. Got the sourdough bread toasting – and concentrated on the eggs – EXACTLY as Gordon the man instructed (Ok, without the chives! I forgot!!)

How did it turn out? It was GORGEOUS, the most melt-in-the-mouth, silky, buttery, velvety, YUMMIEST scrambled eggs I have ever tasted. That, on top of a slice of flavourful, crispy sourdough bread, and with the rich earthiness of the mushrooms, and the acidity from the tomatoes – it was the best breakfast that we have ever had at home. Looks like we have found THE sunday morning breakfast menu! Would love to slide a few slices of smoked salmon into the eggs in the future. EVERYONE cleared their plates and we were full for the most part till about 3 pm!

Thank you Mr Ramsay – you are THE man!

Baking to Feel Better?

I felt really bad when I woke-up this morning. Raging temperature, nausea, the feeling of wanting to curl up and die. Curled up and wanting to die was more or less what I was up to the whole day. With temperatures climbing and dipping, I vaccilated between shivering and sweating – my whole back felt as if it was being trod on by some horrid giant. So, have not been able to eat much today either and towards the evening I began to have a hankering for plain, butter cake. Just plain, nothing fancy, yellow butter cake. The kind that crumbles but moist. Not really pound cake in consistency – it’s supposed to be soft and spongy but with crumbs to die for.

My sister-in-law (hubby’s youngest sister,) makes the best butter cakes I have ever eaten in my life. I have watched her make those cakes. Helped her even, when she makes the cakes in my in-law’s house and I swear, she does not put in anything special, but those cakes of hers… I have yet to taste anything like it anywhere else. Since she lives so far away, I had to crawl out of bed and mix a batch of the butter cake myself – but of course, now that its in the oven – I don’t really wanna eat anything anymore. Oh well… Here’s the butter cake recipe that I use. I don’t really feel up to taking pictures today, but I will share the recipe with you here :

 Rich Butter Cake

260gm butter

250gm sugar

250gm self raising flour

6 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/3 cup fresh milk (room temperature)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (normal oven) or 120 degrees celcius for convection.

Cream butter and sugar till mixture is white and fluffy (I tend to take a long time here)

Beat in the eggs 1 by 1, beating at least 20 seconds per egg before adding the other one

Add the vanilla essence – beat well – put away your electric mixer

Using plain wooden spoon, mix in the flour and milk – alternate one with the other. Do not over beat the flour.

Bake in 120 degrees (convection oven) for about 1 hour

 Sometimes when I am in the mood, I would add lemon peel to this mix, just to give it that fresh zing. But not tonight. I can hear my bed and blanket calling out to me again. Peace and out!

Filling for Samosas

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Another specialty that I make and have frozen in the deep freezer is Samosas. This is a legacy left behind by a former maid who used to work in Saudi Arabia. She made GORGEOUS samosas and when the cub was 3, he once ate 6 samosas in one sitting – (ok, ok, he was running around and eating, at 3, the cub was a little spoilt…)

These samosas are very popular with guests too and during Ramadhan when we go back to my in-laws, I will make these as one of the breaking fast dish. No matter how many I make, we seem to always run out by the end of the meal. That’s why I love making these samosas. It is a little fiddly when it comes to rolling up the triangles. But sooo worth it! 

Today, I am making the filling to cool. I will then get the Popiah or Spring Roll skin to make the little triangle pockets later as we seem to have run out of those just now. There are variations to the filling of course, but this for me, is the nicest one – slightly spicy but not hot. It is almost like a mini meatpie!

So, the recipe for the filling is as follows:

500 gms minced beef (you can substitute this with minced chicken or lamb)

1 large onion (diced)

1 large potato (diced and boiled soft)

1 hard-boiled egg (minced fine)

1 clove garlic, 1 tsp each fennel and cumin, 10 fresh white pepper seeds (pound fine together)

a small handful each of fresh coriander, mint, chinese parsley (slice finely)

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a large, flat saucepan.

Saute the pounded ingredients till aromatic

Add the mince meat, lower the heat and stir the meat to make sure that there are no clumps.

Cover the mixture and continue cooking till the meat is tender. If the mixture is dry, but the meat is still tough, add some water and continue cooking with very low heat till mixture is dry and meat is tender.

