Ligurian Focaccia with Kimberly & Aimee

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focaccia_salvialimone
focaccia_salvialimone

Focaccia Ligure is for my region what sushi is for Japan. Snack, to-go lunch, sharing bites at the brewery, restaurant side dish. It can be very simple or topped with Mediterranean roasted vegetables. In any case it is a staple of our food tradition. No day spent on the beach can be without focaccia. Personally my favourite memory is eating it on the shore sitting in the water.

This special one I made with my fav buddies Kimberly and Aimee. Itis so yummy and colourful. There are few twist to the original recipe to make it work with a house oven.
Us three are such a great team together, it is incredible how we complete each other skills. To the point we are now working on a (some) retreat in South Europe. But meanwhile with Kimberly we are hosting a supper club in south London (we are southern gall so we like to go south all the time, maybe we chase the sun) the gathering is on the 27th of April 2017. So if you want to try our food and meet us come along!

This focaccia is so yummy and colourful. There are few twist to the original recipe to make it work with a house oven. Also in Italy we have dry sourdough powder, and dry barley malt powder, both totally natural and very handy to make a quick sourdough focaccia. In England I use instead fresh brew yeast, is a little square you can find in the fridge at Whole Food Market (I use Rapunzel); but you can definitely use the quick dry brew yeast ( I use Doves Farm).

Instead of the dry malt I quickly heat up some rice or barley malt to prevent its live bacteria to ruin the baking. You can skip it and use instead half a tea spoon of an other healthy sugar to just help the rising, but malt gives to the focaccia a nice golden colour and crunchy edges.

Try this easy recipe yourself and let me know your results in the comment section!

focaccia_salvialimone
focaccia_salvialimone
focaccia_salvialimone

Preparation Time: 15 minutes + 15 minutes
Resting and Rising Time: 40 minutes + 25 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10 -12 as a starter/snack

Ingredients for the focaccia dough:
1 Tbsp barley malt heated up before using it ( it gives a golden colour and crispy texture).
40g fresh brew yeast (rapunzel) or 1 tsp quick dry yeast (I use doves farm)
enough luke warm water to give the dough a soft, sticky texture (start carefully with 100ml and take it from there)
250g spelt or wholemeal flour
250g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for the baking process:
120ml cup water
120ml cup oil
2 teaspoon fine salt + some salt flakes

Ingredients for the toppings:
3-4 large red onions (they diminish in size to a third when cooked) 
a pinch of salt
olive oil for pan frying
1-2 handfuls of washed rocket leaves
a sprinkle of rosemary

 

Instructions: 
Dissolve the pre heated malt in around 100ml of luke warm water and add the fresh yeast. Or follow the maker direction for the instant yeast.
Put the 2 flours and the salt in a large bowl and mix until combined. Then make a hole in the centre of the bowl continaing the flour and fill it with the the oil and the yeast/barley/water mixture. Start kneading and add more lukewarm water very carefully until you have the right consistency. Then knead the dough until a silky, soft and slightly sticky dough has been formed (around 5 minutes or so)

Leave the dough to rise in the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen cloth for 40 min in the oven with the oven lights on. The lights create a bit of heat in the oven which will allow the dough to rise perfectly. 

After the 40 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, kneed it again briefly and then place it on a large baking sheet or tray (which has been covered with generously oiled non-stick baking paper) stretching the dough into a flat bread shape, about 1,5/2 cm thick. Leave to rise again in a warm spot for about 25 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 200C/390F. 

Before placing your focaccia dough in the oven, using all 5 of your fingers on 1 hand, make deep holes in the dough. Stretch the dough as you make the holes so you "brake" it, and the holes do not close again during the cooking. Then quickly whisk together the 120ml water/120ml olive oil /salt and cover the dough with this liquid, filling all holes 8 I know looks like a lot of liquid to put on top but trust me it is needed). Place the dough in the hot oven, over the medium rack, for about 25/30 minutes or until just golden brown.

Whilst the dough is in the oven prepare the toppings by peeling and then cutting the red onions finely in half moon. Fry them in a dash of olive oil and pinch of salt, over a low to medium heat until soft and translucent, around 10 minutes or so. Adjust salt to taste.

When the focaccia is ready, remove it from the oven, cover it with pan fried red onion, fresh rocket leaves, a sprinkle of rosemary and salt flakes (more oil) and enjoy!

Love Silvia xx

focaccia_salvialimone

Bergamot and and Tea infused cake & Wabisabi Styling Workshop with Isabella

I am behind excitement to announce my first Workshop of Styling+Making Series on the 27 of June 2017, in collaboration with my friend and maker Isabella.
We brought together a one day Wabisabi Workshop project combining hands on styling techniques with the making of natural rope trivets, the perfect addition to any kind of styling background.

