Schiacciata con l’uva…can you remember it?

rosemary

schiacciata

Some time a go when I was still a girlfriend, I was introduced to a man. We exchanged names and shook hands. It was a pleasant meeting, he seemed to be a likeable fellow, and being a friend of a friend, maybe we would meet again, maybe not.

A little further down the track and we did meet again. Mr Chocolate remembered him well, and gently pushed his newly wed wife towards the man in an enthusiastic gesture.

“You remember my now wife? he beamed.

“Sure!” said the man just as enthusiastically

I looked confused. Turning towards the man, I held no recognition of his face at all. I looked back towards Mr Chocolate, hoping for another clue. Nope nothing there. Clearly they were both mistaken and we had had never previously met before. (hmmmph!... thinking I must have been mistaken for a previous girlfriend.)

Introductions were made once more, and after a time we left again. Mr Chocolate assured me we had met previously but as I had no memory of him and usually “never forget a face!” I sincerely doubted him.

So when a third time meeting occurred another year or so down the track, Mr Chocolate (probably a little cautiously) said “Brydie you remember *Ben don’t you!” With his eyebrows up a little higher than normal and perhaps a slight edge to his voice.

“Of course I do babe. Ben…how are YOU?!” Smiling and giving the guy a big hug. I sucked up my complete and utter confused-stranger-alert face I wanted to put on, and instead put on my so-happy-to-see you my old friend face on.

Pleasantries passed between us, a lunch was had and again we left. No awkward moments for Mr Chocolate this time as I had remembered the man I met several times before.

Although I hadn’t. I still had no recollection of this man what so ever. Not one little scrap of face recognition did I have. All I knew was this was the man whom I was expected to remember due to having met him several times before.

Mr Chocolate and I laugh about it now, and refer to him as the man who I can’t remember. Certainly not for a lack of personality, as he is lovely (so Mr Chocolate tells me.) Just for some reason he had refused to jump into the recesses of my memory bank.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Now what does this have to do with bread? Well schiacciata is another word that refuses to stay in my memory bank.

Grape and Rosemary Flatbread? Don’t worry, I’m all over it. Starts with an S I’ll say. Italian regional flat bread…delicious…dead easy to make. Sounds a little like sciatica, also ends with an ‘a’. But remembering the name Schiacciata?

Probably as much chance of remembering that as I do dear *Ben.

* And no, I still can’t remember what his real name is.

Schiacciata con l’uva

(Grape and Rosemary Flatbread)

the bread…

400g starter

750g flour

500mls water (approx)

2 tsp salt

MIx in your usual sourdough fashion and roll out on to a large tray. Last proof and add your remaining ingredients just before you pop it in to the oven.

or

if you have no starter use this how to make bread recipe

600g flour (4 cups- I use strong bakers flour)

2 tsp dried yeast

400mls tepid water

 3 tbls olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the top…

add all of this after the last proof and just before you pop it into the oven

couple of sprigs of my potted rosemary

extra salt (I use Murray River Salt)

some great local olive oil

dark grapes

Baked at 230C for about 20 minutes with a little steam.

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This post submitted to the always drool worthy yeastspotting

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fiesta bread cones

There was a birthday fiesta in the air and I had some bread rolls to make and take.

I had been given some cream horn moulds from a friend and along with lots of planned pastry goodies, I also wanted to make some bread rolls. I did a trial run and they seemed to work well. The Monkeys had inhaled them, so I thought they would be good enough to take to the birthday fiesta planned for the weekend.

First up, make some dough. I used the very versatile olive oil bread recipe. When it comes to the shaping stage, divide the dough into even pieces, (approx 1/16 with this amount of dough, with a little left over- I made 17 cone rolls).

Roll them into skinny lengths. Making sure all the bubbles are out. Roll them on an unfloured surface, you want a bit of stick to be able to roll properly.

Once they are rolled them dust them with a little flour, you want them to keep the rolled shape, when proving.

Lightly oil your cone moulds and then roll the dough along the mould. I found it was easier to keep on the bench rather than holding it up and winding it round.

Plain ones are easy or using a little oil and then a light dusting of poppy seeds.

Bake in oven at 240C with steam, for approximately 15 minutes. Oven time is going to vary, I would start watching them like a hawk from the ten minute mark.

Stuff them full of anything that takes your fancy.

