Thursday, 14 August 2014

Revisting rhubarb and raspberry focaccia and the weekend

I had good intentions of making sourdough bread on Friday but the day passed me by.  Not only did it mean no fresh bread, but it also meant my sourdough starter was begging to be used.  So I did the next best thing.  An overnight foccaccia that would be ready in the morning and use up some of my sourdough starter.

It seemed a good idea to convert a tried and trusted rhubarb and raspberry focaccia into a sourdough recipe.  Not that I intended to do away with the yeast.  I wanted enough yeast to make it rise fast and enough sourdough to give flavour.

I spent a good half hour trying to calculate how much water and flour were in my starter in cups and converting into the recipe.  Then I threw together the dough and reread the recipe.  Seems I'd got my amounts mightily confused and misread.  I managed to use 500g flour rather than 800g.  Oops. 

The resulting dough was far softer than the recipe I was using, and made a smaller focaccia.  Yet it worked.  Which just shows that dough is forgiving and I shouldn't stress so much about converting yeast to sourdough!  More of a problem was that E and Sylvia were not so keen on the rhubarb.  It was a bit tart for them.  Perhaps omitting the raspberries was not a great move.  I loved it.  We ate it and then packed some in our bags.

Sylvia and I headed off to the Fitzroy Gardens.  It is a favourite place of mine and a fine place to compensate for some theatre tickets that went amiss.  (You can read more about the gardens in a post on our trip to the Fitzroy Gardens in 2010.)  First stop was the Fairy Tree.  The beautiful wood carvings never cease to delight and amaze me.

Olga Cohn's imagination produced such poignant details of the life of fairies in our gardens.  We sat looking at the tree and eating our focaccia and wishing we had packed more.

By the Fairy Tree is the Minature Tudor Village.  I have also been going here since I was a child and still love it in all its teeny tiny glory.

I had planned lunch in the city but once we had walked around the gardens and spent some time at the giraffe swings and dragon slide, Sylvia was hungry.  It is so much slower to get around with a small child.  We went to the Pavillion near the Fairy Tree.  It is more restaurant than cafe.  We paid more than I had intended and were given more food than I needed.  However my ravioli was very nice.

Sylvia was going down to stay with my parents while E and I went to a trivia night.  Fortunately my mum rang as Sylvia tried to convince me to go into Cooks Cottage.  The moment passed and we walked on to the Conservatory and admired the flowers and the fish pond.  I particularly liked the foilage cake on the table and chairs.

Then we caught the Circle Tram around to the State Library where we met my parents.  Outside I noticed this statue from May Gibbs' Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.  This Gumnut baby and Mr Lizard are just the sort of folk who might visit the folk of the Fairy Tree.  It seemed a fitting end to our adventures.

One year ago: Sourdough Basics 101 - Making a Starter
Two years ago: Fudgy Coconut Brownies
Three years ago: Besan Vegetable Frittata and a week of eats
Four years ago: NCR Carrot and Fennel Soup
Five years ago: Shopping, Sylvia and Soup
Six years ago: Easy as Vegetable Pie
Seven years ago: Rumbledethumps: death to the red hag!

Rhubarb and raspberry no-knead focaccia
Adapted from  The Kitchen Maid via Green Gourmet Giraffe

200g sourdough starter (100% hydration)*
275ml warm water
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
2 Tbsp olive oil
400g white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

340g rhubarb, cut into 3cm pieces (from 450g untrimmed)
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp raw sugar

Start the night before you want to eat it or at least 8 - 10 hours before you want to eat focaccia.  Take a large mixing bowl.  (The dough rises a lot - it was about an inch below the top of my largest mixing bowl in the morning. See second top photo of dough the night before to see how much it grows.)  Mix starter, yeast and  warm water.  Stir in oil, flour and salt to make a soft dough.  Cover with clingwrap and leave overnight at room temperature  for about 8 hours. 

In the morning, preheat the oven to 200 C.  While it heats, prepare the rhubarb and sprinkle a large baking tray with polenta.   Sprinkle dough with flour and carefully take the risen dough from the bowl - it is fairly soft and sticky.  Place on a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, pat dough out in an oval shape about an inch thick (might be thinner in places).   Carefully transfer to the prepared baking tray.  Scatter with rhubarb and press lightly into the dough.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the sugar on top.

Bake for 40 minutes until the fruit juices are running free and the sides are golden brown.  Eat hot or cool on a wire rack.

* NOTE: Ideally take the starter out of the fridge to warm up to room temperature a couple of hours before starting to mix the dough.  I forgot and it was fine but will try and remember next time.  It can also be made without the rhubarb and sugar topping - just drizzle with oil and a pinch or two of salt.

