“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.”
Edgar W. Howe
Oh how I love this quote…what a lot said in a nutshell on the lives of mothers!! The kids are excited to be back to school (& so am I). Two months of vacation are finally drawn to an end, & schools have reopened. What a relief. It’s been a long two months & I’m looking forward to some sort of routine in life again. No dragging them out of bed at 9am anymore, blah, blah, blah…! Phew! They’ve enjoyed their vacations, a lot actually, despite the heat, and have been looking forward to going back to school. So I made them a ‘back to school’ special lunch to celebrate. Made them pizzas with ‘AB in 5 Minutes’ dough, adapted to include a little whole wheat flour, followed by Chocolate Cherry Muffins. I make these muffins very often, & you can find that recipe here.We all voted for a change from the regular tomato based pizza sauce. The time was right to try a sauce I’ve bookmarked off Cooking Photographers blog a while ago. She offers a 3 cream based sauces, each of which sound like a must try. I decided to make the garlic sauce, because of my love for garlic, but halfway through worked some pesto into it too. I usually keep a bottle of homemade pesto in the fridge, which comes in very handy at times like these.It made a beautiful sauce which complimented the vegetarian pizza wonderfully well. I’m trying to get the kids to eat more veggies as a meal option, because I find them increasingly going for chicken or non vegetarian food. That does bother me at times.This was my attempt to get vegetables back onto the table, & I must say I got huge thumbs up for my attempt. Even the daughter who normally has 2 slices had 4. I shall not even tell you how many the son had…LOL! The main topping was of smoked cottage cheese. The idea of cottage cheese coming from a pizza we recently had at Pizza Hut here, which had a non-tomato pizza sauce. I smoked the cottage cheese prior to using it; it enhances the flavour in a special way.To give the pizza a spicy kick, I added some homemade pickled peppers. The peppers have been sitting getting ready in the fridge for a week, & were just done right! The pizzas were delicious, & AB in 5 rules my life. Can’t get over the fact that I have dough ready in the fridge at any given time …YAY!! I love leafing through the pages of this wonderful book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.
as adapted from the Cooking Photographer
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic; minced
400ml light cream (25% fat)
1/2teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
3 tsps pesto (I make my own, recipe for pesto here)
1/4th cup Parmesan & Romano Cheese, grated


  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and add the rest of the ingredients, but add the cheese last so it doesn’t hit the hot pan and seize up. Stir constantly until thickened.
  • Reserve in bowl till it comes to room temperature. This sauce it continues to thicken as it stands, so don’t thicken it too much on the flame.
  • Note: This makes enough sauce for 6-8 small pizzas
As adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
You can find the recipe for the Master dough here, or better still, buy the book.
(I made 2/3 portion of the dough with 3 1/8 cups of plain flour, 1 cup wholewheat flour, 2 cups of water, 1 sachet of yeast, 2 tbsps of olive oil, some red chili flakes & salt)
To assemble:
  • Preheat the oven to 300C.
  • 20 minutes prior to baking, line your baking sheet with parchment paper, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Flatten out a small ball of dough to make a base. (I tried both versions, a thick crust & a thin crust. Both came out superb.) Allow to rise at room temperature.
  • 5 minutes before baking, spread about 1/4 cup pizza sauce on the base, put toppings of your choice & bake for 15-20 minutes/ till done.

This goes to Susan @ Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting. This week’s edition of YeastSpotting will be hosted by Nick of imafoodblog

Note: Here is how I smoke cheese, or even burger patties, chicken tikka etc.

  • Place the cottage cheese in a big heatproof bowl ( I use steel). Keep a lid handy and a weight that you can place on top. A heavy book will do fine!
  • Heat a piece of coal on the fire till red hot. Place a small cup of foil in the same bowl , drop the hot coal into the foil, drizzle 3-4 drops of melted butter/clarified butter directly on the hot coal to intensify the smoke fumes, and quickly shut it with the lid so that minimum fumes escape. Place a weight over the lid, and leave unopened for at least 30 minutes. This will help get a deep, intense smoked flavour.
  • I smoke mozzarella the same way too. Only difference is that I clingwrap it well & place it in the fridge.
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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Faiza Ali says:

    Wow ! looks yummy. I am hungry after seeing this.

  2. Barbara Bakes says:

    Your quote made me laugh! My kids are home until the end of August. The pizza looks yummy!

  3. Laurie Vengoechea says:

    Your such a good mom.. and I know exactly how you feel about the arrival of school.. I'm counting the days!! I adore those chocolate cherry muffins!

  4. Nicisme says:

    Change is good! Looks very nice.
    Although I love having mine at home, it's good to get rid of them for a bit too!!

  5. thecookieshopinenglish says:

    Yay, back to school time for you, congrats! I'm looking forward for my turn to come… 😉
    I'm definitely trying that garlic sauce in a pizza, sounds delicious.

  6. Cynthia says:

    I love the idea of the pesto cream.

