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Jazz City Diner – Darlinghurst

March 28, 2012

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Call it what you want, Americana has been one of the hottest food trends of recent times. And though I love our Aussie interpretations of American comfort food classics – sometimes it’s great to go to the source. So when I heard Jeroxie was organising a diner take-over – I did the sneaky thing and invited myself along! Luckily they were happy to have me – apparently the diner seats 24 people, and Jeroxie wanted to see if we could fill the whole place up!

Jazz City Diner just celebrated its 1 year birthday in December and has no doubt become a late night haunt of many a hungry Darlinghurstian. Owner/Chef Dan McGuirt serves up New Orlean’s style comfort food in his cosy Art-Deco style diner. According to this interview with him on SBS, McGuirt grew up “with folks from the South and a grandmother from New Orleans” – so you know his groundings are pretty solid.

It’s a super rainy night when we all rock up. Not quite 24, but still – we definitely take up the majority of the diner.

The diner is a cute and cosy place. All the waitresses are dressed in 50s style diner outfits, and whether by coincidence or plan, wear nametags with old fashioned names like “Mary Ann”. So cute!

Jazz City Diner

Jazz City Diner Jazz City Diner
Love those uniforms!

Jazz City Diner
Art-deco style menus

Read more…

Travel Blog – Kyoto – Kokedera Moss Temple

March 22, 2012

Some exciting news to share! One of my photographs of Kyoto’s Moss Temple has been published in this month’s National Geographic Traveler magazine!

Moss temple in National Geographic Traveler

It is so exciting to see it in print! And doubly exciting because I’m going to use this opportunity to sneakily make a post I’ve been meaning to write about Moss Temple. This is going to be super photo-heavy so be warned.

I’ve blogged before about my obsession with moss: How to make a Moss Terrarium, Terrarium Two – but I never blogged about what started my obsession, a trip to Kyoto’s Moss Temple, Kokedera in 2010.

Kokedera
Kokedera

Kokedera literally translates to “Moss Temple” but its real name is Saihoji temple. Saihoji is a Zen Buddhist temple located in Matsuo, Nishikyō Ward, Kyoto. It’s most renowned for its garden – which, as you may have guessed, features a whole lot of moss – over 120 species in fact – all of which is meticulously maintained and protected. In fact the temple is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kokedera

In fact, the monks of Saihoji are so mindful of the delicate moss that visitors to Moss Temple are extremely limited. Wary of being overrun by tourists – the monks of Saihoji put in place a series of strict regulations for visiting:

  • Visitors must apply in advance to visit – in writing
  • There is a high fee charged for entry (¥3000 per person, approx $35 AUD) – the highest entry fee for any temple in Kyoto
  • Before you are allowed into the garden, visitors must participate in the Buddhist religious rites of kito and shakyo – chanting and copying the Buddhist sutra (Buddhist scriptures)

Intense right?? But so worth it.

We started our day pretty early – since we had a booking at 10am at Kokedera and had read around that we should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be late.

We took a train from Kyoto to Matsuo:
Train to Matsuo

Matsuo
Matsuo

Matsuo is a town outside of Kyoto’s city centre – it’s incredibly gorgeous… like a storybook or the backdrop to a Ghibli film. Kokedera is only 10mins walk from Matsuo station, so luckily we get there with plenty of time to spare.

After presenting our permission slip, and paying our entry fees, we are ushered into a massive room filled with row upon row of short little desks on tatami mats. We’re instructed to sit in seiza (sitting on your knees) on top of flat little cushions (zabuton). Luckily, though the majority of people in the room were Saihoji’s Buddhist monks and other visiting monks, there are quite a few other bewildered looking tourists there too – and a very helpful monk is able to give us instructions in English.

Kokedera
The Buddhist rites take place in this building. PS. The tables and chairs you see in that photo are a LIE

All at once, the monks begin to chant. WOW what an amazing sound. It resonates through your body.

