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‘pizza’ Category

  1. No Flour Pizza

    June 24, 2014 by Maria

    There are several types of pizza bases out there – we’re really spoilt for choice aren’t we?  My least favourite would be anything ‘bready’ or ‘spongey’.   Need I say it, portion control is a problem if you like this comfort food, which isn’t good news when so many pizza’s are oily from full-fat cheeses combined with processed meat.  Your average ‘Hawaiian’, ‘Aussie’ or ‘Supreme’ is frowned upon as a not-very-healthy meal option.

    This recipe will give you a true pizza ‘hit’ without the effects of white flour on your blood sugar levels or waistline. You don’t have a crust but you do have a base. And it’s made from zucchini! If you don’t like zucchini, don’t worry because neither does my daughter and she loves this pizza.  The zucchini, after it’s cooked is kind-of ‘invisible’, especially if you follow the recipe and peel your zucchini before grating it.  My top tip would be to make sure your pizza bases are well and truly cooked so they peel off your baking paper easily.  Otherwise you’ll get rips and tears and something that looks like scrambled eggs. 

    My recipe inspiration comes from Jane Kennedy’s book ‘OMG, I Can Eat That?’. I’ve tweaked her cooking times, ingredients and quantities.


    No Flour Pizza

    (Ingredients are for 1 small pizza – multiply quantities as needed)

    *Zucchini x 1 (weighing around 170-200grams)
    *Egg x 1
    *Mozarella cheese x 1/4 cup
    *Cheese for melting on top, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, you can use mozarella or any melting cheese.
    *Tomato Passata x 3 tablespoon’s (or your favourite pizza sauce), I love using Le Conserve della Nonna brand from Woolies (near the fruit/veg & deli section), it’s ‘Lampomodoro‘ tomato puree in a glass bottle & costs around $3.20 for 720ml’s and though it’s really only tomato puree, the quality exceeds that of tinned tomatoes. I use it to make chicken parmigiana’s and all of my bolognese sauces and the difference is noticeable.
    *Proscuitto, finely shaved, about 4 to 6 strips.
    *Olives, marinated & pitted (preferably something that’s been marinated in chilli, garlic and/or herbs)
    *Rocket x a small handful, to top finished pizza.
    ———————————————————-
    -Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
    -Line a pizza tray or similar with baking paper and spray lightly with oil.
    -Peel zucchini and grate into a bowl. I’ve tried this recipe without peeling the zucchini because I prefer not to peel vegies if I can help it, but I think you get better results with a peeled zucchini.
    -Add the egg to the zucchini, mix well and then add 1/4 cup of mozarella cheese.
    -Pour zucchini mixture onto baking paper, then with a large spoon, spread it into a pizza base shape. Don’t be tempted to spread the mixture into a medium sized pizza or larger. I’ve tried this and it doesn’t work well. You’ll have a near-impossible time lifting the base off the baking paper and it’ll just crumble away. Keep your base to the size of a small pizza and no larger.
    -Bake base for 20 to 30 minutes.. you want to see some colouring around the edges and the base should want to lift away relatively easily from the baking paper. The base might look done but the centre may stick and not move which means you need to bake it a little longer.
    -When it’s done, take baking paper off tray together with pizza base (out of the oven) and put somewhere to cool.
    -When base is cool and easily lifts off baking paper, top it with your chosen pizza toppings.
    -First spread tomato passata (puree), add a little cheese, olives and prosciutto and then anchovies if you like them.
    -Bake at 220 degree’s until cheese is bubbling.. about 5 to 8 minutes maximum.
    -Serve pizza with a handful of fresh rocket leaves scattered over the top.
    -Other pizza toppings:  Whatever you fancy basically! Try using leftover chicken and olives or small pieces of chorizo with thinly sliced onions and well drained roasted pepper from a jar.  Don’t overcrowd your pizza with toppings because you’re working with a light base.  Less is more.


  2. Authentic Thin Crust Pizza

    October 5, 2010 by Maria

    This week’s recipe was inspired by a ‘Jamie At Home’ episode where he made pizza & calzone in his kitchen oven followed by a massive ‘quattro gusti’ (four corners) pizza in his outdoor wood oven.

