I am not a big fan of the store-bought, ready-to-roll Pizza dough. For some reason it has a weird flavour to me, I don’t know? Preservatives? I can’t quite pinpoint it, but every time I am looking forward to Pizza and we were lazy and bought dough at the store I am disappointed, I’d rather pimp up a frozen Pizza with fresh ingredients to be honest.
This Pizza Crust is perfect – I will elaborate if you don’t mind because I know lots of people claim to have found the perfect dough and you feel most of them are lying, because they just like their Pizza different then you do. This crust is fluffy and airy but crunchy on the bottom, it holds up to extra sauce, extra cheese and extra pepperoni without getting soggy. If you love your Pizza thin and crispy feel free to move on now. If you are intrigued, read on and get your supplies ready!
If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. It will look quite oily but I promise this will reduce after the dough has risen and it will not be oily at all after baking. You will need to plan ahead to make this but it is also possible to freeze it and make your own ready-to-roll crust. Simply spread the dough on a sheet of baking paper after the first rise, then cover with foil wrap and roll up. Fold up the edges and place in freezer bag. There you go! 🙂
500 grams flour
2 teaspoons yeast or 1/2 cube fresh yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 ml olive oil
250 ml milk
1 tablespoon Italian spice or 1 pinch each: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and Sage
Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Knead and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces for individual Pizza or spread on a baking sheet, you will not need additional oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven with your Pizza stone or turn a cookie sheet upside down instead.
Add toppings of your choosing – I used pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, button mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion rings and green olives.
Long time no see! 🙂 I don’t know if you knew but it turns out that sewing is a very expensive and time-consuming hobby! I started out with visiting my local quilt shop to look out for some cute fabric. If you are ever in the area, Virka is a great place with an amazing selection of fabrics. I am always totally overwhelmed when I look around.
I figured it would be good for me to sew something small and rewarding. These baby bibs are also curved so a great opportunity to learn something besides straight stitching. I used the Tutorial from Sew-Funky and it was really easy to understand and well described.
Afterwards I found a piece of curtain and designed my own apron 🙂 Yes, I am very proud of that. I added pleats and pockets and everything. And an apron is only half a skirt anyways so I am halfway there! The pockets were also made of some fabric I found at Virka. I used it last christmas to sew little bags for gifts from the kitchen and had some scraps left.
I might have gotten a little ahead of myself in the Euphoria about my first “original design” and purchased a Burda easy dress sewing pattern… I opened the envelope and was so intimidated that I closed it right away. But I have another week for this challenge so I will take another look at it tomorrow in the fresh light of day.
So far I have learned that french braiding is a lot easier than sewing. 🙂 Sewing needs more preparation and takes a lot longer than I expected. – Hey, I knit, it takes longer to knit a sweater than to sew but still: instant gratification needed! Stay tuned for more sewing updates, I have also prepped 2 new recipes for you -> coming soon!
So we all know impulse buys, right? It is not only me? You should never go and shop while you’re hungry and you should especially never visit the baking aisle without having a vague idea of what you want to bake and what you need for it. If you ignore all the good advice you end up like me, with a bag of butterscotch chips and no idea what to make of it.
In my search for the perfect and deserving butterscotch “something” I ended up on one of my favorite blogs: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Over time I have tried a lot of her recipes and they were almost always excellent so I went for it.
On a sidenote: These Brownie Bars were made for the man in my life to take to work last Saturday because I firmly believe that when you have to work on a Saturday you should at least get cake, or cookies, or brownies, or cupcakes – or all of the above. The remainder was then taken to my workplace, so these bars have been taste-tested by roughly 30 people and all of them asked for more 🙂
I will probably adapt the frosting next time, I did not follow the instructions completely so I can’t blame Mel, but my frosting did not harden as well as expected. I waited a couple of hours and then decided to spread it on the cake and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
Bad idea, don’t do that. Do what Mel tells you to. My frosting ran off the cake and left me with a thin layer on top and a pool of frosting on the bottom of my pan. But as you can see in the picture: Made it work and it was well received!
Please also take a look at my adorable Easter decorations! I will tell you all about these in a separate post 🙂
So I do like Couscous. What I like most about Couscous is that it is done quickly and doesn’t require lots of preparation. My friend Nina who worked with me some 5 years ago would just make some couscous as a quick dinner for herself – using just her electric kettle. I was so impressed that I have stored the information in the back of my brain and still remember today.
1 part couscous + 2 parts boiling water + 1/2 bouillon cube
There you go, this is even easier as cake! 🙂 I usually just take my measuring cup and eyeball it. The Couscous will double in volume and is very filling so I use roughly 1/2 cup for 4 portions as a side dish, where I would use 1 cup of rice. Please also read your package instructions and make sure you wait the proper amount of time for the Couscous to rest.
If you have never had Couscous before, try this sort of european style recipe. I once had instant Moroccan Couscous and it was just plain gross. I promise, this is nothing like it! When we have fish at buttonsprouts’ I like to serve this greek style salad with couscous. Very quick and yum and wholesome. What more do you need?
Greek Style Salad with Couscous
1 bell pepper
1 small glass of green Olives stuffed with paprika paste
1 small glass Feta cubes in herb or garlic oil
1 handful baby spinach (optional)
1/2 cup of couscous
1/2 bouillon cube or 1 cup fresh vegetable bouillon
freshly ground salt and pepper
Finely dice your vegetables while boiling 1 cup of water in the electric kettle or on the stove. Wash your spinach thoroughly.
