My Weekend in Photos

Hey all! I thought it would be a fun idea or me to write more about what I do when I’m not slaving away over a hot stove. Welcome to the category titled, ‘Outside the Kitchen’! I’d like to think that I’m a diverse person with several different interests that include sustainable living, sport and literature. You may be familiar with my ‘Actuellement’ posts that give a brief snapshot of where I am at the current point in time. This series of posts will differ in that they will include much less writing-this is all about the photos. Shall we dive in?

 

Saturday

Forgive me- I am fully aware that I had stated that I would be writing about what I do when I’m not in the kitchen. Unfortunately, Saturday morning was spent in the kitchen. Allow me to redeem myself- it’s the day of the Women’s Wimbledon Finals, there was no way that I wasn’t going to be hosting a party.

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What was on the menu? Strawberries + cream, a Wimbledon classic, sandwiched between Victorian sponge cake. Vegan soy chunks tossed in a creamy mushroom sauce, wrapped in a wholewheat tortilla on a bed of rocket. Sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice for the toasts.


Big news: we have a new pet!  Well, not really a pet as we still haven’t decided if we’re keeping it. My mum’s friend gifted us with a chicken as a late birthday present- welcome to Africa.


Sunday

We had the quite the early start with an 8am bike ride at Domboshawa. Domboshawa is about 40 km outside the city of Harare, the landscape is mostly made up of granite mountains and open velds. We had originally planned to cycle 24.5 km but after a couple of wrong turns, we eventually end up doing 27.5 km.


History was made on Sunday afternoon when Roger Federer won his 8th Wimbledon title and NINETEENTH grand slam title. Incredible! This man has endured through the ages and is still crushing his opposition at 35 years of age.

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One would think that my weekend would have ended here but what kind of Game of Thrones fan would I be if I didn’t stay up to watch he Season 7 premiere? The show started at 9pm EST which translated to 3 am in Zimbabwe. Call me crazy but it was totally worth it.

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BONUS: I published the recipe for these Chickpea Vegan Burgers, if you haven’t seen it yet then get over there right now!

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Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burgers

I’ve been dreaming about the veggie burgers I had in Europe ever since I got back.


Black bean burgers, soy burgers, cauliflower burgers-ugh it’s like a vegan’s playground! Vegetarianism is pretty uncommon in Zimbabwe, so it’s incredibly difficult for me to find something to eat whenever we go out to dinner. So you can imagine my delight at finding that most European food establishments in fact have a separate menu for vegetarians/vegans. Even McDonald’s had a vegan menu. You heard me, MCFREAKINDONALDS STOCKED VEGGIE BIG MACS + VEGGIE MCNUGGETS. Absolute insanity.


On a brighter note, the supermarkets in Zimbabwe have recently started re-stocking vegan frozen foods, i.e. vegan chicken burgers, vegan nuggets and vegan sausages. These are incredible options for veggies who don’t always have the time to prepare their own burgers from scratch (I know I don’t). If you’re not big on the taste of commercially produced frozen food, then hey, this post is for you! Top tip: prepare these burgers in bulk, shape and freeze them to consume at a later date!


These burgers are packed with intense flavour, and are amped up with the addition of toppings. I’m a huge fan of loading burgers with as many toppings as possible, just look at these loaded burgers I made a couple of months ago. For these particular burgers I spread the toasted buns with some honey mustard sauce, topped with burger, followed by sliced tomato and fresh sprouts! Other alternatives include sliced avo, caramelised onions, crispy onions, an extra burger (cheeky) or even some good old tomato sauce. Make sure not to skip out on the sweet potato fries, they are heavenly! Or crack open a cold one with the boys on a warm summer afternoon with these burgers!


Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1×14 oz tin of canned chickpeas or 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ½ red or white onion, diced finely
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or water if you want them oil-free), optional
  • For serving: 4 bread rolls (gluten free if desired), sliced tomato, sliced avocado, fresh sprouts, sweet potato fries

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl. Use a fork to mash them as best you can, it’s okay if some of them are still whole, at least half should be mashed. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and use your hands to mix until the ingredients have been evenly distributed.
  2. Shape into 4 patties. If you’re finding the patties difficult to shape or they keep falling apart then add the olive oil (or water) and try again. You should be able to shape them easily after this.
  3. Lightly grease a rimless baking sheet and gently transfer the patties to the pan. Bake for 15 minutes before gently flipping and baking for another 7 minutes. The burgers should be golden brown and crispy on the outside. Enjoy on top of a freshly baked roll topped with tomato, avocado and sprouts!

