There is a part of me who believes that one of the reasons why I am not married to the mister yet is the fact that he can’t live on my bakes. It surprises me to no end each time someone says that he’s lucky to have found someone who bakes, because they somehow equate baking to heavenly-bestowed kitchen abilities, that of which I am horridly lacking in. Unlike most of my peers who seem very much comfortable by the warmth of the stove, the need to actually make my own meals never arose, much thanks to the resident master chef of the household; my mother.
But what happens when the menu for the day comprises of dishes that this fussy eater chooses not to put on her plate?
She still turns to baking. [Well, primarily.]
LUNCH: A focaccia sandwich of scrambled eggs with paprika and pepper, topped with cherry tomato and cucumber slices.
Ever since I dabbled in yeasted fluffs which soon became personal favourites of the household;– namely the soft pretzels and cinnamon rolls;– I had been itching to strike off another item on my yeast journey. And since most of the bookmarks required either bread flour or very long proofing durations, I turned to this simple focaccia bread that would be on my table in under an hour.
Focaccia. In an hour. Have I gotten your attention yet?
DINNER: A bowl of warm cream of mushroom soup topped with parsley flakes, served with warmed focaccia slices.
The best thing about focaccia is its versatility. I only topped mine with chopped rosemary this time, but have a look at the different toppings you can choose from;– herbs, caramelised onions, tomatoes, cheese, and even blueberries!
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
(adapted from here)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried basil flakes
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
- In large bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugar, yeast, rosemary and basil.
- Mix in vegetable oil and water.
- When dough has pulled together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat with oil.
- Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place 25 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- Punch dough down, place on greased baking sheet. Pat dough into 1/2-inch thick rectangle.
- Using your knuckle, make indentations in the dough about 1/2-inch apart, then prick dough with fork.
- Brush top with olive oil, then sprinkle with more rosemary if you wish.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
(adapted from here)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped (I used a mix of button and shitake)
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup flour (add a few tbsp more if you prefer a thicker consistency)
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup thickened cream
- Lightly saute mushrooms in butter.
- Add flour and stir constantly for about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add stock, stirring until all is incorporated.
- Simmer about 10 minutes.
- Add cream, stir and serve.