  7. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    I loved that quote ;-P!

    What a delicious looking pizza! So pretty and tempting!



  8. Aparna says:

    Looks delicious, Deeba. Yes its good to have a change from tomato based pizza.
    I make pizza often, using only paneer and no other cheese as we like that a lot.

    I got the AB in 5 and still haven't baked anything from it yet. :(

  9. Parita says:

    i love to experiment with my pizza sauce and this sauce looks so delicious, sure a winnder, will try the next time I am making pizza at home :)

  10. muralimanohar says:

    I'm a homeschooling mom over here…I've NEVER had that chance to send them off for hours everyday! I can't imagine! lol

    White pizza…mmmmmm!!!!! We love it around here! I have a recipe for one on my blog, but I think I am going to have to try out your sauce….I think dh will flip for it! 😀

  11. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    I never make pizza, but eat it a LOT!! The pesto sauce sounds delicious, I can only imagine how good it must have tasted with the paneer. Seems like I'm going to have to learn how to make pizzas, so that I can try your awesome recipe!

  12. Kerstin says:

    Looks like the perfect pizza! I like skipping the red sauce sometimes too!

  13. So true :) Our summer break has just started :)

    Deeba, your muffins are irresistible! And the pizza looks delish!

  14. Reeni♥ says:

    What a positively delicious back-to-school treat! Especially with the garlic sauce!

  15. Yummmmmmm!!!:)

  16. Katrina says:

    I love your quote and love when my kids are in school! Still another month to go here. Sigh!
    Yummy pizza!
    How DO some mom's home school?

  17. Helene says:

    Already back to school, my kids don't go back until Sep. 8th. What a nice pizza for their first day at school. So nice of you.

  18. Elenka says:

    I can't sleep….it's 3:45 AM….but this pizza is making my mouth WATER. Heck of a lot better than the saltines I just ate.

  19. Nachiketa says:

    Can i also go back to school?????????????
    sans the exams though…… 😉

    What will happen to my diet…. every time I look at ure blog, I get hungry…..

  20. Gloria says:

    I really love pizza Deeba and this look awesome and tasty!!! xoxoxo Gloria

  21. Eliana says:

    I wish I could have a slice of this pizza for lunch right now!

  22. Karine says:

    The sauce is very original! Thanks for sharing!

  23. You are such a fabulous mom Deeba. I bet the kids love this idea of having a special pizza as a back to school celebration. Although I wonder if they even eager to go back to school, lol (pssst don't tell them, pls)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Well I'm not a kid anymore but if I was, I would seriously want you, Deeba, for my Mom. :-) Your pizza looks fabulous and we get chocolate cherry muffins too? I think my Mom slapped a slice of baloney between two pieces of spongy Wonderbread and called that good enough. :-)

  25. LunaCafe says:

    Aughhhh! Your blog ate my really good comment. :-)

    Love your pizza and chocolate muffins. Makes me wish I was going back to school and had a mom like you, Deeba. :-)

  26. Maria says:

    Love the quote … school definitely is good for us all. We're only a couple of weeks into summer vacation and I am reaching my breaking point! I crave my routine … 1 1/2 months left!!

    I love pizzas featuring something other than tomato sauce. This looks healthy but moreover delicious.

  27. Aggie says:

    That quote made me chuckle!! What a beautiful and delicious looking pizza! Thank you for following me on Facebook! :)

  28. I hated school but maybe if I had something like that to look forward to I would have actually liked to go.

    Looks amazing!!

  29. Peter M says:

    Deebahhhhh, this is a lovely and delicious departure from the usual pizza. I love them all!

  30. The garlic cream sauce here sounds wonderful.

    I'm not sure if any pizza would've made me feel better about going back to school, but I'm sure it wouldn't have hurt!

  31. Your kids are lucky, what a delicious sounding pizza they were treated to!

  32. Stefanie says:

    The pizza sounds so delicious! The garlic cream sauce is a real great thing, I will try this for sure!

  33. Hillary says:

    Great flavor combinations! You should attempt deep dish style pizza next :) Here's a recipe:

  34. Great way to add veggie to our lives…and I love the creamy pesto sauce, too. How do you smoke cottage cheese? Hope it is easy :)

  35. Madam Chow says:

    I just baked out of the Artisan Breads book for the very first time – made the chocolate bread. I was so pleased that I plan on using it a lot more!

  36. That looks absolutely delicious! Both the pizza and the muffins. Paneer on pizza is a goood thing.
    honeybeecooksjackfruit´s last blog post ..Soba noodles with Thai peanut sauceMy Profile

  37. VRINA says:

    hey came across this recipe after i had made pesto at home and was craving a pesto pizza.
    few questions : can i use milk instead of cream and not use any cheese ?

    • Hi Vrinda. Hmmm, I think you could try reducing the milk to 200ml, and thickening it with plain oats, curried oats or cornflour to get a sauce like consistency. Both cream and cheese contribute to a thick pizza sauce. Hope this helps.

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