Robot Has No Heart

Xavier Shay blogs here

A robot that does not have a heart


Team effort with my Dad for Sunday night dinner.


Makes 2 large pizzas


  • 2 cup water
  • 3+ cup plain flour (wholemeal if you’re a hippy and don’t have to appease your family)
  • 14g (2 sachet) yeast
  • 2 Capsicum (1 red, 1 green)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3-4 Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby spinach and/or rocket
  • Mozarella cheese
  • Tomato paste
  • Basil


  1. Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add flour until dough is a … doughy consistency. Cover and leave to rise for a few hours
  2. Dust tabletop liberally with flour and knead/roll out two thin pizza bases (they will rise when cooked)
  3. Combine tomato paste and basil, then spread over the pizza bases right to the edges
  4. Chop up all choppable toppings and throw evenly over the pizza. Also put the spinach and cheese on.
  5. Put in a preheated oven (~180C) for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is well browned.

Of course, as with any pizza there are many options here. This gives quite a doughy base – which I like – so to make a thinner, crustier base put the base by itself into the oven for a minute or so until it starts to rise. We did this for the second pizza and my folks preferred it. Nothing on this pizza really needs cooking, so I normally eat it a little bit undercooked – each to his own, I say.

I actually thought the dough recipe was 1:1 flour:water, but that just gave me a soup, so I just kept adding flour. Probably ended up with about 4 cups total.

I normally put olives on my pizza, but we forgot to buy any. Ricotta cheese also works well. My sister had a cheese pizza, which I thought rather boring but still tasty.

And I finally remembered to take a picture!


Pantry Raiders #1

I am finally back in the family home for an evening, and the family decides to holiday up to Melbourne, leaving me here on my ownsome. Not keen to shop, I venture forth into the larder…

Fake Maharagwe

Serves 2 hungry people


  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Tumeric, Chilli, whatever other curry spices you have in your rack


  1. Chop onion and garlic, fry in pan with oil and seasonings
  2. Add chickpeas, fry for a short time only
  3. Add milk, tomatoes, parsley
  4. Serve over rice

This dish looks exactly like Maharagwe. Almost tastes like it, but my substitutes really are poor. Coriander over parsley and coconut milk instead make for a much tastier and lighter meal (although I also got stuck with abborio rice, which is too gluggy). Also makes it vegan, which is a plus. I’m unsure of the red onion – Mum is sold on them and won’t use brown onions for anything – but it just feels wrong frying onions of the wrong color. They’re only adding bulk not taste to this recipe, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Tomatoes are the most important ingredient, as without them it is a little bland.

I actually did remember that I needed to take a photo of this one, but I couldn’t find a camera anywhere. The family must have taken it to Melbourne with them. Next meal gets pictures, honest.

Summertime Tagliarini

My folks recently had a garage sale, which saw Mum trying to offload her vast collection of food magazines. The ones she is always telling me to buy and that I never do. My thriftiness paid off – parental love compelled her to waive the $2 asking price for the 5th birthday collector’s edition of “Delicious” magazine. There is a lot of good stuff in here – a whole section on cooking with chocolate practically guarantees that – so expect to see a few more recipes from within show up here.

Featured is an extract from one of Jamie Oliver’s new books, containing a recipe for what he calls “Summertime Tagliarini”. As Kathryn observes , it’s pretty much just pasta with pesto and pinenuts. I’ve been eating this all week, a result of buying the ingredients as listed to serve 4. The plan was to make 2 serves, but the first one turned out slightly too big, so I split the last batch into two and just added a bit more pasta. Which means I used the same quantity of pasta and halved the sauce, which was ill advised because it turned out a little bland, but I’m a hungry man who needs his pasta. Next time I’ll do 3 serves – but with a recipe that calls for 2 lemons there may be some non-trivial math involved.

My palette isn’t quite refined enough to identify the qualities the small amount of pecorino cheese brings to this dish – I plan to try it without to find out. Got parmesan from the deli rather than the pre-packaged shaved stuff I normally buy – once again not sure how to describe the difference. I guess this is the first time I’ve cooked with cheese since I came off being vegan, so that has probably got something to do with it.

Stupid Noob Tip: Don’t squeeze the lemons directly into your mix, since you’ll then have to get all the pips out, which takes way too long because they are particularly slippery and hard to distinguish from the pinenuts. And you’ll know if you miss one when you are eating it. Rather, squeeze them into a glass then pour through a fork to catch the pips. Or you know, use a proper juicer.

I could not find tagliarini at the supermarket (but have since located it! Next time…), so I just used normal spaghetti, which worked fine. I served in our One Good Bowl. Unfortunately we don’t have any Good plates as I ended up with a large quantity of dressing falling at the bottom after I had eaten all the pasta. I am moving home soon, which means I get to use all her good stuff (which incidentally includes a camera so I can take photos).

I really like the way Jamie writes his recipes. Almost conversational, with a focus on tasting throughout and how to adjust. This is particularly handy since I don’t really know how to relate individual ingredients with the end product.

Serve with a nice white – I picked up a 2006 Jacob’s Creek Riesling for $8 which was surprisingly good. This dish is very tasty. I consider this the current crown of my pasta dishes (which total 3 – the other 2 are homebrew concoctions), and it’s also the only non-tomato based one. I will probably make it the next time someone is over for dinner.

A pretty flower Another pretty flower