Friday, July 13, 2012

Today i8: Artichoke, Red Onion, Eggplant and Cheddar Pizza

Technically it was yesterday I ate this pizza, but it didn't have the same ring to it. I was buggered being awake for the 24 hours stint in which I made todays (>.>) meal - but I am proud as this is the first time I made my own pizza dough from scratch! - Unfortunately I don't have A. a rolling pin, B. a nice surface to work flour on and C. a pizza stone. So not only was my kitchen a floury mess but my pizza base was disappointingly un-crisp - so pizza stone and rolling pin are now on the shopping list.

 Artichoke, Red Onion, Eggplant and Cheddar Pizza... or really just pizza which you can top with whatever you like.

Otherwise perfect - dam you pizza stone!

PIZZA DOUGH! - a brief recipe for 2x pizza worth of the stuff

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
You will also need some gladwrap and a reasonable size bowl,


  1.  Put the warm water in a large cup and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow to rest for a 2 minutes and then add the room temp water into the cup as well
  2. Combine the flour and salt and briefly mix. Add in the olive oil and the yeast mixture and combine until it forms a dough
  3. Knead the pizza dough for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic then place into a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat - cover with cling wrap and set aside for 1-2 hours.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and press lightly to deflate, separate into two lumps of dough (for two pizzas!) Form both into a ball - wrap one in plastic wrap and place inside a freezer bag and put it in the freezer (defrost in the fridge overnight when ready to use). Cover the second ball with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 10 minutes (no longer)
  5. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough by pulling it out into a pizza shape this makes a nice crust (best done on some parchment paper for easy movement onto a pizza stone [**sniff** :(] ) 
  6. Brush the outer edges with olive oil and top with pizza can also brush the outside with some pizza sauce before adding the olive oil for extra colour and flavour 
  7. When you are ready to cook preheat your oven to 230 C (or 446 F) with the pizza stone inside and bake pizza till the crust is golden, the cheese is bubbling - about 8-12 minutes.


  • 1 jar of artichokes, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, prepared by dicing, salting (letting sit for 30 minutes), rinsing and then oven baking or frying - alternatively you can use the jarred variety.
  • 1 red onion, ringed and then cut into smaller pieces
  • Sliced black or green olives (if desired)
  • Sundried tomato pieces (if desired)
  • Cheddar cheese, grated (or mozzarella if you have it - we didn't :P)
  • 1 tin diced tomato
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1Tbs olive oil
  • 1Tbs garlic, diced finely
  • Mixed herbs (to taste)
  • 1Tbs brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For Lupus (my sons pizza)
  • a grated carrot


1. Make the Pizza sauce, in a small pot add the olive oil and heat on medium heat then add the garlic and brown onion, saut√© until translucent - add the tin of tomato, brown sugar, mixed herbs, salt and pepper (add red wine and some extra basil if desire). Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for at least 15 minutes - then blend the sauce if desire (I did using a hand blender)

2. Top the pizza with a layer of pizza sauce followed by a layer of grated cheese. Also give the crust of the pizza a brushing with a little of the pizza sauce.

3. Add the diced eggplant and lightly press it into the pizza, then top with artichokes, olives, sundried tomato and red onion pieces - Finally sprinkle with some extra cheese

4. Slide pizza directly onto the pizza stone (which should be heated up in your oven!) and cooked untill the crust is golden, the cheese is bubbling - about 8-12 minutes.

For lupus' child's pizza:

1. Make a small pizza with a small portion of dough and top with pizza sauce
2. Add the grated carrot (or other vegetables)
3. Top liberally with cheese (it hides the veg :P )
4. Bake in the oven just like the adult pizza!

What vegetables?!

Today i8: Sweet and Sour Seitan

I discovered how to make seitan (aka gluten/vegemeat) from standard white flour - it is an arduous process but I was excited, otherwise bored and didn't have any gluten flour - so the extraction commenced (6cups of flour reduced to one meal worth of seitan >.<). I should have grabbed some photos of my kitchen after making both pizza dough and seitan as it was smeared and splattered with flour.

