Pizza DIY

I went through a bit of a pizza phase earlier this year using a  yeast-free recipe for the bases. It was OK but crispy crusts don’t really do it for me…

I was in Palmerston North a few weeks back and on my way home, stopped at the Milson Takeaway shop for fish’n’chips for dinner on the go…I had a wander around the butcher next door and picked up some good deal meat packs. I also grabbed one of the freebie ‘doing it with meat’ brochures off the counter…this had an attractive recipe for a ‘Turkish Lamb Pizza’, using a yeast-based base…

Next trip into civilisation and I was the proud owner of a bottle of baker’s yeast, as distinct from the yeast for the breadmaker…

As I mentioned in the other pizza post, I’ve always – for no known reason – been really wary of recipes using yeast other than the shake’n’bake ones for the breadmaker. So, I have to say, this recipe was so easy it was almost a non-event…

The Makins

The dough

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

3 cups of flour

2 tablespoons of oil

25 grams of melted butter

The topping

500 grams of mince – the recipe called for lamb: I used the beef that I had handy

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes

1 can of chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cups of crushed pine nuts

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

The Makin’

The Dough

This was so easy!! Place the sugar and yeast in a small bowl and pou over 1/4 cup of warm water. Leave it until it froths up, after about 5 minutes.

Sift the flour and salt onto a clean warm bench top, making a well in the centre. Pour the oil, butter and 3/4 cup of warm water into this well, followed by the yeast mixture.

Knead the dough for aabout 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled warm bowl, turn it over to coat the top with oil and then cover the top with Gladwrap and a tea towel. Leave this is a draught-free warm area until the dough doubles in volume – this’ll take about an hour.

Lamb pizza-002The filling

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. The dough, filling oven should ideally all hit the ready mark at the same time.

Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and cover the onion until it is soft. I added a bulb of crushed garlic too.

Ramp up the heat and add the mince, taking care to break up any lumps, and cook until browned.

Add the spices – I doubled the quantities of spiced and they were all still a bit too subtle – and cook for another minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley and pine nuts. I only added two tablespoons of pine nuts – about half of what the recipe recommends – and they still dominated the flavour. Next time I would look at dropping them down to about 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Lamb pizza

Let it all cook over a low heat for another ten minutes or so, until most of the moisture has evaporated but not so much that the mince starts to dry out. Add the lemon juice and mix it in.

Once the dough has risen, divide it in two and flatten each piece until it is very thin – place each piece on a baking tray. Spread the mince mix evenly over each base and cover with Glad Wrap for about 10 minutes. Let the bases rise for about 10 minutes.

Remove the Gladwrap and place each pizza into the oven to bake for bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden around the edges.

Lamb pizza-001Lamb pizza-003I also added a layer of cheese over the top of each pizza – what’s a pizza without cheese? The lesson from that is that if you are going to cheese a pizza, then cheese the damn pizza? No half measures and pile it on!!

I found this a tasty spin on more traditional pizzas but the topping was quite dry. Next time, I think that I will spread half a can (another one) of diced tomato over each pizza base before adding the mince mix plus, as above, adding a lot more cheese: Mozzarella if I have any or have made some, or otherwise a 50/50 mix of parmesan and cheddar…I’d also beef up the spices and back off the pine nuts…

Still quite nice and enough for four meals for me…

Pizza – the first go-round

For reasons unknown, I’ve always been a bit scared of recipes that used yeast – beyond, of course, bread in the breadmaker…I stumbled across an online recipe for yeast-free pizza dough and decided to give it a go…

Normally, I record a recipe’s source but that seems to have dropped off this time so if this looks familiar, sorry…

1 cup of flour (self-raising or toss in 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

60 grams of butter

150mls of milk

It is pretty simple and my first crack at it went pretty well with a nice bouncy crust – they way I like it – but this was probably due to my using some surplus pourable yoghurt instead of the milk and letting the mix sit for a while…subsequent ‘builds’ with milk only resulted in a crispy crust…if you like that sort of thing…

