Now that I own a scale and can weigh my ingredients I am getting more into bread making. Obviously, I have to get the Italian breads up to scratch first or there will be another mutiny in the casa Tripepi. We are still avoiding carbs but on the weekend we have a good carbo-rific feast which generally means a plate of pasta and some fresh bread. A few weekends ago I agreed to make some Black Olive and Rosemary Focaccia and TrickyRicky made a fab pasta dish – Rigatoni Con le polpetine al Forno.
Tricky and I went off to shop bustling with excitement. Boy did we have a feast and here is the recipe for the focaccia. The pasta recipe will follow. Bread is sacrosanct in an Italian household and should a piece be thrown away for any reason it is kissed by the ‘throwee’ as a blessing first. Bread is the first item that goes on the table – and the in Sicilians will ask, ‘Che cosa c’e per il conpanatico?” meaning, what is there to eat with the bread. Bread is often the star of the meal.
TrickyRicky’s family used to own a restaurant in Glenwood, back in the 1970’s called The Twelve Gods – and every Sunday morning there would be queues around the corner and right down the street for their freshly baked bread. For my focaccia I used Giorgio Locatelli’s Focaccia Classica recipe on page 148 of his cook book Made in Italy – Food & Stories – another book available at Kalahari.net . For some reason I find bread making a deeply romantic and satisfying experience.
I just love the aroma of
the raw flour and the comforting smell of baking bread makes me go weak at the knees …
Makes 1 loaf / tray
500g strong white bread flour
225g water at 20degrees c
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus a bit more for greasing
For the salamoia:
65g water at 20 degrees C
65g extra-virgin olive oil
For the topping:
A small handful of fresh rosemary sprigs or a handful of good pitted olives. (I used both!)
To make the salamoia, whisk all the ingredients together so they emulsify and the colour changes to light green.
Preheat the oven to 220 C / gas mark 7. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients (except the topping) until they form a dough. Rub the surface with a little oil and leave to rest for 10 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
Oil a baking tray and transfer the dough to it, then rub a little more oil on the top of the dough (preferably spray on the oil, using a clean plant spray). Leave for another 10 minutes.
Using a rolling pin and starting at the centre of the dough, roll it very lightly upwards, once only, to the top of the dough. You need a light touch, so as not to break the bubbles in the dough. Go back to the centre of the dough and, this time, lightly roll downwards to the bottom of the dough, once only. Leave for 20 minutes, during which time the dough will double in size.
With your fingertips, make deep dimples in the dough, taking care not to go all the way through. Whisk the salamoia, then pour it over the surface and into all of the holes. Leave for 20 minutes more.
Either press the rosemary into the dough or push th olives into the holes. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden, then let it cool on a wire rack.
Serve with a good quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Served with Rigatoni col polpetine al forno!
and a smile!
I visited a number of wonderful Olive Farms on the Cape West Coast last weekend – and there is a miriad of awesome flavoured olives such as The Olive Boutique’s Roasted Kalamata Olives with Lavender and White Truffle Oil. You can use any olive and hard woody herb that you like – such as thyme.
Check out these African Swans we saw on the road!
Aren’t they just Fabulous!!!
Have a Great Weekend – Super 15 starts!!! yay!