 

My Trip To Europe!

There was no way in hell that I was going to spend a month away from home and you guys would not hear a single word about it. In fact, 3 weeks from now you’ll most likely be begging me to stop talking about it.

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This trip changed me in more ways than I could possibly describe or convey to another person. It feels like a veil has been lifted from my eyes and I can see the world in more ways than I could have ever dreamed. Although this was not my first time travelling outside my home country of Zimbabwe, this was the first time I got to do it alone. With my parents sitting comfortably (or should I say anxiously) at home more than 10,000 km away, I was left without the usual cosy nest we call ‘parental guidance’. It was up to me to evaluate the options and make careful decisions. It was up to me to make sure that I booked the right train and arrived at the station on time and descended the train at the right station AND remembered all my belongings. Spoiler alert: I failed dismally at these 4 things.


It was a glimpse of what my future college life is going to be. Some parts of it look glorious: walking along the pier at sunset, chattering away with new friends in the park and discovering new parks and restaurants to visit. Other parts of it are unglamorous: scrubbing away at messes you’ve made, miscalculating your transport time and having to sprint for a train (I have calculated that you only make the train 4,87% of the time #alternativemaths), and the absolute killer: the persistent feeling that you have no idea what you’re doing. Much to my relief, I discovered that this a sentiment shared by several adults, the aim of the game is to be confident in yourself and believe that what you’re doing is right.

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I could write for hours on end about my experiences, my mishaps and the lessons I’ve learned but I’ll be breaking those down in a series of posts on the subject of this particular trip. Today, I’d just like to give you a quick synopsis of the places I visited, the things I saw and the activities I did there. Are we ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Geneva, Switzerland

This metropolitan city remains my favourite in Switzerland. There is no shortage of things to do here. Most of my time was spent here, as I was staying with my aunt when in the city, and in hostels when in other cities. This was my third time visiting Geneva and it never fails to disappoint.

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Lac Léman is stunning from all angles, but it is truly breathtaking when the Jet d’Eau is spurting water to a height of 140 metres (460 feet!).

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Geneva is beautifully modern but also dedicated to sustainability. You’ll find several recycling bins, electric cars and bike stations around town.

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Geneva is also the headquarters of the United Nations. The Swiss people are generally placid i.e. cool, calm and collected. They abstained from both world wars which is why they are notorious for being peaceful.

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2. Montreux, Switzerland

Montreux is a resort town, known for it’s iconic Jazz festival in July (happening this week and I’m back at home!), the gorgeous views it provides of the Alps and Lac Léman, and the iconic Chateaux Chillon, the pinnacle of Swiss middle aged architecture.

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3. Rome, Italy

Let’s take a break from Switzerland to talk about Italy for a second. Although the journey to the Swiss-Italian border is less than 2 hours from Geneva by car, the difference in the 2 countries is stark. I found Italy to be more fast paced, much noisier and more crowded than Switzerland. It all comes down to the culture and the people that live there, and one has to be able to appreciate diversity in order to truly enjoy the uniqueness and beauty of different cultures.

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Say hi to Ruva! (And the Colosseum- under construction)

 

It was at this point that I was joined by my travel buddy Ruva; we were at school together for a year before she left to spend a year on exchange in the dairy state, Wisconsin, USA.

We only had a day in Rome so we visited all the typical tourist sites, the Colosseum, Gianicolo Hill & Torre Argentina. Torre Argentina is he place where Caesar is believed to have been stabbed 23 times by his closest friends, and is now home to a horde of stray cats- because birds of a feather stick together.

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4. Venice, Italy

Upon arrival in Venice, we were greatly surprised to discover that there was not a single canal in sight.

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‘But what about all the photos we’ve seen? Are we in the wrong place?’, we lamented. It was only later that evening during a frantic Google search at our hostel that we discovered that the canals are on the island of Venice, whilst we were staying on mainland Venice- known as Venezia-Mestre. Fortunately, the island was only 20 minutes away by bus, hip hip hooray!

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Venice is all about getting lost, and get lost we did. Turning down side streets, dead-ends and walking into large open squares, I logged about 13km in my step counter that day. The island of Venice is wonderfully iconic with it’s flowing canals and traditional gondolas, but this is not a city for those of us on a budget. Trust that I will be writing a more in-depth review about Rome & Venice in particular, I think it’s important to present both the good and the bad to potential tourists.

