So to say I’m phobic of cooking is probably going a bit far, but I have had a very strange relationship with food since my early teens, and from that I’ve had absolutely no desire to cook. Having moved away from home at the beginning of last year, I’ve been getting by making my signature pesto pasta dish or by eating a ridiculous amount of cereal. That being said, I’ve sworn I need to change my habits and actually learn how to make food, especially now that I’m eating a vegetarian diet, so when Branded3 contacted me to see if I wanted to take part in a blogger challenge with Ski Total, I jumped at the chance. New Year’s Resolutions and all that.
The challenge was to recreate one of three popular Alpine dishes, and as this was the only vegetarian option (and also probably one of the easiest for a total newbie like myself) I decided to knuckle down and make myself a focaccia. Branded3 very kindly provided me with a voucher to buy my ingredients – yeast proved particularly difficult to track down – and one Sunday afternoon at the beginning of January, I baked bread for the first time.
I’ll detail the recipe below, but I was surprised at how easy I found it, and I was even more surprised by the fact that I actually really enjoyed the whole process. Making something totally from scratch that tasted pretty damn yummy (if I say so myself) gave me such a sense of achievement, especially as cooking is a real challenge for me. In fact I was so proud that I sent both my boyfriend and my best friend a picture immediately, and my Mum even put one on Facebook. I mean if that isn’t a testament to the situation I don’t know what is :’)
It didn’t last long however – my Dad ate the entire loaf with dinner that evening and with a thumbs up and an exclamation of ‘you’ll be on Bake Off next’ that was that.
I’m really grateful to Branded3 and Ski Total for the challenge – it’s opened my eyes to something that I never thought I’d enjoy so much. I’m definitely going to be making the recipe again, and I think next time I might even try adding some additional flavours to it as well!
3g Sea Salt
60g Olive Oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine flower, salt and yeast. In a small saucepan, heat water and honey over a medium heat to a temperature of 35-40 degrees Celsius. Add this to the flour mixture and beat for about 2 minutes.
Once the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. If need be, add more flour. Cover with a large bowl and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit greased pan pressing into corners. Cover loosely with cling film and allow to prove for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Drizzle dough with olive oil. Press indentations with a finger or the handle of a wooden spoon at 1 inch intervals all over the surface. Sprinkle with rosemary, coarse salt and pepper. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Did you enjoy the first ever recipe post on LJLV? Please let me know if this is something you’d like to see more of from me. I can’t promise if it will be regular content, but it’s always nice to know what you guys enjoy! Have you cooked anything this year you’ve been particularly proud of?