Isabella is half Italian and half Japanese bringing to our venture the Wabisabi philosophy of her making. The precision of her work with the imperfections of the natural material. Her detailed pieces are a gem of intricate linearities.
Wabisabi is in her as much as the passion for good food, that of course, we share.
Isabella is an Interior Designer and she holds various Creative Workshops inLondon.

Was a long time I had in mind this project and the styling+making series, and commencing this adventure with someone so skilful and sweet like Isabella is certainly all I could wish. And all you could possibly ask for. She is always the perfect host and conversations with her are flowing with ease.

Our workshop is aiming to be a gathering of like-minded creatives, a slow-day of learning and connecting along delicious treats.
We will eat vegan food, in its finest version, and of course we will slice the cake from the shooting session. Because in my house the cake is always mandatory.

Julia Child: 'A party without cake is just a meeting'

And surely we are not talking about a mere meeting here.

We choose to keep our workshop small, having 6 people only to give the best opportunities to learn, exchange stories and relax.

Clapham studio is in a quirky old business centre,  factories have been replaces by studios and ateliers. Inside the number 7 metal door you find a welcoming lie- back ambiance with a taste for reclaimed wooden surfaces, just the one kind we like the most.
Hanging plants and walls covered in props, finish the interiors. And most important of all a large industrial window allows the best natural light to come in.

Ingredients for the sponge (makes 4 layers):

1+1/2 cups of white unbleached flour
1+1/2 cups of whole spelt flour
2 cups coconut raw sugar.
5 tsp organic baking powder
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp of unrefined salt
1/4 tsp of cardamom
1/2 cup light extra virgin olive oil
1+1/2 cups of lukewarm black tea
1/2 cup bergamot juice
the zest of one or two bergamot (it is possible to use lemons or oranges in place of bergamot for this recipe)

Ingredients for the filling:

1 can coconut milk (refrigerated)
1 bergamot juice plus zest
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1 to 2tbsp Xylitol
1 tbsp arrowroot
pinch of salt

Ingredients for the icing:

300 gr coconut cream whipped up
120 gr cashew soaked
4-6 tsp powdered Xylitol
2 tbsp melted cocoa butter


Instructions for the sponge:

Pre-heat the oven at 180C/355F and grease 4 tins of 16 cm diameter.

Take all the dry ingredients from the cake and mix well in a large bowl.
Cover with the wet ingredients and bergamot zest, and gently combine all well.
Folding them gently.
When the batter is ready spread it evenly across the 4 cake forms, place in the preheated oven and cook for approximately 35 min or until fully baked through (do stick test).

Once cooked, let the cake layers cool down for about 10 min, then remove from tins and leave on a rack. Let them cool completely before starting to assemble the layered cake.


Whilst the cake is cooking prepare the filling and the icing.

Filling ( bergamot curd)

Rinse the bergamot, grate the rid and squeeze them.

Scoop out the coconut cream from the can leaving the water and place in a small saucepan.

Prepare the arrowroot stirring it in a couple of tablespoon of the leftover coconut water (you can use the rest for stews or smoothies).

In the saucepan heat the coconut with the bergamot juice with the xylitol, cardamom and the salt, stirring for a couple of minutes. Bring to a gentle boil over a low flame.

Stir in the arrowroot and the vanilla. Turn off the flame and leave aside to cool completely. Add the bergamot rid to it.

The bergamot curd should be firm enough so the filling stay in the cake. You can reheat and add a bit more dissolved arrowroot, if needed.

Frosting

Cream the cashews in the food processor until perfectly smooth.
All ingredients must be at room temperature, and not too cold.

Whip up the coconut cream adding the powdered Xylitol ( you can powder it in a food processor) and then the cocoa butter. Combine very well. Fold in the cashews and leave in the fridge to cool down for 10-20 minutes.
 

Assembling

When the cakes are perfectly cold and the frosting and filling are creamy, you can start to assemble.

(If the cakes are rounded cut off the top, taking care to cut them straight and similar in height)

Spread a measured amount of filling in the centre up to 1.5 cm from edges. All around the curd pipe or scoop your white frosting. Than place on top an other cakes disk and repeat. Place the last cake upside down.

Now you can start with the frosting. Poke a long stick in the middle of the cake. This will hold the layered cake while you work with the frosting. If necessary put back in the fridge for some moments before starting. 

Scoop a generous amount of frosting on top of the cake, and with a spatula work it all around the top and down the sides of it, scraping away the excess very gently.  You want to fill up any space leaving some of the cake edges still visible.

