All posts by FoodieRage

I enjoy food. But I enjoy culinary roots and secret recipes a lot more. A huge Italian food buff and very eclectic, in a manner of speaking, when it comes to hobbies. An amateur cook at your service.

Breakfast Pizza (the healthiest Vegetarian Pizza, ever!)

Having lost more than 10 pounds recently, and feeling ah-mazing, I tend to keep an eye on my diet. That said, I am a huge pizza buff. I have tried plenty, but my favourite has always been the vegetarian kind. I enjoy thin crust most of the time, but if you’ve good a killer thick crust filled with yummyness (like cheese), I am all for it, too!

But, a few days ago, I noticed a new kind (well, new for me) that was labelled as breakfast pizza. I made Eggs in Purgatory sauce and google-d thoroughly before-hand, and that’s when I stumbled upon this unique pizza that would not only satiate my yearning for Eggs in Purgatory but also a lovely crust.

And then i stumbled upon the term, ‘Breakfast Pizza’. Now, a person like me would love an excuse to have pizza in breakfast.

Eggs and tomatoes go very well, together. So a pizza sans cheese but eggs as topping would definitely lure me in. And so, I started putting together what I like to call a very very healthy pizza.

I used whole wheat to create the base, and my toppings compromise of fresh spinach, chopped oregano and an italian-style tomato sauce with onions, and of course, eggs.

I started with the base. I used half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat. But you can always add more whole wheat if you want. And that’s my hand print.


Then, comes in the star of our dough, the yeast. There are plenty of types to choose from, bt I enjoy instant yeast that does not require proof-ing. Add one teaspoon per cup of flour. Also, do add half a teaspoon of salt to your mixture. If you wish, you can sprinkle some sugar if you are not very confident of your yeast, to give it a boost. Old packets of yeast may need that boost.


Add in warm water (never boiling, never cold) to the flour and slowly turn it from a sticky mess to a smooth ball of dough. Keep a spare cup of flour at hand while you’re kneading away, because you’ll surely need it to reduce sticky-ness.


Lightly coat your ball of dough in olive oil and cover it under a wet (but not dripping!) towel, to help it rise. The best place to make your dough rise is in a slightly heated oven. Turn on your oven on 180 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes and shut it off. Use the accumulated warmth to keep your dough in, so it rises to it’s full potential!

My dough took about 1 hour 20 minutes to double in size. Yours might take longer or lesser time, depending upon the yeast and weather conditions. I suggest checking in after 1 hour.


As seen above, my dough turned “brainy”. I’m a very proud owner of such a smart pizza dough!

Give it a punch to let out all accumulated air and burst most bubbles, roll it up and oil it well again, and give it a second rise in the same manner as before. This time, let it rise for 30 minutes at least.

While the dough is busy rising, I started at chopping all the necessary vegetables for my topping and sauce. Use the freshest produce available. Nothing like fresh spinach, but wash it good to remove pesticides and dirt.


Chop up onions and tomatoes that would be used as topping.


All the pretty colors in the kitchen need to go in my pizza.


While you are at it, wash and submerge 5-6 fresh and large tomatoes in a pot of water. That would be to loosen the skin so you can remove it, and cook it into an amazing Italian sauce.


My idea of Italian sauce for pizza is tangy yet zesty, with oregano and garlic, sautéed onions and olive oil. I let my peeled tomatoes cook in the open-lid pot, because no tomato sauce deserves to suffocate like that. Let the sauce reduce, and mash the tomatoes with a hand masher to make sure the consistency is even and saucy.

I suggest you finish the sauce before you touch the dough; the dough should have doubled again by the time you are done with the sauce. Take a pizza stone or a very large metallic tray and dust it with flour. Roll out your dough to the thickness you desire; I was aiming for a thin crust so my dough was flattened significantly with the rolling pin.

Once flattened and rolled, lightly brush olive oil and start with the sauce, then top with spinach, and then some more sauce to hold down the spinach. I added a lot onions too, because browned onion crescents are my weakness in a pizza topping (along with mushrooms and olives, that I won’t be adding… sigh).


Apologies for such a bad handy-work on the crust – I was running out of time. My family wanted me out of the kitchen right away and I was hogging the counters.

If I could go back and re-do anything, I would put more effort in beautifying the crust only, because the topping turned out fine.

Pre-heat oven at 220 degrees celsius for 10 minutes and bring it down to 200 degrees celsius when the pizza goes in. It will take about 20 minutes to cook the crust and for sauce juices to aroma-tize your kitchen. Once the crust feels hard but not chewy (since this is thin-crust), turn off oven and turn on the oven broiler (the grill on top) and crack an egg.



The egg will have a mind of it’s own and slips and slides till it finds a nice crevice to relax in. I don’t mind an egg on any corner of my pizza but if you wish to place it right in the middle, or place more than one egg, you can always landscape your own pizza and ‘create’ a depression in the middle for the egg to stay put.

Slide the pizza back in and allow the top grill to bake your egg(s) and brown your toppings and crust. Nothing more than 3 minutes, I’d say. If you like runny eggs than maybe nothing more than 2 minutes. But sit close by and monitor the progress so nothing comes out of the oven, unexpected. The “sitting close-by” position was the best exercise I did that week for my legs. I was squatting for minutes, working my hamstrings and quads, and the heat in the kitchen truly played out the whole gym scenario for me.



This should be your final result. But the slice looked phenomenal and smelled even better.



