Foccacia



These instructions will give a loaf to serve around lunchtime. If you'd like to serve it for dinner, make the poolish in the evening, mix the main dough in the morning and pour into the baking tin. Place it in the fridge for at least 10 hours, and then cook.
Poolish
2 cups bread flour
500mls water
Pinch of yeast
Main dough
2 cups bread flour
150mls warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon yeast
The night before mix the poolish ingredients together in a large plastic container with a lid. You may need to use your hand (washed, of course) to mix the poolish well. When finished scrape the dough off your hand back into the container.
Place the lid on, leaving a small opening at one corner. Leave out of the fridge overnight.
The next morning add the main dough ingredients to the poolish. Again, you’ll probably need to use your hand to do this. It can take up to 5 mins to get it mixed in properly. The dough will be lumpy at this point, and very slack, but all the flour should be well moistened. It will be too wet to knead.
Let the dough rest for 10 mins. Then wet one hand (this stops the dough sticking to your hand) and slide it half way under the dough. Lift the dough up until you feel resistance, then fold this part of the dough back over itself. Turn the container 90 degrees, wet your hand again and repeat. Do this a total of 4 times, almost forming a square. (Though the dough will not look square. It will be round.)
Let the dough rest another 10 minutes and repeat. And then rest another 10 mins and repeat. So you do the stretch and fold proceedure a total of 3 times. This aligns the gluten strands and you will see the dough become smoother the more times you do it. This all sounds way more complicated to describe than to do. It’s actually quite simple. You just make a square with the dough 3 times.
Line a shallow baking tray with silicone paper.
Allow the dough to rest a few more minutes, then plop it onto the baking tray. Wet your hands for a final time and push and smooth the dough to reach the ends of the baking tray. If the dough seems reluctant to stretch, let it rest a little longer. Press your fingers deep into the dough, touching right to the bottom of the pan. Do this about 10 times to make 40 dimples. This is what gives foccacia it’s charachteristic lumpy appearance.
Set aside to rise for anything from an hour to five hours. If you want to leave it longer than that you could refrigerate it for part of the time. No need to cover it.
An hour before you want to bake it, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  
Drizzle 3-6 tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the dough, being careful not to actually touch and therefore deflate the dough. I like to sprinkle it with rosemary too, but this isn’t necessary
Bake for 25-35 mins, until golden brown on the top. Check it after 20 mins - you may need to rotate the pan if it’s cooking unevenly.

Coffee Toffee adapted from Smitten Kitten (in metric)

I think it might be nice to try 1 cup slivered almonds stirred into the toffee just after it's reached it's maximum temperature.
250g butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses (can swap corn syrup or honey)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
170g or 1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (toasted, skinned and cooled) or another nut of your choice
Line a small baking sheet (mine are 9×13, to fit in my puny oven) with parchment paper or a silicon mat and set aside.
Melt butter, brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, salt and espresso together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk (one that reaches into the corners is especially helpful here) until the temperature approaches 120C at which point you should stir constantly until it reaches 148C.
Pour immediately into the prepared baking sheet — you can spread it more evenly with a offset or silicon spatula but don’t worry if you have neither.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let them sit for a minute until soft, then spread the chocolate evenly over the candy base.
Sprinkle the chocolate with chopped hazelnuts and then, if you’re as impatient as we are, you can slide the sheet onto a cooling rack in the freezer until the toffee is set.
Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. If you’re kitchen runs warm, you might prefer to keep it in the fridge so the chocolate doesn’t get soft.

Sauce base from America's Test Kitchen

1 small onion, roughly, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
250g mushrooms, halved
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
250g minced beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
500mls red wine
1 litre beef broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 packages unflavored powdered gelatin (5 teaspoons)
Method
Process onion, carrot, mushrooms, and garlic in food processor into 1/8-inch pieces, 10 to 12 one-second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until simmering; add beef and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until beef is well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add vegetable mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until any released moisture has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
Add wine and bring to simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits.
Add beef broth, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns; bring to boil.
Reduce heat and gently boil, occasionally scraping bottom and sides of pot, skimming fat from surface, until reduced to 2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.
Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over small saucepan, pressing on solids with rubber spatula to extra as much liquid as possible (you should have about 1 cup stock).
Sprinkle gelatin over stock and stir to dissolve.
Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring stock to boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. (Leftovers can be frozen for up to a month.)