At this stage, you can add salt and pepper. Mix well.

Once the mixture is dry, add the diced onion. Stir well, and wait for the onions to get soft.

Then Add the diced, cooked potato and mix well.

Add the chopped, hard boiled egg to the meat mixture, mix well.

Finally, add the finely minced herbs – coriander, mint and chinese parsley – stir for about 3 minutes and take the filling off the heat.

Cool before using with the spring roll skin. As long as you know how to fold triangles with filling in the middle – you will have made your samosas!

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Frozen Meatballs for Hungry Cub

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The cub has been on school holidays for the past few weeks. Hubby keeps him busy with swimming, cycling and Quran lessons (yeay for extremely involved parenting from my Mr. Right! He is sooooo the best!!) We have taken him to every newly released movie every weekend, and took him to visit both sets of grandparents who live in different states!

The cub is also going through some sort of growth spurt as he is hungry very often, so he has been eating a lot of impromptu stuff like Mac & Cheese (from a box, gasp!) or Sausages and Mashed Potatoes for snacks in the afternoon.  The good thing is, the Mash is made from potatoes (as opposed to those horrible just add milk type found in supermarkets!)

So, I thought I better make some stuff to freeze, so that the fawn can just re-heat when the cub wants something hot to eat in the afternoon. (Yes, yes, he has yoghurt and fresh fruit and carrot sticks available, but when the cub wants meat, he wants meat…!)

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So, a family trip to Cold Storage was undertaken last night. And there they were… beautiful, fresh, topside as well as lean minced beef, all staring at me from the meat section. I had a day of holidays left, I could do a lot of things – frozen things with mince. Earlier in the day, we had been busy marketing, so plenty of fresh stuff in the fridge to support my preparation work.

The meatball recipe is a variation from the original Swedish Meatball that my best friend Linda Holst had taught me when we were both living in Warsaw. The recipe is as follows:

Meatballs (makes about 80 small meatballs)

500gm mince (mix topside and lean mince)

1 onion (cubed) and a pinch of sugar

1 garlic (pound fine) – optional

1/4 cup freshly made bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

1 fresh egg

salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg

Method:

Heat a pan with half a teaspoon of oil and half a teaspoon of butter

saute the onion and garlic, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar to help with caramelisation.

When onion is soft, with just a hint of brown, take it off the heat and cool

Mix milk, egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper and add this mixture to the mince beef

Add the onions and mix well.

Form small balls till meat mixture is finished ( I use a small teaspoon fulls of the meat mixture to form balls. Wet hands make this balling work easier)

Heat a teaspoon of butter and oil – add the meatballs 1 by 1 ( be very gentle) and let it brown. Do not cook the balls till dry, just brown the outer parts, let the balls be a little pink inside.

Take the balls out and cool – repeat frying till all balls are done.

Once the balls are cool – put them in freezer bags by batches.

When you want to use the meatballs, just heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and heat the meatballs for 10 minutes.

Good to be eaten with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots and broccoli.

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Orange Cupcakes

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So, the orange cupcakes didn’t take long to make at all. I decided to make a variation of the basic vanilla cupcake, to “orange-ify” it.

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The sugar daisies are cute, and they are there because of the 2 little girls who will be coming over tonight… :o) The recipe is pretty basic:

250 gms butter

250 gms sugar

250 gms self raising flour

5 eggs

1/2 teaspoon orange flavouring

grated rind of 1 orange

juice from 1 orange

Method:

Cream butter and sugar till white. Add eggs 1 by 1. Add flavouring, orange peel and juice. Mix lightly with flour. Bake 20-22 minutes in a 175 degree celcius oven.

The cub could not wait for the cupcakes to cool down, the first batch of 6 cupcakes vanished pretty quickly. This recipe yields 24 cupcakes and the cakes are fine crumbed, very light, not too sweet, with a hint of oranges. I would fill the cups 2/3rd of the way as the cakes rise pretty high during baking.

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So, there we have it… 2 types of cupcakes for the guests. Actually, I would love to bake more… But I think hubby would totally go on strike if I spend more time in the kitchen this weekend…

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