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Tag: parsley

No-Knead Slow-Rise Parsley-Patterned Focaccia

This is the focaccia of all focaccias, people. It’s chewy, fluffy, salty, and crunchy, and a little bit of a showstopper, too. What defines it is not only its high hydration, but also its very leisurely rise in the fridge overnight. However, it’s the deliciously oily crunchy crust it gets as it sits in a cozy puddle of olive oil in a very hot oven that is possibly the best part. The parsley is merely there for decoration, so by all means, leave it out or replace it with other herbs or thinly sliced vegetables of your choosing (search for “garden focaccia” for a bit of inspo – although you’ll have to take care not to overbrown the crust and veggies to keep the colours popping).

No-Stir Slow-Rise Parsley-Patterned Focaccia

Adapted from the Wednesday Chef.

Makes about one 35x40cm sized focaccia

If you’re feeling like focaccia but aren’t planning a larger gathering, this recipe halves very nicely, too.

750g flour

1 Tablespoon (17g) salt

1 teaspoon (3g) dry yeast

900ml warm water

4 Tablespoons olive oil, plus extra

one big bunch of flat-leafed parsley, leaves picked

flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Pour in the warm water and gently mix with a spoon until the flour is incorporated and you’re left with a wobbly and sticky dough that resembles something like a cross between pudding and porridge in texture. in That’s your first step done, and you didn’t even have to roll up your sleeves! Drizzle the olive oil into another large bowl and give it a good swirl around the sides – this will help it slide out easily later. Plop the dough into that container and scoop a little of the oil over the top of it. Cover it well with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge, where you should let it rise for at least 8 hours, overnight, or up to 2 days.

Once you’re nearly ready to bake, line a high-sided baking tray (approximately 35×40 cm in size – you’ve got a bit of room to play there) with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge. Tilting the bowl over the baking tray, try to get some of that oil onto that baking paper first before gently scooping the dough onto that oil puddle – that way, you’ll ensure that nothing sticks while also making certain that the focaccia is oiled – and crunchy – on all sides. Using your hands, gently nudge the dough to spread it out to fit the baking pan. Now it’s time to let it rise at room temperature. I like to keep it covered here, too – a great way to prevent your tea towel from drooping into the focaccia is to top the baking tray with the oven wire rack and then drape one or two moistened tea towels over the top. Place the baking tray in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled – this can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the time of year it is.

Preheat the oven to 230°C. As the oven is heating up you can get going with decorating the dough with the parsley. Gently arrange the parsley leaves on top of the dough, making sure they are lying flat and sticking to it. Drizzle with a little of the extra olive oil and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden – the focaccia will have come away from the sides and should have a nice crust on the bottom. If you’re feeling vain, keep an eye on the parsley after the 15-minute mark to make sure the focaccia and the parsley don’t get too dark. If you’re worried, you can gently cover the top with some aluminium foil. Once it’s done, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Vegetarian Harira with Date and Almond Couscous


I feel like it’s high time I give you guys something sweet for you to sink your teeth into, but for some reason it’s the savouries that have captured me and taken me on a trip to enthusiasmville, and I must say I quite like it.

Up next is a soup I had forgotten about for more than two years, which is bordering on criminal because it truly is a beautiful soup. Harira is one of those exotically seductive yet immensely comforting soups, flashy enough to serve as a special dinner but also perfect for a midweek meal. To make up for the lack of lamb in this vego version, I’ve added a few chopped up dried porcini mushrooms. I’ve also replaced celery, not because I have split feelings about it, but because I think that parsley stalks have an incredibly complex flavour, which cooked along in the soup do a fabulous job at adding that dynamic that usually le celery is responsible for. The medley of spices work spiffingly with the vibrant tomatoey broth, and is made even better by the accompaniment of the sweet buttery almond-flecked couscous. The soup will taste better the next day, as most soups do. But even a few hours after you’ve cooked it will do if that’s all the time you’ve got.

And yes I have a thing for shooting food in tiny (blue) dishes. And no, that is not a serving size I would ever dare to serve someone, let alone myself.

Vegetarian Harira with Date and Almond Couscous

Serves 4

4 slices dried porcini mushroom, very finely shopped

3-4 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cinnamon quill

1 tsp each of ground turmeric, ginger, cumin and paprika

1 pinch saffron

the stalks of half a bunch of parsley, tied in a knot

1 large red capsicum, finely chopped

400g tin chopped tomatoes

800ml stock

1 can chickpeas, half of them crushed with a fork

splash of soy sauce, salt

¼ tsp chilli flakes

half a bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped

half a bunch coriander, leaves picked

Place the chopped porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and carrot. Fry until softened. Add the garlic and the spices, and stir until fragrant. Add the soaked mushrooms with their liquid, the capsicum, parsley stalks, capsicum, chopped tomatoes and the stock, and bring to the boil. Let it cook until all of the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas and soy sauce and season to taste with the salt and chilli flakes. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top with the parsley and coriander. Serve with the couscous (below).

almond and date couscous

Almond and Date Couscous

Serves 4

1 big nob of butter

1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped

1 cup / 190g couscous

1/2 tsp cinnamon, plus more to serve

1 cup /250ml boiling vegetable stock

10 dates, chopped into tiny cubes

1/3 cup /40g slivered almonds, toasted

In a small pan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Once it starts to go golden, remove from the heat and stir in the couscous and cinnamon. Pour over the boiling veggie stock and cover for about 5 minutes until completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork and stir through the chopped dates. Divide the couscous amongst serving dishes and top with the toasted almonds.

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