Still…none of my first attempts at pizza were especially horrible and I got a nice simple pizza-ring rhythm going…DSCF9127

Mix up and fry meat (mince, diced chicken, bacon bits, diced up boiled sausage), with finely-chopped onions, garlic, galangal if you have itDSCF9126

Roll out the dough and spread a can of diced tomato over it…OTY if you want to use plain or seasoned tomato…one pizza I spread some creamed corn in over the tomato and that came out pretty good too…DSCF9123

A pizza ready to go into the oven: yeast-free base, tomato and corn filling, with sausage, onion and cheeses (Parmesan and cheddar) topping…DSCF9128

Bubbling away nicely…I leave it on fan-bake until the cheese is melted, then switch to the grill to crispy up the top…DSCF9129

Ready to slice and eat…two meals at least here for me…sometimes I pad it out with some chunky chips in the oven or air fryer…in which the one pizza will do three meals…DSCF9119…possibly with a couple of midday snacks left over as well…

Fast and simple and only your imagination limits the fillings and toppings…still wasn’t that keen on the crispy bases though…

AS I SEE IT (28 Aug)


By Terry O’Neill

Sports participants and spectators, when their team fails, at some stage may harbour blame for the referee or umpire involved.

I tend to support the referee/umpire who is probably not at fault.

So who are the culprits? Any blame should be shouldered by those who, like the International Rugby Board (IRB) or International Cricket Council (ICC), with due expertise attempt to right what appears to be a wrong or introduce new legislation to, in the first instance, endeavour to make the sport more attractive to supporters.

So my question is to the IRB. When will it preside over a strenuous enquiry into the obnoxious maul in today’s rugby? The maul grievously offends that basic rugby rule that no player may be hindered from affecting a tackle on the player in possession. A given is that player is at that time within the laws, not offside for instance.

I single out the maul simply because many teams, jealous of the All Blacks’ skills, reason that the maul which protects the ball carrier, is one route to inhibit the All Blacks’ power. Realistically, the maul simply allows seven forwards, usually from a lineout, to assemble in an arrowhead formation to protect the ball carrier securely attached to the back of the group and who thus becomes untouchable by the defenders. This practice is a blight on the game and does little to stir positive emotions in supporters.

Don’t hold your breath. Change is a tardy process within the IRB (to some, the SOF!)

In cricket there is the Duckworth-Lewis system, an attempt to calculate runs-per-over required when a fifty over match is interrupted by rain. This mathematical formula devised by English statisticians Frank Dunlop and Tony Lewis, attempts to set a statistically fair target for the team batting its second teams innings, and is based on the score achieved by the first team taking into account wickets lost and overs played.

The equation: Team One’s score is multiplied by the number found by dividing Teams Two’s resources by Team One’s resources.

Simple? A phone app for this ICC system maybe on the way?

And in tennis, why does a player gets a second serve if he fluffs the first?

How many know that the football goalkeeper must keep his sleeves down throughout the game so the referee can see who punches the ball away?

In water polo are you aware that your crotch is sacrosanct. No grabbing, kicking or hitting, and it’s illegal to splash water in an opponent’s face?

Women’s wrestling participants may not wear underwire bras, while in baseball, if the ball lodges in the umpire’s mask, all runners advance one base.

And many think the rugby maul is a problem.

But back to the present or probably the future. Plans are apparently under way to redevelop the Whitestone stadium grandstand.It has been suggested that the back ten rows of seats be done away with

to allow the building of Rugby Union offices plus the creation of a lounge area which will be divided with movable doors so that it can be divided into smaller areas if and when required.In addition it is presumed that cricket administration will be catered for as well. Sounds good to me.   


First Published in The North OtagoTimes

Wint’ring Up: Parsnip Pumpkin Soup

Raurimu weather Aug 12 15

It’s really winter up here on the Plateau and that means a couple of things: first up, for here, it’s really bloody cold; and there’s lots of cheap-as vegetables from the Chocolate Eclair shop in Ohakune (+ dangerously nice eclairs, donuts, sponges etc!!). Between juicing for breakfast and souping for later, I go through a big bag each of parsnips and carrots about every fortnight.