But right now I have not slept for 24 hours, so hopefully my sleep pattern has finally come full circle and I will hit the sack - after another hour of complaining about the League of Legends Twitch rework - I don't like change. But not before I update the site with another today i8 post!

Firstly check out these two videos on making seitan:

from plain white flour:

from gluten flour:

Great, now that you can make the stuff, don't boil it in the stocks suggested in the two videos - instead cook it in:

Sweet and Sour Seitan....and mixed veg

Would you like some fresh SATAN Seitan >.>


  • Seitan (equiv to 500g meat)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (+ extra to taste)
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar, sushi vinegar or white vinegar if you don't have these (+ extra to taste)
  • 2Tbs Soy sauce (+extra to taste)
  • 2Tbs Lemon Juice (+extra to taste)
  • 4Tbs Honey (+ extra to taste)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (+ extra to taste)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 Tbs cornstarch Cornstarch
  • Mixed Vegetables - I used shallots, baby corn, shredded cabbage, carrots, green beans, cauliflower and pineapple.
  • Rice - to serve


1. Put tomato sauce, wine vinegar, soysauce, lemon juice, honey, water and sugar into a pot (there should be enough sauce to cover the seitan - if not make more or use a smaller pot) You may also want to add some extra water as the next stage involves a prolonged simmer.

**The sauce is very flexible and I've tried to give a good base flavour to start with - after this you can add any of these ingredients in whatever quantities suit your tastes. Alternatively you could add a can of crushed pineapple in it's juice and less tomato sauce for a more pineapple based sauce. It is pretty hard to mess it up so try it and test taste it as you go.

2. Bring the sauce to a boil briefly then reduce to a simmer take 1/2 cup or so of sauce and set aside and add the seitan into the pot with the remaining sauce, cover with a lid and do not touch it or lift that lid for the next 30 minutes minimum. No PEAKING! (or at least do you very best) 

3. Put 1/4 of the cup of reserved sauce into a frying pan/wok/saucepan on medium-high heat and then toss your vegetables into this sauce - you want them to be warmed through but not soggy they taste better when they are still a little crunchy! (especially the shredded cabbage) - but feel free to place with the vegetable types and textures. Once done - set aside and wait for your sweet and sour seitan sauce to finish.

4.  Meanwhile mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup of the sauce you set aside and a dash of water and stir into a paste. When the sweet and sour seitan sauce is finished it's 30min+ Simmer turn of the heat and stir this cornstarch paste into it.

5. Toss the vegetables into the pan with the sweet and sour sauce and seitan (or vice versa) and heat through over a medium heat.

6. Serve with rice! Om nom nom nom

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today i8: Asian-esque Soup

Finally refreshed my stock of sesame oil, ginger, lemongrass and GREEN ONIONS! - why did I highlight green onions? Because I recently read that you can cut (and use, I hope) the green part and then place the white parts in a glass of water on your window sill where they will (apparently and no promises) grow indefinitely so long as you replace the water on occasion.

so hopefully there will be much more of this:

Asian-esque Soup

Oarin's looked better than mine, three eggs!
  • Pre-chopped garlic (to taste)
  • Ginger (again I use the pre-smooshed stuff)  (to taste)
  • Lemongrass (pre-smooshed....just assume it from now on)  (to taste)
  • Soy Sauce  (to taste....always)
  • Sesame oil
  • Eggs
  • Cornflour (optional)
  • Vegetarian mince (TVP , or even tofu - this soup is easy to vary!)
  • Noodles (any will do, rice, egg - I used Mi Goreng noodles!)
  • Vegetable stock (too taste, but you will need a fair few cups)
  • Mixed Vegetables (I used shredded cabbage, julienned carrots and canned mushrooms, but you can also add spinach, green beans - anything really) 

