I will get to focaccia, but first …

Victoria, British Columbia’s capitol, provides a nice getaway, just two hours from home in Qualicum Beach. We always stay in Oak Bay, the leafy enclave I have described in an earlier post, and a lovely part of Canada. The photo preceding captures sunrise at Oak Bay’s Willow Beach with a rather fit, silver-haired, and some might say attractive older gentleman, enjoying his morning 5 mile run.

While in Oak Bay, we keep eyes out for Harry and Meghan, but still no sign. Seems just a matter of time, as the Queen has been be rumoured to say, “well rid of those two!” But what of Archie?

During our stay a visit to the Royal BC Museum proved to be time truly well invested. We were able to view the annual wildlife photography exhibition. Remarkable photography with contestants as young as ten. The image above comes from the 2019 exhibition. The 2020 exhibition runs until the end of March.

For dinner it was off to downtown Victoria and Il Terrazzo, long a favourite restaurant (and rated the third best restaurant in the city by Trip Advisor). Our dinner was wonderful – Caesar salad followed by pasta (seafood linguini for me) and as a prelude to dinner, focaccia bread that arrived with olive tapenade. Delicious. Upon returning home I decided to try my hand at making focaccia, and the result was quite satisfying. I am into bread baking big time, and I have had good success using “no knead” approaches.

The following, adapted from a PBS recipe, requires 2 and 1/2 cups of bread flour, thoroughly mixed in a large bowl with 2 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of active dry yeast. Add 1 and 1/3 cups of warm water, a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and mix well to form a gooey mess. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and the lid to the bowl (if you have it) and keep at room temperature for at least 18 hours.

Once the dough has risen, pour the dough into a 12 inch cast iron skillet that has been generously coated with olive oil. Turn the dough to ensure coverage with the oil. (if you don’t have a skillet a sheet pan will do.)  The dough is pressed into the skillet, covered with a cloth and allowed to rise for another hour. Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Once the dough is ready for the oven, press it down again with your fingertips, creating the dimpling effect characteristic of focaccia. Just before baking, liberally sprinkle the surface of the dough with oregano, thyme, sesame seeds (better with black sesame seeds) and about a half teaspoon of coarse sea salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. It turns out just fine, as shown below.

Cut the focaccia, while warm, into half inch strips and serve with tapenade; having blended together 1 and 1/2 cups canned ripe olives, 2 garlic cloves, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons capers, a tablespoon each of thyme and rosemary, a shot of hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. I omit anchovy fillets – not to my taste – but they are often added to tapenade.