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What can I say?? I just love to bake!! Ever since I would go to Grandma's house as a little girl and bake highlight cakes or help Ninny make her famous vanilla cookies, I've been obsessed with baking! Not only from recipe books, but freestyle too! With a father as a chef, i suppose it is in my genes! Some of my favourite memories from growing up were those moments after dinner when my dad would get his sweet tooth pang and have me help him whip up a batch of toffee fruit kebabs, or irish caramels! I used to love how he never followed recipes, he always just knew what ingredients worked with one another and how to play with quantities. So, from an early age, i had learnt from the master and i was well on my way to bake on my own! When i was 7 years old, i used to bake chocoloate cakes to sell to the mothers of my friends when they came to watch our Saturday morning minkey hockey games! Before i knew it, i was being commissioned from my school teachers to bake cakes for them at $2 a pop! This blog holds just a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes which I've thoroughly enjoyed both baking and eating! So enjoy!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Rosemary Focaccia with Sundried Tomato & Olives

Preparation Time: 30mins
Cooking Time: 55mins
Serves: 6

 - 1 1/2 cups warm water
 - 1 1/2 tbs instant dried yeast
 - 1 tbs castor sugar
 - 3 cups strong bread flour
 - 2 tbs sea salt flakes
 - 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
 - Approximately 1 cup rosemary sprigs
 - Approximately 1/2 cup sundried tomatos
 - Approximately 1/2 cup olives

1)  Place warm water into a large jug. Sprinkle over dried yeast and sugar, stir until yeast has dissolved (You may need to use your fingers to help dissolve some of the yeast). Cover with cling wrap and stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to activate yeast.

2)  Meanwhile place flour and salt into a large bowl, run a whisk through the flour to help mix through the salt and aerate the flour. Make a well in the centre of flour and pour in the yeast mixture and oil.

3)  Using a wooden spoon, gently stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands knead dough for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (lightly dust surface with more flour if dough starts sticking).

4)  Using hands gently press and pull dough with fingertips to cover the base of a large oiled deep oven tray, making sure dough is approximately 1cm thick.

5)  Cover tray with a tea-towel and place in a warm oven (about 75°C) with the door open for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in height.

6)  Remove tray from oven. Preheat oven at 220°C/200°C (fan forced) for at least 10 minutes. Brush dough with extra oil. Gently press your fingertips into top of dough, about 1cm deep at 3cm intervals, randomly insert rosemary springs, sundried tomato and olives into holes.  Sprinkle with extra salt.
7)  Place a roasting dish filled with boiling water on bottom oven rack to create steam. Return tray to oven without tea-towel; cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown and top sounds hollow when tapped.

8)  Serve warm with extra olive oil for dipping or pesto if desired.

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