    I love an authentic, thin-style, crispy, chewy pizza crust. It’s nearly impossible to find locally.. and so the best thing to do is to make your own. Thing is, there are more recipes for pizza bases than there are actual pizza toppings. Jamie (Oliver) himself has varied his recipes over the years (depending on which cookbook or article you read). This recipe is my favourite and I’ve tweaked the method a little bit to make it easier for us home-chef’s. Jamie makes his pizza dough directly on a bench-top (counter-top if you’re from the U.S.). I may have done this successfully years ago (from memory), but my weekend ‘well’ effort was a disaster and I had to revert to a big bowl for my dough. So my advice is: just stick with a bowl. After planning and shopping for lovely pizza ingredients like prosciutto.. and real, buffalo-milk mozarella.. I became quickly deflated when yeasty water started gushing all over the bench, onto me and onto the floor. I nearly threw the kitchen-towel in.. but persisted.. improvised… & made more yeast starter etc. Just as well I did because the pizza’s were a winner & the family kept going back for more. That’s always a nice feeling.. when the people you cook for, want more! I hope I can convince someone reading this to make their own dough and sauce.. because they’re straight forward, easy recipes and SO delicious!

    The dough recipe makes 6 medium-sized pizza’s (quite generous) and I made 3 kinds.. without a ‘Supreme’ or ‘Hawaiian’ in sight!

    Pizza #1: Prosciutto, buffalo mozarella, ‘light’ mozarella cheese & homemade tomato sauce
    Pizza #2: ‘Special Bianco Oil’ which was garlicky extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest & juice, baby capers, anchovies & chilli flakes + light mozarella cheese

    Now.. for those of you who cringe at the thought of an anchovy.. let me tell you, my daughter hates the sight of them and same with capers. However, Pizza #2 was almost like a cheesy, garlic pizza for my fussy girl’s palate.. and it was her favourite. She couldn’t get enough of this no-tomato-sauce ‘bianco pizza’. The small amount of marinated anchovies & capers lend a slight salty, flavour-kick to the topping. The key is: restraint with ingredients

    Pizza #3 was slices of spicy cabanossi sausage (sliced on the diagonal), homemade tomato sauce, mozarella cheese & halved kalamata olives

    But before I give you the dough & sauce recipes I’d like to share some food photo’s from last week. We had the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in town last week and my girl & I made two trips into town during this time (which required advance planning.. as major roads were closed to traffic). A local park in town was set up with some market stalls, food stalls, a big TV screen, stage (for music acts) etc.. and it was there that we sampled some ‘international fare’.

    Near the finishing line, Moorabool Street (Geelong, Victoria).

    Creole fish taco with smokey bbq sauce & coleslaw $9 (from Cajun Kitchen)
    There were 3 ‘nuggets’ of battered Hoki in this pita bread ‘taco’ which was more like a souvlaki or wrap. I couldn’t taste any garlic aioli, there was too much bbq sauce & the coleslaw made the whole thing cold. There were plenty of nice, fresh flavours in this.. but it let me down in a few area’s.

    The two photo’s above are mobile phone photo’s (I didn’t realise yet that I had my camera in my bag). We bought one paella to share between us. Cost: $10. It included 4 or 5 tiny mussels, 3 king prawns, some peas.. and not much else. I was hoping for some chunks of chorizo..but instead I think there were some chopped octopus tentacles that reminded me of broccoli stalks for some reason. It wasn’t the worst ‘street paella’ I’d ever tasted.. it was only ‘so-so’.. and it could have been a bit warmer. It was stone-cold by the time my girl had finished it. There weren’t any crowds on this day and the paella was sitting in a giant pan.. waiting for a paying customer. I think ‘fresher’ would have been better.
    Found my camera.. took the 1st photo of the day, being ‘empty paella plate’.
    Paella source. Not much was on offer here.. I recall a whole chorizo sausage dish.. but only about 3 or 4 items on the menu in total.
    After some time in town (a little shopping) & watching the cycling, we tried this new dish on Black Bull’s menu (which doesn’t appear online yet). Black Bull is a Spanish/Tapas restaurant, also on Moorabool Street.. the cyclists raced right past it. This dish is deep-fried camembert with some sort of jam or fruit jelly.. coffee soil (YES SOIL.. that pretentious food trend..!) & spice/fruit toast. Being only the two of us.. it was too much food (yes, my eyes are bigger than my stomach).. so only a third of this was eaten.. if that.

