Monday, 8 June 2009

Recipe Time

I was just writing out this recipe to send my sister - it's the parmesan and rosemary focaccia that I made the weekend before last when we had such hot weather. The recipe originally came from one of Anna Thomas' books - From Anna's Kitchen. I reduced the parmesan by about half, and had to adjust the size as European ovens tend to be smaller than American ones. The first time I made this it was with the tail end of some Parmesan which I have a feeling came from Italy via London. Since, unfortunately, it was finished, I stretched to a lovely fresh, but expensive, wedge from M&S. It seems to be a bit saltier, and without the lovely granules, but still pretty good.
Parmesan and Rosemary Focaccia.
1/2 sachet instant yeast
1 lb strong flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp fruity olive oil ( I used Greek for this)
1 tbsp chopped FRESH rosemary
2 oz freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp salt crystals or flakes.
Mix yeast, flour salt, 1 tbsp of the oil, the rosemary and 11/2 oz of the Parmesan together in a large bowl. Add 1/2 pt lukewarm water, and knead or beat with dough hooks. It should be a soft dough. When it's smooth and elastic, put in a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or so, till doubled in size.
Oil a large baking sheet - mine was about 13" square - and gently pat the dough to fit out to the edges. (Original recipe says a 16 x 12 oval, but our oven isn't that big.)
Cover with a tea-towel and leave for another half hour. The oven should be heated to 200C so that it's hot at the end of the half hour.
Brush the bread gently with the remaining oil, and press your fingers into it to dimple the surface. Sprinkle with the salt and remaining half ounce of Parmesan.
Bake for about half an hour or so till golden brown.

On Friday it was our anniversary. Easy to cook meal was steak, onions, Russian Hill potatoes and sugar snaps, with a very nice Italian wine - a 2004 Barolo. Chocolate mousse to follow;
Chocolate Mousse.
4 ounces dark, good quality chocolate.
1 ounce butter - unsalted if possible but not necessary
4 eggs, separated
Finely grated zest from one orange.
Gently melt chocolate and butter over hot water and cool.
Beat the egg yolks at high speed till thick and creamy - at least 5 minutes. Fold in the chocolate.
Beat the whites till stiff but not dry.
Fold a quarter of the whites into the yolk and chocolate mix, and then fold this into the remaining whites.
It's meant to serve six - I made 4, because I was using some little teacups that I'd bought in a Japanese shop in Paris.

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