On Saturday we went to a rain-drenched Oxford and had lunch at the highly recommended Branca Restaurant. Before tucking into fried calamari with lemon and chilli dressing followed by a big fat skate wing with scallops and mash, I soaked up the house red by nibbling away at some fine rosemary focaccia. So fine in fact, that I had to make some the following (rainy) day.
Preparation time: 15 minutes + rising time 2 hours
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Skill level: easy
- strong white flour – 475g
- sugar – 1tsp
- salt – 1tsp
- dried yeast – 1 1/2tsp
- olive oil – 3tbsp
- warm water – 275ml
- fresh rosemary – chopped – 2 tbsp
- salt flakes – 1tsp
- olive oil – 3 tbsp
Put the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Add the olive oil then mix in enough water to make a soft dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl whence it came, cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour or so to double in size.
Once risen knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. Then cut in two. Shape each into an oval and place on 2 greased baking sheets.
Sprinkle the loaves with the salt flakes and rosemary and leave to rise, uncovered, another hour.
Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 15 minutes at 200C (gas mark 6). Swap the position of the loaves after 7 minutes so they cook equally.
Remove from oven and pour over the remaining olive oil.
Eat as soon as cool enough to handle.
Verdict: An oil-infused herby treat finished with a Maldon salty crunch.
Drink: K4E with UHT – Spanish style.
Entertainment: Radio in the foreground, Olympics in the middleground, rain in the background.