I first met Lee Crockford in 2015, when he was presenting at a conference I attended introducing young people to social enterprise. 2 years later, I was indoctrinated and organising the same conference. Needless to say, I wanted Lee as our keynote. I contacted him through the email I had on file for him - and William Stubbs replied, telling me Lee was overseas. I thought, oh that must be Lee's assistant. In 2018, I saw, through those same conference channels, that spur: was looking for a junior consultant. I set up an interview with Will, and a coffee and a few hours later, he called us kindred spirits. And he wasn't wrong. I'm celebrating my third year with spur: as it celebrates its tenth, with many more to come.
My partner and I, also Olivia (hence the recipe name), love cooking together. And we love putting on dinner parties and playing host. A running joke in our relationship has been that Liv will mention a food that she likes offhandedly. And in order to impress her, I then must perfect this food. Liv has likened this to a cat bringing home a mouse or a leaf to impress its owner. She, as always, is not wrong. I learnt to make focaccia, and have been adapting and perfecting this recipe ever since.
· 450g plain or baker's flour
· 2 tsp yeast
· 320ml lukewarm water in a clear bowl
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 tsp sugar
· 2 tsp extra flour
· Olive oil
· Toppings of your choosing or the classic:
· Salt flakes
· Balsamic glaze
1 · Preheat oven to 40 degrees Celsius.
2 · Add the yeast, extra flour and sugar to the lukewarm water.
3 · Lightly stir, and set aside for 10-15 minutes. The yeast mixture is ready when there is a foam layer on top of the liquid. Your mixture is alive!
4 · When the yeast is ready, in a large bowl combine the yeast mixture, flour and salt. Mix with your hands until its forms a smooth dough.
5 · Flour the bench and knead the dough until round, smooth and pliable – no cracks.
6 · Cover a rectangular tin with olive oil and sprinkle polenta all around it.
7 · Place the now smooth dough on the tin and cover top with olive oil.
8 · Place the tin the oven for 10 minutes, allowing the dough to proof.
9 · Take the tin out of the oven, and increase the temperature to 180 degrees Celsius.
10 ·Gently stretch the dough evenly across the tin, into the corners.
11 · Using your fingertips, press indents into your spread dough. This will create the pockets for the olive oil to absorb into the bread. Drool.
12 · Cover with your desired toppings. Liv and I keep it simple: a lemon-infused olive oil, kalamata olives, rosemary and salt flakes.
13 · Place the tin into the oven for 15 minutes to cook. The focaccia should start to look golden, and may need a further 5 minutes cook time.