    As rich as it was.. the flavours blended well. The coffee soil had the texture of brown sugar..but wasn’t as sweet (thank goodness). Somehow the coffee complimented the cheese!

    Churro’s. (Spanish doughnuts with warm chocolate sauce), 5 pieces = $12 -Later I learned that Black Bull were doing ‘takeaway churro’s’ for $5 (4 pieces)… waaaah! I paid too much! Only during ‘cycling championships week’ however.

    Ok, onto this week’s pizza recipe!

    Authentic Thin Crust Pizza

    Dough
    -800grams Type ’00’ flour (I bought mine in Woolworths)..also known as ‘strong flour’
    -200 grams fine semolina (or semolina flour).. I buy ‘Tasty’ brand semolina from IGA supermarkets.. which is superfine in texture
    -1 teaspoon table salt (not flakes or coarse)
    -2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
    -1 tablespoon caster sugar
    -700ml’s water (lukewarm) – it’s critical for this water not to be hot or cold
    ——————————————-
    -Preferably in a plastic jug or bowl (with a 1.2 litre capacity), make your yeast starter by mixing yeast with warm water and caster sugar
    -Cover with plastic wrap loosely and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until it rises a little and is bubbly
    -In a large bowl, add your flour (both kinds) & salt, then pour in your activated yeast starter, while mixing with a fork. It’ll look lumpy and get harder to mix.
    -Dust your hands with flour and start forming the dough into a ball
    -On a bench or board lightly dusted with semolina.. start kneading your dough
    -Your dough will start to feel more ‘elastic’ and soft/smooth as you knead it more and more
    -Knead for 10min’s in total
    -Place ball of dough into bowl, lightly dust with flour, cover lightly with plastic food wrap and put in a warm place away from drafts
    -I wrapped an old quilt cover around my bowl and put it on the couch! (See blog photo’s)
    -Leave dough for half an hour to one hour (it’ll rise in this time)
    -When ready to use, divide dough in half.. and then cut each half into three pieces
    -Roll six pieces of dough into six balls of dough
    -Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball of pizza dough (one at a time, as you make each pizza) to resemble whatever shape tray you’ll be using, it doesn’t need to be perfectly round
    -In warm weather, put balls of dough in fridge when not in use.. I had mine on the bench, lightly dusted with flour and lightly covered in plastic wrap, so as not to dry out
    -Before making pizza, always heat your pizza tray in a preheated oven at 230 to 250 degree’s celcius until it’s very hot
    -When the pizza tray comes out, quickly brush with oil and throw on your raw pizza base.. stretching it with your fingers to cover the whole tray
    -Dollop a couple of tablespoons of homemade tomato sauce and then add your toppings.. keeping in mind.. less is more (see above blog notes for suggested toppings that I used)
    -Cook each pizza for 7 to 10 minutes… however.. for half of that time, use the pizza tray, then with the help of some tongs or an egg flipper, remove the tray from your oven and let the pizza cook directly on your oven rack for the last five minutes or so. You can slide the finished pizza back onto your tray when removing from oven.
    Quick, homemade tomato sauce for pizza
    -1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
    -Leaves from half a bunch of fresh basil
    -2 tins tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, you can use crushed or just break up whole, tinned tomatoes)
    -1 level tablespoon caster sugar
    -1/2 teaspoon salt
    -Oil for frying garlic
    ———————–
    -Heat oil in pan, add sliced garlic
    -After 30 seconds of ‘sizzling garlic’ (not too much longer), add basil leaves, stir, then add tinned tomatoes
    -Add caster sugar and salt
    -If your tomatoes need crushing, use a potato masher or fork to break them down in your pan or saucepan
    -Bring sauce to boil, stir, then reduce heat and simmer for around 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
    -Set aside tomato sauce to cool
    -Use a couple of tablespoonful’s of sauce per medium-sized pizza
    I wouldn’t use a metal bowl for pizza dough (too cold)..but my plan at this stage was to use the kitchen bench (counter) for dough making.
    In goes the dried yeast and sugar… now it just needs stirring and a light ‘lid’ of plastic food wrap.
    Oops, I only have a one litre plastic jug (from my old ‘Bamix’).. so the yeast starter overflows a little.. I also left it a bit longer than I should have.
    I’m planning to put my yeast starter in here.. and bit by bit incorporate the flour. The aim is, NOT to allow a litre of liquid to pour all over the bench.. The ‘well’ cannot break!
    Lookin’ good! The size of the well seemed perfect.. but my fork-mixing technique must have been lacking because pretty soon.. the ‘well’ broke in multiple places and yeasty water poured onto the floor.. and onto me.. it was rather upsetting!
    A bit of a rescue attempt. I plonked as much flour/dough mixture as I could into a plastic bowl.. and it was time to clean up the bench and the floor..and make more yeast starter!