On top of the low tables in front of us are papers with the Buddhist sutra printed on it – both in romanji for us foreigners to follow, and in Japanese. The intention is for you to chant along, but the monks move at such a rate that it is no time before I am completely lost. There are also calligraphy brushes, sticks of ink and ink stones on each of our tables, but no one around us is using them, so I leave them alone. Only afterwards do I learn that we were meant to be copying out the characters onto paper, oops! No one seems to mind though.

Can I just tell you that sitting on your knees is REALLY HARD! Oh my goodness… after about 10 minutes my legs go completely numb and it’s all I can do to not tip over. Some of the other tourists seem to be having my same problem – I see a bit of wobbling in our ranks. After a while, we start sheepishly unfolding our legs, and instead sit crosslegged. At least we gave it a try!

After about 1/2 an hour – the chanting ends almost as suddenly as it began (how embarrassing would it be to be that monk who kept going?) – small wooden placards called ema are passed around, and we’re instructed to write our wishes on them with calligraphic brushes, as well as our name and address. These are collected, for the monks to pray over.

Now that the hard work is done, we’re given entry into the garden!

Kokedera

There is a brief talk in Japanese for the benefit of the visiting monks, who – much to my delight, take photos of the garden using their mobile phones! Even monks use keitai!

Kokedera

We’re given free reign to wander along the garden’s track – which is a roped and paved walkway (you aren’t allowed to touch the moss of course)

I’d been looking forward to visiting Moss Temple for so long (it’d been my desktop wallpaper at work for for a few months beforehand as motivation) – and amazingly it’s even more beautiful that I imagined.

Kokedera
Kokedera

Kokedera
Kokedera

Kokedera
Kokedera
Moss up close

Kokedera
Kokedera
It was pretty overcast, but the sun came out halfway through our visit! How magical

Kokedera
The famous moss bridge

Kokedera

Kokedera
Me being a dork

You can check out more of my photos from Moss Temple (including more of me being a dork) here on Flickr.

I can honestly describe it as one of the most beautiful and amazing places I’ve ever been to – but I like I said, it takes a bit of effort to get to. Here’s my handy guide –

How to Visit Moss Temple/Kokedera/Saihoji:

Read more…

[Recipe] Potato, Rosemary and Caramelised Onion Schiacciata

March 19, 2012

Potato and Rosemary Schiacciata

Potato and Rosemary Schiacciata

I don’t know if any of you have the Bourke St Bakery cookbook – if you don’t know of it, it’s a crazy beautiful behemoth of a baking manual from one of Sydney’s most famous bakeries:

My friend bought it for me for my birthday one year and I totally recommend it. The recipes are gorgeously shot and the book is beautifully designed and astoundingly comprehensive. Do you like Bourke St Bakery’s pork & fennel sausage rolls? The recipe is in there. Ginger brulée tarts? Yup. In there too. Pretty much everything I can think of is in there. It’s quite generous of them to be so open about their recipes.

THE ONLY PROBLEM IS… as a baking novice, I find the recipes pretty daunting! I can see why giving away all their secret recipes does their bakeries no harm – I don’t know about you, but after learning how much effort and hours it takes to bake a humble loaf of soy & linseed sourdough bread, PHEW… I am definitely in need of some sort of delicious chocolate tart thingy to recover (and yes please… I’d like someone else to bake it for me).

The recipes sound so good though – and the photos so tempting. So, I will confess to you now – I’ve taken to cutting corners here or there. So here is my hodgepodge version of Bourke St Bakery’s Potato Schiacciata, which I made to take to a friend’s housewarming! The topping is adapted from the Bourke St Bakery recipe, but to make things easier for me – I reused the Brasserie Bread recipe for Schiacciata con L’uva that I posted about previously on my blog. If you’ve never made bread at home before – the Brasserie Bread Schiacciata dough is a dead easy beginner’s recipe – and I’ve posted a lot of tips if you’re just starting out!

