pizza suce

“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.
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
Peter @ Kalofagas via Twitter

Must begin my post by giving credit to the quote I grabbed the minute I read it. It belongs to the ‘Greek God of Food’, Peter. Check out his blog @ Kalofagas (you probably have already), to see what I mean. He twittered the quote a few days ago, & I leaped to it, asking him if I could use it, & he willingly parted with it. I never let a good quote opportunity pass me by. Thank you Peter!

It’s Earth Day today. To quote Mother Earth News, April is officially Earth Month, and the great highpoint of the month is Earth Day, April 22. During the 364 unofficial Earth Days, you probably recycle, work to reduce your water consumption and utilize a number of other tricks for living lightly. But April 22 is a day to come together with millions of others from around the globe — to celebrate this glorious planet and all of its life.
Can you tell I’m a AB in 5 convert? For foodies like me, I would like to celebrate with BREAD!! Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread is my call for today.In MARK LUINENBURG words, “Baking bread at home saves hundreds of dollars on groceries every year. With this easy method, each deliciously crusty-on-the-outside, moist-and-chewy-on-the-inside loaf will only cost you about 50 cents and 5 minutes a day. We’re not kidding! “

My first exposure to Artisan Bread in 5 minutes, as I’ve written earlier, was thanks to Paula @ Dragon’s Kitchen. I risk repeating myself, but it was really the best thing to have happened to my bread baking days. There was a time when I was mortified of yeast, a fear I then shared with my good friend Ben, my amigo from What’s Cooking US. Together we moved our strengths from baking powder to yeast, & there’s been no looking back. AB in 5 converted my yeastly thinking completely. How can I even put into words, the luxury & ease of dough, sitting ready-to-use in the fridge. Just take a ball of it, slap it or roll it into shape, & voila, you have bread … Bread in many avatars!

Endless emails & google talk time hours later, I’m happy to have convinced a handful of Indian bakers to begin baking bread, modifying a few bits to suit local conditions. A couple got a frightened by the term ‘pizza peel’ & ended any bread baking thoughts. I don’t have a pizza peel, so I just sprinkle my cookie sheet or pizza pan with cornmeal ,& get on with it. AB in 5 is a nice beginning for bakers who are terrified of yeast. Twittering with ‘Pastry Chef/Co-author Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’, Zoe Francois, I was ruing the fact that the book isn’t available locally here as yet, & was discussing the fear we have of baking here in India; yeast just makes the fear mortal!

Twitter me: Bread baking is non-existent here…most folk are TERRIFIED of yeast, as I was once!
Twitter Zoe: Shame! You have to teach them not to be afraid! 😉 I hear that all the time, which is why we wrote the book.

Her words pretty much sum up yeastly fears across the globe, & I’m happy to say the book has changed the lives of hundreds of home-bakers. I can’t wait to lay my hands on the book, as Peter says there is a nice naan recipe included too. For the moment, I am enjoying this master dough to the max!!

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes … Pizza Dough
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a day
by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
4 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 head roasted garlic
1 1/2 tbsp active dried yeast
Handful fresh chopped herbs
3 cups luke warm water


  • Take a large container that will fit inside the fridge. Pour in the warm water, add salt, yeast, oil, garlic & freshly ground pepper & stir well.
  • Add the flours together in one go, & mix in well with a wooden spoon till well incorporated & no dry dough is visible.
  • Allow dough to rise in a warm place for2-5 hours, & then refrigerate until use. It’s a good idea to keep it in the fridge overnight because the dough is easier to use the next day.
  • Take a small ball of dough, size of an apple, dust it well with lour, & then roll into a circle to line your pizza pan.
  • Dust the pizza pan generously with cornmeal before putting the dough on.
  • Give the dough a light brush of olive oil (or garlic flavoured olive oil), a slathering of pizza sauce, add toppings of your choice, top with mozzarella, and bake on top shelf at 300C for about 20 minutes till cheese light brown & bubbly & the crust is light brown too. Rest for 10 minutes before serving. (I made a couple of round pizzas & a rectangular one too…moreish I thought!)
  • ENJOY!!!

Here’s my pizza sauce recipe, written mainly for Maya in mind, who asked me for it some time back, but I don’t have an email address for her. My 13teen year old cannot tolerate mushrooms on her pizza for some insane reason, so I sneak those into the sauce, with a carrot to keep it company. The kids haven’t figured it out yet, & they won’t coz the daughter does not read the recipe portion of my posts, not yet! They are both happy to eat this pizza, hot or cold, any time of the day!!
Pizza Sauce Recipe

8-10 tomatoes 1/2 kilo; peeled & roughly chopped
1/4 tsp roasted red chili flakes
1 big onion, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
300ml tomato puree
1 generous handful fresh herbs (I used thyme & oregano)
200gms mushrooms; grated fine
1-2 carrots grated fine
Salt to taste
1 pinch of sugar


Add olive oil to pan, & simmer red chili flakes for a minute or 2.

  • Sweat the onion & garlic for 4-5 minutes on low heat, & then add the grated mushrooms & saute till they leave liquid.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, carrots, salt & pepper if desired. Add herbs & simmer for 30 minutes till the sauce is nice & thick. Mash any bits of tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Let the sauce cool & the flavours to mature. The sauce can be made 3-4 days in advance & stored in the fridge.

    While you are contemplating what to do for the Earth, chew on this article by cookbook author Kate Heyhoe that appeared in the Washington Post today: Earth Day Food for Thought: Shrinking Your ‘Cookprint
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