Baking Cooking Food General Recipes

Refried Beans Remixed Part I

Sometime ago, I wrote about how relatively easy it is to make refried beans. Now that I’ve figured out a recipe for beans that works for me (and by that I mean that it is a wholly vegetarian recipe and it’s super-spicy) I’ve been making refried beans a lot lately. My favourite ways to eat beans include: beans on top of rice, beans inside burritos and quesadillas, and even just beans on more beans with lots of cheese on top ๐Ÿ™‚ But now, my new favourite way to eat beans is on a pizza!

One evening, a few months ago, I had this brain wave: mixing Mexican spicy deliciousness with the most delectable and beautiful carb-related food invention in the world, namely, thin-crust pizza. I’ve been eating way too much pizza ever since.

If you want to try it out, here’s what you will need:

1. Pizza dough

2. One serving of re-fried beans, go here for my recipe.

3. One onion, sliced

4. Freshly grated aged cheddar, to taste

5. Chunks of mozzarella, to taste

6. 1-2 tbsp cayenne pepper

7. 1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds

8. 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped coarsely or cut into slivers

9. 1 jalapeรฑo, sliced horizontally

You can make your own dough, and if you have the time, I would recommend doing this. I didn’t make my own this time though. You see, I was really excited about the idea of this fusion pizza, trying to work out the various toppings I’d put on it, and I didn’t want to wait any longer than I had to. So I ran out and got some fresh dough from the deli-section of the supermarket.

I left the dough out on the counter to let it warm to room-temperature and buttered and floured a pizza pan (you should use a pizza stone if you have one). About 30 minutes later, I set the oven temperature to 360 fahrenheit, sprinkled a spoonful of flour on the counter and began working with the dough. After kneading it a bit on the counter I made the dough into a ball, flattened it gently, and kept pulling it apart, all the time moving it around and flipping it over so that it wouldn’t stick to the counter. When I’d pulled it and stretched it into something resembling a circle, I placed the dough on the pan and then slowly and patiently spread it out to the sides of the pan:

Refried- bean pizza

Because I wanted a thin crust pizza I made sure to spread the dough as thin as possible. However, I like a slightly thicker crust along the edges, so I made the outer edges thicker.

Next, I sprinkled some sliced onions on this and popped it into the oven for about 12 minutes, until it looked liked this:

Mexican pizza

That is, it was slightly cooked and the base had risen a bit. You can see little bubbles; I am given to understand that this is a good sign for a pizza base ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, I spread the refried beans on the base with a knife and topped this off with the rest of the sliced onions, bell pepper slivers or pieces, jalapeรฑo slices, and cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.

Mexican-style pizza

It’s also fun to play around and make a multi-topping pizza. I did a pizza tonno combined with the refried bean pizza the very next day:

Multi-topping pizza: Re-fried beans and tuna

I popped the pizza back into the oven once I was done with the toppings, and let it bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese had melted and the onions had crisped a bit.

Mexican pizza

You’re wondering why a (large) third of the pizza is missing aren’t you? It’s because I had to eat some of the pizza as soon as it came out of the oven, while it was still hot! The side-effects of my greed were: burnt fingertips and a picture of an incomplete pizza.

I would advise you to give the pizza a few minutes to cool; it’ll also be easier to cut and serve when it’s isn’t sizzling and just out of the oven.

Don’t wait too long though, it’s best eaten hot. Cut yourself a slice or two, sprinkle some cayenne pepper and cumin powder on top and you’re ready to eat!

Yummy refried bean pizza

I love the spicy, cheesy, softness of the pizza centre melting and folding away, leading up to a freshly baked, thicker, crisp edge..mmmm.


Ikea Side-Table Remixed

Like the Chair I wrote about a few weeks ago, the Lack side table I’ve had lying about my apartment for years now has always struck me as a perfect DIY project. I’ve put off doing anything about it though, precisely because it has so much potential. I’d keep having various ideas, and then, unable to settle on one, I’d just give up on thinking about it and invent a new type of chocolate truffle instead.

One weekend, I finally got around to it though, and here’s what I ended up with:

Lack Table Remixed

Here are all the raw materials I used:

Raw Materials for Lack Makeover

And of course the table itself:

Ikea Lack Table Hack

I got the idea for this project from another blogger, Lizzie, you can find her blog post here. I started by tracing the shape of the table on the underside of the wallpaper with a pencil. Next, I cut along the pencil lines, so that I ended up with a piece of wallpaper, the exact shape and size of the table.

