Vegan Calzone Recipe
I’ve spent many years playing with pizza recipes – my wife and I even created our own “How to make Pizza” recipe poster on our honeymoon.
So when Now Then magazine put out a call for vegan recipes, it seemed a good opportunity to provide my Calzone recipe. Here it is, in all its glory: enjoy!
Disclaimer: I am a proud member of the chuck-it-in-it’ll-be-fine school of cooking. I firmly believe a happy cook just throws stuff in a pan, rather than measuring 18g of this and 3.5 medium egg yolks of that; so take my measurements with a pinch of salt, so to speak. This recipe makes around 3-4 calzones.
- About 200g of strong bread flour (around 12% protein is best).
- Warm water.
- Few spoons of salt.
- Few spoons of sugar.
- Dried instant yeast (assuming you aren’t a brand of vegan that cares about fungi. If you do, miss out the yeast, it’ll still work, but the bread won’t be as tasty).
- Tomato passata (the own brand stuff from Co-op works fine).
- Vegan mozzarella style cheese.
- Soya milk.
- Prewarm the oven to 70°C (If you want to get the dough ready quickly. It’ll be tastier if you leave it to rise over 4 hours without extra warmth, but it’ll take 4 hours.)
- Mix the salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl.
- Stir in the flour, so it’s all nicely mixed.
- Carefully add water, mixing by hand, until you have one non-sticky ball of dough.
- Knead it on a floured surface for about 5 minutes, until your hands ache.
- Turn off the oven, chuck the dough back in the bowl, cover the bowl with a teatowel, and put the bowl in the oven.
- Leave to rise for an hour.
- Take it out, knead it some more, and roll it into flat round pizza bases.
- Fry a load of onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, chilli, spinach, soya mince – whatever you want in your calzone.
- Mix in some herbs & spices – I usually use mixed herbs, paprika and mild chilli powder (but loads of it, so you get the taste of the chilli coming through).
- Put a few dollops of passata in with the veg.
- Heat the rest of the passata in a pan/microwave.
- Preheat oven to 230°C – the higher the better.
- Pop a pizza base on an oven tray.
- Dollop veg in to the middle.
- Cover the veg in cheese – you can use soft cheese, or nothing, if you prefer.
- Using a pastry brush, make the edges of the base wet with milk.
- Fold it over, and squidge the edges together to seal it.
- Paint the whole top with milk, to make it go extra brown in the oven.
- Cook for 10ish minutes, until brown.
- Serve with hot passata on top
Then eat all yours, then eat what your wife couldn’t manage, then look longingly at the one saved for tomorrow… Man, do I love pizza…
The Journey to Neriah
On Sunday, our little family got a little bigger. The beautiful Neriah Grace Lowry came into the world at 7:30pm. Just like Joen, the journey to Neriah was hard work.
Once again, thanks to everyone who followed the blow-by-blow account on twitter – read it here - including at least two people over the age of 80. Who says social media is just for young people? Anyway, enough of that, on with the story…
I’m currently working in Lincoln, around 1-2 hours from our home in Boston, and in the month preceding labour, Katherine seemed to enjoy sending me texts containing phrases like “baby’s coming!”. I would frantically call her, where she would explain that she simply meant “at some point”, so she was tidying the house in preparation. By my estimate, I had at least 4 heart attacks in January because of communication like this.
On Friday, my parents-in-law came up to help look after Joen. I have successfully not thrown milk at either of them, which is a significant improvement over last time! It was brilliant to have them around so Joen could get used to them before we disappeared to the hospital.
Just like last time, we sailed past the due date (15th January), and ended up going into labour a few days before we were booked for induction. On Saturday at 4pm-ish, Katherine started to have her first sporadic contractions. By 7pm, they had become regular and painful.
12 hours later, there was very little progress. Lots of pain, but no progress.
At half 8, they were down to every 2 minutes, and rather intense. We rang the hospital, who advised us to come in. I was a little hesitant to do this, since last time she’d had similar symptoms for 10 hours+, but was only 3cm dilated when we made it in to hospital. However, deciding it was for the best, we threw everything into the car and scurried over to the labour ward.
