I am not being paranoid but anybody else, here in India, feel that Summer is coming on a bit too early this year?! And no, all those of you living in sub-zero temperatures, I don't expect you to understand my line of questioning!
But, it is just mid-February and the days are already feeling uncomfortable. Winter, as always, seems to have just whizzed by and it feels like I was sick for half of it. And this year, many said we had a longer than usual Winter. So, where did it suddenly disappear?? Ok, maybe I exaggerate. The nights are still pleasant but you will agree that Summer is approaching a bit too fast for my liking!
I started Winter with a soup out here, so it's only fair that I bid it farewell with a soup too.
I have gone seasonal with the peas and have kept it classic by pairing it with bacon. To go along with it, I thought I'd give making focaccia a shot one more time. The last time I gave it a go, it all went horribly wrong and I was left with a thin, crispy flatbread!
The soup is made in minutes. Although, I do recommend that you get your hands on some fresh, tender peas. Not only do they taste much fresher and sweeter, they also cook much faster. For those who do not eat bacon, I'd recommend pairing the peas with some fresh mint instead.
I have gone with a Popina bakery recipe for the focaccia. While the purists might raise an eyebrow at how the recipe simplifies matters, it does make life so much easier!
This is a thick and wholesome soup where the flavour of bacon is a dominant one. And that's why this focaccia is a perfect complement to the soup. It is light and flavoured with olive oil and herbs that are fresher on the palate.
If you are in the mood for a light dinner, this should do the trick!
The seasons are changing. For those covered under all that snow, I know you can't wait!! What about the rest of you?
Pea And Bacon Soup
Recipe source : BBC. Serves 2.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 3 bacon rashers, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 150 gms fresh, tender peas (you can use frozen peas too)
- 150 mls vegetable stock
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until softened but not coloured.
- Add the bacon and fry until golden-brown. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add the frozen peas and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the peas are tender.
- Using a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.
- To serve, pour the soup into a bowl and top with a few extra peas and bits of fried bacon.
Recipe source: Popina Book of Baking. Makes one 15 x 20-cm focaccia.
- 1 teaspoon dried quick yeast
- 125 mls warm water (Hot water will kill the yeast!)
- 200 gms strong flour
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or finely chopped, fresh basil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 25 mls olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Put the yeast in a jug, then slowly whisk in the warm water and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Put the flour, basil, oil and salt in a mixing bowl and mix.
- Add the yeast mixture and mix well until you get a smooth dough. Transfer to a well floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes.
- The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a little flour and knead again.
- Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover and leave to prove for 1 hour in a warm place. The dough should increase significantly in size.
- Uncover your mixing bowl and transfer the ball of dough to the well floured surface. Knead well for a couple of minutes, then leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until big enough to fit your 15-cm x 20-cm baking tray. Transfer to the baking tray and stretch it to fit snugly. Push your finger into the dough repeatedly to make dents about 2 cms apart all over the surface.
- For the topping, drizzle the oil evenly over the focaccia and scatter the onion over the top. Cover and leave to rest for another 40 minutes. It will increase in size again.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C.
- Uncover the focaccia and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. It should be pale gold.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Serve.