Since lockdown, lunch has become more of a thing. Whilst I am still working full time, my desk has moved from the work office to the kitchen table and although not physically a million miles apart from each other, the space itself certainly is. A busy office full of people is replaced with solitude and quiet, and I often play music (I’m classical music years old now) to drown out the clock ticking. I’ve never been fond of working from home but on the odd occasion I have, I found myself being distracted by the smallest of things – Small crumb on the floor spotted in the corner of my eye: hoover the whole apartment. Bargain Hunt. 2pm that must mean a glass of wine. I haven’t polished the lightbulbs in awhile. And so forth.
So, I have been forced to change, balance and adapt. And one of my redeeming features is exactly that. I’m adaptable. Thankfully. Now, my sporadical mind is focused with set breaks to do set things, and by starting early and doing this little thing called planning, I can make sure I use that precious commodity of time well. Being so connected with my kitchen whilst I’m working, therefore gives me the opportunity to amplify my lunch, and with my new found aligned chakras, lunch is much more than a Mug Shot.
One of my lunches this week was stuffed focaccia. And the real beauty of this is the swapability of what you choose to fill it with. Swap chilli pesto for basil pesto or harissa, swap peppers for tomatoes etc. The world is your focaccia. Oh, and this tastes even better warmed up the next day.
If you have a go, tag @PetitVeg, I’d love to see what you come up with!
Ingredients for Bread
500g strong white flour
2 tsp salt
1 x 7 sachet fast-action yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml warm water
handful chopped olives or fresh rosemary
Ingredients for Stuffing
6 tbsp chilli red pesto
2 peppers (red, yellow or orange)
handful of baby spinach leaves
handful of grated mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 200C. Chop the peppers up into bite size pieces, place in a roasting dish with enough room to spread out. Drizzle a little olive oil over them and pop into the oven for 25 mins or until charred slightly. Leave to cool. You can turn the oven off again at this point.
- Then start on the bread. Put the flour into a large bowl, add salt on one side and the yeast on the other, and mix into the flour separately on each side before mixing altogether. Add the olive oil and enough warm water to make soft, and very slightly sticky dough. Knead on a floured surface for around 10 minutes. As you go, the dough will become more manageable and in the end a bit stretchy. Pop the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with a tea-towel, and put in a warm place for 1 hour.
- An hour later and doubled in size, take the dough and split in half, and roll/stretch one out to fill a 28cm x 20cm (or slightly smaller) lightly oil lined roasting dish.
- Spread on the pesto, but leaving the edges clear. The add the mozzarella, peppers, spinach and a bit more mozzarella. Gently place the second rolled dough on top, and press the edges together. Cover again with a tea-towel and prove for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven again at 200C.
- Take the dough and make the dimples by pressing your finger into the dough, and place the chopped rosemary or olives into it. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle on the sea salt.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until golden.
- Serve in slices warm.