Mushroom, Ham and Cheese Pizza

During the last few years, Milan has been an addictive destination to me! No matter where I wanted to go in Europe, it has to be via Milano. Partly is for the shopping of course but mostly is for the bounties of Italy. I’m in love with this country, the nature, the culture, the traditions, the walks and obviously the food!

Last week I was there with my dear friend Nidal. We had a blast! We enjoyed every bit of our stay.

On our last day, we drove north to the town of Como. We walked around the small streets then went to see one of the top travel destination in Italy, lying between Milan and the border of Switzerland, the Lake Como. Wow! Beautiful! I think my heart has stopped beating for few seconds.

After Como we crossed the Swiss frontiers visiting Lugano, where we had lunch, bought Gruyere cheese and Swiss chocolate and walked the stretch along the Lake Lugano. I was surrounded with breathtaking scenery! I stared at the deep blue water, the mountains and the white peaks in disbelief, thinking this is all I wanna do, everything else can wait!

Zap to reality, to Lebanon, with its never-ending political issues and stressful events bursting every now and then.

Inspired by my trip and all fused with my passion for Italian cooking, I decided today to bake a Pizza.

This recipe uses fresh onions, garlic, mushroom and scented thyme. I sprinkled fresh garden basil over the Mozzarella and the Gruyere cheese, to give it a little extra flavor and fragrant.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best shot I have on my website, next time I make the same recipe, I’ll try to take a better picture.

I would be lying if I say that I make Pizza often. It’s so easy to prepare, but for some reason I always manage to forget about this recipe. And when I do it, I’m always proud of my achievement, which earns me big smiles from my hubby and girls!

Mushroom, Ham and Cheese Pizza


 The dough

  • 400g all-purpose flour (strong flour Tipo “00” is recommended)
  • 100g semolina or ferkha
  • 1tsp salt
  • 7g/2 ¼ tsp/1 sachet active dry yeast + 50ml hand-hot water
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin oil


  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce or passata
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 200g sliced ham
  • 100f fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp pizza seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated


  1. In a jug, dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour and semolina together. Add salt.
  3. Make a well in the middle. Add oil to the yeast mixture and pour it in the centre of the well. Start mixing, bringing the flour from the edges to the middle. Add water and keep kneading to form a springy large ball with the dough.
  4. Cover the dough with an oiled sheet of cling film and return to the bowl. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise about ½ an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  5. To make the topping: In a saucepan heat oil and sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, ketchup and mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with oregano or pizza seasoning and salt and pepper.
  6. Off the heat add the thyme and the olives and mix.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out on a floured surface to form a rectangular shape. Place it in the mold pushing out the edges evenly. For thick dough, it should be no more than 1cm.
  8. Brush the dough with the tomato Passata sauce and spread the topping evenly over the pizza base and sprinkle with Gruyere and Mozzarella cheese. Bake in a preheated oven 200°C for 20-25 minutes or until the dough rises and turns slightly golden.

Chinese Noodles with Sesame Seeds and Tahini

Here comes this time of the year when summer is over and big amounts of money has been spent on vacations and tuition fees and little money is left for my grocery budget. TIME TO CLEAN UP MY PANTRY!

What’s in here? Huge quantities of sauces that I never use, a stock of noodles that I forgot about and some canned vegetables expiring soon.

Concentrating on the noodles, I kind of created the following dish, it’s not one of those secret recipes that have been running in the family from one generation to other, nor a recipe I learned from some celebrity chef I worked with, it’s just a kind of inspired-by-the-moment recipes that turned out to be delicious and got the cheer of the audience*.

A true simple recipe that came together quickly like a magic meal. Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.

*Audience as in Serge, Kaia and Axel


  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh root ginger, grated
  • 2 sprigs green onions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 can whole sweet corn, drained
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup baby asparagus, each sprig cut in 3
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup castor sugar
  • ¼ cup tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ fresh coriander, chopped
  • ½ cup toasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup cabbage, shredded


  1. Cook the noodles according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a wok or a large frying pan, stir-fry the ginger and garlic on a medium heat, for 2-3 minutes then add the green onions.
  3. Increase the heat to high and stir-fry the bell pepper, for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, the baby corn, and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Finish with the asparagus and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Drizzle with lemon juice and transfer to a large saucepan.
  7. In a measurement jug or a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, tahini paste and rice vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and add the noodles.
  8.  Toss all together to mix and add the coriander then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and peanuts and garnish with cabbage. Serve immediately.