Welcome to my first post of my kitchen adventure at the Waterhouse restaurant!
I was posted at the Pastry corner with Chef Timoney who taught me a great recipe to make foccacia bread, and also how to make Tuiles, mango ice-cream, mango panacotta, and how to cook the perfect chocolate fondant! I did not get all the recipes for you but my favourite of the night can be found below: the focaccia!
I have made foccacia once at home, and it took me the whole day. Timoney showed me how to make this light and fluffy bread in 2h. I was gobsmacked! I will try to repeat this at home and will keep you posted on how I am getting on without their amazing equipment. What helped us the most was to be able to proof this bread on top of a really hot oven. It was so hot that I could just about put my hand on it to feel how hot it was: I would say about 45/50C.
- 1kg bread flour
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp fast action yeast
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 handful chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 handful chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp on dried oregano
- 450ml tepid water
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 100ml pomace olive oil
Place all the dry ingredients in a standing mixer with a dough hook and add the oil and water mixed together slowly until you have a dough that comes together. We needed to add a few more drops of water to have the perfect consistency. You need a dough quite moist but that can be held without sticking all over your hands. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it for a few minute.
Place the dough in a super large tray covered with baking paper and leave to proof on top of a super hot oven. We left it for 1h and it looked amazing! You could tell the dough was fragile and has risen too quickly because as I was taking the picture one of the corner already started to collapse (as you can see on the picture on the right). We quickly put the tray in the oven at 170C for 20minutes until golden. The top crust should feel firm to the touch and the bread should feel soft, springy and hollow inside. I just couldn’t wait to taste this focaccia! I was surprised the chef didn’t brush olive oil on top of the bread before cooking to give it a good shine. They said some customers complained it was too oily so they now decided to leave the bread as it is and serve it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So soft, fluffy and herby. I didn’t need to be dipped in oil to me!
I will try this recipe as soon as I get my kitchen dust-free from the renovation work we’ve been doing and I will keep you posted! Although I might try a smaller version first…
So many things were going on that it was hard to keep up with the camera but I thought I would focus on the chef who was in charge of the kitchen that night: Daniel. A very calm and brilliant young chef who just got a new chef position at the Duck&Waffle. He showed me his presentation on their beetroot and gin-cured salmon and how he prepares my old time favourite scallops. Loved it!
Making french tuiles seemed so scary to the contestants during the Great British Bake Off this summer that I thought it would be very hard. Well it isn’t really, not when you have Timoney watching your palette knife skills and making sure you don’t overcook them so they dry too quickly. I also “helped” preparing the dessert. By helping I mean taking the home-made hazelnut ice-cream tub out of the freezer and decorating the plate with the crystallised rose. Hard work, I know. The whole night went by far too quickly and I really hope I behaved myself well enough to be allowed to come again!