Italy again – Foccacia!

Who does not love foccacia!?!? The soft interior, crunchy exterior, the salty bite – the olive oil! It evokes such joy and yet is such a simple recipe with few ingredients! I have taken a basic recipe I found and added some herbs and red onion…My 5 year old helped me make it and all three children, husband and friends devoured it in about 5 minutes! Always happy to see an empty plate – must make double portion next time!

It is, of course, Italian – most wonderful things are… The dough is very similar to that of pizza and relatively wet – which creates the crispness once baked. It is most commonly made with rosemary and sea salt  (recipe found in a Danish magazine) – however I made it with fresh sage and red onion. Delicious! Other great ways to make it is with fresh tomato, with black olives, slices of aubergine…only your imagination can stop you!

Hope you enjoy!

Foccacia with Sage and Red Onion (adapted from above recipe)

350g white flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
20g fresh yeast
210ml lukewarm water
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Sage leaves
Red onion slices
Sea Salt
Black pepper
Olive Oil
 
  • Place the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix in the lukewarm water slowly whilst stirring
  • Add the 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Once the mixture starts to combine, tip unto your work surface and knead for a good 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth
  • Place dough back into the bowl and cover the bowl with a lightly oiled piece of cling film – leave somewhere warm to rise for about 1 hour (or until doubled in size)
  • Lightly oil a shallow round cake tin
  • Knock the dough back on a slightly floured surface and make a relatively fat, large circle shape with it – place this into the oiled cake tin
  • Cover the cake tin with the cling film and leave to rise once again – until doubled in size (does not take more than 20-30 minutes)
  • Now – this is fun – poke holes in the dough with your fingers – cover again once done and let rise for a final 10 minutes
  • Preheat your oven to 200C and slice the red onion and sage leaves thinly while you wait
  • Sprinkle the leaves and onion, salt and pepper onto the dough – finish off by drizzling the olive oil over it
  • Bake in the warm oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Cool for about 5 minutes and serve warm (with a cold glass of white wine!)

Rye #4 – Stress Free Carrot and Rye Breakfast Rolls

The reason these are called stress free buns is that you make the dough the day before and leave it to cool overnight – then grab it when you want it, shape your rolls and place them in a cold oven, turn it on and cook for 35 minutes – the result being amazing! While they are cooking you can go for a short run, take a shower or bath, play with the children, read the paper…what ever you fancy! And when your timer goes off, breakfast is served – stress free! Combine with a big mug of coffee, some orange juice, slice of cheese with a dollop of strawberry compote…heaven!!!!

As with all my rye recipes they are jam-packed with goodness! The seeds and carrot only add to it – and the children absolutely adore them.

I like to make the dough on a Friday afternoon – sometimes a double portion – then Saturday and Sunday breakfast becomes a treat and a really lovely time where we can sit together as a family and enjoy. There is nothing like a freshly baked roll in the morning.

This recipe is a mix of my Dad’s and my Mum’s – thank you both!

300ml (ish) luke warm water
15g fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp dry yeast
Drizzle of honey
250g rye flour
150g plain flour
1.5 carrots – grated
Handful sunflower seeds or more
Salt
1 tbsp olive oil
 
  • Pour luke warm water into a big bowl and dissolve the yeast – fresh or dry – in it with a wooden spoon
  • Drizzle honey in and stir
  • Add the flour – both types – stir to combine. What you want is a dough that is sticky but not runny. It should make your hands messy…but not too wet. You definitely do not want it too dry. So add the flour slowly and stir as you go.

  • Throw in the grated carrot and seeds, season with salt and add a bit of olive oil – about 1 tbsp
  • Put a lid or tea towel over the bowl and leave in a cool place. If you have a larder, great, if not the fridge is good. Walk away!
  • The day after, the dough will have risen and be spongy, it may also smell slightly sour and yeasty. That is fine! It will not have risen a lot as the rye flour is heavy.

  • Shape small dough balls with your hands and place the rolls on a lined baking tray – as mentioned earlier the dough will be sticky. Rolling each bun in a little flour will make it easier and neater – for a more rustic appearance, see note further down!

  • Pop in a cold oven, turn it to 225C and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating

If you are lazy, or do not want to get your hands sticky, you can simply drop the batter onto the baking tray with a wooden spoon – this will give you a more rustic looking bun and it does not affect the flavour at all!