The Best Vegan Pizza and the Best Kind of Holidays

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 This past week me and a couple friends stole a few days to drive down the coast. One of my friends grandfather’s has a beautiful beach house that he kindly shares with the whole family. Even in the first month of winter the weather was amazing. So sunny and beautiful! We spent the whole time sun-baking, reading and eating pizza. 

Best holiday ever??

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I wasn’t even allowed to swim because of my recent tattoo but my new swimming costume literally arrived in the mail the day before! It was a sign that I should definitely put it on and pretend right? Also the water was absolutely freezing so I feel I may have got the best of both worlds. Plus the sun setting over the ocean was worth seeing just in itself. I can’t get over how beautiful the colours were. 

Going away even for just a handful of days made me realise how claustrophobic the city can get sometimes. Especially during semester when you spend so much time indoors working or staring at some kind of screen. It felt so good to get away from it, even briefly, with some of my favourite friends. 

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It’s become a tradition to make pizza every time we go to the beach house together. I think this year’s pizza definitely deserved some kind of medal because it was the best thing ever. If you follow my instagram you might have seen just how many vegetables we managed to squeeze on top. I know it’s not traditional! I know my version of pizza is sacrilege to any one who has been to Italy and eaten real pizza. But think of it more as a vegetable dish that happens to be constructed on a pizza base. 

Literally the best pizza I have ever eaten was sitting in a gutter. I was in Rome, we’d just been to see the Vatican, it was drizzling with rain and we were all starving. I got a piece of the tomato and pepper pizza with drizzled olive oil. Holy moly it was incredible. This pizza is inspired by that, with the addition of a wholemeal base and a few added flavours. 

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I think my favourite part is the tangle of basil and spinach leaves tossed over the tomato base, but you can really stylise your pizza to suit whatever you want. I baked slices of pumpkin as a topping but you could also use zucchini, flat mushrooms, sweet potato, onion, any root vegetable you like! Whatever you want really. 

If you eat cheese I highly recommend adding feta or halloumi as well 🙂 Have a nice week everyone! 

One Year Ago: Chocolate Caramel Truffle Cake

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Wholemeal Vegan Pizza (Based on Bourke Street Bakery) – Makes 1 pizza

300g strong wholemeal flour

1 sachet dried yeast (7g)

1/2 tsp sea salt

220ml lukewarm water

10ml olive oil

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1/3 butternut pumpkin, sliced and roasted until soft

1/2 jar of tomato paste

1 garlic clove, crushed

large handful of chopped basil and spinach leaves

1-2 sliced tomato, capsicum, zucchini

handful of sliced mushrooms

handful of sliced and pitted kalamata olives

optional: handful of feta, cheddar, mozzarella, halloumi, or all of the above

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Combine all the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and beat slowly for 3 minutes. Increase to high and beat for 7 minutes. Put ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to proof for 20 minutes, then turn onto a floured board and use a rolling pin to flatten. Carefully transfer dough onto a baking sheet lined with paper. Preheat the oven to 220C (428F). Top pizza with tomato paste, then crushed garlic, then the spinach and basil. Arrange the vegetable slices according to what is flattest and fastest to cook from the bottom up, starting with the pumpkin. Top with olives and optional cheese. 

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the base is crispy and the vegetables cooked. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd. Makes about 4 servings.