    After getting my ball of dough (eventually), I knead it for 10 minutes and put it aside to rise.

    Sizzling garlic.. then in goes the basil, tomatoes, salt & sugar…


    Reducing the sauce… approximately 20 minutes.
    The ‘Bianco Sauce’.. more like an olive oil topping that goes with cheese. In this we have 4 anchovies (halved lengthways), a heaped tablespoon of baby capers, a pinch or two of dried chilli flakes, two squeezes of lemon, some lemon zest (about a teaspoon) and oil. I used some rice bran oil mixed with garlic olive oil (about 1/4 cup in total). Mix together and use instead of tomato sauce and top with grated mozarella cheese.
    Proper buffalo milk mozarella.. I was thrilled to find this at Woolworths.. however this 100gram portion was around $7 to $8 from memory. It was far superior to any bocconcini in brine or oil that I’ve tried from a supermarket. You break this up with your fingers and dollop it over your pizza in chunks. I used this portion for two pizza’s.
    Kind of looks like a giant, poached egg eh?

    Dough has risen and is ready!

    Before I mixed the rice bran oil and the extra virgin garlic, olive oil.. I took the photograph so you could see the contrasting hue’s of greeny-gold. My tomato sauce (hand-on-my-heart) has not been altered in any photoshop program.. it looks so red in the photo’s.. like they’re cooked red capsicum’s (pepper’s) or something?
    Pizza ready for the oven.. buffalo mozarella & ordinary ‘light’ mozzarella.. tomato sauce and some shaved proscuitto.
    Pizza with spicy cabanossi, tomato sauce, mozarella & kalamata olives.
    Pizza with ‘Bianco Sauce’.. being mozarella and a garlic oil mixture that includes baby capers, a few anchovies, lemon zest and lemon juice.

  3. Chocolate and Pizza Central!

    September 7, 2007 by Maria

    I can have some fun with my Photo Express software can’t I? Not the best ‘morphing’ job (and I was after more laughs than double-takes – but you get my drift)? I’m hoping this will be me in New York City either next year or the year after. Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year. Except, insert a much ‘hotter’ me. And non-straw-looking-mismatched, crayon hair.

    But before I launch into this calorific post, my weight loss results will appear on the right hand side of my blog each week from now on. Or for now!

    My beloved WW leader was away in Tasmania this week … sigh… (so our former leader filled-in… [cringe] — and she did a fabulous job of completely ignoring me, but I actually didn’t care.. or maybe I cared 5% –but that was negligible).

    Anyway, while standing in the queue to be weighed, my absent leaders Mum (who is part of our group) came to me and said “Now.. you don’t have to if you don’t want to.. but Annette (not her real name, but lets just say this is my leader’s name!) – wanted to know how you went this week?” I was thinking “Wow, really?”. My leader is on holiday with her family and she specifically asked her Mum to find out what my results were (if I was willing to share). Wow.. I was blown away by this. That Annette would care so much and be wanting to follow my progress across the miles .. it was humbling. Who could not be inspired by that?

