. . cooking
recipes, cookery, food, cooking vacations
for family meals :
recipe has been published with the kind permission
of Alex Mackay who,
among other things, runs Le
Baou D'Infer cookery school. Alex is the
former director of the cookery school at Raymond
Blanc's world famous Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons.
He has also worked in the kitchens of three two-star
Michelin restaurants in France, making him as
informed about French cuisine as he is fluent
in the language.
part of the year Alex runs Le Baou D'Infer, a
cookery school with a difference. Located in the
heart of the breathtaking Provençal countryside,
yet just twenty minutes from St Tropez, the school
is in the grounds of a working vineyard, steeped
in the dappled light and the fragrance of herbs
which make this area of France so unforgettable.
The great thing is that anyone can enrol for a
week with Alex.
Baou D'Infer is a unique cookery school, in particular
because of its intimate class sizes. There is
a maximum of six students per course, which means
that you will have Alex Mackay's undivided attention,
whatever your culinary questions or requirements.
Personal encouragement and Alex's total involvement
are assured for every guest, which means you get
the ultimate enjoyment and a sense of confidence
and achievement from your time there.
or Foccacia as it is known in Italy, is a basic
bread dough with added olive oil. Flavoured with
strong herbs, or stuffed with sun dried tomatoes
/ preserved artichokes / olives - it is always
g strong white flour
16g dried yeast (the one I use is the exact
equivalent of fresh)
325 ml lukewarm water
2 1/2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Fougasse Farci - add:
4 Preserved Artichoke hearts
8 sun dried tomatoes
8 Anchovy fillets
the oven to 240°C / 475°F / Gas mark
the flour into a bowl.
the yeast in the warm water, being very careful
that it is not too hot as this will kill the
yeast. A little colder is no problem, all this
will mean is that the dough will take a little
longer to prove.
a well in the centre of the flour and pour in
the water and oil, mix well until you form a
dough then transfer this to your work surface.
for 2 minutes then add the salt and knead for
a further 6 or so minutes until it is very smooth.
(The salt is added at this stage so that there
is absolutely no danger of it killing the yeast)
this stage place the dough back into the bowl
and cover it with a damp tea towel. Leave it
to prove in a warm, but not hot. place for an
hour or until it has doubled in size.
this is done knead the dough again to knock
out any air bubbles.
the dough into three pieces, then with a rolling
pin, roll each piece out in to an oval shape
about 15 cm long and 8 cm wide, dusting with
flour as and when necessary.
three deep lines down each on the diagonal,
or if feeling very daring make eight lines to
resemble a leaf.
place the loaves onto a tray, then cover with
a cloth and allow to prove for about 30 minutes
until they have almost doubled in size.
baking you can either drizzle a little olive
oil over the top and sprinkle with rock salt
or give a very light dusting of flour through
in the very hot preheated oven for 15 minutes
or until the Fougasse sounds hollow when tapped.
Transfer it immediately to a rack to cool.
or Rosemary Fougasse:
in either the chopped olives or rosemary after
you have proved the dough for the first time.
Prove for the second time then bake as before.
the first proving, knead the dough then cut
it into 2 pieces.
each out into slightly oblong circles of about
20 cm diameter.
the artichokes, dried tomatoes, and anchovies
in the centre then fold the dough over and seal
the edges well.
three lines through the dough to the point that
you can see the ingredients in the middle, place
a clove of garlic in each hole then brush with
the olive oil, sprinkle with the grated cheese
and rock salt, then bake without proving in
an oven heated as before for 15 - 20 minutes
until it sounds hollow when tapped.
three suggestions here are just a drop in the
bucket. Any hard herbs can be used to flavour
the bread, they should be added just after the
second proving so that their flavour doesn't become
overpowering and they don't colour the bread.
The same goes for sun dried tomatoes or olives
or why not a few anchovies. But just remember
you want to taste the bread so don't overpower
it, just give it a hand.
Fougasse - add:
15 black olives (stoned and finely chopped)
Fougasse - add:
Large sprigs of finely chopped fresh Rosemary.
3 medium size