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Folding your dough

Potato and Rosemary Schiacciata Potato and Rosemary Schiacciata
Schiacciata ready to go into the oven

Potato and Rosemary Schiacciata
I made a smaller vegetarian version for my vego friend (sans proscuitto)

Potato and Rosemary Schiacciata
The finished result!

Potato, Rosemary and Caramelised Onion Schiacciata

(adapted from Bourke St Bakery and Brasserie Bread recipes)

Ingredients:

Schiacciata dough (instructions are at this blog post)
4 onions, sliced (the original recipe calls for 1.1kg of onions which I found a bit too much. 4 large onions worked fine with my bread dough.)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 desiree potatoes (in my version, I used around 6 unpeeled baby chat potatoes and had some potato slices left over)
salt to taste
Prosciutto (optional)
Fresh rosemary sprigs

Method:

Start by following the recipe for Schiacciata dough. Once your dough is in the fridge to rise – you can start prepping the toppings.

To make the caramelised onion
Slice the onions into rings. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and cook the onions on a low heat. Add the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt to taste. The onions should cook slowly for at least an hour – stir occasionally so they don’t burn or stick to your pan. The onions should go translucent, reduce in size dramatically, slowly caramelise and soften.

To prepare the potato
Slice the potato thinly using a mandolin (of if you are very patient – a sharp knife!) – to about a 2mm thickness. Give the slices a bit of a rinse. Then place them into another saucepan and cover with water, add a bit of salt – and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until they are almost soft. Once they’re done, place the slices into a bowl full of cold water until you’re ready to use them.

By now your dough should have finished rising. Take your dough out of the fridge – and gently turn it out onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Knock the dough back by flattening it gently to let the air escape. Pick up the right edge of your dough, and fold the dough into thirds so that the seams overlap (see photos above). Repeat with the top and bottom edges. Flip your dough over so the seams are on the bottom. This creates layers in your bread and gives it a bit of structure and strength.

Press the dough down flat with your fingers to make it about 1cm thick (or you can gently use an oiled rolling pin if you like). Let your dough rest and recover for 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 220˚C.

Now for the toppings!

Spread your caramelised onions onto your dough (leaving a border around the edge). Now place your potato slices onto your bread in a scale pattern, so they overlap each other a little bit. Add the prosciutto slices (optional) and scatter with some rosemary sprigs, season with a bit of salt & pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Let your dough rest and recover for another 10 minutes.

Reduce the temperature on your oven to 200˚C and place your tray inside. Bake for 25 minutes (turn the tray around halfway through so it bakes evenly)

To make it extra crispy, keep baking until your bread goes a nice caramel brown. (You can see the schiacciata I made in my previous blog post was not as thin, and not baked for as long. As a result it was much paler in colour and much less crispy!)

ENJOY!

SBS Featured Foodie

February 28, 2012

Hey guess what, I’m this month’s Featured Foodie on SBS! I am not worthyyy…! Such a cool honour!

Check out my interview if you’ve ever been curious about:

a) where ‘crunchytiger’ came from
b) my preferred KFC menu option
c) my addiction to twitter

ALL THIS AND MORE!

(Hopefully I don’t sound like too much of a dingbat!)

Here’s some links to some of the posts I mentioned in my lil interview:
Low Light Photography (These are my tips, but please feel free to add your own! The more the merrier!)
Eat Drink Blog
My first macarons (part 1) (part 2)

Do you like my profile pic? It’s from Tokyo Disneyland! Pretty devo that my Minnie Mouse ears didn’t make the cut haha (not gonna lie, when I found out they needed a photo – I went back to the RAW file to bring out those ears!)

As I promised on Twitter, here’s the full photo in its (mostly) complete-eared glory:
Mini Mouse!

Bonus trivia – I’m eating a Mike Wazowski (from Monster’s Inc) melon-pan from Disneyland Tokyo! It was very tasty, though it was pretty hard to take a bite out of his massive eyeball at first!