The roasted veges about to go into the stock.

This is a nice and fast recipe from Weight Watchers that makes 4-5 double servings with a minimum of fuss or mess. I pretty much make it as directed except that I, as I do, added a three bubs of garlic to my second batch ( still needs more!!). The total cost – so long as I get the cheap veges from the eclair shop is only about $5 max including the garlic and pumpkin (only uses about 1/4 of a medium pumpkin!)


Brought to the boil over a slow heat and simmering away.


Good to go…


Using the power-wand to mulch out the lumps – a neat piece of kit: only $17 at Harvey Normal but don’t put your finger in it to clean the blades when your other hand is still clutching the fast button…


All set for consumption and freezing…

We’re on our third batch of this now with plenty stashed in the fridge for the long drought when there’s no cheap ‘Kune carrots and parsnips. It goes great with toast or scones (even better again with cheese toasties or cheesed scones) and, thick as it is, is uber-filling…Although it has a deep sweet texture and flavour, I think we’ll drop a little spice in the next batch just to add a little zip to the mix…just tossing up between upping the garlic ante or dropping in a tablespoon or two of curry…


Helpless Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

Animal friends

Helpless is when your best mate suddenly comes down sick and you can’t do a damn thing about it.

This is Kirk, my best mate, from when we first met until recently when he became a fan of the new Thunderbirds.Kirk likes Thunderbirds

Kirk and his sister had their annual vet check at the beginning of the month and the only slightly unusual thing was their weights were within a kilogram of each other – normally Lulu is mid-40s and Kirk is around mid-50s – this time they were a tad either side of 50kg.

I didn’t think too much of it at the time but a couple of days later, Kirky went right off his food and would only touch offerings with very string scents. Even when we had fish’n’chips – where normally polite Kirk would barge his way in – he showed little interest in either fish or chips…initially, I thought it might have been a reaction to his vaccinations: he’s always been a bit of a sookie…and after a week or so he seemed to perk up.

Then he slipped right back, showing no interest in food and, without any energy, would just sit, too tired to even come up the stairs or walk to the end of the short driveway…we went into the vet yesterday, Kirk and I. He was very brave and let the vet poke and prod him all over and take samples, although I don’t think he’s very impressed with the haircut they gave him so they could scan his tummy.

The prognosis isn’t too good for Kirk: it’s either the big C; another internal growth or rat poison…my best mate who’s been with me for eight and a half years…not much you can do really…just wait for the test results to come back…can’t even slip him a bit of steak because he won’t even look at it…helpless…

Update. Test results came back this afternoon and Option B is looking good at the moment: some form of internal growth that’s causing the internal bleeding that’s making him so weak and lethargic. The vet thinks he is too weak at the moment for any sort of operation to explore further so it’s a waiting game. They gave him some steroids  – which get ground up and mixed in with a teaspoon of Nutrigel – he’s so good well-mannered that he’ll let me, with only a little resistance, smear it inside his mouth so he can’t reject or eject it.

It’s too easy to take false hope from this but only an hour or so after the first dose of steroids, he wolfed down some wet dog food – still not keen or dry food – and is sitting in front for the tellie watching The Professionals with me. The steroids only conceal the symptoms though but the vet hopes this will let him build up enough strength for an operation to confirm what’s going on inside and determine if it’s operable.

So just a waiting game for now, not really anything extra we can do for my best mate…helpless…


By Terry O’Neill

World Cup cricket will enter its second week tomorrow with the initiated and the uninitiated hopefully in an ecstatic mood. But cricket can be a confusing game. The game was first played in England over 300 years ago. Written and pictorial records of cricket go back to the Plantagenet era. A gentleman, because only gentlemen played the game then, A R Littlewood ,wrote a book called the Earliest Known Laws of Cricket, The Code of 1744. This stated, amongst other things, that the length of the pitch was 22 yards, and so it has remained up to the present day.

