cook - recipes

The 5 Magical Secrets to Perfect Homemade Pan Pizza every single time; plus, a recipe for The Perfect Baking Sheet Pizza Pie.

Note: Scroll straight to the bottom for the full recipe, The Perfect Baking Sheet Pizza Pie.

Friday nights were pizza night in our house when I was growing up. Pizza Night was a family tradition. The week’s menu was always written out in my mother’s longhand and taped on the inside of the kitchen cupboard. I would come home from school and stare longingly at Friday, wondering why it had to be Broccoli Casserole Tuesday, or Spaghetti Arrabiata Thursday. Homemade Nut Burger Monday was excruciating because it meant four more sleeps until Pizza Friday. No amount of ketchup and mustard could replace melted cheese and marinara.

During the years when my parents were both working full-time, we would order from a local chain, Pizza Pizza. There were inevitable fights about what toppings to order. One of my sisters hated mushrooms. “Gross! They smell like Chlorox,” she’d yell.

If you’re like my sisters and I, you might want to go half and half to avoid costly debates over what goes where.

I always wanted to try the pepperoni. My friends at school wouldn’t eat pizza without the shaved coins of sausage. It was my first brush with the fear of missing out. We were a devoutly vegetarian house.

Our oldest sister was always saying pineapple on pizza was for kids. She was a teenager. She wanted her own pie. 

I was the youngest, and after a few years, Pizza Night attendance thinned out. My sisters had boyfriends, parties, suspicious amounts of perfume on their coats and tic-tacs on their breath. Dad went through a phase of working late, every night, including Friday. Only mom and me were left at home for Pizza Night. 

Homemade pizza pie

I always loved to cook, so Pizza Night became an opportunity for us to experiment in the kitchen. We made pita pizzas. Tortilla pizzas. Microwave pizzas. Grilled cheese pizzas. Focaccia pizzas. Thin crust pizzas. Gluten free pizzas. We even tried cauliflower-crust pizzas. But nothing quite matched the delicious, gooey, crunchy stringy-cheesed magic of delivery, until we found a recipe for homemade baking sheet pan pizza. Because I love you, and I know you’ll put it to good use, I’m going to share the 5 magical secrets of our recipe with you, so you can start your own Pizza Night.

Secret #1: Make your dough as soon as you get home from school, so it can rest for a few hours before you dressed it up and cook it. 

Secret #2: Don’t add anything to your tomatoes! No sugar, no herbs, no oil, no garlic, no salt, no nothing. Just simple, canned and pureed plum tomatoes. When you open the can, you will smell Italy at the base of Mount Vesuvio, and you don’t want to mess with that.

Secret #3: Use exactly one ball of mozzarella. No more, no less. Grate it right before you use it, otherwise you’ll snack on the stringy bits and eat a bunch of it before any cheese makes it onto the pizza and melts into gooey goodness.

Secret #4: Shake lots of cornmeal into the bottom of your baking pan before you add the dough. It will give the bottom of your crust that extra crusty crust crunch.

Secret #5: You can peak and stare into the window to your heart’s desire, but don’t open that door of the oven, until you switch your pie from bake to broil at the end. Watch as the cheese bubbles and browns and turns into the perfect homemade pie before your eyes.

The Perfect Baking Sheet Pizza Night Pie


Pizza Dough:

  • 2 cups/500 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons/30 ml yeast (2 packets of Fleischmann’s)
  • 4 cups/1 L all-purpose flour (sifted if you’ve got the time)
  • 3 tablespoons/45 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon/5 ml fine sea salt
  1. Dissolve the yeast in water as warm as your hand, but not warmer. You’ll know it’s alive, when it starts bubbling after a few minutes.
  2. On clean flat working surface, make a mountain of flour and salt, then carve out a crater with your hands. 

Note: Keep the flour and olive out out, in case you need to add more of either to sticky hands or a sticky counter.

  1. Slowly add the yeasty water and olive oil, pushing the edges of the crater into the well until gets stick and forms a dough ball. 
  2. Knead until the dough becomes elastic and gently rises back up when you poke your finger into the ball. 
  3. Now, the most important part: Give yourself a break! Wrap the ball up in plastic wrap. Or, you can oil the outside of the ball and place it in a large mixing bowl, then cover the bowl with a damp tea towel
  4. Go and peak every once in a while until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour or so)

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes.
  1. Puree the tomatoes in a blender, or with a hand blender in the can, or dice them up and send them through a sieve. Just don’t add a thing.


  • 1 ball mozzarella
  1. Grate the cheese, immediately before use, otherwise, it will slowly disappear in roaming hands and inquiring mouths. 


  • The best part about cooking is being creative. The toppings are up to you, and there’s no limit, from oysters to kiwis, blue cheese to antelope, you can eat anything on a pizza.
  1. Cut your toppings before hand into bite-sized pieces, so they cook evenly.

Cooking instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, or as hot as it will go.
  2. Dust your baking sheet with gritty cornmeal. This will add megatons of crunch.
  3. Oil your dough ball and roll it out on a floured surface, tossing it up in the air as high as you dare. When it is stretched enough, lay it out over the cornmeal coated baking pan and tapdance a fork’s prongs over the surface of the dough until it is perforated. 