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Bonus bonus trivia –  the glasses I’m wearing in that photo, and the camera that took the photo were both casualties of that treacherous wave at Sculpture By the Sea 2010!

Thanks so much for reading, whoever you are! All your views, tweets, comments and likes mean so much to me. GROUP HUG!!

Hai Au Lang Nuong

February 23, 2012

I was pretty spoiled for my birthday this year! Not only did I organise a beach birthday party, and a fancy dinner at Orto Trading Co (more on that later), on my actual birthday day – my family and I went out to Canley Vale to one of our favourite Vietnamese restaurants, Hai Au Lang Nuong.

Hai Au Lang Nuong

We mainly go here for the charcoal-cooked meats that you cook at your table. I love all sorts of cook-your-own restaurants. They’re so communal and fun, with the bonus of someone doing all the prep and cleaning up! Win!

Hai Au has two levels: a bustling, rough & ready downstairs level, and a much more spacious upstairs. On weekends they turn on the big charcoal grill in the open window, and tempt people in with the smell of chicken grilled in banana leaves. (A definite must order if you visit on a weekend!)

Hai Au Lang Nuong
Chicken being grilled in banana leaves

Hai Au Lang Nuong - Chicken
CHICKEN!

The menu is pretty massive, and it takes us a while to decide on a few different meat dishes and a few vegetarian ones. But as my mum begins to order, the waitress interrupts to tell us that the tofu dish we plan on ordering is “no good”! She says that Hai Au doesn’t do a very good version of that dish and we’re better off ordering something else. I find it so rare for someone to be so candid, but it’s also kind of nice right? My mum must have thought so too because we end up ordering far more than we intended, thanks to our waitress’ suggestions!! Perhaps that was her plan all along 😉

First up is the Goi bo chanh (Beef salad with lemon) one of our waitress’ suggestions:
Hai Au Lang Nuong
Goi Bo Tai Chanh – $15

Pretty glad we listened, because it’s delicious! The tender beef has been marinated in lemon and fish sauce and walks the balance between salty and sweet. It’s mixed with crunchy shredded cucumber and spanish onion. And you can eat it all piled on top of the prawn crackers it’s served on.

Hai Au Lang Nuong

There are a few types of Goi on the menu, not all of which I noticed are translated into English! In the menu there’s the “Bo Tai Khe” – Marinated sliced beef mixed with star fruit and herbs – but left untranslated is the “Bo Tai Chanh” (Beef salad with lemon) and “Bo Tai Me” (Beef salad with tamarind). So keep them in mind if you decide to order Goi.

Next up are the BBQ meats! We order the marinated venison and beef ($25 each):

Hai Au Lang Nuong

And in the middle of our table is placed a big heavy charcoal grill filled with embers.

Hai Au Lang Nuong
Hai Au Lang Nuong
Grillin timeeee

One of the things I love about Vietnamese cuisine is the abundance of fresh salads and herbs served with each dish. Hai Au is no different – each of the grill-your-own meat dishes come with plates of salad and rice paper…
Hai Au Lang Nuong

…so you can roll your own goi cuon! (rice paper rolls)

Hai Au Lang Nuong
Dipping rice paper

Hai Au Lang NuongHai Au Lang Nuong
Goi cuon before and after!

To go with my meal, I make sure to order a Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese ice coffee)… sooo good.

Hai Au Lang Nuong

Next is the grilled chicken from outside! We order half a chicken with sticky rice
Hai Au Lang Nuong
Chicken grilled in banana leaf

The chicken is so tender and just falls off the bone. And I really love the fragrance of the banana leaf. Make sure you order it with the plain sticky rice too!

Hai Au Lang Nuong
Veggies with oyster mushrooms was a nice respite from all the meat!

and the Seafood hotpot was ok but nothing to write home about:
Hai Au Lang Nuong

(See what I mean by overordering haha)

Lucky last was the Ca kho (caramelised braised fish) – and definitely one of the highlights of the night.