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5. Annecy, France

After a week in Italy (and over 50km covered by foot) we were knackered upon our return to Geneva. It was to be 3 more days before we hungrily set off for Annecy in France.

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This city is picture-perfect, just like a postcard. With breathtaking views of Lac Léman and the French alps, this town is resort-like in its charm. We only spent a couple of hours here, but it’s bookmarked for my next trip to Europe, this town is like a magnet and something about is pulling me back.

6. Interlaken, Switzerland

La retour à la Suisse! This is where Ruva and I parted ways, her to Slovakia and me to Interlaken. That was incredibly disastrous for me as I fell asleep on the train, missed a connection and found myself in Zurich- more than 100km away! Although I am not one to shy away from adventure, the CHF66 (about USD68) dent that it left in my pocket was enough to frighten me away from exploring this particular city.

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When I finally arrived in Interlaken, 3 hours after I was originally expected to arrive, I instantly fell in love with this city. The gentle looming mountains, the crystal blue waters of the lakes Brienz & Thun and the tranquil atmosphere of the city were all persuading me to stay. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was meeting my mother in Basel in 2 days time, I would still be there right now.

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Interlaken is a city of adventure but with my budget cut short by the stern (yet friendly and helpful) train conductrice, I could only afford to ascend Schynige Platte and spend the day hiking the various trails there.

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7. Basel, Switzerland

This sleepy little town didn’t give me much to see, but it was here that I was reunited with my mother after having been away for 3 weeks. We spent the afternoon bonding doing some much needed retail therapy before settling down to enjoy the sunset.

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Fun fact: Switzerland is no man’s land on Sundays. Whether you’re in Basel, Geneva or Bern, everything shuts down on Sunday. Unfortunately for me, I was in Basel on Sunday. I don’t have much to report about this city aside from the interesting architecture and fascinating statues.

8. Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne is beautiful. I know this not from my visit but from photos. ‘But Andrea, why would you write about this city if you didn’t visit it?’ you ponder. The answer: I visited Lausanne on a rainy day when my camera battery had died (I left my charger in Geneva, how clever). Even under the dreary storm clouds, I could still remark on the stunning landscapes, rolling hills littered with neat rows of grapevines leading down to the omnipresent Lac Léman. Lausanne, I will be back for you, one day.

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Lausanne, just before the heavy clouds rolled in

As we are approaching the 1500 word mark, this is where I shall end off for today. Fear not dear readers, I will be posting more detailed versions of my excursions to the various cities, this is merely a summary and a glimpse into what will come next. As always, I invite you to comment your own European experiences, travel stories from anywhere in the globe or opinions about these particular cities. Challenge me to a duel on the subject of the beauty of the Italian countryside (trust that I’ve been battling this out on Facebook already), lament to me about the misfortunes of travelling by train (seriously, it is not as easy as you think it is), or chatter away to me about the wonders of globe trotting! Question of the day: how does one deal with the millions of mementos that you inevitably end up with at the end of a holiday?

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Sending you warm summery vibes,

x Andy

Simple Couscous Tabbouleh

First new recipe of the new website! Woohoo!


A.k.a. what I’ve been eating everyday for lunch since I got back from Europe last week. It’s THAT good. This recipe has been swimming in the depths of my mind since we visited Rome about 3 weeks ago. There was an authentic Italian all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant about 500m down the road from the hostel we were staying at. So on a sunny Tuesday evening (it was 30°C, full sunshine at 7 pm, can you imagine?!) we paid a visit to this beautiful establishment. For €11 I got to enjoy a refreshing Mimosa, the scenic views of downtown Rome and all the delicious risotto, biscuits, pasta and bean salads as I could eat. How’s that for a bargain?



Believe me, there was a ridiculous number of items on offer. Pasta in tomato sauces, pasta in various pestos, pasta of all different shapes and sizes- I’m surprised I didn’t gain 2 jean sizes from just looking at it. There was one particular salad that had my tastebuds raving. A grain similar to orzo pasta, oodles of fresh herbs, juicy red tomatoes and a dressing to die for. Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, I was browsing recipes from different cultures and BAM, it was there.




