My last post inspired so many lovely comments! Thank you all for being so sweet and it’s great to see that I’m not the only one who struggles to read on a regular basis. You’ll be proud to know that I finished a whole book the other night and started a new one last night! Woo hoo! I’m on a roll.
As nice and calm as the last post was, I’m going to raise a stink in this one. Actually, it’s more of a “discuss with me and others”/spirited rant. And I know we’ve discussed the etiquette of party attending and hosting before but I have new things to add. Funny how these posts come up shortly after I’ve held a party…
First off I’d like to ask you all, since many of you drink, would you go to a party whose hosts don’t drink? Is it a deal breaker for you or you think you are going to have a terrible time at the party? It’s a question that nags me a bit when I entertain friends who drink but we don’t. They seem to have a good time but it makes me wonder.
Over the weekend I had a few work friends come over for brunch. They all know my husband and I don’t drink and it doesn’t seem to bother them. In fact, between the pork and alcohol, there’s plenty of fodder for endless jokes at my expense. The ones who were present seem to enjoy the food and company. I think. I don’t know.
So, every year, I host a New Year’s get together for friends but I also invite new friends, acquaintances, and neighbours. It’s a way to get to know someone a bit better. This year it was a couple of blogger friends, some close friends, work friends and friends I met through a British club.
I sent out the invites two weeks ahead of time, hoping for RSVPs in a timely manner. Many were good about it, some not so much. And I’m going to rant because the offenders don’t read my blog anyway. So, you get invited to a party two weeks ahead of time and you RSVP the night before with a “we’re in the mountains and won’t be able to make it” WTF?? Then another one was “we’re having work done on the house and we’re downtown” (barely 20 minutes from my house), also the night before. Then there’s the one who avoids even mentioning he’s coming or not…a vague “I think so”. Then has the nerve to say he’ll be there (with family) and doesn’t show up and doesn’t call or text to say he won’t be there. I honestly don’t mind if they don’t want to come, but please have the decency to let me know ahead of time!
When I receive an invite, I check my calendar, check with my husband to make sure he doesn’t have anything going on and then I RSVP. I don’t wait around for something better to come along and I don’t plan to go to the mountains on that day! In fact, that day then becomes booked. Am I the only one who does this??
Why do I bother? I think from now on, I’ll take a page from my husband’s book and just be antisocial. Do people not realise how much work goes into making one dish let alone 6? Or how time consuming it is to make 12 cupcakes and then 4 other desserts? How are they so tacky to diss an invite at the last possible minute? I am so disappointed in people, not just people but people who I thought were friends! Needless to say, those “friends” just got unfriended on Facebook. Oh well, it makes my life easier to not worry about entertaining and save some money too.
Any thoughts on this matter from you guys? I know we’ve discussed this in a past post, but it really irritated me how these “friends” acted. On a positive note, I got tonnes of European chocolate and flowers 🙂 from the guests who had the decency to RSVP AND turn up!
Anyway, that’s my two cents, I guess I just feel a bit hurt that people don’t value other people’s time and effort (and Karen Harris, you are not included in this rant, I know your reasons 🙂 )
The party, work and an event I worked last week kind of put me behind on my blog schedule. I was scrambling to find something to post. I haven’t had time to cook and photograph for the blog for the past few weeks.
On Saturday, I was at work doing the Thermador demos and I made a blood orange focaccia. It turned out so well that I thought I’d share it with you. Excuse the photos, I only had my iPhone with me that day. Blood oranges are in season right now and even when I do my demos, I try and use seasonal fruit and educate the customers on seasonal fruit and vegetables as well!
Focaccia is great any which way. I often make an olive oil and rosemary one because the customers love bread. The Thermador steam oven does a fantastic job producing a golden crust and a soft and pillowy inside. You don’t need a steam oven to make this (though I really recommend one, they’re fantastic.) A pan of water in the oven when the focaccia is baking should add some humidity to your oven.
This isn’t one of those time consuming focaccia either where you start with biga and let it proof for a 100 hours. It’s pretty quick and easy to assemble and bake. It’s also a great and different way to try out this season’s blood oranges. You can even do a mixed citrus focaccia, not only would that be strikingly beautiful, it will be pretty delicious too.
Serves: 12-16 pieces
- 3 cups/450g all purpose/plain flour
- 2¼ teaspoon yeast, fast acting, one envelope
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups/355ml warm water
- 2 medium sized blood oranges, thinly sliced
- two rosemary sprigs
- flaked sea salt, optional
- flavoured raw sugar, optional
- If you are certain that your yeast is fresh, and not expired, you can mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil all together in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough attachment.
- If uncertain about the yeast, proof the yeast in 1 cup of warm water and sugar to make sure it gets all frothy and active.
- Mix the flour mixture with the dough hook and slowly add 1 cup of water.
- You may not need all the water.
- You want a soft dough but not too sticky.
- It shouldn't stay in a ball when you place it in a bowl, it should want to spread out.
- Use the mixer to knead the dough until it is smooth and soft.
- Place in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel and someplace warm.
- Near the oven is the warmest spot in my kitchen.
- The dough will take a 60-90 minutes to double in size.
- Here in Colorado, it really only takes me 45 minutes and the dough is ready to shape (low air pressure at our altitude of 5500 feet)
- Sea levellers might have to wait closer to 90.
- Once the dough is a nice size and risen, grease a sheet pan, cookie sheet, brownie pan, and lay the dough on the pan, stretching it out to make a rectangular pizza.
- Stretch and shape gently.
- Place the sliced blood oranges over the top.
- Arrange decoratively or just throw them on there.
- Scatter some rosemary needles all over the top.
- Allow the focaccia to rise for another 20-30 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400F/200C
- Once the focaccia is risen the second time,
- Sprinkle some flavoured sugar or flaked sea salt over the oranges.
- The sugar will caramelise and turn the oranges into a candy like rind.
- The sea salt adds great favour too.
- Place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven and place the focaccia pan on the rack above.
- Bale for 30-40 minutes or until the focaccia is nicely golden brown and the oranges have brown edges and are juicy.
- Allow to cool, and the slice into pieces.
So, this was delicious straight up. We just ate it as a snack and the clients ate it as they wandered the showroom. The focaccia baking is the best smell in the world in the showroom! Draws the people to the kitchen 🙂
Hope you’ll make use of the citrus that’s available right now, at least in the Northern Hemi. I’m jealous of all the berries the Southerners are enjoying.
Have a great week, and let me know your thoughts!