Homemade Pizza

We have developed a sort of tradition now of eating healthily during the week and saving ourselves for a naughtier / bigger meal on the weekends. These meals have become known as our weekend ‘feasts’. I think this idea came from when I was younger and we would have bigger meals on the weekend, particularly those that involved my dad cooking, my sister and I always enjoyed choosing our special Saturday night dinner.

We have had many recently feasts since its beginnings including pulled pork, BBQ ribs, roasts and the ultimate feast ‘a massive curry’ (John’s words). We realised though that we had not cooked pizza at home before, or at least not proper homemade pizzas anyway. So John set me the task of creating pizzas that were weekend feast worthy. I think I lived up to the challenge.

I used the bread machine to make the dough which was really easy. I added a spicy pesto we have found here and tomato paste for the sauce. Then for the toppings we had one pizza with salami and one with ham and pineapple. Unfortunately we cannot buy proper, real mozzarella balls here but can get a good alternative in the form of pre-grated mozzarella. A quick sprinkle of chilli to keep John satisfied and they were ready to stick in the oven.

Here are the final pizzas looking good and hot from the oven:

Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Salami Pizza
Salami Pizza

Cooking at home

It’s not just eating food overseas that I love, I also love cooking food at home too. I have had a few chances to try new things this week and I am quite happy with the results. 

Last weekend, as with many weekends, I made a few different curries for dinner. According to my husband, my curries have got better and better and he now gets very excited to try them. I love collecting spices from the different places we travel to and seeing how they are used. It has been interesting see how familiar spices from different countries have slight differences in taste. We had a rather intimidating visit to the wholesale spice market in Colombo while visiting Sri Lanka at Christmas. They were clearly not set up for tourists buying small quantities and as a result I came away with much bigger bags of spices than I had planned on. The black peppercorns we bought were very fresh and have a very strong, spicy aroma and taste. They are distinctive when added to dishes back home.

So, using lots of these new spices I cooked a curry feast back home. I made tikka masala, John’s favourite, and a lamb pasanda which I have made previously but this version tasted completely different. I also made a lamb kofta curry from The Hairy Bikers Meat Feasts book. I have not made a curry like this before but it was delicious. The lamb meatballs give the curry a really nice flavour and texture. 

Here is a photo of the final results…with me looking exactly like I had spent the afternoon in the kitchen.

A few days after the curry feast, I made another recipe from The Hairy Bikers Meat Feast cookbook. We were trying to think of a dinner that would be a good way to celebrate my grandma’s passing. We decided it had to be something with an Irish element and in the end went for a Guinness and steak pie. I have never made a meat pie before on my own, or at least not quite like this so I was excited for the challenge. 

I slow cooked the beef in the stout along with mushrooms, carrots and onions. I added herbs and seasoning also. The pie filling then spent the afternoon slowly cooking away. When it came to the pastry, I made it from scratch, which was a bit more difficult than anticipated. In the end though I managed to line, fill and top two quite presentable pies. One went in the oven and one in the freezer. Here is the pie ready to be eaten.

Lastly, I took on another challenge this weekend. John chooses our Saturday night feasts and he requested pizzas. He insisted that it was about time I added a pizza to my repetoire. We bought the best ingredients we could find for our pizza toppings, which in China is not always the easiest. After much looking we could not find anchovies, which was a shame but we settled on pesto and salami and ham and pineapple. 

I made the bases in the bread machine with yeast that seemed to have a life of its own. The dough had risen so much by the time it had finished that it overflowed the pan. I rolled it out and added the toppings. We had originally planned on thin crust pizzas  dough was so risen that they became deeper based pizzas. Once cooked they were actually pretty tasty, I surprised myself. Here they are…