Tabbouleh. The same life changing salad I had had in Rome. So of course I made it to relive a great memory. Then I made it again with a couple of tweaks to suit my taste. Then I made it again because I really enjoyed it- and you know what happens after that.


This salad makes the perfect weekday lunch, it will help you stay on track with your fitness goals and it’s also a fabulous addition to your Sunday lunch! Hold on, I think I’ve still got some leftovers in my fridge…..

Simple Couscous Tabbouleh

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ cup finely diced cucumber
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley and fresh mint, finely chopped
  • a handful of dried apricots, chopped finely
  • a handful of chopped pecans
  • a handful of chopped sliced almonds

Method

  1. Add the dry couscous to a small Pyrex baking pan. Cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Add ½ tsp of salt and a drop of olive oil to the couscous. Stir well with a fork to combine. Cover the baking pan with aluminium foil and seal tightly. Let sit at room temperature or in a warm oven for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Make sure you’re happy with the texture- if too wet, leave it in uncovered a warm oven for another 5 minutes, if too dry then add a tablespoon of water and fluff again.
  2. Whilst the couscous is soaking, prepare the dressing. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic to a small jug and allow to sit at room temperature. Taste the dressing to make sure you’re happy with it, if it’s too bitter then you can add a teaspoon of warm honey to improve the flavour, though I usually don’t find this necessary.
  3. Once the couscous is done and you’re happy with the texture, transfer it to a salad bowl or the dish you’re going to serve it in. Top with the tomato, cucumber, onion, fresh herbs, dried apricots, pecans and almonds. Use a salad spinner or 2 forks to toss the tabbouleh and evenly distribute the veggies.
  4. Drizzle in the dressing when you’re ready to serve and briefly toss the tabbouleh again. Serve with hummus or add to your meze platter! Enjoy!

New Website! (again)

This is not some type of twisted déjà vu, this is the second website I am launching in the spaceof 6 months.

As much as the process of web design pains me, I felt like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, it was the beginning of a new chapter and the end of m metamorphosis. When I first started blogging, all I wanted to write about was food and science. The name ‘The Food Scientist’ was a no-brainer then. For a time it was enjoyable, I looked forward to long afternoons of researching and writing science posts to share with you. I found it fascinating and in that writing space, I felt positively invincible.

That was 18 months ago when I first started blogging, and it was inevitable that I was going to change as a person; frankly a lack of personal growth would have shown severe lack of character and a general disinterest in self. My personal values and goals have shifted: in those 18 months I have since stopped eating meat, stopped relaxing my hair and wholeheartedly embraced absurdism.  Hell, I’ll give you 2 minutes to jump back to my very first blog post and compare the differences in my writing between then and now. I’ll wait.

What I’m trying to say here is that I have changed. The things that I write about have changed. This year, I have opened up a lot more to you, and have written about more personal things- for reference, read this post. I am not the same person that I was when I started this blog; I would like to expand my range of topics. I want to write about travel, motivation and my personal experiences. I didn’t feel like I could still write about those things under the persona of ‘The Food Scientist’. 15 March 2015- I changed my Instagram name from andym_xxx to andypandyohsodandy (Please hold all comments until the end). With the theme of my posts shifting towards more personal topics with the main focus still being food, I decided to switch the name of my blog (and ultimately my brand) to something that reflects who I am, and who I would like to be in the future. Thus the era of ‘Life Is Oh So Dandy’ begins.

If an idea for a science post tickles my fancy, then I will write it. At the moment, I don’t want to feel forced into strictly posting about science and food because that’s what the name of my brand demands. I would like to write about all aspects of life, though the principal focus will remain food and the recipes I write. Yes, they will all be vegetarian recipes so long as I continue to lead that lifestyle. The recipes I write reflect what i eat at the time, I would never post something that I could not eat myself.

To conclude, I would like to reaffirm my commitment to you, the reader. Your support continues to inspire me to do better, to try harder and to refine my skills. Thank you for your relentless support, I appreciate every comment, every email and every follow. I only hope that I can continue to deliver the kind of content that will motivate you to start cooking.

Thank you all.

x Andy

P.S. All comments are welcome below!

A Complete Guide To Maximising Your Homemade Pizza Experience

Buckle up kids, we’re about to go on a journey. Let me set the scene for you. It’s one of those summer days that feels like it’s going to last forever, the golden heat doesn’t make you hiss and recede into the shade but is just enough to warm your skin and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s one of those days when you’d like to sit back and relax by the pool with your family. Just as the sun starts to fade into the horizon, you retreat to your kitchen and start to think about what will satiate your tastebuds; what you could possibly throw together that will put the cherry on top of this glorious day.