How to jazz up a side-table

In order to make the wallpaper stick, I sandpapered the surface of the table and applied wallpaper paste all over it with a medium-sized paintbrush.

How to jazz up a side-table

The next step was a little time-sensitive; I quickly spread out the wallpaper on the table, before the paste began to dry. Then, using the rolling-pin I got rid of any air bubbles that may have formed and any extra paste.

Ikea Hack

This was a two-day project; I had to let the whole thing dry and set for at least 24 hours. The next day, I carefully peeled the edges of the wallpaper off and used gorilla glue to glue it back firmly. Again, I let this set for an hour and finally, finished off the surface with two coats of varnish made of a polyurethane base.

The next day, it was ready to be used ๐Ÿ™‚

How to jazz up an Ikea table

Cooking Food General Recipes

Scrumpalumpous Sunday Morning: Pumpkin-Apple Pancakes topped with my ‘Sugar and Spice Butter’

I woke up this morning with a hankering for delicious pancakes ๐Ÿ™‚ but I didn’t want just plain old pancakes, I wanted to make something interesting. Of course, I could have made nutella pancakes, or ice-cream pancakes, but I wanted to try to make something a little, well healthier.

You see, over the past few days, I’ve been trying to eat more fruit and vegetables. It is however, not an easy thing to do, given that I dislike most veggies and nearly all fruit. Yesterday, I even tried making myself a carrot smoothie, because I hate eating carrots. I chopped up a few skinned carrots and threw them in the food processor with some water. This experiment did not go too well, and I do not recommend trying it at home. I ended up with what can be best described as orange glop, of which I unfortunately took a large gulp. This was, in equal measure, both brave and stupid.

So this morning, I woke up with renewed determination; I was going to eat fruit, and I was going to enjoy it! I decided on pumpkin and apple pancakes topped with maple syrup and a flavoured butter that I call ‘Sugar and Spice Butter’. This I washed down with hazelnut and chocolate tea.Delicious and Simple Sunday Brunch

This was a delicious and fairly easy to set-up, sunday brunch. And yes, while it wasn’t really that healthy, it was most definitely a change from my usual chocolate-themed food ๐Ÿ™‚

And this did go into the making of this breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚

Apple Pancakes

I admit that I did take a shortcut, just this once. I started off with pancake mix. Calm down dear readers, there is a reason, a justification for this otherwise unpardonable sin! First and foremost, I am NOT a morning person! Second, this Trader’s Joe’s mix is absolutely delicious. You really should go and stock up on a whole lot of boxes of this in the fall- it’s a seasonal product you see.

So I followed the instructions on the box, except that I added chopped up apple bits to the batter. For the flavoured butter all you need is:

1/4 cup good quality unsalted butter

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

A few drops vanilla essence

Whip all this up in a bowl and then heat the mixture for about 45 seconds on low heat in the microwave, just enough to melt the sugar. Then whip it all up again and place it in the fridge to cool and harden. And there you have it: flavoured butter for pancakes, crepes or bread!

Recipe for 'Sugar and Spice Butter'

Oh and I have to fess up, I did finish up my brunch with a little dessert. I moved over to the coffee table, with this:

Tea and a side of a Nutella

Another cup of tea and a little cup of home-made hazelnut chocolate butter ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mmmm…I can’t help it, I am a chocolate nut-butter fiend.


Ikea Hack: Chair Make-Over

When I moved to a new apartment last month, I bought thisย Ikea arm-chair. It served its main purpose as comfortable extra seating well, and the colour went with my decor, but I found it just a tad-bit plain.

I thought and thought about how I could jazz it up a little, and even contemplated trying to dye the chair or reupholster it. Then, I had a simple idea that I think worked out well: why not use upholstery tacks to decorate the chair? A lot of the antique furniture I’ve seen has brass-head tacks that both hold down the fabric and serve a decorative purpose.

So, I went to various stores including home-depot and a craft store and finally found upholstery nails/tacks at Rona. This is what I did with them:


First, I stripped off the arm-chiar cover because I liked the shape of the chair and its cute legs, and both were being hidden by the cover. I kept the cushion covers on though, as that way I can take them off and wash them every once-in-a- while. Next, I used small and large tacks in an alternating pattern.

I really like the design because I think it brings out the curviness of the chair ๐Ÿ™‚