Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Gluten Free Bread: Onion Focaccia

gluten free bread recipe
Gluten free Onion Focaccia. No, that's not a swear word
My children are getting older. Not only does this make me feel like a liver-spotted crone, it presents me with a problem.

The problem of swearing and whether the kids are ever allowed to swear at home.

A few years ago my children told me they knew all the swear words. I didn't believe them, so they proceeded to spell them out (so the youngest couldn't understand).

When one of them started on the C-bomb, I was horrified and the impromptu spelling test was brought swiftly to an end.

Swearing is funny

But swearing is quite funny, isn't it? If you've watched the scene 'In Bruges' where Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes have a friendly chat over a beer, well, you'll understand what I mean. Caution: Don't watch this clip if you can't tolerate really filthy, terrible language. And I mean filthy (but funny).

My son finds swearing very funny.

Because we lived in Paris, he knows that ananas means pineapple. And so when he devised a catchy little song with the lyrics, 'Shake your ananass' (emphasis on the last syllable, draw it out for maximum effect), he knew he was guaranteed a laugh.

Shih Tzu. Nothing funny about that

And then my friend bought a dog. A Shih Tzu.

Oh the hilarity.

"Mum" says my son, "Daniel has a Shit Tzu." Cue hysterics from all the children.

"Really?" interrupts one of my daughters, "What kind of dog did you say?"

"A SHIT Tzu!" squeals my son and all parental control is lost.

This inspires eldest daughter to tell a joke.

"What do you call a zoo which has only one animal?" "A SHIT Zoo!" 
Silent shoulder shaking, tears rolling down cheeks, tummy muscles in a blissful, joyful spasm.

I've decided that the only way to beat them, is to join them.

We drove to France recently and I saw a truck. "Hey look at that truck!" I called to the kids, "what does it say on it?"  

I got quite a few cool points for that one.

Then we stopped at the services. "Just take a look at the sign as we leave" I said. "What does it say?

Again the mirth, again the kudos for Mum.

So, against my better parenting judgement, swearing is creeping into our house.

And that's why my children are having so much fun with my latest recipe.

"Umm, what do you call this bread again Mum?"

There have been titters, cackles and water sprayed across the table because one of them had just taken a drink.

I concede; they have won the swearing battle.

Ladies, Gentlemen, I hope you - and your children - enjoy my Onion Fock Atcha!

Onion focaccia

This recipe works best when you use either a KitchenAid and dough hook, or a handheld blender with a dough hook. But if you don't have either, resign yourself to beating the mixture furiously with a wooden spoon and hoping for the best.

1¼ tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsps sugar
1 tsp xanthan
2 tbsps olive oil
½ tbsp dairy free margarine
Up to 500ml tepid water (or water mixed with rice milk)
1 onion (a red onion if you want it to look prettier)
Extra olive oil for the surface of the focaccia, about 4 tbsps
Sea salt for sprinkling

  • Peel the onion and chop it in half. Finely dice one half and slice the other half. Set aside
  • Place the gluten free flour, yeast, salt, sugar, margarine and xanthan into a bowl. Add the diced onion
  • Get your dough hook (or your biceps) ready and pour in about half of the tepid water. Beat until the mixture starts to come together, gradually adding more liquid. You are aiming for a very soft, wet dough that holds together, but would not stand up to kneading
  • When the dough is holding together, beat with the dough hook for about two minutes. Also, gently blow over the mixture. In our house this is called a 'magic blow' and it cures many ills
  • Leave the dough to prove for 30-40 minutes and you should see some gratifying swelling/growing. Gluten free dough doesn't rise in the same way as wheat flour dough, so don't be disheartened
  • Grease a 20cm cake tin - or similar sized tin - and line with baking parchment
  • Transfer the dough to the tin and use your hands to pat it into shape. You may need to grease your hands with olive oil if the dough is very wet and sticky
  • Leave the dough to prove for about 15 mins. Being really honest, I'm not sure that extra proving does any good, I just kind of do it for luck. I know, that IS slightly deranged
  • Heat the oven to 190-200°C
  • Shape your fingers into a claw - this recipe is getting weirder and weirder - and poke them into the surface of the dough to make holes
  • Arrange the sliced onion on the surface of the focaccia, then drizzle (ugh, hate that word) the olive oil all over the top. Don't hold back on the oil, the bread tastes delicious when it has a real greasy, olive oil taste laced with the sea salt. Yummy
  • Sprinkle over the salt and place into the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the bread has risen and is golden
  • Leave to rest in the tin for about five minutes, then transfer to a wire tray to cool
  • Delicious served with hot tomato soup, or salad or just dipped in (more) olive oil
  • In fact you could say that this bad-ass Fockactcha is bloody gorgeous!
  • But don't drop the C-bomb because that really is going too far

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