1. Put a large pot on medium-high heat, add the sesame oil and once heated lightly saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and a dash of soy sauce.
2. Throw in all your vegetables and the vegetarian mince (or tofu!) toss for a few minutes in the pot and then add at least enough stock to cover - add more if you want more - I like more!
3. Scoop out a cup of the stock and mix in a few Tbs of cornflour to thicken this stock then put it back in the pot. (add even more depending on how thick you want the soup base)
4. Bring soup to the boil and toss in the noodles till they cook - season with extra soy sauce if you like.
5. There are two options for the eggs - firstly: you can serve the soup until your bowl top crack a raw egg into it and microwave it for a minute or two if you'd like it more cooked. Secondly: you could reduce the soup to a simmer and crack a number of eggs straight into the soup on the stove. It is up to you!
6. Drizzle with a little extra sesame oil before scarffing your meal.

Today i8: Yogurt with Honey Fried Oats

I've already included a recipe (Cheese-cake Shake) that included Lemon-Curd flavoured yogurt, but I have not yet boasted about how amazing it tastes....because in case you don't realise it by the end of this post, it  DOES taste amazing, like lemon cheesecake (assuming you like lemon cheesecake). So once again this amazing lemon curd yogurt is the feature of my snack time genius (subjective). Actually I was almost about to eat the yogurt from the tub when, to help attain a more enduring hunger-satisfaction, Oarin (i know shocking) suggested I throw a handful of oats into the mix. An excellent idea - a chance to make the amazing lemon curd even more like a cheesecake, albeit an upside down oat version....I think I may be obsessing about this cheesecake analogy.

Of course while Oarin was perfectly satisfied with chucking the oats in, my fruitless chase after mock cheesecake yogurt had me hatch a crunchy oat plan. FAST FACT: did you know that honey can be substituted for oil in frying for a sweet and effective non-stick alternative. Armed with this knowledge here is what I made:

Yogurt with Honey Fried Oats

See! it is totally just like cheesecake...


  • LEMON CURD Yogurt (ok I'm being picky, any yogurt will do and as much as you want)
  • Oats (enough to top your yogurt)
  • Honey (at least a few Tbs - but enough to match the amount of oats)
  • Cinnamon/nutmeg/all spice (any combination, to taste - or leave it out)
  • Flaxmeal (optional, but those dam omegas - any other tasty supplement you have could work here to, protein powders etc)
  1. Place the yogurt into your bowl and mix in 1 serve of your flaxmeal (or other)
  2. Put your frypan on medium-high heat and pour the honey into the pan
  3. When the honey is thin and runny (it won't take long) toss in the oats and sprikle with your spices (cinnamon etc) combine well
  4. Toss occasionally and be vigilant - you want the oats to be a tad crunchy.
  5. Place the honey fried oats on top of the yogurt and consume.
**note: dried fruit or fresh fruit would be a great addition to this snack! - we did not have any on hand -- Oarin ate all the dried mango I got from!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Today i8: Cheese-Cake Shake

I've been attempting to re-fix my sleeping pattern (again) and since I tend to struggle simply just going to sleep earlier I prefer the 'full-cycle' method. Basically I go to sleep a few hours later each night (day >.>), and wake up a few hours later each day (night>.>) and cycle this until I am going to sleep at a good hour (10/11pm ish). Works a treat even if it is a little impractical at times.

Between cooking for the horse-eater and fussy-child and exercising like a champ! (new exercise program and other off-topic fitness result happiness!) I'm feeling the laziness when it comes to feeding myself. Shakes can be great for times like this, except I hate the smoothy stable - BANANAS -.-

So instead I made this:

Cheese-Cake Shake

Keyboard not included
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Protein powder, or a dash of vanilla essence (or both!)
  • 2-3 cups milk (depending on how thick you like it
  • 1-2 cups Lemon curd flavoured yogurt (as above)
  • Flax powder or something akin  (I add this for omegas!)

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or shake mixer, and blend
  2. Drink - alternatively put it in the freezer until partially frozen then blend again for a slushie.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Today i8: Lazy Lasagne in a Pan

It is 2:10am and hunger strikes, not a simple 'Mi-Goreng-or-toast-easily-satisfied-hunger', rather it was a 'rich-Italian-tomato-sauce-and-cheese-hunger' coupled with midnight meal laziness. Lasagne ticked all the boxes for my craving, but who wants a twice-cooked two hour monstrosity?!