As the tweet below shows, I was right not to be too keen:
From this point until 10:30am – about 12 hours later, there was very little progress. Lots of pain, but no progress. One midwife thought she was up to 4cm, but on re-examination 5 hours later, a different midwife felt that this couldn’t be the case.
They decided to break her waters at 11, which really kicked things off - she had 12 very painful contractions in the space of 30 minutes. She soon ran out of relief from the gas and air, and was given her first dose of morphine.
By 3, the morphine was wearing off, and Katherine decided she wanted an epidural. Unfortunately, the anaesthetists were busy in theatre, and I was going a little bit frantic in wanting to sort her pain. Given that I currently work in palliative care, where I am comfortable prescribing piles of opiates every day, it was so frustrating not being able to hurry up her analgesia.
They eventually gave her some more morphine at 5pm, just an hour and a half after I had suggested it, and she was finally able to settle down a little. The contractions had been going steadily for hours now, and she had dilated to 9.5cm!
It was at this point that a light of rage appeared in Katherine’s eyes.
At 5:50, 10cm was reached, and Katherine began to push. I will open myself up for criticism here and say that I don’t think was really pushing that hard at first. We hit an hour of pushing with no baby, and the Registrar doctor came in, and told us that she was going to have to use forceps as the pushing was going on for too long.
It was at this point that a light of rage appeared in Katherine’s eyes. Given a 15 minute reprieve, and spurred on by the midwife, “Come on Katherine, we don’t need forceps!”, Katherine began to push like a successful Sisyphus. After just 3 more contractions, there was a screaming head sticking out of my wife, and just one more later and our beautiful daughter was released into the world.
Although disappointed not to use her shiny tongs, the doctor seemed happy enough getting to play with needles and thread, sorting out the second degree perineal tear, and even found time to quiz me on the theory of Obstetrics – I will be working under this registrar in April!
We were both fairly oblivious to this, since there was a disgusting, blood covered angel dripping on us, and looking into our eyes. Glorious!
This is Neriah.
Full name: Neriah Grace Lowry (or “Nia” for short).
“Neriah” is Hebrew, and means “Light of God“. We pronounce it “Ner-ee-ah”.
She was born at 7:30pm on 20th January 2013. She weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces.
Her hobbies include avoiding accidental injury from her boisterous older brother, submitting to being sniffed suspiciously by dogs, and throughout remaining surprisingly content. We don’t know much else about her.
CMF Conference: Day Two
After a night spent weeing the remnants of my chocomilk binge last night, I got up in time for the 8am prayer meeting in the chapel. Still bleary eyed, I followed this with a painfully substantial breakfast, which, although lacking in vegetarian sausages, made up for it in sheer volume.
We also got to meet the CMF Junior Doctors Committee, and had Vicky Lavy nagging us once again to grab a wheelbarrow, and buy as many books as physically possible from the CMF bookstall.
Bible Teaching – Genuine Faith
Nourishment over, we settled down to listen to Steve Burmester teaching on “Genuine Faith“. We was introduced with a question, due to his background in pharmaceuticals: “What is your favourite drug name?” The answer? “Raloxifene”. Doesn’t it roll off your tongue beautifully?
95 year olds were asked what 3 things they would change if they could live again. They said: 1. they would slow down and reflect on things more, 2. they would risk more, and, 3. they would do more that would live on after they died.
In James 4, he talks about the brief nature of life: “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes“. The passage makes it clear that we shouldn’t boast and be proud of our own achievements: its pointless. If we feel that we can plan everything of our lives, we will be disappointed – look at the recession. As James says: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow“.
Just as the old people said in point 2: Risk. As one person said faith is spelt “R.I.S.K.”. It is the perseverence and steadfastness of going through trials that helps us to build our faith, that helps us to put our hope in God, rather than our own plans. As James 1 shows us, its not that we can’t plan, but we shouldn’t put all our hope and security in a future that we can’t predict. We shouldn’t think we can forsee and prevent all difficult times, but instead trust that the God who loves us will see us through the hard times.