Naomi's Favourite BBQ Sauce

1 onion finely chopped and fried with 
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup passata
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
2tbsp vinegar
1tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Finely chop onion and fry until softened, about 5 mins
Add 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and fry until fragrant, 1 minute
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes

Meatballs with Pomegranate, Yogurt and Tahini

This recipe includes two tricks to keep the meatballs moist - a ‘panade’ made of breadcrumbs and milk, and adding gelatine. And as you mix the seasonings into the meat you knead the meat, causing the proteins stick together and create a cohesive texture. 
1kg mince
2 slices bread
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and allspice
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stalks removed
½ bunch mint, leaves only
100 mls milk or water
Pomegranate molasses (optional)
Tahini Yogurt Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed
Lemon juice and salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together using a whisk or a fork,
Method
Using the cutting blade on a food processor, process the bread until it forms crumbs.
Add garlic and dry ingredients and process again.
Add parsley and mint and process until finely chopped.
Add milk and process until it achieves a thick paste.
Remove this from the processor and in a large bowl combine the bread mixture with 1/3 of the mince until it is thoroughly incorporated.
Add half the remaining mixture and mix again. Then repeat with the last third of the mince. Mixing the seasonings into the meat takes a while.
Roll into balls. I find this makes about 70 small balls that are just right for a single bite. Alternatively, form into sausage shapes or make larger hamburger style patties.
Place on oven tray lined with baking paper and brush with pomegranate molasses.
Bake in the oven at 120C for 10 mins, or until just cooked depending on size. If you see juice coming out of them, they are already overcooked.
Alternatively you could cook them on the bbq or in a frypan.
To serve, place meatballs on a plate and dot the yogurt sauce over. Then sprinkle with a combination of whatever is available - pomegranate seeds, ground sumac, parsley or pistachios. 
Drizzle with a little more pomegranate molasses.  
Spear each meatball with a toothpick and serve.

Granny's Date and Ginger slice

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 185g butter, melted
  • 1¼ cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped crystallised ginger
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C. Lightly grease a 20 x 30cm slice pan and line it with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, dates and walnuts. Stir in butter, sugar, egg and ginger.
  3. Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked when tested. Let cool in the pan. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.

Ricotta and Rosemary Bread Pudding

400g loaf white sourdough
200g ricotta
90g parmesan, or vegetarian substitute, grated
1½ tsp chopped rosemary leaves
20g chives, finely chopped
800ml milk
250ml  cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp nutmeg
8 medium eggs
Olive oil, to finish
Place bread in 80C oven for 1 hour.
Combine ricotta, parmesan, chives and rosemary.
Spread cheese mixture onto bread.
Combine milk, cream, eggs, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Prepare a 22cm x 29cm ovenproof dish by buttering and flouring, or lining with baking paper.
Place the bread cheese side up in the dish, overlapping and standing them up to fit.
Pour the egg mixture over until it just reaches the top. Allow to stand at least and hour. The bread will soak up the liquid, so top it up before you cook it. But don't cover the top of the bread. Part of the charm of this dish is a crunchy top.
Bake at 180C for 30 mins, or until the top is crusty. Be careful not to overcook because the egg mixture will separate.

Cream of Lettuce and Pea Soup

It sounds odd with cooked iceberg lettuce, but is actually one of my favourite soups of all time.  Serve either hot or cold. Adapted from Gretta Anna Teplitzky

250g frozen baby peas
1 large potato, peeled and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 iceberg lettuce, cut into 8 pieces
750mls chicken stock
Juice ½ lemon
300mls cream
2 tablespoons chives
Mint from 4 sprigs
Place stock, onion, potato and lemon juice into a saucepan and simmer for 15 mins, or until potato is tender.
Add peas and lettuce and simmer just until the lettuce is soft.
Puree in a blender, then pass through a seive.
Add cream and serve hot or chilled.

