Smell My Olive Pits

A blog dedicated to my love affair with all things food

Rosemary and Cheese Focaccia May 14, 2009

Filed under: Breads — smop @ 6:59 pm

I woke up much earlier than I had planned to one Saturday morning, and couldn’t fall back to sleep.  It was frustrating as the week had left me exhausted and the one thing I was looking forward to was a decent sleep in.  Having a couple of hours to kill until a somewhat decent breakfast hour, I decided to make bread.  Yes, bread.  I don’t know how on earth that thought came about, but once my mind got going on what I type of bread I could make, I was getting excited!  I decided on a focaccia and hunted around for a recipe.  This one from seemed to be quite well received, and luckily, I had everything I needed.

Rosemary and Cheese Focaccia




  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 (7g) package instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (45oC)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large plastic or glass bowl (not metal), stir together the flours and salt.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.  Sprinkle the sugar and yeast into that well.  Carefully pour the water into the well.  Let stand until the yeast begins to act, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into the well.  With a wooden spoon stir the mixture in the centre of the bowl. Gradually widen the circle of stirring to take in all of the flour at the sides of the well.
  3. Turn out on a floured surface, and knead just until smooth, adding the rosemary gradually while kneading.  Keep the dough soft.  Pour 1/2 teaspoon of the oil into a clean bowl.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning once to oil the top.  Cover.  Let rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Punch the dough down.  Use 1 teaspoon of the oil to coat a baking sheet, and place the dough on the baking sheet. Gently press the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Pour the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over the top of the dough.
  5. Use the handle end of a wooden spoon to dimple the dough at 1 1/2 inch intervals. Sprinkle with the cheese (and more rosemary if desired).
  6. Place in a cold oven on the center shelf.  Place a flat pan of hot water on the shelf below the bread.  Let rise until doubled, 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Turn on the oven to 190oC.  Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned on top.  Remove from the pan, and cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm.

It finished just when the sun was creeping up for a crisp autumn day.  It wasn’t that bad that I couldn’t sleep after all!


Sausage buns December 20, 2008

Filed under: Breads,Savoury — smop @ 11:33 pm
Tags: , ,

Since Mum had come back from HK, she brought back a heap of Asian cooking magazines; and while poring through them, I’ve been hit by Asian-food cooking fever and then decided that I wanted to try my hands on making sausage buns (腸仔包).

The original recipe is from this site (  I’ve just put the recipe with my own modifications below

This is what they’re supposed to look like …

This is how mine turned out

sausage bun1

Slightly overcooked (the annoying thing about a fan-forced oven) and lacking that sheen, but otherwise not too bad for the first time I guess (even if I say so, heh!).

Sausage buns
Makes 12


  • 40g Bread Flour
  • 60g all-purpose flour
  • 40g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 160 mL warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 12 cocktail sausages or 6 frankfurts, halved.


  1. In a large bowl, combine everything except butter.  Beat until well blended (about 7 min) using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (I used a handheld mixer & it was OK!).  Add in butter (in small cubes) and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  2. 1st Rise:  Shape into a ball.  Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once.  Cover, and let rise in a warm place until 2.5X in size (60-90 min).
  3. Punch the risen dough down completely.
  4. Divide dough into 12 portions.  Cover, and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
  5. To shape for sausage buns, roll each dough into a long strip and roll Roll the strip around the sausage diagonally.
  6. 2nd Rise: Let the dough rise until doubled in size (50-60 min).
  7. Preheat oven to 200C
  8. Brush egg wash or milk on the top of each dough.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Some more pictures.



There was a lot of waiting involved with making this.  1.5 hours for the first rise, then 15 minutes resting and then another hour for the 2nd rise.  I was running short of time as I had to go off to dinner, so enlisted the help of a warm oven to speed the process up a bit.  This was prior to the 2nd rise.

And another baked photo


The bread was alright — it had probably a bit too much of a crunchy crust as opposed to the soft ones found in HK bakeries.  The inside was fluffy and had a sweet aftertaste to it.  While Mum and I were discussing what it was about the ones I made that were different to the commercial ones in terms of taste and appearance, Ray had come along and grabbed his second helping of it.  So I guess they didn’t taste too bad, and even if the bread wasn’t the right thing, at least the sausage tasted nice.

Will try again next time.
They tasted better the next day (I’d left them in the fridge, then nuked it in the microwave for about 40s – soft and sweet)

I’d love to take a course in making Asian breads and dimsims one day.


Garlic & Herb pull-apart January 10, 2008

Filed under: Breads,Savoury — smop @ 6:07 pm
Tags: , ,

After waking up earlier than usual, and having more hours to spend for the day, plus with shops being closed, I decided to venture into baking yeast bread.  It was another one of my attempts to see how making bread will turn out.  The recipe I got from, and I just left out the feta and added sliced olives instead.

Herbs (basil, thyme and parsley) picked from my pots.


Dough pre and post-proofing (done in my bedroom – the only place that gets the sun).

preproof postproof

Portioned and layered.

portions prebake top

Just before going in the oven & soon after it came out – still steaming hot.

prebake baked1



It tasted pretty good while it was warm and I ate one of the tops, but when I cooled down and had another top, it didn’t have that ‘bread’ taste anymore.  I’m not sure whether it’s the flour, the way I’m kneading, not adding enough of a salt / sugar / other things.  I need the Baker’s Delight or Brumby’s recipe.  It was good fun though … I think I need to practice kneading.  Then I need to attempt at making a pizza base.