Panettone. Light, rich and Italian. Christmas. I’ll admit I did spend a huge amount of time contemplating whether it was too early to be making panettone, but I’m three Christmas films, mulled wine and about a gazillion Christmas ads down – so who am I kidding?!
Today I made a light, airy, delicious bundle of Italian goodness, and while I am 1005 miles from Liguria, Italy – the birthplace of focaccia – I’ve tried my best to close the gap between rainy Wales and sunny Italy.
Traditionally, focaccia is seasoned only with salt and olive oil. These ingredients do produce a beautiful product, however, this bread really is like your favourite pair of shoes (bare with me, as usual.) Sometimes you dress them up with bows and sequins – olives, artichokes, and sun dried tomatoes to you and me – and sometimes you go back to the comforting familiarities of your favourite – herby oil and handfuls of coarse Mediterranean salt. I’ve chosen to go somewhere in the middle, like wearing trainers and fuzzy socks, my focaccia is flavoured with zings of tomato, red onion and glistening with gems of fresh basil pesto.
Being British, I completely understand the draw of a familiar biscuit to go with your tea. However, what do you do when your taste buds have had one too many Rich Teas and you need a change, or at the very least – a break?
In short, I bake, eat and feed (reluctant) friends the leftovers of kitchen mishaps. And now I blog…sort of.
It seemed natural to write about the things I bake, from birthday cakes to bread, if only to prove that I am doing something with my gap year!
“Food can bring people together in a way nothing else could” (Yotam Ottolenghi) is the reason I make apple crumbles that feed twenty or scones to make my mum smile, and I hope that shows in what’s to come.
Until then you’ll find me under a pile of flour, or, preferably, eating freshly baked tarts.