Raised Vegetable Garden

It's been a joy and truly a labor of love piecing our raised bed garden together. We learnt a lot from our last/first attempt at gardening and this time we were better planned.

The Best Pizza Dough

We got a bit tired of our whole wheat pizza dough I think we got too accustomed to it and decided it needed some tweaking.

US Road trips

We've made a few road trips around the US. There's a lot to see here and a lot of distance to cover. Here are some of our trips on the east coast.

Panama

Panama's carnival celebration in Panama City are supposed to be the second largest in the world. Enjoyed this big party with fantastic street food, dozens of stages and loud music blaring at every corner.

Canada

Canada has some of the most beautiful sceneries and landscapes. I hope to drive across to the West coast some day but till then here's a glimpse of Toronto and beyond.

Common pizza mistakes | How to make delicious pizza!

The pizza I make today
My pizza skills have come a long way since my first attempt around 4 years ago. Scroll down to see my first pizza attempt back in 2008. It's rather amusing :) 

Here are some tips to avoid the mistakes I made along the way.

#1 Pizza dough is everything!!

You cannot make good pizza if your dough ain't right! Here's a healthy whole grain pizza dough recipe which works great for Italian thin crust pizza.

Healthy Whole Grain Pizza Dough Recipe

Ingredients:-
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar;
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (45 ° C);
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast;
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil;
  • 1 teaspoon salt;
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour;
  • 1 1/2 cups flour.

#2 Grate that cheese!

It's easy to just chop up the cheese roughly and fling it as evenly as you can on the pizza. However it will never taste as good as grated cheese. It just doesn't.

Don't overdo the amount of cheese either!


#3 Keep your pizza toppings down to about a centimeter!

This one is tricky especially when you have all those delicious toppings you crave for lining up. 
Apart from your tomato and cheese base, I've found that 5-6 toppings gives you quiet a selection.

Here are some toppings I'd recommend;
  • Pepperoni, mushrooms, , onions, capsicum, olives and jalapenos
  • Artichokes, pineapple, ham, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes

#4 Make sure to spread your toppings evenly and as far out to the crust edge as you can.  


#5 Bury your oil based toppings under other toppings to avoid them burning.

If you plan on putting sun dried tomatoes or any other similar oil based toppings make sure you bury/ cover them under other toppings so they don't get burnt. That last thing you want are charred toppings.


#6 Ensure your oven is piping hot! i.e. 430 F

Preheat your oven and only get the pizza in once you have attained that temperature.


Hope you enjoy making your pizza!

My first pizza back in 2008
Want to see more goofy pizza attempts??

Greek Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono (broth and lemon), a Greek traditional recipe is possibly the most famous of all Greek soups. This soup, usually served as a first course is surprising simple to make.

Greek Avgolemono Soup


Ingredients:-
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 2 Chicken Bouillon cubes

Preparation:-
  • Boil the rice in 3 liters of water with 2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 Tablespoon of salt and some pepper. Let it simmer over low heat for roughly 20 more minutes, or until rice is tender.
  • Turn off the heat once the rice is cooked. Your soup is almost ready. almost :)
  • Whisk the eggs with the fresh lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Add one ladle full of hot broth into this egg mixture slowly so that the eggs don't curdle.
  •  Gradually whisk in more broth until the egg mixture is heated.
  •  Now pour the egg mixture back into the soup, stirring briskly so you get a creamy looking soup.
  • You can  season it with some more salt, pepper or lemon juice to your taste.

