The History Of Pizza

The History Of Pizza

I have been cooking a loot recently and decided to take a day off today and just have pizza. (It was delicious and just what I needed!)

But, it got me thinking about the origins of pizza and I have done some research. Here’s what I have found.

Although the word “pizza” was first documented in 997 AD in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and South Italy, the history of the dish itself is not very clear or well documented.

Even earlier (circa 500 B.C.), Persian soldiers baked a flat-bread on their shields which they then covered with cheese and dates.

The precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as “panis focacius”, to which toppings were then added.

The term ‘pizza’ first appeared “in a Latin text from the southern Italian town of Gaeta in 997 AD, which claims that a tenant of certain property is to give the bishop of Gaeta ‘duodecim pizze’ [‘twelve pizzas’] every Christmas Day, and another twelve every Easter Sunday”.

Foods similar to pizza have been prepared since the neolithic age. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavourful can be found throughout ancient history.

Pizza is now a type of bread and tomato dish, often served with cheese. However, until the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, the dish was sweet, not savoury, and earlier versions which were savoury more resembled the flat breads now known as schiacciata. Pellegrino Artusi’s classic early twentieth century cookbook, La Scienza in cucina e l’Arte di mangiar bene gives three recipes for pizza, all of which are sweet. However, by 1927, Ada Boni’s collection of regional cooking includes a recipe using tomatoes and mozzarella.

Modern day pizzas vary enormously. The pizza bases in Naples are soft and pliable. In Rome they prefer a thin and crispy base. Another popular form of pizza in Italy is “pizza al taglio” which is pizza baked in rectangular trays with a wide variety of toppings and sold by weight. 1843, Alexandre Dumas, père described the diversity of pizza toppings. An often recounted story holds that in June 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizza-maker Raffaele Esposito created the “Pizza Margherita,” a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, to represent the colours of the Italian flag.

In 1990 the world’s largest pizza was made in South Africa at the Norwood supermarket, the pizza weighed 12.9 tons.


A Few Vegetarianism Food Facts

A Few Vegetarianism Food Facts

I love cooking simple, healthy, easy meals for my friends and family.

But, my biggest love is vegetarian cooking. For me, I feel it is a much healthier diet. I converted to a vegetarian diet for a mix of health and moral reasons and have never looked back. I love trying out new recipes and creating wonderful vegetarian chili, curry, burgers, salads and other everyday, healthy dishes. There is an abundance of fresh, wholesome food to choose from, mixing colours, flavours, textures to produce excellent meals the whole family will love.

Here are a few interesting vegetarian food facts that I have come across over the last few days. Some I already knew, but some have really surprised me!

** Vegetarianism has traditionally been linked to the people of ancient India. Even today, Indians make up more than 70 percent of the world’s vegetarian population.

** A well balanced vegetarian diet is known to bestow a wide range of health benefits. Research has shown vegetarians to suffer less heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, various cancers, diverticular disease, bowel disorders, gall stones, kidney stones, and osteoporosis.

** Not only do most vegetarians eat more healthfully than meat eaters, they tend to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco and exercise regularly. So, a lifestyle that includes these good habits is one that will help you control your weight.

** A 2006 study, examining the impact of a typical week’s eating, showed that plant-based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat.

** The China Study was a 20-year study that compared the mortality rates of meat eaters and plant eaters. They found that countries that ate more animal-based food were more likely to have higher death rates from “Western diseases,” while countries that ate more plant food were healthier.

** Famous vegetarians include Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Ford, Brad Pitt, Albert Einstein and Ozzy Osborne amongst others. One of the first famous vegetarians was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras who lived at the end of the 6th century B.C. Ironically, the original actor who played Ronald McDonald, Jeff Juliano, is now a vegetarian.

** A recent study argues that people who eat tofu and other plant-based foods have a better sex life than meat-eaters It claims that certain plants influence hormone levels and sexual activity. And, research reveals that if a man avoids red meats, it improves the sex appeal of his body odour.

** The first vegetarian cookbook in the UK was written in 1812.

Jerk Sweet Potatoes

Jerk Sweet Potatoes

Hi everyone,
I’ve been busy in the kitchen and cooked some wonderful smoky bean burgers with jerk sweet potatoes.
The burgers were great and had a smoky edge courtesy of some BBQ sauce and smoked paprika.
The sweet potatoes were a total dream and so easy to do!
Here’s how I did them:-

Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise
olive oil

For the jerk seasoning:-
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp jerk seasoning

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200ºC/400ºF/180º fan assisted
Slash the flesh of each potato half in a criss-cross pattern.
Rub all over with a little olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Place on a baking tray, flesh side up, and bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the jerk seasoning ingredients in a small pan and stir together over a low heat.
After the potatoes have been cooking for 40 minutes, brush the jerk seasoning mixture over the flesh side of the nearly baked potatoes.
Cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Hope you like them as much as I did!