Note: Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter if your dough rips. Dough is sticky, so you can just stick it back together.

  1. Put a big splotch of tomato sauce in the middle and draw spirals outward with a big spoon or ladle. It doesn’t matter if it’s even because it will flatten out while cooking.
  2. Now quickly grate and add the cheese before it disappears, then dress your pizza in delicious toppings.
  3. Bake until the edges start to brown (7-9 minutes), without opening oven.
  4. Switch the oven to a high broil. Wait thirty seconds, then carefully move the pizza to the top rack of the oven.
  5. Count to one hundred, keeping watch for smoke.
  6. Remove pizza from the broiler and enjoy The Perfect Baking Sheet Pizza Night Pie.
Illustration Fridays

Illustration Fridays – Imaginary Friend – Trump and Kim

This week’s topic for Illustration Friday is imaginary friend. I hope the image speaks for itself, it was a lot of fun to make. As always click on my contact page if you want to buy a print of any of my illustrations on this website.

Imaginary Friends
Illustration Fridays

Illustration Friday – Black and White

This week’s topic for Illustration Friday is black and white, which if you’ve ever seen my artwork before you’ll know is waaaaaaaay outside of my wheelhouse. I love colours. I love playing with colour, painting with colour, mixing colours, blending colours and using lighting effects that make the colours in my illustrations pop and explode off the page. Colours are a mask in my work, they hide the details, or lack thereof, and when they’re used properly make a picture come to life. So, about black and white. I knew that I wanted to explore texture and patterns, and I immediately thought of Picasso and M.C. Escher. What I came up with is an homage to both, Picasso as the subject and Escher as the lender of theme and style.

Prints of all the illustrations on this website are available for purchase, please use the Contact page form to contact me directly for pricing, sizing and shipping information.

Picasso y Toros, an homage to M.C. Escher
travel - places

Angkor Wat by Bicycle – Infinite passages and paths

Angkor Wat is one of those magical, timeless places, a doorway into another era and yet ever present. I’ve never been that interested in guided tours, the controlled timing and static narrative doesn’t allow for discovery or surprises. I like to walk and stroll around ruins and archaeological sites at my own pace, but Angkor Wat is so big, it’s footprint literally that of an entire city. The solution: rent a bicycle. You could, also, hire an elephant or a tuk-tuk, if that’s your thing.

Like Palenque in Mexico, or Copan in Honduras, Angkor Wat is covered in the stories and narratives of the cultures past. Originally built by Hindus, then converted to Budhism centuries later, the temples are a palimpsest of ritual and spiritual meaning. Intricate stone carvings bevel and emboss the walls of every passageway and corridor. No surface is flat or unadorned. There are an infinite number of angles and routes to choose from, no two quite the same. Over the week I spent exploring the grounds, I biked well over a hundred kilometres, circling and spiralling between buildings and walls, over bridges and moats and through massive arched gates.

I’m a very tactile person, my sense of a place and its beauty necessarily involves touch. Museums and galleries often leave me cold and disappointed, everything forever out of reach, encased in glass, walled off from context. Being able to retrace my footsteps and bike route each morning, after having a coffee in Siem Reap and pedalling down the road, gave me a deeper sense of connection, of being able to feel how the inhabitants of the city connected with the place, and its spiritual connections to Vishnu and Budha.

The story of Angkor Wat as a tourist site, as a place visited and crowded and trampled by the commerce of European foreigners is, also, a very long one. In the 1860s, Frenchman Henri Mahout wrote of the lost city of Angkor Wat in his bestselling memoirs, inspiring everything from Indiana Jones to Tomb Raider. But even before that, in the 16th century Portguese explorer, António da Madelena, described the city as “of such extraordinary construction … that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of.”

It is one of those endlessly lost places, even though it is flooded with tourists. As a foreign visitor, a tourist, I realize I am walking the footsteps of colonialists, and I realize that I am taking part in an economy that commidifies a holy site. But Angkor Wat is still the largest religious site in the world, and if you believe your interactions with the holy are based in your own faith and spirit, well, then it’s probably best to wake up at the crack of dawn, and to go alone down the road. There is no replacement, no substitute for watching the sun rise over the red flats of the Cambodian soil and the verdant green of the jungle, from the top of one of the many temples.

There is nothing quite like it, no way to describe it in words, to see the beauty and the stature of a culture trying to speak with their god through art and sculpture so powerful that it still speaks directly after a thousand years under the sun.

Prints of all the illustrations on this website are available for purchase, please use the Contact page form to contact me directly for pricing, sizing and shipping information.

Illustration Fridays

Illustration Friday – Fashion

This week for illustration Fridays, I’m posting a piece that makes me smile. For those of you who know me, I’m a sneaker head, old school hip hop loving, stuck in the 90s thirtysomething. So making an illustration of hightop sneakers just does it for me. Also, on a sad note for the 90s, RIP Luke Perry. You took TV to a different place, a true trendsetter, heartthrob, and game changer. You’ll be missed. You were the James Dean of the 1990s. Peace.

Prints of all the illustrations on this website are available for purchase, please use the Contact page form to contact me directly for pricing, sizing and shipping information.