    More blessings? A friend who has recently been away brought me a magazine from the hotel she stayed at. An ‘Accor’ hotels magazine called ‘Traveller’ and it features an article on Budapest (I have Hungarian roots). I love these kinds of travel industry magazines! Another friend who is in Cairns right now is bringing me back an inflight magazine. And recently ‘M’ from Perth sent me a mega-bundle of inflight magazines from her hubby’s business trip to America. WOW you should see the pile! I hope to write for an inflight magazine one day. It’s a dream of mine.

    Today was a special day! I met a fellow blogging and online forum friend! For the first time! After my girl caught her school bus I caught an 8.45am train to Melbourne. We met at Melbourne Central, had morning tea at the chocolate haven that is ‘Max Brenner’… followed by browsing in stores and lunch at the BlueFire Grill (for gourmet pizza, not the Churrascaria dining experience where they slice lots of meat from a long pole-like skewer, straight onto your plate).

    My impressions of Tiffany? Very sweet demeanour, pretty, much shyer than I imagined (is ‘shyer’ a word)? I’m usually quiet and reserved around people I don’t know (did I just hear Tiffany burst out laughing?)….no it’s true. However! Today I chose to be chatty! It has come with increased self-confidence, less stress and a different kind of, much needed peace in my life… (knowing that God is in control). So I hope Tiffany didn’t think it was too much or anything? :- / Not overbearing I hope?!! Tiffany’s little girl was the prettiest princess today and I even got to hold her hand a couple of times! Thank you Tiffany for agreeing to meet me – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, have a lovely day and thank you for forwarding the photo’s! :-)

    Here is my ‘Suckao’.. a chocolate shot in the stainless steel part on top of the oil-burner-looking thing. It had warm milk in it and you added the chocolate, which melted. An extra jug of warm, frothed milk was added. Waaaay too sweet for me!

    This was Tiffany’s ‘hug mug’ of hot chocolate which was a concoction of dark chocolate and orange. I remarked that this looked like the shape of a bidet. This one was too bitter for me, but Tiffany liked it which was good. (I feel like Goldilocks reviewing porridge)…

    This was Tia’s ‘Chocolate Lick’ or something like that. A pot of melted chocolate with a swizzle stick to lick! Only $2! My girl would have loved this!

    This was one of the things going on at Melbourne Central.. a fashion parade. My girl would have loved this too (she’s 12).

    Here is the pizza we shared at BlueFire Grill. Half ‘Atlantis’ (my half, which was giant prawns.. and if you get out your magnifying glass.. you might see one or two.. and goats cheese). The other half was Tiffany’s ‘Capricciosa’. I’ve eaten better pizza. For me (with foodie cap on here).. the generic, tasteless, uniform sized sliced tomatoes ruined it.. the cheese wasn’t the best.. though the goats cheese definitely saved mine. Tiffany I think commented hers was light on cheese but she liked it otherwise. The base for me was too foccacia-like also. I appreciate a proper, yeast-raised thin to air-puffy crust which good wood-fire establishments offer. However! Having said that.. I’ve eaten worse, so it wasn’t all bad! I especially liked the light fixtures at BlueFire Grill! I hope to try the Churrascaria one day too -perhaps at Docklands or Port Melbourne. They have half price Tuesdays! If you want steak… and want to try the oft talked about ‘Wagyu’ beef which is $95 a steak at ‘The Steakhouse’.. then do it on a Tuesday!! There are also various grades of Angus beef steaks.. $54, $35 and under!

    And here’s Tiffany (on the left, holding the camera) and here is me (on 4 hours sleep.. I decided to dye my roots last night you see). Here we are at BlueFire Grill.


  4. Chocolate and Pizza Central!

    September 6, 2007 by Maria

    I can have some fun with my Photo Express software can’t I? Not the best ‘morphing’ job (and I was after more laughs than double-takes – but you get my drift)? I’m hoping this will be me in New York City either next year or the year after. Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year. Except, insert a much ‘hotter’ me. And non-straw-looking-mismatched, crayon hair.

    But before I launch into this calorific post, my weight loss results will appear on the right hand side of my blog each week from now on. Or for now!

    My beloved WW leader was away in Tasmania this week … sigh… (so our former leader filled-in… [cringe] — and she did a fabulous job of completely ignoring me, but I actually didn’t care.. or maybe I cared 5% –but that was negligible).