How we deal with success and wealth is just as important as how we deal with hardships. Indeed, in the West, we need to learn this lesson more, since we have so much wealth, so many gifts: so many opportunities to bless others, or temptations to feel that “I have worked hard, I have earned this, this is all mine!”
Albert Einstein is travelling across America on a train. The ticket inspector comes, and asks for tickets. Einstein can’t find it anywhere, he is looking in all his pockets, in his coat, but simply cannot find it anywhere.
The ticket inspector says “It’s fine, Mr Einstein: you are a very famous person, I’m sure you bought a ticket!” She walked on, but on looking back, saw Einstein on his hands and knees looking under his chair for the ticket.
She returns, and says, “Mr Einstein, its fine, we know who you are, you don’t need to worry.
Einstein looked at her, and said “I thank you, but I too know who I am. But what I don’t know, is where I’m going…”
Our identity is important, and it is valuable to know who we are. But we shouldn’t be distracted by that into thinking we are in control of every tiny aspect of our lives.
Seminar – Miracles of healing: happening in Britain today?
Our first seminar of the weekend, with Andrew Fergusson - is on whether we see healing in the UK. He is the author of “Hard Questions about Health and Healing“, and a former GP. He mentioned the excellent price that we can pick up the book for about 8 times – I suspect Vicky Lavy had a hand in this…
We went round the group of 20 of us, and it appears that almost every church has some form of regular prayer for healing in church each week, with many having organised healing ministries.
Andrew pointed out that this has changed. 20 years ago, far less churches practiced prayers and ministries for healing.
Margaret had a serious cancer, causing terrible pain in her leg. Medication wasn’t happening. A pastor laid hands on her and prayer, she felt something like “a jolt of electricity” in her leg, and then from that moment until she died a year later, she had no more pain in her leg ever again.
What is that? Is it a miracle? It didn’t cure her cancer, but at the same time, her severe pain stopped permanently.
The dictionary defines a miracle as these below. Is it 1, 2 or 3?
- An event contrary to the laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural causel
- Any amazing or wonderful event;
- A marvellous example of something “a miracle of engineering”.
We can look at some examples of healing, for example Luke 5:12-14; there are a number of apparent likenesses between most biblical miracles:
- Obvious examples of gross physical disease.
- At that time incurable and most remain so today
- Physical means almost never used
- Cures immediate
- REstoration complete and therefore obvious
- No recorded relapses
- Regularly elicited faith
- Verification without publicity.
There is an important element here: as doctors, and as Christians: truth matters. We should not leave our scientific, analytical minds at the door when we look at healing. Evidence matters.
Andrew feels he has never seen reliable evidence of a person having an amputee regrowing a limb, the blind seeing, the dead being raised to life. As he says, “By the dictionary definition, we haven’t seen valid evidence of a level one miracle“. He has seen many, many stories of difficult to explain solutions, and release of pain, or wonderful improvement in health.
As a last, very deep point: If we are going to have a theology of healing, we need a theology of suffering.
Bible Teaching – Faith at work in our actions
After an unendingly vast lunch, and a 2 hour walk, it was time to move on with the afternoon, and our next session with Steve Burmester, on the topic of faith at work. After only about 5 hours of sleep last night, and a fair amount of exercise, I was barely awake – a feeling familiar to me from the Developing Health course.
Many people, on deciding to go paragliding, get right to the edge of the cliff, before deciding they don’t want to go ahead.
James is looking for this doublemindedness in people. The desire to do something good, against the desire to behave badly.
In James 2:1-4, he says “For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
A church invited a guest preacher. The day for the service arrived, and the congregation filed in. There was a tramp, sat at the back of the church, smelling of whiskey, and they sat far from him, leaving him two empty pews to himself.
It came to the point where they were looking around, wondering where the guest preacher was, when the tramp got up, walked to the front, and put on a dog collar, and preached from James 2.