Fifty over cricket, the format of the World Cup games, has developed rapidly in popularity over the last half century. The game continue to evolve especially in law changes and bat and ball development mainly in an effort to make the game more popular. These changes usually bring criticism from the staunch traditionalist. Under scrutiny  currently are bat sizes, mainly brought about by memorable innings from efforts of  A B de Villiers, Corey Anderson and Chris Gayle who have scored centuries off a mere thirty plus balls. Many are blaming the size of bats currently in use.Bat dimensions permitted in the laws of cricket are  96.5 centimetres in length  and 10.8 centimetres in width and bats are made to suit lefthanded and righthanded batsmen . The bat that Chris Gayle uses in the current World Cup has 45 millimetre  edges.

Blaming bats for the recent prolific scoring has been scoffed at by Chris Gayle and English captain Eion Morgan and come under criticism from the bat manufacturers. Allrounder Dan Christian possibly puts it into perspective when he states that the two 200s and the twice broken fastest centuries  have also been in the period since the two new balls  and only four fielders outside the ring rule have been in use.

Cricket is a game piled high with records and statistics. Do you believe that the following ten efforts are unbeatable? Don Bradman’s 99.4 test batting average; Muttiah Muralitharan’s 1347 international wickets; Jack Hobb’s 61,760 first class runs; Jim Laker’s test match bowling figures of 19 for 90; Wilfred Rhodes’ 4204 first class wickets; Australia’s sixteen consecutive test wins twice, once under Steve Waugh and once under Ricky Ponting; Chaminda Vaas’ one day international bowling figures of 8 for 19; Graham Gooch’s 456 runs in a test match; Phil Simmonds economy rate of 0.3 in a one day international and Chris Gayle’s 20/20 century off just 30 balls.

And just to add to the novice’s confusion there are at least eleven ways for a batsman to be dismissed. He/she can be caught, bowled, leg before wicket, run out, stumped, hit wicket, handled the ball, obstructing the field,hitting the ball twice, timed out, and retired out.

And if you want to be in a complete state of confusion the field placings such as third man, long on, long off, slips, gully, point, covers, midwicket, and fine leg will ensure that.

And then you have the wide variety of balls that can be bowled, the off break, leg break, googly, chinaman, doosra, flipper, Yorker, arm ball, slider, full toss  and of course the Aussie favourite the underarm!


First Published in The North OtagoTimes

Does New Zealand’s legal system favour some ahead of the rest of us?

ICCWC15As I See It By Terry O’Neill.

Does New Zealand’s legal system favour some ahead of the rest of us?

2014 Junior World Cup promising rugby star Tevita Li (19) was caught drink-driving in Auckland last May. Last week the Blues-contracted player was discharged without conviction by Judge Gus Andree Wiltens as long as he paid $210, the costs to establish his blood alcohol level. Judge Wiltens took into account that Li completed The Right Track programme and alcohol counselling, and justified his decision because, “A conviction would prove to be a real impediment to what so far has been a stellar career. All indications are that you can go a long way in rugby.”

A conviction possibly would restrict Li’s international rugby travel, and if he pursued a career overseas, teams may overlook him because of that black mark against his name. After his rugby days a clean record would keep the door open for his intention to follow his father into a police career. Another Blues player, George Moala, recently found guilty of assault with intent to injure, appears for sentencing in May, and will apply for a discharge without conviction. Try telling an ordinary 19 year old club rugby player that’d be a fair deal.

Recently I commented on former Olympic triathlete Kris Gemmell. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Gemmell a 15 month ban after Drug-Free Sport NZ had appealed the NZ Sports Tribunal’s decision not to impose a sanction on him for missing a drug test in August, 2012. Last week the Tribunal cut his ban to 12 months stating his conduct would not be a violation under the new rules confirmed January 2015. Gemmell, basically vindicated, lost his International Triathlons Unions athletes’ committee role plus his position as its Global Head of Partnerships for the world triathlon series. He retired from international competition after the World Cup in 2012 but remained on the drug testing programme because he intended to involve himself in long distance racing.