More Veggie Recipes!

More Veggie Recipes!

I had a really great weekend trying out new recipes and working out a few more that I want to try and perfect.

I cooked stuffed marrow which turned out to be surprisingly good! I’ve never been a great fan of marrow, but the vegetarian stuffing mix that I used really was delicious! It’s on my “must have again” list!!!

Over the next few days I am going to try a couple of different veggie burgers and I am excited about those. I’m going to used spiced sweet potatoes in one, and try spinach and kidney beans with smoked paprika in the other! I’ll let you know how they go!

Meanwhile, here’s a pic of the stuffed marrow!

Have a great week!


Fresh Produce!

ImageThe weekend is almost here and I have some exciting new recipes to try for my new vegetarian cookbook!

There is something wonderful abut looking at all the fresh produce that is so readily available to us today and selecting only the freshest to make our meals that much better and tastier.

As a child, I remember shopping with my Mother and how she would show me what was fresh, what would be the best choice of vegetables to go with the meals she was cooking, and how to store everything to ensure maximum freshness.

I also remember my Father growing so many fresh fruits and vegetables and proudly picking them and bringing them into the kitchen ready to be prepared and served. How I wish that I could get my hands on such fresh produce today, just picked and bursting with flavour and goodness.

Anyway, I have done my shopping and plan on cooking stuffed marrow, and also Mediterranean roast vegetables cooked in chilli-infused olive oil.


Happy weekend everyone!


Thank you everyone!!!

Wow, what an amazing weekend!!!

I had so many wonderful comments about my new cookery book and 2 new reviews on Amazon (4 & 5*)!!!

It really has fired me up to start working even harder on my second cookery book!

So … watch this space!!! I’ll keep you posted.

Here are the two new reviews – and I’m proud of them both!

Have a great week guys,





I love British blogger Carol Jones’s Tried & Tested – 101 Recipes! The book is well laid out and features an interactive Table of Contents that both connects correctly with the Kindle menu and lists every single recipe as well as the very useful extras that Carol has included – a handy chart of oven temperature conversions (indispensable if you are going to cook in “International”), a list of abbreviations and a glossary of cooking terms and equipment that you may need to refer to if you’re cooking in British on this side of the pond. (NOTE – Carol also includes charts of volume and weight conversions but I highly recommend that you not bother to try to convert these recipes. More later.)

Carol presents a huge variety of interesting mains and vegetable dishes, many of which would serve as vegetarian mains, plus a few soups and a small but choice selection of desserts and baked goods. While Carol’s recipes tend to be very international (Chinese Style Drumsticks, Chili con Carne, Oriental Style Salmon, Moroccan Mushrooms with Couscous), you’ll also find lots of the curries and kormas that have become so much a part of British fare as well as more traditional dishes.

The book is in UK metrics. Now you could, I suppose, muck about with calculators and such trying to convert metrics to cups and pounds. Remembering that it took Julia Child years to do that satisfactorily with her own recipes as well as near-agonizing personal experience with recipes I brought back from Europe long ago, I absolutely do not recommend that you even bother to attempt that. Here’s the skinny –

The pyrex glass measuring pitcher in your kitchen (and most other measuring pitchers intended for liquids sold in the US over the last couple of decades) have ml on one side. In the metric system anything liquid is measured in ml. You will need a scale for more solid things. Once upon a time a metric scale was hard to come by. These days you can find a good digital scale that measures in both ounces and grams for a very reasonable price and they are dead easy to use. (I’ll upload a video I did for another review in a bit.) The measuring spoons that you already have are exactly the same, unless you happen to be cooking in Australian, which of course Carol’s book isn’t.