On the stereo:
Don't Try This At Home: Billy Bragg

22 comments:

  1. I love the Fitzroy gardens too, and I also love the sound of this focaccia. I'd be very happy with the rhubarb, although as I love raspberries, I would like them too if I could quarantine some to bake with. As for getting around with small children, I am amazed how often I plan lunch in one place and by the time we get there it's about 2pm, or we have to re-plan to eat somewhere different earlier. I don't know what goes wrong with us, but it is annoying if you've got your heart set on a particular dining place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kari - we go through lots of raspberries on porridge but rhubarb can lurk in the fridge so I think that is why I didn't bother with the raspberries. I did think of how I would often lunch late before sylvia was born as I too find that the day goes quickly - I think I always expect I can fit in more than I do. And once you factor in time at the playground and less stamina in kids, it just gets worse!

      Delete
  2. Wow what a magical place, I love the trees, especially the wood carvings. Its breakfast time here and I would do like a slice of your stunning studded rhubarb and raspberries focaccia - mouth is watering, honest. I like how the colour of the rhubarb has stayed true, as you know often disappears on cooking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shaheen - magical is the right word for the gardens. The colour of the rhubarb does stay pleasingly deep red-pink - I know what you mean about how it can disappear in baking.

      Delete
  3. What a relief that it still worked! And I love the fairytale aspects in this post too. I used to think that people could live in trees (actually it hasn't been proven otherwise :P).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lorraine - I was very relieved that the focaccia worked - I think I have made enough doughs to feel that this one was ok but I was still pleased when it baked up ok. And having read about the Faraway Tree when I was young I loved the idea of living in trees :-)

      Delete
  4. My hubby loves rhubarb! I have never thought about using it on a bread dough before - what a great idea.
    Have a super weekend.
    :-) Mandy xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mandy - it works surprisingly well - the first time I made it I worried the rhubarb wouldn't work or be too tart but it is soft and sweet enough with the sugar. (The original recipe called for cream - maybe coconut cream might also work - but oil is easier for me because we don't often have cream in the house)

      Delete
  5. I have never seen a focaccia with fruit on before - it sure looks delicious. Those gardens look fabulous - i would love to see the fairy tree, it looks enchanting. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lorna - I have also seen focaccia recipes with grapes in them that look rather good - perhaps come summer I might try that

      Delete
  6. That fairy place seems like a wonderful place for any child to visit. I love the combination of rhubarb and raspberries although I've never had a fruity focaccia before - this would be wonderful warmed up for breakfast xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Charlie - we ate this warm out of the oven for a late breakfast - and late breakfasts are not so unusual here on weekends - I have also made this focaccia and taken it to my parents where it is still just warm and it is great.

      Delete
  7. Love the sound of this focaccia with rhubarb! My mum made lots of dishes with rhubarb when I was growing up, but nothing quite like this.,.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate - me too - rhubarb was usually in puddings or stewed with custard when I was a kid - or sometimes in a cake but never in bread

      Delete
  8. That focaccia looks delicious! I don't think I've ever had a sweet one before. And I love the fitzroy gardens - the fairy tree and gumnut babies are some of my favourites too - gumnut babies was my favourite book growing up - my dad would read a little bit to me every night. So sweet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Caeli - I loved reading about the gumnut babies when I was little - I think it was special as it was one of the books that belonged to me not the whole family - and still think of them when gumnuts and blossoms fall to the ground by gum trees.

      Delete
    2. Hehe me too - I always point out the blossoms to my boyfriend and say look! Gumnut baby hats!

      Delete
  9. I've been to those gardens & they are just so pretty!
    Love the idea for the focaccia - something so different :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Im planning to get a breadmaker sometimes by the end of the year and I’m trying to figure out which bread should I start with and I love sourdough bread! Mmm the sweet focaccia looks pretty good with the vibrant red rhubarb and strawberry, mmmm! I’ve never had a sweet focaccia before, but I would like to try the sweet ones! Love the Fitzroy Gardens, I love the wood carvings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rika - Sourdough bread is great but you have to maintain a starter so I don't know how it would work with all your travel but if you go to the recipe I adapted this from on my blog you will find it is vegan and doesn't need any kneading so you could easily make it without a breadmaker or any sourdough. And I highly recommend the Fitzroy Gardens when you visit Melbourne - very close to the city

      Delete
  11. I was so psyched to see rhubarb at the market recently!!!! And now I have another recipe to try it in =)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ooh, rhubarb foccacia and sourdough too. How very cool. I've seen grape and cherry foccacia, but not rhubarb, which I love. Very clever idea!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)