Keep working the sides until you are happy with the result, if needing some extra directions try here. Clean the edges and smooth the top, then decorate.

 

Enjoy! xx

Rhubarb Cake and Spring Gathering with The Little Plantation

I am beyond excitement to share with you that the 27th of April I will be co-hosting my first Supper-club with one of the sweetest and most creative gal of all, in the vibrant setting of theSocial Pantry in Battersea.

The way you nourish you through your surroundings is very important. My kitchen is a collection of stain-steel, brass and hand made ceramics, that are beautiful and that last. A balance between beautiful, trustable and meaningful.

The same when I choose the people that nourish my inner environment. They are honest and beautiful. Kimberly in one of them. Her warm heart reflect in her manners, in her heartfelt cooking, in her actions (she was part of the little bounch that make happen the massive Women's March on London).
She is one of those people I want next when I want my creativity to flow like a river.

We prepared together this Rubarb Vegan Cake recipe, nut free and sugar free as an invitation to our new venture. Our Spring gathering  will happen at the beautiful Social Pantry.

We aim to gather you around the vibrant colours of the spring, make community in a friendly environment and slow down. Will be a moment to share,  and to savour the taste of slow-made seasonal food and of new friendships.

This cake is one of the two desserts Kimberly and me will be serving at our Spring Gathering.
All the dishes will be vegan, refined sugar free, and we will accommodate paleo and gluten free needs.  Have a peek at the menu!

 I do hope to see you there and finally meet you in person!


Ingredients for the sponge (makes 4 layers):

3 cups of white spelt flour
2 cups rapadura or coconut raw sugar.
5 tsp organic baking powder
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp of unrefined salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or rapseed oil
1 cup of plant based milk unsweetned (you can add more if needed, the batter should be slightly runny - different flours take different amount ofliquid)
the zest of one lemon

Ingredients for the filling:

1 can coconut milk (refrigerated)
1 stalk and half rhubarb
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp pink peppercorn or to taste
1 tbsp Xilytol
1 tbsp arrowroot
pinch of salt
2 raspberries or 1/4 tsp beetrot powder for a pink colour (optional)
Ingredients for the icing:
400 gr coconut yogurt wipped up
a pinch of pink peppercorn



Instructions for the sponge:

Pre-heat the oven at 180C/355F and grease 4 tins of 16 cm diametre.

Take all the dry ingredients from the cake (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) and mix well in a large bowl.
Cover with the wet ingredients and lemon zest, and gently combine all well.
The more gently you fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, the less rounded the top of your cakes will be. It is matter of folding more than stirring in fact.
When the batter is ready spread it evenly across the 4 cake forms, place in the preheated oven and cook for approximately 35 min or until fully baked through (do stick test).

Once cooked, let the cake layers cool down for about 10 min, then remove from tins and leave on a rack. Let them cool completely before starting to assemble the layered cake.


Whilst the cake is cooking prepare the filling and the icing.

 


Filling

Rinse the rhubarb, peel off the hardest bits.

Scoop out the coconut cream from the can leaving the water and leave aside.

Prepare the arrowroot stirring it in a couple of tablespoon of the leftover coconut water (you can use the leftover for stews or smooties).

In a small saucepan heat the rhubarb (plus the raspberries or beet powder) with the xilytol and the salt, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the coconut cream and bring to a gentle boil over a low flame.

Stir in the arrowroot and the vanilla. Turn off the flame and leave aside to cool completely. The compote should be firm enough so the filling stay in the cake. You can reheat and add a bit more dissolved arrowroot, if needed.

Grind and stirr in the filling 5 to 10 pink peppercorns.

 


Frosting

Wip the yogurt adding a bit of pink peppercorn to have some nice pink bits in it.
 


Assembling

When the cakes are perfectly cold and the frosting and filling are "solid", you can start to assemble.

(If the cakes are rounded cut off the top, taking care to cut them straight and similar in height)

Spread a measured amount of filling in the centre up to 1.5 cm from edges. All around the pink filling pipe or scoop your white frosting. Than place on top an other cakes disk and repeat. Place the last cake upside down.

Now you can start with the frosting. Poke a long stick in the middle of the cake. This will hold the layered cake while you work with the frosting. If necessary put back in the fridge for some moments before starting. 

Scoop a generous amount of frosting on top of the cake, and with a spatula work it all around the top and down the sides of it, scraping away the excess very gently.  You want to fill up any space leaving some of the cake edges still visible.

Keep working the sides until you are happy with the result, if needing some extra directions try here. Clean the edges and smooth the top, then decorate with flowers or fruit.


This cake is extremely simple and delicious, I hope it will inspire you a slow relaxed afternoon with the people that make you heart sing.

Love, Silvia xx