Who had the self-righteous knife out at Drug-Free Sport NZ? Another graceless Tall Poppy blitz.

The Cricket World Cup kicks off next week amidst concerns for security during the tournament. If visitors seek easy access to NZ over the tournament period, visa-free entry is permitted provided an individual’s cricket interest is proved with, say, game tickets. This visa-free entry is primarily to allow ease of movement for cricket fans between NZ and Australia. Many “cricket supporters” from countries for which visas are usually required to enter NZ, have apparently used the “loophole” for easy entry. By last week 94 people had travelled here under the arrangement and others were prevented from boarding flights to NZ. Several Chinese passengers emphasised their intention to attend games and produced Cricket World Cup tickets as evidence but, ironically, those games were scheduled after their NZ departure dates.

And what a temptation to anyone “terroristically” inclined.


Note: this version differs from that published in The North Otago Times.

Great minds…

…..really do think alike…even if they’re both mine…

WordPress rehashed the Morton’s Fork prompt this morning – not even a remake, just a rehash – and I mused briefly about taking it up, totally not remembering (which is not the same as simply forgetting) that I had responded to the same prompt at the end of 2012. As is my pattern at the moment, this would most likely have been just another waysided good intention had someone not ‘liked’ my original post today, triggered one of those “They thought Go ahead, stick a Morton’s fork in it. | rarasaur was pretty awesome….You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours! ” email notifications…

On opening my original post, I could not remember for the life of me what  OBE meant and decided to edit the post with a footnote expanding on it…only to find at the bottom of the post that I’d already had that good idea at the time…”…OBE = Overtaken BEvents…”

What surprised me on reading the original though was how different it was from my gut response to the same prompt “If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?” this morning…

Having so much going on in my life at the moment, my take on this is now that I would rather read the work of others and be inspired, motivated and edumacated than take time I don’t have right now to try to draft something myself…but then I wrote this anyway…go figure…

Maybe I should be applying myself a little harder to churn something, anything out at least once a week..?


via Go ahead, stick a Morton’s fork in it. | rarasaur | The World According to Me….

As I See It

Oamaru Opera House

AS I SEE IT (16 JAN) edited copy wc 465

By Terry O’Neilll

Waitaki District will celebrate and record for eternity the fine efforts of its athletes at the annual sporting awards on Monday, ninth of March, at the Opera House. The district’s population may be fairly sparse but is by no means a reflection on the sporting prowess of its people. Nine divisions of achievers from Emerging Talent to Masters Athletes are represented in nominations of athletes who excel locally to those who succeeded nationally or internationally. The range includes downhill mountain biking and ultra distance running to swimming, rowing and table tennis, and athletes and administrators of all ages.

Many may view the annual sports awards celebration as a function that highlights winners and losers and do not realise that each nominated athlete achieved a target that they set themselves. At whatever level, to achieve that target is success, a platform of many definitions. American columnist Walter Winchell claimed in 1897 “Nothing succeeds like success”. Author, physician and WW1 Intelligence Officer Somerset Maugham believed “The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistical and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary it makes them for the most part humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.” And author Robert Louis Stevenson believed “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”. In other words it is the learning on the journey that the athletes travel that is more valuable than the ultimate achievement itself.

Success is relatively easy to cope with as long as it placed on the correct rung of the personal ladder of life. Too often success produces over-confidence or even arrogance. As in any field of endeavour that greatest characteristic, humility, is one of the hardest life skills to embody and we are fortunate so many of our sports heroes and role models have it in abundance.

Failure tests the mettle of the individual facing it: daunting and disappointing to cope with but a process that is but part of the journey. How we cope with failure, and with success, in our sporting endeavours will likely mirror the way we live and relate to people as the journey progresses. It’s about perspective. About relativity, that elusive ability to see situations and generalities in appropriate balance.