Before we begin I want to talk about my abhorrent lack of useful/specific 'values' for ingredients (e.g 1cup, 2Tbs), there are a number of reasons why it is difficult. Firstly I cook for two-three people, if only it was that simple - one person (myself) has gastric sleeving and can't eat much; another (Oarin) would eat a small LARGE horse for every meal if he wasn't a vegetarian; and the third is a fussy autistic four year old who only hankers for pasta and cheese. However the beauty of (most of) these meals is they are often just a throw together of ingredients which you can customise to taste - they are very forgiving.

So if you can forgive my terrible recipe directions, I present:

Lazy Lasagne in a Pan

Didn't even wipe the plate!

  • 2tbs Olive Oil 
  • Garlic, I used the pre-chopped stuff 
  • 1/2 packet vegetarian mince (equiv. to 250g meat mince - or just use that if you are not a vege.) 
  • 1/2 packet Pasta - whatever you have on hand, however much you want. 
  • Red wine (optional), but I keep a cask just for this! 
  • Parsley, freshly chopped is best, but other types will do 
  • Tomato sauce 
  • 1 can of diced tomato 
  • Handful of grated Parmesan (to taste) - micro-zest it, even better. 
  • Handful of grated tasty cheese (to taste) - optional! (for extra cheese) 
  • Handful of grated Mozzarella (to taste) 
  • 1 cup Ricotta or cottage cheese, either works - Ricotta might work better, but I only had cottage cheese>.< 
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • Mixed herbs 


  1. Cook you pasta - I like to cook it in the microwave, just cover with water and microwave for 10 minutes ( if you cook to much it is no biggy, pasta makes a quick meal) 
  2. While your pasta cooks add the olive oil to a large fry pan (or suitably sized pot depending on the intended meal size) heat and fry up the garlic, followed by the vegetarian mince and enough tomato sauce to lightly coat the mince. 
  3. Add wine (to taste, just a splash or two), the can of diced tomato and mixed herbs (to taste), allow to simmer. 
  4. While the red sauce simmers, mix the ricotta (or cottage cheese) with grated parmesan and salt+pepper in a cup. 
  5. Strain and add the pasta, the chopped parsley and the tasty cheese (if desired) to the pan with the red sauce and mix. 
  6. Take a teaspoon of the white cheese at a time and add it to the red sauce - don't overmix, these are the equiv. of the 'white sauce' in the lasagne! 
  7. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella over the top and cover with a lid (or foil) to help it melt. 
  8. Serve - see it tastes like lasagne....kind of. 

Today i8: Mozzarella, Spinach and Artichoke Toasted Sammich

I'm going to be scribbling down any 'recipes' (if you can call them that!) that I eat on a day-to-day basis. Chances are I've borrowed the basic idea from somewhere or another and then taken any number of shortcuts in order to be able to actually make it...

Hopefully all this means that you should be able to make it to! And you can even take crappy pictures of it, just like me!

anyway today I made:

Mozzarella, spinach and artichoke....squished toasted bread stuff

Here is my non-food-art picture:

Yes, I ate half.

Ingredients (for one sammich):
  • Handful of jarred or canned artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 TBS salted butter
  • 1 TBS of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and the water squished out.
  • Garlic, I used the pre-diced jar stuff
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
* This recipe can be done my frying both pieces of bread on one side in a frying pan whilst the cheese on top melts, but I used the flat-pressing George Foreman.


  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a frying pan, once melted place both slices of bread (one side only) into the butter/oil mixture - only briefly!
  2. Place your bread butter-side down on your plate and top each slice with mozzarella
  3. Saut√© the spinach with garlic in a little olive oil and add that on top of the mozzarella on one slice of bread
  4. Chuck the chopped artichokes on top of the spinach and put your sammich together
  5. Grill in the George Foreman or sammich press etc till browned to desired levels and it.
I know it isn't Christmas - Merry Christmas!