We had these with beans, chicken, guacamole and sour cream, (or as The Monkeys and their Monkey Cousins did, stuff a sausage in there so as not to cut in on any essential play time.

Tips * When winding them up, don’t let the dough go over the lip of the cone mould, the bread will bake over and be difficult to get out. When taking the mould out, do it while the bread is still warm.

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This post submitted to the wonderful holiday version of yeastspotting.

calzone…or little parcels of goodness

First time I ever had one of these doughy little parcels of goodness, I was sixteen. I was walking on a crowded street with school friends on a Saturday night in southern Italy. It was cold, the middle of winter kind of cold. Cold enough for the wind to whistle up my slightly too short jeans, and leave a chilled to the bone feeling.

My jeans in those days were frequently too short, as I was quite tall. So in winter time, the wind would whistle around my ankles, attaching its cold breathy fingers to me.

Biting into a calzone was the perfect antidote. Two bites in and you would reach the molten lava that is the tomatoey mixture inside. Hot enough for you to start gasping, waving a useless hand in front of your gaping mouth. Hoping to god, that the mouthful of food would cool in your mouth before you had to spit it out and look like an idiot. In those days I would choose burning the roof top of your mouth until all that remained was a flapping bloody mess of skin, over looking like an idiot any day.

These days, the jeans length has dropped. My ankles stay warm, I don’t tend to keep molten hot food in my mouth and the happy taste memory of calzone are still with me.

Calzone to make are dead easy. It’s basically a folded pizza. What ever you like on your pizza, can go in these. I used this olive oil bread dough, (I like making up extra bread dough and keeping some in the freezer for a quick weekend lunch.) Rolled out a rough circle, shoved some cooked tomatoes, salami, mozzarella in and then folded it over. Pinch the sides and place on an oiled or lined tray. Into the oven at 240C, cook until golden and sounds hollow.

Eat…when slightly cooler.

Submitted to the lovely yeast spotting.

 

the odd week that was

What an odd week it’s been.

Full of twists and turns.

A week now ending with a shudder and a shake.

Like a clapped out old kombie, driving into park for the last time.

This week, Little Monkey has his legs back. The cast came off early. Which was a bit of a lovely surprise. Xrays showed he was healing well, and after 4 weeks in a double hip spica and nearly a week in traction, he was free. Free. He’s going to have jelly legs for a while and will probably take as long as he was off those legs to get back on them, but… he has legs again.

Goodbye Captain Redlegs, hello Captain….Skinny Whitelegs?

Then he got sick the day after the cast came off.

Happiness and love was sent to me in an envelope.

I lost my house keys.

Someone found my house keys in a shop and I got them back.

Went to a friends wonderful art exhibition opening.

Lost my wallet on the street.

Got my wallet back due to two kind strangers finding and returning it home.

Good news from a friend.

Bad news from another friend.

I made a fish bread.*

…and it was delicious.

 

What’s been happening in your week?

* Using the ever versatile olive oil yeasted dough. To get the scaly look, just use scissors. Now how easy is that.

 

a little sunshine in your Sunflower Bread

You know when you see someone, and all you want to do is pass them on a little sunshine. A little tiny something that might brighten their day?

In two occasions recently I would have happily passed on some sunshine to a little old lady. Rather, two little old ladies.

The first one, just last week. The Monkeys and I were headed to the Post Office. A parcel to be picked up, for an excited Monkey Boy. Outside the Post Office sat two massage chairs. The kind that you see in shopping malls or airports. You place $2 in and get about 10 minutes massage from the vibrating chair. Sitting in the black massage chair sat a little old lady. A fragile looking thing, dressed in many layers despite the warmth of the day. She looked like she had dressed up for her shopping outing. With her necklace wound around her neck, and earrings clasped to her ear lobes. She clutched an oversized shopping bag. Awkwardly holding it close to her chest, head tilted down.

She was asleep. Fast asleep. Obviously that massage was very relaxing as she had dozed off quite comfortably. The boys and I kept going, collected our package, lingered a little in a few shops and then passed her again a little while later. Slumped even lower in her black massage chair, mouth opened slightly. I paused a second. Firstly just to watch her chest rise and fall, and then secondly to appreciate that, no she seemed fine. It was just a different place for a nod off. I wanted to place a blanket on her lap, put my hand on her shoulder, see if she was ok. But I also didn’t want to disturb her.

She really did seem so peacefully asleep.

