June 19, 2010

The Gallo-Roman museum and pizza

what do you do when you have a partner who snores and the noise actually wakes you at 4.30am? go on Facebook and catch up with friends, agonize, try to go back to sleep, or sulk...? well, i try to put on a smile and get on with it, although it isn t always easy ;-)

however, it was a dreary day, sun then rain, rain then sun... so what to do on a saturday like this... get in the car and drive. where to? to Tongeren... a small but old city in Limburg, Belgium, about 100km from Antwerp, which was originally settled by the Romans... to visit the Gallo-Roman museum. i had thought there might have been more about what the people wore in those days (to get some inspiration for my jewellery, as usual) but it was more of a tour thru the ages from the Neanderthal period right down to the first Christian king in this neck of the woods.
it was still very impressive, and amazing the finds they uncovered!

when we got back, i think the 'Italian' influence was still in the air, so Sam went into pizza-making mode. see, i don t always do the cooking, as i must have already mentioned in my earlier posts.

here s what he came up with:

for the pizza dough, Sam relies on Jamie Oliver and this recipe comes from his book: Jamie s Italian:


800 gr strong white bread flour
200 gr fine ground semolina flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
14 gr dried yeast
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
+/- 650 ml lukewarm water


pile the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the center. add the yeast and sugar to the tepid water, mix and leave for a few minutes until it starts to bubble, then pour into the well.
using a fork, slowly bring the flour to the center and start to mix it with the yeast/water mixture. it will look like porridge but keep mixing...
once it becomes a bit too stodgy to mix with the fork, start using your hands and, after flouring your hands, begin to knead the dough. keep kneading for a good ten minutes until you have a soft springy dough.
form this dough into a ball, lightly dust with flour, put in a bowl and cover with clingfilm and let it rest for about half an hour at room temperature.
once it has been rested you should be able to divide the dough into six pieces, although you could make smaller pizzas or even larger ones.
time-wise, it s good to roll out the dough about 10 to 15 minutes before cooking it.
when you re ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to maximum capacity, most home-ovens will go up to 250°C, but if you can even higher, do so.

now that was the dough.

Sam then made up a tomato sauce by frying in some olive oil; a small chopped onion, one chopped garlic clove, 400 ml of tomato passata, and a good handful of mixed chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and marjoram.

he then went on to top the pizzas; for himself he added some anchovies and sliced mozarella, for me some scampi and mozarella...

have a look:

preparing the pizza pan





and how can you not forgive him for a little snoring, when he makes you something this tasty? you can t not love him, right? it s not only with men that love goes through the stomach, i m sure the same goes for women... it does for me LOL

and i love him to bits!

ps. here s the link to the Gallo-Roman museum we visited:

June 3, 2010

more time

i ve been busy the past few days. busy meaning, besides my day job as a receptionist, i ve finally been able to catch up a little on all my housework since my jewelry course ended two weeks ago.

this also means that i ve had quite a lot more time to concentrate on cooking and trying out new recipes. although, what i often do forget is to take photos of what i make. i notice a lot of foodie blogs contain incredibly beautiful pics... well, i always intend to take some, but before i know it, the food is placed on the table and eaten, no time to whip out the camera...

oh well, i hope this doesn t matter too much, as long as i get some recipes posted?

usually i only need to cook dinner... in our house, i m up first and leave between 7.30 and 8 am to go to work, Sam wakes about an hour later and is off to his atelier, and Ken, when he s with us every other week, keeps his own schedule with school and free time. this means that we only share breakfast together in the weekends (is this the case with others too i wonder).

anyway, that s how it is, and now that i do have some more time in the evenings, i try to make something special every day. Ken once told me that he d like something more traditional once in a while (meaning Belgian: meat and potatoes and some veg), because i always tend to veer towards Italian, French, Spanish, Thai, Chinese and Japanese... which doesn t mean i don t like traditional Belgian food... i just like to experiment, and i love trying out new things.

so, at the beginning of the week we went Moroccan: a merquez tagine with couscous, on tuesday we had Italian: spaghetti carbonara with a twist (i added some tiny meatballs), and yesterday we had a French-style puy lentil salad with smoked mackerel and pickled red onions (onion recipe was posted by my friend Yanghwa on her blog: GOT SOME VEG?)... i m still thinking about what i could make this evening... since we re having some real good weather here these days, i think it ll be aspargus a la flamande (that s white asparagus with a butter sauce and egg-mimosa) and some salad from the garden (since the asparagus season is almost at its end and the salad leaves have to be picked now before they go over)

tomorrow i ll be joining 3 other moms i know since our kids were together in kindergarten, to go out and have dinner together at Zaowang (a fusion Japanese-Thai-Chinese restaurant) in the old part of Antwerp...

must remember to take my camera along... for taking pictures of the food ofcourse ;-)

oh, and i will try to really get my act together and post more recipes (tagine, spaghetti and lentil salad ones coming up soon!)

ps. YangHwa, if you re reading this... the pickled red onions were amazingly moreish!