Focaccia with rosemary
½ package (3.5 gram) dried yeast
100 ml water
1 teaspoon dried and chopped rosemary
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for drizzling
½ cup flour
½ cup 00 flour ( fine Italian flour like you use for pasta dough)
Start with putting the yeast and sugar in 100 ml luke warm water, set it aside until the yeast tries to crawl out of your cup, about 5 to 10 minutes. In a wide bowl mix the flour, salt and rosemary. Make a well in the middle and enter two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the yeast mixture in the well too and start stirring carefully with a wooden spoon, constantly nibbling some flour from the sides of the well with your spoon. When you can’t handle it with the spoon any more, change to working with your hands. Knead in all your energy, aggression and love; knead, push and flip it over until the dough is soft, elastic and still a little bit sticky about 5 to 10 minutes. If it is so sticky you can’t get it from your hands, add some flour, is it to dry, add some water. Note that it is always easier to add some extra flour than extra water. Now cover the dough in some olive oil, put it back into the bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Try to find a nice and warm spot in the house to let it rise for about one hour or until doubled in size. Take the dough out of the bowl and punch the air out of it; fold it a couple of times but make sure the seams will be at the bottom of your bread, this shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes. You can make it in any shape you like, just make sure it’s not too high, say about two centimeters. Brush a baking tray with oil and put the bread on it. Cover it with the damp cloth and let it rise again until doubled in size. In this second rise you can go back to it twice to push the dough down a bit with the tips of your fingers. This will give it the holes which also add to the focaccia look. This rise is very important; the air that forms in this rise will stay in the bread and make the bread soft. Preheat the oven to 220C. Drizzle some olive oil on the bread; it will find its way into the holes. Now put the bread in the oven, be very gentle, and don’t slam the oven door on it. After 5 minutes turn the heat to 190C and bake until golden brown, for about 15 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, wait a little until you take it from the tray, it can stick, but will be easily removed when cooled down a bit. Let it cool down further on a rack.
Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese Salad
200 gram spinach
2 or 3 tablespoons balsamico
4 tablespoons red wine
Soft goat cheese
1 cardamom pod
1 teaspoon date syrup
5 fresh figs
1 small hand of sun flower seeds
Take a wide pan and put the balsamico in it. Add a splash of red wine (about 4 tablespoons), a cardamom pod, the date syrup and some fresh grinded black pepper. Let it bubble and reduce just a little. Cut the figs in 4 or 6 parts depending on the size. Put them cut side down in the pan and let the fluids reduce some more. It will caramelize a bit due to the syrup but don’t make it to thick; it will serve as your salad dressing as well. Wash, dry and cut the spinach, add the figs, crumble some goat cheese, sprinkle the sunflower seeds and voila!
If you have some dates and figs left, try this date and fig cake.
Fig and date cake
½ cup flour
½ cup almond powder
½ cup cane sugar
3 tablespoons brown caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
5 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cut the figs and the dates in half. Mix the flour, the almond powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and lemon zest in a bowl.
Separate the egg yolks from the white. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes creamy and light. Mix this with the flour, milk, lemon juice until smooth. Put the butter in the cake tin and put it in the oven. When the butter is melted, take it out of the oven and evenly sprinkle the brown caster sugar in the tin, add the figs, cut side down in the tin and the dates cut side up. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Mix the egg whites with the salt until foamy; carefully fold the egg whites in the flour mixture. Try to handle it as little as possible so the mixture stays light. Take the tin out of the oven and pour the mixture on top. Put it back in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When ready let it stand in the tin for 5 minutes, now turn up side down on a rack to let it cool further.