The second was a few months ago. The Monkeys and I were at the playground. Nobody else was there and they were having a lovely play. Time to finish off and we gathered up our things. As we were collecting everything I noticed in the distance, an elderly lady making her way towards the playground. She had a limp, but it seemed that she was hurrying. The boys and I collected our things, loaded up the pram and headed to the gate. At the same time, the lady reached the gate. As she had got closer, I had really noticed she was hurrying. I opened the gate for her and then shuffled the boys out. The old lady was now alone in the enclosed quiet playground. She looked at me, her face visibly fell, and she slowly limped her way to a seat. It suddenly dawned on me that she had been hurrying to get to us. Presumably for some interaction with the kids. I watched her awkwardly place herself on the park bench looking dejected, all I wanted to do was go back in and send the kids back to clamber around her. We had to go though, we had to get home. So I left that little old lady with the limp to sit there and wait for another child to come to the playground…and it’s tugged at me ever since.

Sunshine Sunflower Bread

(adapted from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)

600gms strong bakers flour

2 tps dried yeast

400mls water

3 tbls olive oil

2 tps salt

extra- cherry tomatoes, chopped fresh rosemary, salt

Pop all ingredients in to mixer, and mix until throughly combined (approximately 5 minutes, until dough is smooth.) Quick knead and pop the dough back in the  mixing bowl, leaving it to prove. Prove for 1.5 hours with two folds in between at the 30 minute marks.

To get the sunflower shape. Divide dough, cutting approximately 1/3 off. Shape it into a circle, flatten slightly and rest in the middle of the tray. Divide the remaining dough into equal parts. Rolling to fat sausage lengths, joining them  to the circle and lightly twisting around. Don’t make it super tight as it will expand when it proves. Let it prove for a further 20 minutes and then place your tomatoes and rosemary in the dough. Pushing down into the dough, so the tomatoes won’t pop out when cooked.  Prove for another 10 minutes. Grind sea salt over the top and place in a hot oven (250C) with steam.

Notes… This olive oil bread recipe is really versatile. I’ve used it quite a few times now, like the Rosemary and Sea salt Grissini. It’s fairly forgiving so you can shape it into anything you want. The Sunshine Sunflower Bread was inspired by the lovely Joanna’s bread. Which made me stop, smile, and brought sunshine to my day.

 

This post submitted to Yeastspotting.


Frugal Friday #2

Its the end of the week again, and the fridge is looking a bit slim. I actually don’t mind when it comes to Frugal Friday, as it’s a bit more of a challenge to make something tasty out of not much.

I have a few different breads on my brain this week. Flicking through the lovely ‘Bourke Street Bakery ‘ cookbook there is much to be inspired by. Each recipe makes my heart swell. If there is any cookbook to lay under my pillow at night this would be the one I would choose.

I have been toying with the idea of making a sourdough starter, but have been holding back as it just seems so much work for something I’m not sure of what I am doing- lazy I know. Also lack of space in this little kitchen. Also lack of time, the monkeys they take a lot of it. Excuses, excuses I know. Who knows maybe next week I will change my mind.

I ever entered a bread phase. All I feel like doing is surrounding myself with beautifully risen doughs. There is something quite soul uplifting in kneading, proving, baking, and then eating a food that has been around for ever. I love the science of it and the fact that one tiny little change can completely change the end result.

I grew up with the smell of fresh bread in the air. My mother would make it every third day for the majority of my child hood. When I think of bread, I think of huge rising mounds of proving doughs, rising on the same table that I made pasta on 2 weeks ago. Filtered winter sun coming through the windows, and the kitchen already warm from loaves already baked. It’s such a feeling of comfort to eat bread still warm from the oven.

So I settled on a olive oil bread recipe in the cook book. A little different to any bread that I had made before, but timing it with a monkey nap I could actually put in the mindful attention that it needed and ‘voila‘. Some happy little bread rolls. Sure they didn’t look exactly like the picture- but thats a only a guide right?… and I reckon the next time they just might though.

So budget meal- yes indeed. Resourcefully using a few ingredients that are floating around the fridge with mutterings of”eat me, please eat me”.

Leek and Potato Soup– In a pot put a lovely dollop of olive oil, 2x sliced leeks, 4x potatoes, some vegetable stock, a little  seasoning- and whizz it up. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Serve with some delicious warm bread.