    Anyway, while standing in the queue to be weighed, my absent leaders Mum (who is part of our group) came to me and said “Now.. you don’t have to if you don’t want to.. but Annette (not her real name, but lets just say this is my leader’s name!) – wanted to know how you went this week?” I was thinking “Wow, really?”. My leader is on holiday with her family and she specifically asked her Mum to find out what my results were (if I was willing to share). Wow.. I was blown away by this. That Annette would care so much and be wanting to follow my progress across the miles .. it was humbling. Who could not be inspired by that?

    More blessings? A friend who has recently been away brought me a magazine from the hotel she stayed at. An ‘Accor’ hotels magazine called ‘Traveller’ and it features an article on Budapest (I have Hungarian roots). I love these kinds of travel industry magazines! Another friend who is in Cairns right now is bringing me back an inflight magazine. And recently ‘M’ from Perth sent me a mega-bundle of inflight magazines from her hubby’s business trip to America. WOW you should see the pile! I hope to write for an inflight magazine one day. It’s a dream of mine.

    Today was a special day! I met a fellow blogging and online forum friend! For the first time! After my girl caught her school bus I caught an 8.45am train to Melbourne. We met at Melbourne Central, had morning tea at the chocolate haven that is ‘Max Brenner’… followed by browsing in stores and lunch at the BlueFire Grill (for gourmet pizza, not the Churrascaria dining experience where they slice lots of meat from a long pole-like skewer, straight onto your plate).

    My impressions of Tiffany? Very sweet demeanour, pretty, much shyer than I imagined (is ‘shyer’ a word)? I’m usually quiet and reserved around people I don’t know (did I just hear Tiffany burst out laughing?)….no it’s true. However! Today I chose to be chatty! It has come with increased self-confidence, less stress and a different kind of, much needed peace in my life… (knowing that God is in control). So I hope Tiffany didn’t think it was too much or anything? :- / Not overbearing I hope?!! Tiffany’s little girl was the prettiest princess today and I even got to hold her hand a couple of times! Thank you Tiffany for agreeing to meet me – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, have a lovely day and thank you for forwarding the photo’s! :-)

    Here is my ‘Suckao’.. a chocolate shot in the stainless steel part on top of the oil-burner-looking thing. It had warm milk in it and you added the chocolate, which melted. An extra jug of warm, frothed milk was added. Waaaay too sweet for me!

    This was Tiffany’s ‘hug mug’ of hot chocolate which was a concoction of dark chocolate and orange. I remarked that this looked like the shape of a bidet. This one was too bitter for me, but Tiffany liked it which was good. (I feel like Goldilocks reviewing porridge)…

    This was Tia’s ‘Chocolate Lick’ or something like that. A pot of melted chocolate with a swizzle stick to lick! Only $2! My girl would have loved this!

    This was one of the things going on at Melbourne Central.. a fashion parade. My girl would have loved this too (she’s 12).

    Here is the pizza we shared at BlueFire Grill. Half ‘Atlantis’ (my half, which was giant prawns.. and if you get out your magnifying glass.. you might see one or two.. and goats cheese). The other half was Tiffany’s ‘Capricciosa’. I’ve eaten better pizza. For me (with foodie cap on here).. the generic, tasteless, uniform sized sliced tomatoes ruined it.. the cheese wasn’t the best.. though the goats cheese definitely saved mine. Tiffany I think commented hers was light on cheese but she liked it otherwise. The base for me was too foccacia-like also. I appreciate a proper, yeast-raised thin to air-puffy crust which good wood-fire establishments offer. However! Having said that.. I’ve eaten worse, so it wasn’t all bad! I especially liked the light fixtures at BlueFire Grill! I hope to try the Churrascaria one day too -perhaps at Docklands or Port Melbourne. They have half price Tuesdays! If you want steak… and want to try the oft talked about ‘Wagyu’ beef which is $95 a steak at ‘The Steakhouse’.. then do it on a Tuesday!! There are also various grades of Angus beef steaks.. $54, $35 and under!

    And here’s Tiffany (on the left, holding the camera) and here is me (on 4 hours sleep.. I decided to dye my roots last night you see). Here we are at BlueFire Grill.