If we treat people wrongly, we treat God wrongly: James 3:9 – “With [our tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God“. Another passage talking about our double minded behaviour.
Every human life is a reflection of divinity, and every act of injustice mars and defaces the image of God in man.
Martin Luther King, Jr
Just treating someone with inequality, is that it is sin. And thus no better than any other sin.
Lance Armstrong was struck off recently for taking drugs, but the excuse that many cyclists used is that “everyone else was doing it”. Unfortunately “everyone else does it” is no excuse.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
- We all need mercy.
- We need to show mercy to others.
- This triumph is available to us all.
Pete Saunders started talking next to update us on the work of the Christian Medical Fellowship. We started with a video about CMF. Well, we would have done, but there was a technical glitch, so here it is below:
There are currently 4000 CMF doctors, and 800 CMF medical students. It is not a London office, but a national fellowship. They link with churches, hospitals and individuals.
STAT is “Short Term, Able to Travel” – who are people open to Teaching, Specialist service, Locum support, Emergency help in International work.
CMF are involved in about 100 conferences, including:
- CMF Student conference
- CMF Graduate conference
- International Christian Medical Dental Association World Congress
- Christian Nurses and Midwifes Student conference
- Where is my Neighbour? conference.
Find out more at the CMF events page.
CMF works to protect those who lose their jobs for protecting moral values, those of concerns about Euthanasia, Abortion, and Faith at work.
Seminar – Time Management, Jesus Style
Richard Vincent was leading the seminar, my final study session of the day.
What are pressures on your time?
- No choice – things I need to do
- Things I should do
- Things I want to do
- Prioritising between them is a varied process
- How they make you feel
What can we learn from Jesus?
“Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
He guarded his quiet time. We all shared our experiences of the difficulties of setting aside time each day, but once interesting fact: we all really enjoy doing it, yet still find it really difficult to set down to it. It is a battle.
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him, and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
He established priorities. We live unhelpfully busy lives. We also don’t find solitude enough, especially with the intrusion of smart phones and the internet.
“Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”.”
He made time for individuals. It can be harder to take the initiative, rather than just see friends that opportunities naturally present each other.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
He did not sin. Hopefully our understanding of grace is that that we can show it to others equally well.
“Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
He rested. We need to plan time off, and have a Sabbath attitude in each day, even when that isn’t possible.
After this, we spent the evening chatting, playing Cranium and “Table slap”, making awful medical and Christian jokes, and I finally went to bed at 2:30am, after a long discussion about how to improve the Malaysian health care system.
Coupled with this, my phone contract was up for renewal at the end of September. For a few extra pounds a month, I can join the world of up-to-date shiny new devices.
It would seem that my path forward is simple – but I’m hesitating. You see, I don’t want to be the person that buys something *because* its new and shiny. I don’t want to join the cult of new. I’ve got an 8 year old car, a house that needs doing up, and one of my dogs is starting to show a few hints of arthritis; I love old stuff!
I also love efficiency. I see technology as tools, tools for me to get stuff done. For the first time since becoming a doctor, I got my own room this month; and I’ve loved setting it up just right, so that I know where urine specimen bottles are, so I can maintain eye contact with patients whilst typing, so my every motion can be as effective as possible, giving me time to do the important stuff.
Generally, I like my technology new, because new tends to be faster, tends to be more efficient, allows me more time to get stuff done. But my current phone browses the web, checks emails and takes decent photos. It turns on quickly, it loads information fast: I don’t believe that my workflow will be sped up by a new phone.
I’ve been distracted by newness. As Robert Murray McCheyne said:
“Sit loose to this world’s joy, time is short”
Inspired a little by my friend Jon, who recently downgraded from an iPhone 4 to an old, non smart Nokia, I’m going to skip this upgrade, and be content with the incredible phone I already have, and maybe try to rely on it a little less.
One month in Boston
Last month, we took a big step as a family. We moved from our familiar, friendly home in Yorkshire over to the barren flatlands of Eastern Lincolnshire. In doing so, we said goodbye to 8 years of friends, and hello to convenient beaches, widespread obesity, and owning another house that needs every single room done up before we will be able to relax!
