When my inner Earth Mother and Domestic Goddess take over, I am duty-bound to obey their wishes and sashay kitchen-wards in search of culinary derring-do with which to satisfy their needs. Today they forced me into making focaccia. This is an experience from which I shall probably never recover and neither will my kitchen utensils, worktop, mixing bowl, several tea towels, and the dog.
Buoyed up by GBBO and channelling Ma'am Mezza Bezza I searched the tinter web for a suitable recipe and who else better to take instruction from than Mr Hollywood himself. How I wish I hadn't bothered.
The recipe calls for strong white bread flour. Well I had some of this; not enough, but some. Don't tell Paul, but I added some self raising flour to make up the difference. This was probably my first mistake. The recipe also calls for Olive oil. Well I had some of this; not enough, but some. Don't tell Paul, but I added some vegetable oil to make up the difference. This was probably my second mistake.
And so the process began. Yeast, water, salt and oil added and mixed. And, erm, mixed. Good grief. It began like gloop of the gloopiest nature and eventually turned into sticky paper mâché. I tried using a wooden spoon. I tried using my hands. Big mistake. HUGE!! The bloody stuff stuck to everything. I was dreading anyone knocking on the door, or being overcome by an urgent need to wee cos quite frankly me and the mixing bowl weren't parting company at any time soon. After about ten minutes and being instructed by Le Hollywood to stretch the dough and fold it under itself ready to prove at this point the whole shocking mess nearly ended up being drop kicked over gnarly neighbour's fence. I scraped the worst of the gloop off my hands and consulted the tinterweb again to see what I had done wrong.
Apparently I had done nothing wrong (except perhaps the heinous crime of bastardising Paul's holy grail of focaccia-ness with substitute and substandard ingredients). The dough is renowned for being sticky and gloopy and notoriously difficult to handle and all I needed to do was to coat my hands in oil.
WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU BLOODY WELL SUGGEST THAT THEN BBC WEBSITE?
Here it is before proving
And here it is after proving! Not much difference but it did go all soft and puffy.
Before oven, sprinkled with garlic salt and a little rosemary.
And on checking? Hmm. Not a bad effort all things considered. No soggy bottom. Not a bad 'bake'!
Shame I couldn't have any. My veggie bake was lovely though! (Yes I did cook it!).
See you soon x