Lets make Focaccia

The bank holiday seemed an excuse to spend some time in the kitchen practising some of my new skills learnt on my recent foodie vacation.

I’ve had a go at bread before but usually use a bread machine for the kneading part, so Focaccia would be perfect as its not a ‘kneaded’ bread!!

I think Anna-Rita, Guiliano and Angelo would be proud of me, I got some fresh yeast from our local Tesco’s bakery (they do have at least one use!), added it to the warm water and sugar and put it to one side for 10 minutes to let the yeast start to feed.

In the trusty Kenwood bowl, Tipo ’00’ flour, milk and olive oil were added and the mchine put into a ‘canter’!

Once the ingediants are combined and you can see some ‘life’ in the yeast/water sugar mix, add it to the bowl and continue to mix.  The bowl on the left is after the 1st rise, as it was a sunny afternoon I put the bowl on the window ledge and let nature do its stuff.

I was thinking of a nice light dessert and remembered the Lemon Tart that was part of the ‘Italian Experience’, and the sweet confit of lemon that was served with it. Out with the Mandolin and two lemons later the slices were ready. The method I choose (thanks Google), was to pour hot water over the lemons first and allow to cool, do this twice before making a 50/50 sugar/water mix in a saucepan and simmering on a gentle ‘bubble’ for 1 1/2 hours. The soaking in hot water apparently removes any bitterness. You should end up with a jar like this.

Back to the Focaccia, after the batter has risen, add loads of olive oil to a tray, and also cover your hands in it too, tip the mix into the tray and gentle spread out to the sides, I used a combination of ‘exotic’ cherry tomato’s and Rosemary to decorate the bread and enhance the flavour. Mine looked like this when ready. I let it rise for about another hour before putting in the oven to bake.

I had picked up some Veal from our trusty farm shop to make Braciole, a stuffed meat dish that is used to flavour a tomato based sauce that goes with pasta such as Orecchiette. It needs to be flattened out to make small ‘escalopes’, stuffed with two cheeses, I used Gran Padano and Parmesan and some fresh flat leaf Parsley. Dont forget to season with Pepper, you don’t need to add salt due to the cheese. Once wrapped the rolls are secured with a couple of cocktail sticks.

Fry the Braciole in a saucepan, in Olive Oil until sealed all over, pour in a jar of Passata and simmer for 90 Minutes untill everthing is tender and the sauce reduced.  The Sauce is served with the Orecchiette.  I will talk more about the lemon dessert another day as I managed to drop mine as I was getting it out of the oven!

So there we have it, Braciole, Focaccia and Orecchiette in tomato sauce.
Delizioso, Buon appetito!

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