Carol has made an excellent effort to make sure that the ingredients that she calls for are commonly available, but there are some naming differences to keep in mind –

plain flour – all purpose flour

streaky bacon – the stuff we buy as bacon is as close as you can get. 1 piece is a rasher.

lean bacon – Canadian bacon

gammon – fresh uncured ham

full cream milk – whole milk

caster sugar – superfine or bartender’s sugar

golden caster sugar – a superfine brown sugar. Whiz regular brown sugar in the blender or substitute maple sugar, which has the right texture

icing sugar – confectioner’s sugar

single cream – light cream

double cream – heavy cream

mange touts/mange-tout – snow peas

There are also a few special ingredients you may not know about –

A couple of recipes call for Korma Paste. Pataks is quite widely distributed in the US so you may find this in the International section of your supermarket.

Other recipes call for Passata. This is a strained, crushed tomato product commonly used in Europe. There are many varieties here at Amazon, but you could also simply take regular canned tomatoes and run them through your food mill or a fine sieve (blend first if they are whole) to remove the seeds and break them up. Do not substitute tomato paste or tomato sauce as neither has the right consistency.

Check the farmer’s market for Gem Squash or grow your own for Baked Squash with Maple Glaze. I do the identical recipe using acorn squash.

Onion squash is also known as Red Kuri squash. It is a winter squash that looks something like a small, redder pumpkin. I often find this in the fall at farmer’s markets.

Grandma’s $0.02 – Tried & Tested – 101 Recipes is full of interesting & unusual recipes featuring staple ingredients and clear directions. Highly recommended.




Tried and Tested by Carol Jones is THE recipe book you want to have. Filled with tasty and fully tested SIMPLE recipes that will not fail you. There is no room to screw up! Having conversion charts and a glossary in the beginning is an added bonus with this recipe book because most are sketchy in this area. This book is definitely one you need in your collection- nice work!:)

Woo-Hoo … No 2!!!!!!

Woo-Hoo ... No 2!!!!!!

Just discovered that I am number 2 in my genre on Amazon!!!!
Crazy-happy Sunday in progress here!!!!!

FREE cookery book on Amazon!!!

Hi guys,

It’s the last day of my FREE cookery book on Amazon!!!

If you haven’t got an e-reader you can download the Amazon app for reading e-books on your PC/Laptop from here:-

My cookery book is primarily aimed at beginners, but it could also be used by anyone who enjoys cooking and creating good, wholesome family meals.

“Tried & Tested – 101 Recipes” contains recipes covering soups, poultry, meats, fish, vegetarian, pasta & rice, potatoes, vegetables, dressings, sauces & marinades, desserts, baking and sweet things. I have personally tried, tested and modified each recipe until it works easily, giving excellent results. I have worked in the catering industry for many years running restaurants in north-west England and Jersey (which is renowned for fine dining).

My book is approx 181 pages in length, or 253 Kb. On 22nd July it was no 12 in the top 20 Amazon Bestsellers for Food & Drink> Quick & Easy.

It’s available at:-

If you like my FREE book please leave some stars for me on Amazon!!!

Have a great Sunday!


Happy Weekend!!!!

Hi everyone,

This weekend I am so excited! For today and tomorrow (8/31/13 – 9/1/13) my cookery book is free on Amazon!!!

So … grab yourself a copy!!!

Tried & Tested – 101 Recipes is a cookery book for beginners, or anyone who enjoys cooking and creating good, wholesome family meals. It contains recipes covering soups, poultry, meats, fish, vegetarian, pasta & rice, potatoes, vegetables, dressings, sauces & marinades, desserts, baking and sweet things. Each recipe has been tried, tested and modified until it works easily, giving excellent results every time.  I have worked in the catering industry for many years running restaurants in north-west England and Jersey (which is renowned for fine dining).

My book is approx 181 pages in length, or 253 Kb. On 22nd July it was no 12 in the top 20 Amazon Bestsellers for Food & Drink> Quick & Easy.

If you like my FREE book please leave some stars for me on Amazon!!!

Thank you,


Recipe: Grilled Tuna with Olives and Tomatoes

Grilled Tuna with Olives and Tomatoes

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 tuna steaks

100g vine tomatoes

100g green olives

60ml olive oil

15ml lemon juice


Put the olives in a bowl. Slice the tomatoes in half, or quarters (depending on their size) and add those to the bowl. Add 45ml of the olive oil and all of the lemon juice and season well.

Pre-heat a griddle pan.

Rub the remaining olive oil into the tuna steaks. Then, add them to the griddle pan. Cook them for 2-3 minutes each side depending on their thickness, (slightly less cooking time is needed for rare tuna steaks).

Once cooked, put on a serving plate and spoon over the olives and tomatoes, with a little of the oil and lemon juice

Serve with new potatoes and vegetables or salad.


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