A Road trip, A Focaccia and A Soup

July 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm 8 comments

WARNING: This is one of the longest posts I have ever posted! Grab a cup of Tea and enjoy :)

The weather Gods are still unsure -whether to rain or not to rain? Meanwhile we ventured out on a Road trip to Bangalore ; more than almost a 2000km car drive to and from Nashik. We were a bit apprehensive about the road trip considering the ‘can’t sit in one place for a minute’ little one but decided to go anyway. Finger foods, drawing/coloring sets, car games, CDs later we were finally on the way to Bangalore. The back-seat of the car was turned into a mini bed for both the kids to play/eat/ sleep and enjoy.

We preferred the Nashik –Mumbai highway and then the Mumbai-Pune expressway  to the single lane and ‘boring’ Nasik-Pune highway upto Pune. It was a scenic drive especially through the clouds in Lonavala just before Pune, and then the lovely windmills near Belgaum on the Bangalore highway. The road is fabulous except for the last 50-60 km as you near Bangalore. We halted at Belgaum for the night at ‘ Hotel Adarsh Palace’ . The hotel was good, clean and serves one of the best breakfast I have had on a road trip. The little one was impressed with their mini-button idlis.

Except the 1-2 Kamat Upchar outlets and 1-2 coffe day outlets we didn’t see many Food stops post Belgaum. We had south Indian thali at the The Kamat Upchar on the Tumkur-Bangalore  highway(~60 Km from Bangalore). Not the best of meals but enough to feed weary travelers.

We were in Bangalore exactly for 1 and ½ days. I have been to Bangalore a couple of times earlier but haven’t seen the city and its surroundings in bits and pieces on each trip. We could successfully squeeze in half a day trip to Bannerghatta Zoo and the Lalbaugh gardens. The lad was thrilled to see the animals at the zoo and also commented that the road trip was worth the effort  The foodie that he is, he enjoyed the spicy-sour sweet succulent slices of ‘ Gini mooti (Totapuri) aam’ sold just outside the zoo.

The lalbuagh nursery as beautiful as it is was disappointing since I went there in search of Herbs and they don’t grow them. (Should have checked beforehand)

I got a chance to visit a Nature’s basket outlet in Indiranagar, Bangalore and I happily carried a few fresh herbs like Thyme and Rosemary, Avocados , instant Polenta and such items all the way to Nasik. Fresh Thyme and Rosemary are yet to make an appearance in the market here in Nashik, though my kitchen garden will grow them in a month or two- Fingers crossed.

We stopped over at Kolhapur for the night on our way back and don’t have much to write about the hotel ‘Sony Palace’ just 2 minutes off the highway.The drive through Lonavala was even more scenic on the way back. Glad to report that the little one not only survived the car trip but is eager to go on another trip!

The herbs survived the ride back home and were  immediately used in as many dishes as I could. The Rosemary urged me to bake a lovely warm Rosemary and Olive Focaccia.Some of the thyme went into a Roasted tomato and Thyme soup.; a perfect dinner combination for these ‘Rainy weather days’.

I have adapted the recipe for the Rosemary and Olive Focaccia from  a book ‘Baking- simple cookery series’ from my collection of cookbooks.

I have used some part whole wheat flour instead of total AP flour as  recommened in the recipe with great results. The soup was made using whatever ingredients were available, Thyme being the star ingredient.

Here’s the recipe for the Rosemary Olive Focaccia

Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

700 gms strong white flour (I used 450 gms Maida/AP flour, 250 gms whole wheat flour and 3 tbsp Vital gluten)

pinch of salt

pinch of caster sugar

7g/ 2tsp instant yeast (I used AB Mauri)

450 ml warm water (or as required to make a soft elastic dough, I needed about 470 ml)

2 tsp chopped fresh Rosemary

75 gms pitted black olives roughly chopped

3 tbsp Olive oil (I used herb infused Olive oil- see note below)

For the garnish:

3 tbsp Olive oil (I used herb infused Olive oil- see note below)

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Fresh Rosemary for garnishing

Method:

Sift the Flours, salt and the sugar.

Stir in the yeast and Rosemary.

Make a well in the centre

Carefully pour in the warm water and Olive oil/herb oil. I need about 10-20 ml more water so add the water gradually.

Mix to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 10 mins.(Yeast Therapy :) ) until smooth and elastic.

Pat the olives dry on a kitchen paper, and then gently knead into the dough.

Put in a well oiled bowl, cover with a clingfilm and leave to rise for about 1½  hrs. or it has doubled in size(mine was overflowing from the bowl)

Turn out the dough and knead again for a minute or two.

