Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Shallot and Garlic, Olives and Sesame Focaccia and a Blogger meeting
One makes the most unexpected connections while blogging - kindred spirits bond over stories of food events and falafel, cakes and bakes and the all consuming nature of food blogging. One such connection I made was with Deeba of Passionate about Baking - that delightful blog with the most mouth watering and scrumptious looking baked stuff - this beautiful chocolate strawberry combination even won a prize on the Serendipity Bake off!
So we exchanged notes and e-mails, Deeba made me part of the Arusuvai chain and we often talked of meeting up since we were in the same city (well not technically but atleast geographically!). And last week I actually did go over and meet her in her beautiful home - we chatted and laughed and then chatted some more between eating (read devouring!) a lovely chocolate cake and some chips with this amazingly creamy dip!! Thanks Deeba - it was wonderful meeting you and I hope we can do this again!
While over there, I told her I wanted to try out the focaccia bread she had made sometime back - in fact wanted to bake it for a party my neighbour was having that weekend. Tips and suggestions were noted and I set out baking this one day before (in case of any mishaps!). I also referred to this post by Susan of Farmgirl Fare which was based on Stephen's recipe for Quick Rosemary Focaccia.
I baked twice - the first time I made one big portion with olives and sesame seeds
and a smaller portion with shallots and garlic. The second time I repeated the big portion with olives and sesame seeds and braided the smaller portion into a plait which I kept for breakfast for ourselves the next day. Both times the dough rose beautifully and I thanked the yeast Gods LOL! These breads were meant to be served as finger food with three dips so I made them a bit crisp, the first time baking them at a higher temperature than the second time.
The braid came out beautifully and I spent a good deal of time admiring my handiwork....sigh "pride comes before a fall" my mother used to say....I made the cardinal mistake of trying to transfer it to another baking pan before putting it into the oven and it was a mess by the end :( Lesson well learnt.
Changes/additions I made:
1. The shallot garlic topping I made by sauteeing one cup of sliced shallots along with 5-6 slice garlic flakes in olive oil and adding a dash of chilli powder and a pinch of cumin powder to it. Cool and spread evenly over the focaccia just before baking it.
2. For the other breads, I simply put in one slice of olive into each dimple and then sprinkled toasted sesame seeds.
Changes I will make next time:
1. Don't spread the dough as much as I did this time and bake it for a lesser time.
2. Shape the bread on the baking tray it is to be baked in!
The party by the way rocked - my friend A and her husband upstairs did a marvellous job hosting the 'do and it went on into the wee hours - long time since I have been up that late other than for nursing my daughter when she isn't well!!
Here is part of the spread with another of the cooks (she made the melt-in-your-mouth kababs, delicious brownies and two of the dips)
Mini idlis smeared with molagapodi, two types of focaccia, a cream cheese dip, a paneer and capsicum dip and a mayo,corn and tomato dip, pita bread with hummus (recipe to follow) and chocolate brownie pieces.