I’ll take you through some of our key moments with some photos:
This is our new home: Orchard Cottage, on Woodthorpe Avenue. It’s on the slightly nicer side of town, but needs quite a lot of work! The garden hasn’t been touched for about 2 years, so we are having rather a lot of pruning done at the end of the month, and some building work after that…
Joen has settled into things well, and both he and the dogs are loving the big new garden. As you can see, there are cat flaps everywhere, coupled with awful red carpet in the kitchen, and mammoth spiders in every room. Katherine hates all 3 of these things, especially the eight legged monsters.
One of the key aspects of our corner of Lincolnshire is that it is as flat as a pancake (In fact, if you read this study, its likely that its considerably flatter, since it would appear that pancakes are not terribly flat). The downside: its a bit boring. The plus side: we can cycle everywhere. Joen has decided to live on the edge though, since he has now worked out how to remove a cycle helmet, rendering it useless.
Alongside the uninteresting terrain, there is considerably more sky visible, so sunsets and dawns are rather beautiful to behold. Sadly, the road I take to work each morning is almost due East for large sections, meaning I can barely see beyond the brain melting glow of the sun. The unending flatness means that a 44 mile round trip is just about doable on bike, although I’m not achieving it every day.
I have begun my GP training, which involves hundreds of hours spent reflecting, signing sick notes and prescribing amoxicillin. Here you can see my office, with a photo of the family, and a coffee mug, recently filled on my most extravagant new purchase, a DeLonghi EC 152 Coffee Machine.
As mentioned above, we have several fantastic beaches, 20 miles or so down the road; and we have made the most of them already. Here you can see Joen swimming, playing and eating the sand on the beach at Chapel St Leonards.
Finally, the most important photo is that of our new child, around 50% ready now. Probably a she (the ultrasonagrapher wasn’t completely sure), we look forward to her arrival in January!
Thanks to everyone for your prayers, support and hot meals over the last month, especially Eagle, Sadie, Daniel, Tammie, Hannah, Helen, Micky & Rachel, and thanks for the unpaid manual labour of Nick & Jon!
A few nights ago, we said goodbye to some great friends, Joe & Lois, on their way to live forever(ish) in Zimbabwe. This, on the same day that the senior partner at my practice retired, and my wife and I decided to move to Boston in 2 months.
I’ve been feeling a tremendous amount of emotion, as if something tangible has been torn from me; my brain is looking into the future, and feeling a loss that hasn’t even happened yet.
Why such a response? It’s strange, because I’m genuinely happy about all these changes!
I’m joyful that two friends are going to live in my favourite continent, under huge, romantic skies and terrifying political regimes, with a vast multitude of surprisingly friendly insects to keep them company.
I’m pleased that a fellow doctor is taking up a well earned retirement, with his health, his wife and the money to enjoy his days following his heart’s content.
I’m excited that my family and I are moving to Boston, a town I’d barely even heard of until Tuesday, and yet will soon be calling “home”.
So, if these are all such positive events, why am I so sad? I thought I’d look a little through the breadth of our literature and culture to find some consolation. In this, as with most emotions in life, Shakespeare has something apt to offer:
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
As one GCSE revision website explains this, the quote above puts my feelings in a different light: “It is therefore delightful that parting can hurt so much“. The sadness just reflects how much I love the Ovendens, how much I value my colleague, how much we treasure our Sheffield friends.
Tennyson made a similarly iconic statement (which is just as well, since that’s what famous poets are meant to do):
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Whilst most people know that quote as used in a romantic context, it was actually a poem written by Tennyson about losing a good friend.
In realisation of this, I’m going to try and avoid being sad about this any more. In fact, the next two months needs to be a celebration of everything and everyone we love, value and respect in Sheffield. I want to laugh with you all – as The Jam said:
To be caught smiling is to acknowledge life.
Let’s really acknowledge life together, my friends. For a final verse (if cut in half), I leave you with Philippians 4:1:
So, brothers and sisters, I love you and miss you. You are my joy…