This district’s annual awards climax embraces a passion to nurture talent, leadership and flair. The formal celebrations of our sporting prowess extends well over fifty years to 1963 when Commonwealth Games gold medallist rower George Paterson became the inaugural Sportsman of the Year, the premier award. The range of sports recognised in these honours indicate the versatility of participants in the district. Cricket, rugby, rowing and athletics have been intermixed with darts, paraplegic codes, show jumping, croquet, sheep dog trialling and shearing.

The basic inhibitor for success in sport is to stop trying!


First Published in The North OtagoTimes

As I See It

To open 2015, I’d like to welcome my Dad, Terry O’Neill to the The World writing team. Dad’s been covering regional sport in New Zealand in print and radio for as long as I can remember and his As I See It commentary delivers insights into contemporary sports issues…

We had planned to launch this at the end of the year but a major computer meltdown on my part delayed proceedings until I could rebuild and recover everything…


Springboks vs All Blacks, 1956 (c)

The picture is of my choosing as I always like to lead a post with a picture, all the rest is Dads…

By Terry O’Neill

The 1956 Springboks New Zealand tour, concussion, the rapid development of gymnasiums, and Irishmen Brian O’Driscoll and his uncle Barry O’Driscoll, appear to have little in common.

That tour was the first by South African since 1937, and prior to it All Black selectors stated that back trialists, midfield in particular, must weigh at least twelve stone, an indication of the approaching tour’s intensity. Since then, players have pursued improved performance through intense physical development. Increased muscular bulk multiplied by greater pace, and changes in defensive techniques may be spectacular entertainment but raise serious concerns about head injuries. Significantly last season’s English Under 18 team were, player for player, heavier than those of the 1991 World Cup English side.

That Irish prince of centres, Brian O’Driscoll, the most capped test player with 141, believes the All Blacks will win the next World Cup because of their higher skill factor. “I don’t think the gym monkey thing applies to them as much as it does over here. They have farmer strength. The Polynesians guys are pretty strong without going to a gym. They focus way more from an early age on skills. They do everything with a ball. They have balance. They have that physicality, but they are able to mix their game up.”

Barry O’Driscoll, former early 1970s Irish fullback and a medical doctor, served the IRB medical committee 15 years but resigned in protest at the trial of their new head injury protocol. Previous policy stated that any player suspected of suffering concussion had to leave the field and not play for a week (incidentally reduced from three weeks in earlier policy). New IRB guidelines state a player can return to the field five minutes after an injury providing a medical inspection has cleared him of concussion.

The game has changed admits Barry O’Driscoll. “Rugby’s now a big community sport. So what’s important is to get the spectators in? The TV in? They love big hits.”

Current players’ size and weight is accentuated by the tackling technique change from “around the legs” to the defensive side’s emphasis on the all-encompassing upper body tackle. This attempts to jolt the ball loose, or to try and smother it and force a turnover, leading to more head clashes.

Brian O’Driscoll said he’s not a fan of gymnasiums. “In Ireland there is a huge focus on the weights room, as opposed to whether a player can throw a 10m pass on the run. They should be rugby players becoming athletes, not athletes becoming rugby players.”

Statistically 50 percent of injuries occur in tackles. Under 18 schoolboys have half the injuries of those in professional ranks, and hookers and flankers are most susceptible.

Does the IRB care about players’ wellbeing? Or do these practices attract more dosh from TV moguls?
But change is on the way. In the Saracens/ London Irish rugby game played a fortnight ago the Saracen players wore a device behind the ear referred to as the X patch which measures the size and direction of hits to the head. The X patch is currently being used in American football as well.
Tradition is a terrible reason to give people avoidable brain damage.” – Chris Nowinski, co-dir. for study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University School of Medicine, former Harvard Ivy Football player.



First published in The North Otago Times 10 January 2015.