Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Onion Tray Bread from Seasons by Donna Hay

Last week, a huge envelope arrived in the post with my name on it.  Sadly it wasn't stuffed full of cash, but it did contain the next best thing... a copy of Seasons by Australia's finest Donna Hay.  I already have a copy of her Fast Fresh Simple book which practically falls open by itself to my favourite recipes, so I was very excited to read this.  Seasons is the very best of the (almost impossible to find here) Donna Hay Magazine and it's a true coffee table book due to it's oversized pages and beautiful photographs to illustrate both the food and the seasons.  You'll need a large bookshelf to accommodate this epic tome, but it's worth it.

The first recipe that caught my eye was for Spring Onion Tray Bread - it looked so simple but beautiful and I knew it had to be my inaugural Seasons recipe tryout.  In Australia, it's obviously really easy to get your hands on huge spring onions but in March, all you tend to find here are the little skinny ones.  Luckily, Avoca Monkstown with its fabulous range of vegetables came to my rescue and I came away with two huge bunches of giant spring onions.  The bake was on!  As usual, I made a few amendments to suit what I had in the store cupboard but the end result was equally impressive and I will be making this again, and again, and again.

Spring Onion Tray Bread

375ml lukewarm Milk
14g dried Yeast (2 sachets)
1/2 tsp Caster Sugar
450g Pizza Flour
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
1 tsp Salt
8 large Spring Onions, trimmed and halved lengthways
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Caster Sugar

Start by making the dough.  Mix the yeast & sugar with the milk, stir well and let sit for 3-4 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface.

Put the flour, oil and sugar in your food mixer (using the dough hook) or in a large bowl if you're mixing by hand.  Add the milk mixture & mix/knead well until it has formed a dough - this takes about 5 minutes in the mixer and a little longer by hand.  Return to the bowl, cover with cling film and let stand for an hour.  The dough will rise during this time.

One hour later... preheat your oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6 and lightly flour a 18 x 30cm deep tin. In a shallow bowl, mix the spring onions, oil, vinegar and sugar and set aside for a few minutes.

Give the dough a final knead and then press it into the tin, now press the onions into the dough - use your creativity here if you want it to look very pretty.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and puffy.  Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

This is equally good warm or cold.  We had it as a side for curry, and the leftovers with a pork casserole... the bread was perfect for mopping up sauce.

Fast, Fresh, Simple is published by Hardie Grant and is available from all good bookstores and on Amazon