My definition of vacation is going to a place where I can find solitude and serenity. A place where I relaxes my mind and just merely connecting to nature. It always fascinates me to see the sea, the vastness of the ocean excites me and the texture of the the sand agitates me. Born in a tropical place, going to the beach is one of the things that you can't take away from me. Grew up in a place where sea is just a walking distance. This is where I stop and think and look back on what I have done and what I wanted to do next. A thing that is priceless, especially now that things move so quickly, it is so important to spend some time alone in order to think clearly and discover ourselves.
taken at Boracay Island, Philippines last June 2014
“When you're hurrying around too quickly," he had said, "there's a part of the world you can't see. If, for example, you're taking a wrong direction in your life, it's only when you stop and look at things clearly that you can revise your direction and take a more proper course. Then message of Zen is that in order to find ourselves, we've got to learn to stop.”
- Pico Iyer, The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto
This is my first time to bake an Italian bread, a focaccia bread. I was enticed by a cooking show I watched weeks back and I told myself why not try this and see how complicated yet artistic could it be. This is a flat-oven baked bread where the dough is somehow similar to pizza but uses olive oil as one of the main ingredients. You can make your own toppings of flavor according to your preference. For this one I baked two types, cherry tomato with basil leaves and cheese; and Rosemary with grapes. Do use fresh ingredients as possible.
It does not contain sugar, milk, nor butter thus it is highly recommended for vegetarians and people who are on diet. I was able to make it in one try and I bet you can do the same. Sharing this pretty healthy recipe, hope you enjoy it.
Preparation Time: 2 Hours
Baking Time: 25 minutes
1 package rapid dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water,
2 1/4 cups tepid water
2 Tbsp olive oil,
3 cups bread flour
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt, plus coarse salt for sprinkling over the top
5-10 fresh rosemary leaves
10-12 pieces seedless grapes
5-10 fresh basil leaves
10-12 pieces cherry tomatoes
1. Stir the yeast into the 1/3 cup of slightly warm-to-the-touch water and let it rest for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, pour in 2 1/4 cups of tepid water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. After the yeast has rested for 10 minutes and has begun to froth, pour it into the water-oil mixture.
3. Mix all purpose flour and bread flour with one tablespoon of salt.
4. Whisk in 2 cups of flour mixture, cup by cup with the yeast mixture and olive oil & water mixture. Whisk in the rest of the flour. As the mixture goes from a batter to a thick dough, you'll want to switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon.
5. In a large bowl, spread one tablespoon of oil and place the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 2 hours in a room temperature until the dough has double it's size.
6. Split the dough in two.
7. For rosemary focaccia, prepare your rosemary leaves and grapes. Spread the dough into a baking pan spread with little olive or baking sheet so it will be easier to remove once baked. Dimple the bread dough with your hands and let set for 1 hour. Once done, put the rosemary leaves and grapes.
8. For tomato and basil focaccia, prepare your basil leaves and tomato. Spread the dough into a baking pan spread with little olive or baking sheet so it will be easier to remove once baked. Dimple the bread dough with your hands and let set for 1 hour. Once done, put the basil leaves and tomato.
9. Preheat the oven to 400F/204C
10. Once the dough has risen, brush some olive oil on the dough and sprinkle with salt.
11. Bake the two sets of focaccia 20-25 minutes.
12. Once baked, place the bread into the baking rack and let it cool 2-3 minutes. For your basil & tomato focaccia bread, sprinkle grated cheese.
Served the bread with balsamic vinegar & olive oil for your dip. Or you can have butter to go along with that!
Pandesal (from spanish pan de sal means "salt bread") is a local bread in the Philippines. I grew up with this bread and an all time favorite for the whole family. You can have it for your breakfast, snacks or whenever you want to. Enjoy with your favorite spread or ham, egg, sausage, cheese, soup or what-have-you. Back in Manila you can find this at the every bake shop you could see, just few blocks away from the house there is a bakery. And they always have it fresh as its demand is high so everyday you'll get to have a freshly baked pandesal, what a treat! I remember when I was pregnant with my 1st child, I ate pandesal everyday with cheese on it and chicken macaroni soup.
Ever since I moved here in Singapore I always think of this bread (as this is my favorite), where to buy or how to bake. The idea of baking bread terrifies me due to the use of yeast. If you don't know how to use this properly you'll not gonna have the bread that you want. So buying will be the only option. I found a place where I can buy but I need to really set time to purposely go there, it's a bit far from my place and of course it's commercialized, expensive and the quality is not there. The texture is so fluffy and expensive, not economical. And so I'm wishing to bake this bread. I read lots of recipe, topics about yeast and the different types of it and the preparation. And so I thought I can do this. I attempted thrice but I wasn't able to have the texture that I really want not until I made some adjustments and use another way of preparing the dough. I was able to have that soft, fluffy and meaty bread. Sharing out this recipe as my family really enjoyed this Pandesal and hope you too!
Preparation : 4 hours
Baking Time : 15 Minutes
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 pack/sachet of rapid yeast
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon softened butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 piece egg
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup fresh milk
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl.
2. Lightly mix the dry ingredients using your dough hook of stand mixer, add egg, butter and oil, set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine fresh milk, evaporated milk and water and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or stove for 15 seconds (do not boil).
4. Pour the wet ingredients to the the dry ingredients and mix the dough using Speed 2 of your stand mixer. If using hand ensure your incorporate all the ingredients together.
5. in a flat surface, put a plash of flour and knead the dough according to the consistency you like. I suggest you knead it for 10 minutes.
6. In a dry bowl, spread a little oil before placing the dough.
7. Cover with cling wrap and let it rise for 1.5 hours or until it double in size.
8. Take out the dough from the bowl and start to mold. I use 1/3 measuring cup and scoop out the dough.
9. Once cup out, roll the dough in circular motion (dust your hand with flour before doing this)
10. Dip each rolled dough into the bread crumbs and placed it in the baking tray.
11. Once done, cover the baking tray with cling wrap and let it rise for another 1.5 hours or until it double its size.
12. Preheat oven to 170C and bake for 15 minutes.
13. Placed the Pandesal into wire rack to cool down.
As we grow, we are not contented with what we do or have. Doing the mundane stuff bored us a lot and we become dissatisfied, unhappy. In order to avoid such pain and agony of being unhappy, we explore. We pack our things and decided to go places. Places that we never been to. A place that excite us. A place that agitates our sense. We travel to far places with friends, family, significant others or just simply by ourselves. We explore, we try, we learn new things. Things that makes us realized how lucky we are to be given such opportunity to be in that place, to eat the food and to have a conversation with a local people. We became amazed with what we see, experience and it reaches back to our senses how wonderful life is. And eventually we become happy but never contented.
taken at Lake Tahoe in California last 2013
And so I quote from my favorite travel author, Pico Iyer , "We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.
~ Jean Luc Picard ~