Hai Au Lang Nuong

The fish is caramelised and slow cooked in the clay pot…. and is brought to the table bubbling away. It is sweet and salty and completely tender. So nice! It’s really good to eat with rice with spoonfuls of the sauce mixed in.

By now I am totally completely full, and we actually have to take away most of the Ca kho! (no problem… food like that is always good to eat as leftovers anyway! And it just made the next day’s dinner extra delicious!)

All in all, a mighty satisfying feed, for less than $30 per person!

Hai Au Lang Nuong
48 Canley Vale Rd
Canley Vale, NSW


Hai Au on Urbanspoon

Beach Birthday 2012

February 13, 2012

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Gosh, how is it already halfway through February!!

I have to admit I still sometimes write 2011 in the date fields of forms… even though it’s been 2012 for… a while now. Whoops.

The beginning of the year always has a bright spot for me, my birthday is at the end of January! Every year I organise a birthday picnic at the beach. Every second year it has rained out. This was to be the second year in the cycle. Plus… add to that the coolest, wettest summer Sydney has ever experienced, and the prospect wasn’t favourable.

BUT THEN…

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NOT PERFECT… BUT IT’LL DO.

The weather was actually pretty great!! Slightly overcast but warm (the water itself was very warm), with patches of sun… and only a very brief drizzle of light rain.

I decided to make this year’s picnic at Clovelly Beach – which I’d visited before, but never swam at. Thanks to my friends Beanie & Bretto I’ve been getting into snorkelling lately – and everyone’s told me that Clovelly is such a good beach for it, since it is so sheltered and shallow. Plus there is always the chance of meeting the famous blue groper fish! (aka… the fun, socially acceptable kind of groper)

Since we can’t snorkel on an empty stomach… and since there’s not much in Clovelly’s environs for a cheapie lunch (besides the one kiosk there, which looked a little bit too fancy for my shindig) – I took the liberty of ordering everyone some food.

First up I got some boxes of banh mi thit from Hong Ha in Mascot.

Despite being Vietnamese, I can’t profess to being a pork roll expert – so I enlisted my mum and brother as my tasting panel the weekend before. Mum proclaimed the chicken to be her preferred roll, and my brother gave his tick of approval – with the caveat that he wasn’t sure whether they were worth the $5 per roll ($1-1.50 more per roll than the ones he buys in Bankstown & Cabramatta. Being a uni student, he is super srs about a cheap lunch!)

Convenience won out over economy in the end, and I ordered 28 rolls for $140 (no discount, but with a bit of cajoling the lady threw a few extra ones in for free), 2/3rds of them were pork, and 1/3rd were chicken, and the pork still managed to go first!

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Banh Mi Thit

Delish! My Banh Mi thit was pretty much awesome. The bread was of course baked on the premises that morning, and was super fresh – crispy on the outside, fluffy inside and still warm. Inside lay slatherings of pate and mayo, topped with thin slices of pork, pickled veggies, cucumber and spring onions. Is it just me or is this one of the perfect forms of food?

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Clovelly Beach Birthday
om nom nom!

For dessert – I visited Pat & Stick’s and Pepesaya’s factory in Tempe that morning to pick up a whole heap of one of my favourite foods… icecream sandwiches!

Clovelly Beach Birthday

Pat & Stick
This is what 25 icecream sandwiches… AKA MY DREAMS COME TRUE looks like

If you have a chance, you must visit the Tempe factory! Pat was there, and was super great in helping me pick out all the flavours (unfortunately, his and my favourite – Caramel Pecan – was completely sold out… noooo!), even rustling up some limited edition flavours from the back of the coolroom (like the Luke Mangan for Virgin Australia raspberry swirl flavour, which is usually only available in their airport lounge). 

(Extremely random but did you know Pat speaks fluent Mandarin?? Completely freaked my poor HK-born boyfriend out with his fluency hahaha.)