Raspberry Crumb Tart

Raspberry Crumb Tart
Ingredients:-

The dough
  • 1/2 cup butter;
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts;
  • 1 1/2 cup flour;
  • 1/3 cup sugar;
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon;
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt;

The filling:
  • 1 1/2 cup raspberries;
  • 1 tablespoon of flour;
  • 1/4 cup sugar;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream;
  • 1/4 cup milk;
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon;
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Preparation:-
  • Preheat the oven to 180 ° C (350 F). 
  • Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. 
  • After baking, place them on a cloth, wrap and shake well to remove the skin.
  • In a food processor puree the cleaned hazelnuts. 
  • Stir in flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt and let it mix. 
  • Add the butter and stir 2-3 minutes, until the dough together.
  • Use a springform cake tin with a diameter of 23 cm (9 inches) Put about 3 cups of the prepared mixture and layer the bottom and the walls of the tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then let cool.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a bowl, mix the sugar with the flour. 
  • Pour some eggs, cream, milk, and stir in the cinnamon and salt.
  • Place washed raspberries in the tin, then pour over the prepared stuffing. 
  • Sprinkle on top the remaining mixture of hazelnuts. 
  • Bake for 50 minutes. 
  • Let cool at least 25 minutes before serving.

Martha Stewart inspired Blackberry and Plum Cheesecake

Here's our version of cheesecake inspired by Martha Stewart's Red, White, and Blueberry Cheesecake Tart from her book Pies & Tarts. I've drastically reduced the sugar as the recommended sugar was just too much.

Martha Stewart inspired Blackberry and Plum Cheesecake




Ingredients:-
  • 6 Graham crackers (2 1/2 by 5 inches each)
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 bars (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 red plums (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total), halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pint (2 cups) blackberries 


Preparation:-

The crust:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a food processor, grind Graham crackers, almonds, until finely ground; add butter, and process until fine. Transfer to a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. 
  • Press the mixture firmly to form a solid pie base. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

The filling:
  • Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt until smooth. 
  • Fill in the cheesecake mixture onto the tart base and bake until filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let it  cool down completely.

The topping:
  • Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan, combine plums, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. 
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and moves around pan in a single mass when stirred, 15 to 25 minutes.
  • Reserve 1 tablespoon cooking liquid (no solids) for blueberries; cool remaining plum mixture.

The finale:
  • Leaving a 1-inch border, spread cooled plum mixture over the tart. Reheat reserved plum liquid (on stove or in microwave) until liquefied. In a medium bowl, combine with blackberries,  and scatter on top of the plum mixture. 
  • Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled.

Non-spicy Vegetable Curry

Non-spicy delicious vegetable curry
Can you really make a curry without spice? No! But you can definitely tone it down

I've been way too generous with the spices in my cooking over the last couple of years and would ignore the amount of chili I used. Now I'm in the process of unlearning and coming up with better healthier non-spicy alternatives.

Here is one delicious curry which won't get your lips burning.

Ingredients:-
  • 3 tomatoes chopped
  • Ground coriander powder
  • Coriander finely chopped
  • 2 sweet Italian red peppers
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt 
  • Indian cumin
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh mint
  • 1 large carrot
  • 10 curry leaves
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Turmeric


Preparation:-
  • Heat a large pan with 2 olive oil and fry the turmeric, cumin and finely chopped green chili.
  • Add in the onion, garlic, coriander powder and fry till translucent. Garnish with salt and pepper
  • Add the cauliflower, chopped tomatoes and carrots and cook for about 6 minutes on medium heat with the lid. Add a little water if necessary so that the vegetables don't burn.
  • When the vegetables are 60% done add in the Italian pepper and mint and let it simmer for another 3 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, set the pan aside and add in the freshly chopped coriander and yogurt and give it a good stir.
  • Serve with steamed rice.

Spicy Mexican Beef Tacos

This is one great healthy recipe option which is so easy to put together. Spicy Mexican Beef Tacos!
Spicy Mexican Beef Tacos

Ingredients:-
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 12 medium hard taco shells
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • shredded lettuce
  • Olive oil for frying
  • pickled peppers
  • salt and pepper

Directions: -
  • Brown beef in skillet and drain off fat. Add a cup of water and some garlic, pepper and herbs for seasoning. Stir it together and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • Warm up tacos according to package directions. 10 mins in a preheated oven
  • Spoon beef and the toppings (cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, peppers) into the tacos and serve.