Cheese and Chive Boukouris

Makes 12 small or 24 tiny cheesy buns. I like the tiny ones because you get more crispy crust. These come with a serious addiction warning. This recipe is easily doubled or even tripled.
Best straight from the oven.

50g cold butter, cut into small cubes a little larger than a pea
40g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
40g feta, crumbled
100g plain flour (not self raising)
Pinch of salt
2 tbs chopped chives or 2 spring onions chopped
100g sour cream
Milk to glaze (optional)
Method
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Combine all ingredient except sour cream. Don’t allow it to warm in your hands too much.
Add sour cream and mix gently with your hands until dough just comes together. Don’t overwork the dough or you will warm the butter and toughen the gluten.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it down to a rough rectangle (ie one side longer than the other) about one centimetres thick (roughly the height of a fingernail). Cut the long side into 4, and the short side into 3 to give 12 squares. Cut these squares diagonally to give 24 triangles. Of course you can make any shape or size you like  - squares or circles.
Brush the tops with milk if you want them to be shiny, but this isn’t necessary. Place onto baking tray and into the oven for 10 mins.
Turn front to back, reduce oven temp to 200C and bake another 6 mins or until golden.
Adapted from Honey & Co. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Friands

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup (125g) ground hazelnuts, toasted
  • 150g melted butter, cooled
  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups (240g) icing sugar, sifted
  • Choc chips to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced. Lightly grease 12 friand molds.
  2. Lightly beat egg whites. Stir in ground hazelnuts and melted butter. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and icing sugar into the mixture. Stir through choc chips if using.
  3. Divide mixture among prepared pans (approx ¼ cup mixture into each one). 
  4. Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes until cooked through (when a skewer is inserted into centre, it should come out clean).

Romesco - Tomato and Capsicum Puree

This recipe is greater than the sum of it's part. Magnificent flavour and easy preparation make it a favourite. Use it as a dip for bread or a condiment for meat or vegetables. It's especially good in late summer when tomatoes and red capsicums are at their peak.
  • Ingredients

    • 2 red onions
    • 2 capsicums
    • 4 tomatoes
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 40g ground almonds, hazelnuts or even cashews (toasted optional)
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 slices sandwich bread
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

    Instructions

    1. Peel onions and cut in half.
    2. Cut core out of tomato and cut in half.
    3. Place onions, tomatoes and whole capsicums onto baking tray lined with baking paper.
    4. Put into oven at 250 C for 30 mins, or until cooked and charred.
    5. Lift skins off tomatoes, remove cores from capsicum and peel.
    6. Place all ingredients in food processor and process.
    7. Check seasoning for salt and vinegar. Add more if necessary.
    8. Serve as a sauce for meats, or as a dip.

Lemon Cheese from Val

5 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon rind
125g butter, chopped into small pieces

Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Beat together.
Stir constantly over high heat until thickened, about 6-7 mins.
Pour into sterilised jars if you intend to keep it for longer than about a week. 

Chinese Braised Potatoes

450g potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½ cm or ¼ inch slices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp dry sherry
(Optional: 4 tablespoons sliced spring onions and/or 3 Lap Cheong.)
Stack the potato slices and cut them into matchsticks. Soak them in a bowl of cold water with a teaspoon of salt for 5-10 minutes, then drain thoroughly and blot them dry with kitchen paper.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium heat and gently fry garlic and ginger.
Add potatoes and stir fry for 1 minute, until coated with oil and seasonings.
Add sherry, salt, sugar and Lap Cheong if using. Stir and cover. Cook over medium heat until water is evaporated. Check potatoes for doneness. If undercooked add a little more water, cover and cook until tender but not falling apart
Drizzle with sesame oil and spring onions if using. Serve. 
, Adapted from Ken Hom