Pat was even nice enough to pack them all neatly with dry ice so the little sammiches would last until after lunch.

Once we got going they didn’t last long!
Clovelly Beach Birthday
Clovelly Beach Birthday
Chocolate lace icecream sandwich by Pat & Stick… perfection!

Last year for my birthday, my friends bought me a camera that can take photos underwater! Which means I can show you these…!

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Bretto the spearfisher being impressive as usual

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Got a bit choppy out there for a few mins!

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Female blue groper! It was so friendly! Swam right up close to you and let you pat her.

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Fishies!

Snorkelling at Clovelly was so great! The whole beach is so shallow, and the ocean floor so close, you can swim right amongst the fish. And so many fish! Completely unafraid of humans. They must know it’s a safe area. Will definitely be coming back here again.

The best surprise came afterwards though… guess what my amazing incredible friend and fellow Ace of Cakes fan, Beanie, made me??

Cheeseburger Birthday Cake!
I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGERRRR

So completely amazing! She made the whole thing herself. The bun is vanilla cake, the pattie is chocolate brownie, fondant cheese, jam sauce and peanut butter buttercream icing! So blown away.

Cheeseburger Birthday Cake!

Cheeseburger Birthday Cake!
Cheezburger Cake Cross-section

If that weren’t enough, I also received some very rad presents too! Including a UKULELE from Jason! (I am currently learning how to play it now), a Brasserie Bread baking class voucher (my friends must have been sick of me rabbiting on about bread-making hehe), a Tintin & Snowy figurine, Kate Beaton’s Hark a Vagrant book, a panda purse, camera cookie cutters, a tshirt about cats, a shopping bag with llamas on it… and THIS TOTE BAG:

Pugs not Drugs
Pugs not drugs. Completely amazing.

As a bonus for reading this far here is the Maru book making me smile like an imbecile:
Clovelly Beach Birthday

:’) friends are the best.

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Our crew all stretched out on the lawn

Clovelly Beach Birthday
Such a good day!

Hong Ha
1151 Botany Rd
Mascot NSW 2020
Ph: (02) 9667 2069

Pat and Stick’s Tempe factory
Unit 4, 3 Wood St,
Tempe, NSW 2044
Ph: (02) 9114 6377
Open Mon-Fri, 9-5pm and some weekends (call first to make sure)

[Recipe] Brasserie Bread’s Schiacciata con l’uva

January 7, 2012

Schiacciata

This post begins with a lie… the recipe I’m sharing with you is for Schiacciata Con L’Uva – but the bread that I made isn’t “Con L’Uva” (with grapes) at all! It’s kind of the beauty of it though – even though this recipe is for a traditional Italian flat bread with grapes, it’s so versatile you can really top it with anything. The photo above is a Schiacciata I made with blueberries – which just happen to be in season and so super cheap right now – but honestly you could use almost anything.

Schiacciata
Schiacciata
Tomato and cheese!

Schiacciata

Schiacciata

I first learnt how to make this bread last year at Brassierie Bread’s Artisan Bread Masterclass at Masterchef Live (see my post about it here) – it’s so simple and now I make it all the time! Home-made bread takes a little bit of time to make – the kneading, and proving… but the results are so worth it! I’m definitely no expert, and if even a super kitchen noob like me can do it, I reckon anyone can!!

Of course reading a blog post is nothing compared to being taught the actual process live – and if you are able to, I would strongly recommend booking in a baking class at Brasserie Bread. You will not regret it! Their teachers are so patient and excellent and really give you the confidence to make bread at home!
Here is the Brasserie Bread Class Schedule for Sydney (Melbourne classes are also available)

This whole procedure for the Schiacciata Con L’Uva is actually shown in Season 2 of Masterchef – when Brasserie Bread’s Michael Klausen led Marion and Aaron in a bread making masterclass. You can watch the whole thing here:
Masterchef Online Video

When Matt Brock from Brasserie Bread showed us how to make artisan bread at Masterchef Live – he had a few handy tips for us:

  • Some recipes call for you to mix your yeast with warm water to “activate” it and to speed up the process. This is totally unnecessary. Adding warmth to the process speeds it up, but this comes at the cost of flavour. This recipe from Brasserie Bread instead calls for chilled water, and if possible – to keep your dough in the fridge as it rises. The cold slows down the process and allows the complex flavours to develop.
  • Don’t be alarmed if your dough is really wet and sticky! Your first instinct will be to flour your table or board and to keep adding flour to make your dough drier. Resist the temptation! The wetter the dough is, the better. The dough will become less and less sticky as you begin to knead, until it eventually becomes nice and smooth. Adding extra flour by flouring your board will only make your bread tougher!
  • Instead of kneading the dough for 20mins straight, this method uses a process called “Autolyse” – where you alternate between kneading for short bursts, and letting the dough rest. As the dough rests, the enzymes in the flour continue to break down the proteins and starch – effectively doing all the work, with no added effort from us! Sweet! (there’s a cool article about autolysis here if you want to read more about it: The Autolyse Method)
  • Bread calls for flour with a high protein content. Brasserie Bread uses beautiful unbleached organic Kialla flour, which they also sell in their cafe shop in Banksmeadow. The Kialla flour has a protein level of 12.5% – which means it’ll be able to form the strong gluten bonds that are necessary to make bread. Ordinary plain flour has a protein level of around 10% and if you use it, your bread will probably rise too much and then fall flat, as the gluten bonds aren’t strong enough to hold in the air.

I was able to find 5kg bags of Wallaby unbleached baker’s flour by Laucke in my local Coles supermarket for about $10. It has a protein level of 11.9%
Schiacciata

Schiacciata
Yeast on one side, Salt on the other side – if the salt comes into direct contact with the yeast, it will kill the yeast!

The kneading uses a French method popularised by Richard Bertinet… here’s a youtube video I found which demonstrates the throwing method! This way works air into the dough, giving you a light and fluffy texture.

PS. It’s also a really good way of working out any anger issues you might be having. Just sayin’

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My final dough!

Now on to the recipe!

This recipe will make 2 loaves (they fit in my 2 brownie pans)
Schiacciata

Schiacciata Con L’Uva

(recipe from Brasserie Bread and reposted with permission)

Ingredients:
420g organic unbleached plain flour
6g instant yeast (you can buy this from the supermarket in little sachets) – if using fresh yeast, double this amount
285g chilled tap water
10g extra virgin olive oil
10g salt

For the topping:
10g extra virgin olive oil
100g seedless red grapes (or cherries)
20g organic raw sugar

Method:

Sift the flour into a large bowl and crumble yeast on to one side of the flour. Sprinkle salt on to the other side (you want to keep them apart otherwise the salt will kill the yeast)
Add water and oil to the flour and mix well

Turn onto a clean unfloured bench and knead for 2 minutes then rest for 2 minutes
Complete this kneading/resting sequence 5 more times (6 times in total)
Test dough for ‘Gluten window’ by stretching a piece of dough between your fingers – if it stretches into a thin film without breaking, you’re good to go! If not, knead it for a few more minutes and test again.

Shape the dough into a boule (round shape) and place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and place the bowl in your fridge for approx 1 hour (until it’s doubled in size)
‘Knock back’ the dough by pushing the air bubbles out of the dough. Cut the dough in half, and final shape by flattening slightly into large oval shapes onto a lined baking sheet

Now is when you add your toppings! Dip your fingers in olive oil, and push the dough in, creating indentations. Push the toppings (cherries, grapes, tomatoes, cheese cubes, whatever!) into these indentations.
Drizzle with more olive oil and if making a sweet bread, sprinkle generously with sugar
Allow to prove for another 30 – 40 minutes in a warm place

Bake in a pre heated oven at 190˚C for approx 20 minutes until golden brown
Allow to cool slightly then enjoy!