Prepare couscous and the 1/2 bouillon cube in a heat-resistant bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir well so the cube dissolves completely. Set aside.
Spice salad with freshly ground salt and pepper. Drain Olives and mix in.
Drain Feta, keeping a small amount of the oil aside as salad dressing.
Fluff up the couscous and mix all ingredients well. Serve with fried fish or fresh baguette!
I am a little bit of a cheapskate when it comes to buying Naan, we actually haven’t bought any in over a year because I can make better at home and not pay an arm and a leg! It is actually super easy, even if you do not have much experience with yeast dough. Just beware! After trying these babies store-bought Naan bread will taste like spiced cardboard to you!
If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. I make it with the Kitchenaid. Funny anecdote: While the Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer is present on most wedding registries, my family was surprised that I wanted one for my 30th Birthday. I mean, why would you wait with baking until you’re married? That is just crazy talk! – So I got the Kitchenaid for my birthday, my BFF and the dearest BF had collected money from everyone who seemed like they wanted to buy me something for this occasion and I ended up with the beautiful Ferrari Red limited edition. First time my dad came to visit he did this dad thing: “Na?? Are you using it often?” – Yes, I am. 🙂
(yield 15 breads)
500 grams flour
4 teaspoons yeast or 1 cube fresh yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons milk
250 grams plain yogurt
Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add more milk if the dough looks too dry, it should be smooth and elastic.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Knead and divide the dough into about 15 small flatbreads. Preheat the oven.
Mix a small amount of Olive Oil with sesame seeds and garlic powder. Lightly brush the breads with the seasoning – you can add some dried cilantro if you like.
To be clear: Smoothies are for the lazy! Yes, you heard me. If you have blender it should really take you a total of 2 – 5 minutes to make a Smoothie and clean up after yourself. If you are not convinced about this, ask Anna and you will find a quick and easy way to clean your blender!
So back on track: Smoothies are for the lazy. You can basically throw in all the fruit and vegetables you are supposed to eat, mix them with some liquid and you are good to go! I mainly make them in the afternoon because I need something savoury in the mornings but it would also give you a great start in the day! This is a recipe I just invented and will definitely make more often in the near future.
5 a day Smoothie
(makes 1 large glass)
1 cup of frozen fruit (I used strawberry, apple, berry mix)
1 handful of baby spinach
3 tablespoons granola or müsli (I used my homemade Granola from the BBC GoodFood website)
1 cup of Vanilla soy milk
1/3 cup apple juice
Blend all ingredients together smoothly, add some more apple juice when the mixture is too thick and your blender does not rotate properly.
Another Challenge for myself on the path to becoming a better me and keeping up with my resolutions!
In case you have wondered:
Kitchen is still clean!
I have mastered the art of French Braiding!
For March I will improve my sewing skills!
image by Craftsy.com
I have pinned a lot of inspiration on my Pinterest sewing board and I will get started next week. (since I will also use up my vacation then – very convenient!)
One of the goals is to wet my toes with Quilting small things, Mugrugs seem to be the new thing! (not entirely sure what I would use them for but who doesn’t start crafting for Christmas gifts in March, right? – call this a head start.)
Second goal is to make something wearable, I am thinking a skirt or failing this probably something for babies to wear. I have tried this with knitting and it is a lot easier to practise things on a smaller scale. I for example learned how to add pockets to any kind of garment by practising on a baby cardigan. Yes, Babies do not actually need pockets since their motor skills still lack, but tiny pockets are cute!
Believe you me! I have been whining for 25 years that I can not french braid and now I have practised for 3 weeks and voilá!
It is really no rocket science!
Apart from being ridicoulously proud of myself I would also like to give you some pointers if you would like to learn.
If I can do it – anyone can! It is of course good if you know basic braiding already.
Braid a little every day, this is the only way you can train the muscles in your arms because if you are not used to it you will feel muscles you never knew you had. If it seems too complicated in the beginning, just braid a small section and put in elastic when you get tired. Try again later.
Also good, you can braid only one side until you get the hang of it, then start braiding both sides or full braid.
Practise in front of the mirror – I know what you are thinking – but a lot of people I know braid in front of the TV and then when you would like to style your hair for an event you stand in front of the mirror and you are totally uncoordinated. Don’t fall into the trap, while you are learning, practise in front of the mirror and you will get used to the movement.
As I had mentioned earlier, I have a lot of great resolutions for 2013!
While the kitchen is now tidy most of the days I have decided to tackle another thing that I have wanted to do for a while now.
I am going to teach myself how to French Braid!
By March 1st I will be able to braid my own hair! This is ambitious because I have tried countless times but my arms get tired really quickly and my hair is very thin and slippery. My dear bavarian friend has been braiding hair since she was little and even for her it is always a struggle with my stubborn head.
So, stubborn hair, weak arms and clumsy fingers. That is quite a list of obstacles!
I have prepped a little bit in January so you can see where I am at now. Over the next 28 days I will practise and let you know if it can be done, hopefully with pictures (it’s really hard to photograph the back of your own head, believe you me.)
If someone cares to join me in this, you are welcome!
If you have your own goals for February please share and let me know how it progresses, maybe I still need some inspiration for March.