That’s when it hits you: homemade pizza. It requires minimal effort, will make everyone at the table happy and is the perfect excuse to add heaps of mozzarella to a dish! Unfortunately, we’ve all had the cooking mishap where the crust comes out soggy, the toppings aren’t quite done or it just lacks the pizzazz that you were expecting.

Lucky for you, I’ve finally cracked the code to achieving the ultimate homemade pizza every single time. Today, I am sharing the secrets with you! So get your apron and rolling pin ready because we’re about to get into this dough.

The Crust

This is the vessel that will deliver your toppings to the dinner table. You could just buy any old frozen dough from the supermarket but that’s not how we do things around here. I find that storebought crusts bake much faster than the toppings and are either grossly underdone and soggy or are burnt and inedible. No my friend, if we’re going to do things the right way then we’re going to make our pizza dough from scratch.

‘But isn’t that time consuming?’ you lament. Homemade pizza dough only requires 15 minutes of hands-on time – even less if you have a stand mixer.

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I always use my trusty recipe for homemade pizza dough, and it makes enough dough for 2 pizzas, so you can freeze one and defrost it whenever you get the pizza craving. In fact, that’s what I usually do and it is the most convenient thing on this planet. You never know when you’ll feel the irresistible desire to have hot cheese in your belly, but I promise you that the day will come. When it does, you will be overcome with gratitude that you made an extra pizza dough. That doesn’t nearly compare to the disappointment you feel when you thought that you had an extra pizza dough lying around and realise that you used it last week. #oops.

Alas, homemade pizza dough isn’t the only hurdle you need to jump over to attain that perfect golden crust. one must also consider their toppings. If you overload your pizza then you are assured of a soggy crust. If you can’t help it and you need to pile your crust with spinach, avocado, mushrooms, pineapple, caramelised onions, olives, sweetcorn AND chickpeas (adds a nice crunch to pizza I must admit)- then you can alleviate the situation by cooking some of the toppings first. I normally don’t cook spinach before I add it to a pizza but I will briefly saute mushrooms, peppers or onions before adding them to a pizza. Toppings such as broccoli, chickpeas and eggplants would be better off roasted in the oven before going on top of a pizza.


Another strategy that I recently employed is to bake my pizza in a skillet. To see this tactic in action, head over to this recipe. The method is simple: heat a large skillet on the stove until it is sizzling. Dust the hot pan with cornflour and quickly toss the dough onto the hot skillet, making sure not to burn your fingers. Cook the dough for 2 minutes on the stove before adorning with your toppings. That’s simple enough, right?

The Crust- Part Two

There’s more to the crust than you thought. There are several ways to prepare a pizza dough, one doesn’t have to adhere to the standard yeasted dough technique. If you find yourself short of yeast then my homemade pizza dough recipe includes a yeast-less option though I have to tell you that it isn’t nearly as good as the yeasted version. There are other options out there!

For those of you who are gluten free, cauliflower crust is a viable option. It’s easy to prepare, even if you don’t have a blender then you can use a cheese grater to get the cauliflower down to mini-florets. This crust is perfect for those of us who are fans of super-thin crusts, it produces a beautiful thin crust that is golden, crunchy and all for a fraction of the calories! There a couple of drawbacks with the cauliflower crust- it is much easier to yield a soggy crust. To avoid this dilemma, you have to make sure to squeeze all the water out during preparation. You also can’t go topping crazy with this crust because of how thin it is. Overload the crust and the pizza will just fall apart in your hand. You have to exercise restraint with this one. Ready to give it a go? In the photo below, I made this Chickpea Cauliflower Crust Pizza by Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest. It’s well worth a try!


Other options include a broccoli crust (similar to the cauliflower crust, the only difference is the colour which could potentially offset small children), chickpea crust and quinoa crust all of which I am yet to try. Another option would be to grab a piece of naan bread, spread some of the best pasta sauce on it, sprinkle some cheese and a couple of toppings before baking in the oven. Can we call it a pizza when it is technically a flatbread? Why yes, yes we can.