Let’s just say I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.



Fettuccine Alfredo (A Do-it-Yourself Guide!)

So boredom took over and my cookery senses (almost like spidery senses but with more tummy involved) started tingling, and I thought to myself… hmm.. what can I create that I can gloat over for days, and maybe satiate both, my hunger for food and art.

Cooking is an art for me. And that is why I don’t enter the kitchen unless I am thoroughly inspired. And inspired, I was. After watching seasons of Masterchef USA, Australia, Pakistan etc (yep, you name it!) I wanted to try my hand at making my own pasta. From scratch. Also, did I mention I do not own a pasta machine?

Well after watching Lidia Bastianich work with her son on Masterchef USA and make tortellinis like rabbit out of a hat, I wanted to try it too. But, they always say, start simple; so if I managed to fail this time, I wouldn’t throw in the dough (literally) and cry over nothing.

Therefore, here is my personal attempt at fettuccine pasta from scratch, without a pasta-maker and a light fettuccine Alfredo styled sauce. It took me around 2.5 hours but I digressed in the middle and went for a game of soccer stars. So, lets just say it’s just an hour and a half-long feat, for anyone who’s not distracted easily.

Let’s start off with good old flour (and no light, mind you, this is Pakistan and load-shedding is our very-own pet peeve).

1 cup Flour
1 cup Flour

And try to be suave by making a well in between and drop a large fresh egg in. However, I wasn’t that classy and my egg enjoyed a little slide outside its given boundaries.


Use a fork and beat the egg slightly, all while incorporating the dough. Try avoiding water altogether however, the most anyone would need at this stage would be a teaspoon or two. That’s about it. Knead knead knead and turn it into a smooth and compact dough.


Let it sit under a moist towel for an hour to loosen up the gluten within. After an hour, flour the counter and get back to work; see the dough hardly changed its shape but that’s all chemical reaction within that a naked eye cannot perceive at this level.

Dough after an hour rest.
Dough after an hour rest.

Roll it slightly and evenly cut the dough into two pieces. Leaving one piece on the counter, let the other half rest under a wet towel until your hands are free to cater to it.



Now lets get to work; rolling it into shape.


Rolling without a pasta-machine will take slightly longer, not to mention your guns will grow an inch or so (bicep exercise a.k.a strength training). However you will achieve your desired results just by keeping at it. Keep rolling and flouring the dough, and make sure you have enough arm-room to stretch and slide the dough to perfection.


You need it as thin as you can get; I managed to get this consistency and thickness within 10-12 minutes.



Now fold it neatly and cut it with finesse; a very sharp knife and steady hand does the trick. Be careful not to squish your pasta sheet under your hand’s weight. Be very gentle, yet firm. This is art, people. Treat it like it, too.



I didn’t find anything worth hanging my pasta from; so instead, I used my roller pin and held it for a minute or two, to stretch it out via gravity and good intentions.


Slightly dust the area where you decide to rest the pasta and then work onto the next half of the dough.


Practice makes one perfect and I guess I did it with more prowess this time; my sheet looks thinner and translucent.



Here’s the cut-up and ready-to-rest-for-5-minutes picture:


Very proud!


Now onto the sauce; most people make the traditional Alfredo sauce with butter and heavy cream, however, I couldn’t help but count calories, and so I cut corners and used milk (only!).

Also I added plain cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan and that was out of necessity; my sauce needed cheese and that was the only available option. My family thinks Parmesan cheese is an over-expenditure (damn you, USD-PKR parity!) and I am hardly ever spoiled with the choices of magnificent cheeses. So cheddar cheese it is.


Chop up 1/4th cup or more (as per your liking; remember I’m just counting calories!) and put it aside.


Start off by melting a tablespoon of salted butter.


Nothing smells as heavenly as melting butter in a sauce pan.


Then add a heaping tablespoon of flour in the melted butter and stir vigorously, dissolving the flour completely; avoid burning or clumping it. If you make that mistake, throw the mixture away and start again! Do not risk a clumpy or burnt sauce, it will destroy your masterpiece.

Within two minutes your butter and flour mixture will start to smell like cookies in the oven, that’s when you add one cup of milk and stir carefully. No picture because I was solely concentrating on my sauce-pan.

Keep stirring and bring it to a boil; once it boils, lower the heat to medium and cook till the sauce starts to thicken. Keep stirring intermittently to avoid scorching the bottom of the pan or get unwanted clumps.


It took me about ten minutes to get it to a glossy and thick consistency. Once there, take the pan off the heat and stir in oregano, salt and pepper as per your liking, and then finally the cheese. Always melt cheese off the heat, never on the heat. Heat will destroy your sauce once the cheese is in. The sauce itself would be hot enough to melt and dissolve the cheese completely. If you ever feel that your sauce is slightly too gooey or thick, add in the water that you used to boil the pasta. Do not add any other liquid; the pasta water is the best fix for this, trust me!


The pasta cooked beautifully, and took only 5 minutes in boiling water. I added salt and olive oil to my boiling water before immersing the pasta, and it turned out looking sublime.


Once I stirred in the sauce, I was in awe. It looked incredible and smelled heavenly.



I munched two servings in the comfort of my own room, and devoured the deliciousness that I made all on my own.


Absolutely nothing tastes better than home-made pasta; it had perfect almost melt-in-your-mouth texture and looked absolutely fab. A thing of beauty is a joy forever!