Divide into half and roll out each piece into a 10 inch (25.5 cm) circle.

Transfer to oiled baking sheets and cover with oiled clingfilm/ foil and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Using the finger tips make deep dimples all over the dough.

Drizzle with the oil (I used herbed oil)and sprinkle with the sea salt.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden. My old oven took almost 10-12 minutes more.

Cool on a wire rack and garnish with sprigs of Rosemary.

Grind over or sprinkle black pepper just before serving.

Recipe for the Roasted Tomato and Thyme soup

Ingredients:

7-8 tomatoes halved lengthwise

1 onion sliced

2-3 garlic pods

4-5 small sprigs of fresh Thyme

2 tbsp herb infused olive oil oil (or just olive oil) and a few drops more for garnishing.

1 carrot peeled and cubed

Coarse sea salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

½ tsp of brown sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, cut side up along with the onions, garlic pods and Thyme twigs.

Drizzle the herb infused olive oil (or just olive oil)

Sprinkle some coarse sea salt and pepper  over the tomatoes.

Roast  the tomatoes for about 30 mins.

Meanwhile Place water in a pan and boil the carrot cubes along with a sprig of Thyme till just soft ( 10 mins.)

Drain and cool the carrot cubes but do not discard the water.

Cool the Roasted tomatoes, onions and Garlic.

Carefully remove the Thyme sprigs.

Remove the skin from the tomatoes (or alternatively sieve the pulp later)

Blend the roasted Tomatoes, sliced onion, garlic along with the cooked carrot.

Transfer the pulp to a large pot.

Adjust to a soupy consistency using the carrot stock (or vegetable stock)

Add the brown sugar and adjust the seasoning.

Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Serve hot garnished with the herb and chilli infused olive oil along with  a warm bread.

(You may alternatively garnish with Cheese of your choice)

I served the Soup with the Rosemary & Olive Focaccia.

Note : Herb Infused Olive Oil

Warm about 1 cup Olive Oil (not necessarily Extra virgin). Add chopped fresh herbs like Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Parsley.

Add 2-3  peeled garlic cloves.

Add ½ – 1 tsp of Chilli flakes.

Keep aside for 1 a day.

Strain out the  herbs and garlic ( I like to keep the chilli flakes)

Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. ( Mine usually gets over in a week)

I use it on breads, pizzas, soups, dips or for salad dressings.

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Entry filed under: Breads, Cuisines of the world, Food Photography, For the little wonders, From the bakery, Soups. Tags: .

karale (कारळे) /Khurasni(खुरसणी)/ Niger seeds chutney and stuffed Bhindi/Okra A wholesome weekend Brunch- Veg Fajitas with Guacamole

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Priya Sreeram (@priyasreeram)  |  July 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    what a dainty looking focaccia- the fresh herbs has added that oomph to the bake and the olive oil

    Reply
    • 2. My foodcourt  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

      Thank you Priya.Yes the fresh hebs make all the difference.Next time I will have homegrown herbs :)

      Reply
  • 3. Nupur  |  July 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    What a wonderful road trip! I can’t believe you drove such long distances with two little ones. You went through two of my fav places- Kolhapur and Belgaum :) have immediate family in both places. And yes, Adarsh Hotel has very good food. Never heard of Sony Hotel though. The bread and soup all looks very good and monsoon-friendly.

    Reply
    • 4. My foodcourt  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:21 am

      Thanks Nupur. n fact I thought of you when I passed a small place called ‘Kittur’ on the way to Bangalore :)

      Reply
  • 5. evolvingtastes  |  July 21, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Do you live in Nashik? For some reason I thought you were in Bombay. I do visit Nashik to meet extended family on my trips to India.

    Reply
    • 6. My foodcourt  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:20 am

      So next time you can meet the extended blogger family :) Let me know when next you are here.will be glad to meet you

      Reply
  • 7. cht7  |  July 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Love focaccia bread! This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • [...] Guacamole is a family favourite. We love Guacamole. Whenever I have access to good quality Avocados, the creamy dip gets slathered on breads or Rotis or is paired up with corn chips, khakras, Tacos anything that can be dipped or wrapped!. One of the very few veggie vendors who stocks ‘exotic’ fruits here in Nashik sometimes sells Avocados. Finding good quality Avocados is a challenge since they travel here all the way from Goa (that’s what the vendor tells me). I was happy to find some lush green Avocados on my trip to Nature’s basket, Bangalore. [...]

    Reply

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