The Oven

Pizza is not baked in a 180°C oven. Pizza is not baked in an oven that you turned on 30 seconds before baking it. This is non-negotiable. If you have an open fireplace (lucky you) then you can can prepare yourself an authentic oven roasted pizza. The rest of us peasants will have to settle for preheating our ovens a full 30 minutes before baking the pizza, and setting the oven temperature to the highest setting- for me this is about 225°C/575°F. I know that all you conservative penny-wise readers out there are already whining about the electricity bill, but believe me, you will not yield a golden crust with gooey cheese in a cold oven.


The oven has to turned on in advance to ensure that heat spreads to every corner of the oven, we want it to be at a relatively even temperature. On that note, try and keep your nosy hands from opening the oven several times whilst the pizza is baking. You want to keep the heat locked in for maximum crust crunchiness. The only time that your oven door should be open is to put the pizza in the oven- and that shouldn’t be more than 30 seconds. That is all! If you happen to be the proud owner of a pizza stone, this should be preheated at the same time as the oven. Watch your fingers!

The Sauce

Oh man, pizza is as much about the sauce as it is about the crust. If the crust is the vessel then the sauce is the captain. Sure if the vessel is strong enough then that may be good enough to disguise a bad captain but there’s not much in the way that can save a sauce that’s too acidic, too spicy or just lacklustre in nature. The sauce is what taints the flavour of the toppings. No amount of cheese could remedy this situation. My go-to pizza sauce is also my go-to pasta sauce because everybody loves versatile options! Great sauces include barbecue sauce, any sort of pesto and Bechamel sauce.


The Cheese

Mozzarella will never not be good on pizza. If you’d like to stray from the safe zone then there are other cheeses waiting with open arms! I’ve used ricotta before and combined it with a killer balsamic reduction to give you this delectable pizza. Burrata, provolone and white cheddar are also really good on cheese.

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Ricotta White Cheese Pizza with Balsamic Honey Reduction
Another thing I’ve grown to love this year is huge puddles of gooey cheese on pizza. Can’t get enough of them. To achieve this, cheese is sliced thinly, rather than grated and is layered on top of the crust before baking. Heaven, I tell you, heaven.

Now that you know all my pizza making tips, go forth into the world and enjoy your pizza! Is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking to gather information from different sources and I’d love to hear what you think makes a great homemade pizza! Until next time loves,

x Andy

Ultimate Skillet Margarita Pizza

No exaggeration here- this is the ultimate skillet pizza.


I’ve been trying to brush up on my pizza-making skills but those attempts have been anything but successful. Having a killer topping combination means absolutely nothing when the base is soggy and falling apart under it. This is where the skillet pizza comes in- watch all your soggy crust fears disappear with this simple cooking technique.


The crust is cooked on the stovetop for a couple of minutes to form the perfect vessel for the tomato-cheese topping. I started with a simple margarita this week but trust me when I say we are going to build on this- bigger and better and more complex flavour combinations. Let this serve as a guide to show you that effortless flawless homemade pizza is not a myth and truly does exist.


Ultimate Skillet Margarita Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp flour + 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 pound pizza dough, homemade with this recipe or storebought
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ each salt and black pepper
  • 1 and ½ cups of the best pasta sauce or any storebought marinara
  • 150g mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp honey + 2 tsp water
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • some fresh basil leaves, torn roughly (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to the highest temperature it will go to. Mine goes to 250°C/480°F. At the same time, set your skillet on the stove at medium-high heat to allow it to start heating up. You want your skillet to be hot, but not smoking. I used a 9 inch skillet but if you want a thicker crust/deep pan pizza, go with an 8 inch skillet.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, dust the bottom with the flour and cornflour. Stretch or roll the pizza dough into a circle that is roughly the same size as the skillet. Carefully lay the pizza dough in the skillet, being careful not to burn your fingers!
  3. Cook the pizza dough until it starts to form large bubbles, about 3-4 minutes. Switch off the stove before drizzling olive oil over the surface of the dough and seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over the surface of the dough. It’s okay if you don’t have as much of a crust as you would like, the tomatoes will caramelise where the sauce is thin and you will end up with something so much better. Layer the cheese evenly over the tomato base before transferring to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is deep golden brown, and bubbling.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the honey, water and chilli flakes. Once the pizza has finished baking, switch off the oven. Drizzle the chilli honey over the surface of the pizza and allow to rest in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Top with basil leaves before removing to a cutting board to slice and serve. Enjoy!