Thursday 28 September 2023

Parmesan and onion focaccia (with tofu bacon option)

Two Sundays ago I made focaccia in the morning and headed to the city to take part in the Melbourne Yes23 Rally to support the Voice referendum campaign for Indigenous Australians to have constitutional recognition and an advisory body to parliament.  It was a busy day with lots of walking and standing about so it was good to have some fresh bread to nibble to keep my energy up.

The focaccia I made was a riff on Sylvia's favourite parmesan and onion bread from the supermarket.  We thought these flavourings in a focaccia would work well.  I love any chance to see Sylvia enjoy onions as she usually avoids them if possible.  And as we had some tofu bacon marinating we threw that in too.  I adapted this focaccia recipe and put it together the night before.  It worked well.  The main change I would make would be a bit less salt - so I have reduced in in the below recipe from 12 to 9g.

In the morning I watched Insiders with discussions on the Voice on Indigenous intergenerational trauma and racism.  Then I baked my foccacia and tucked a piping hot loaf into my backpack before heading out to catch a train to the city. 

On the train there seemed to be lots of people heading to the rally with lots of Voice t-shirts, placards and conversations.  The crowds streamed off the train up the escalator (which refused to move until second after we climbed the stairs) and into the streets.  By the time arrived the lawns outside the State Library were already packed and we were squeezing in on the tram tracks of Swanston Street where we couldn't hear the speeches well.  And the crowds kept coming and filling up  Swanston Street.

I walked all the way from the State Library to Federation Square.  Sylvia was ready for a drink and some shopping by the time we had taken about 20 minutes in the slow lane to walk half a block.  So she and E went to Melbourne Central while I continued by myself.  I enjoyed people watching and listening to some of the singing along the way - John Farnham's "You're the Voice" and Paul Kelly's "From Little Things Big Things Grow".

I arrived at Fed Square halfway through Linda Burney (Minister for Indigenous Australians)'s speech. Again it was hard to hear or see much.  But I had my focaccia to snack on and enjoyed the music that followed: Marlon, Mia Wray and Peter Garrett, especially the covers of classic Indigenous pop songs.  Marlon sang Archie Roach's "Took the Children Away", which is the sort of song for swaying and sighing.  Then Peter Garrett got the crowd going with the Warumpi Band's "Blackfella/Whitefella".  We were all clapping and singing along: "are you the one who's going to stand up and be counted".  I didn't stay for Spiderbait.  By then I was tired and we were all ready to go home.

The rally was a great positive experience in the midst of all the toxic division and misinformation of the Voice debates that have been so difficult for the nation but especially for Indigenous people.  It was such a joy to be in a moment of optimism and feel hope for the future.  I feel I had other things to say but unfortunately the first go at this post was not saved by dodgy wifi on a recent holiday to the country.  However we loved the focaccia and hope to bake it again on the coming weekend!

More focaccia recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog: 

Antipasto sourdough focaccia
Black cat sourdough focaccia
No knead focaccia (v)
Rhubarb and raspberry no knead focaccia (v)

Parmesan and onion focaccia, with tofu bacon option
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 2 focaccia

1 onion, finely chopped and fried
1 cup fried tofu bacon or another onion300g ripe sourdough starter
400g warm water
40g (about 3 tbsp) olive oil
700g white bread flour
9g salt
150g parmesan cheese, finely grated
extra olive oil, salt, and finely grated parmesan for topping

[Before beginning, fry the onion and tofu bacon, if using, until slightly charred.]

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. If you have time give it a 15 second knead in the bowl after 30 minutes but this is optional.  Cover well (I used a cover with elasticised edges or you can use beeswax or clingwrap) and leave overnight or 8-12 hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 220 C.  Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Scrape bread out of bowl onto an oiled surface (I used olive oil.).  Cut in half.  Press each piece of dough into the lined trays and pat out to fit the whole tray.  If dough is sticky you can lightly oil your fingers.

Dimple the dough with your fingers.  Have fun and don't worry about going too deep because it will rise.  Drizzle olive over over the dough.  Sprinkle with a little salt and finely grated parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap it.  Eat warm or room temperature.  Lasts up to 2 days.

On the Stereo:
Diesel and Dust: Midnight Oil

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