Holy lack of blog posts, Batman! I don't think I've let it get this long, like, ever. What does that mean I've been up to? Wouldn't you like to know. Well, in case you do, it means I've been busy. Very, very busy.
I have this thing where I get these outlandish ideas in my head, and then put ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself during what often could be, on it's own, a stressful time as it is. It happened a lot during my uni days, and often my way of dealing with it would be to say yes to that extra waitressing shift, yes to that night out, and then I'd find myself tearing my hair out when the law library closed at midnight and my essay was due the next morning. It happened to a similar extent during the 17 days of burger eating and date blogging I undertook last year (which I've been reminiscing about, by the way. There were some really bloody good dates in there you know!), and it's happening a tiny bit now. Apart from the fact I very often have trouble saying no, when faced with impending times of intense pressure I can be expected to do any number of things. It will often include saying, about a million times, "but I'm sure it'll be fiiiiiine".
It might also include: doing things I know I shouldn't just because it'll add to the drama of it all; an overwhelming need to curl up in the foetal position; a few too many wines, kebabs, hungover brunches, games of "sake waters" and talking smack when under the influence; the planning and execution of parties (more about that later); the top to toe scrubbing of the kitchen; the praising of friends and colleagues and flatmates; and undoubtedly, unnecessary stress.
But! All times of stress and hangovers will be happier and achievable if punctuated with a few things. Friends, cider, rose in the sun, giant beanbags, sunshine, cooking magazines, yarns, and a very easy adaptation of an Annabel Langbein pie-type-bread thing called Sausage, Tomato and Olive Pissaladière, for example. I jaunted up the coast for lunch last Sunday at my Aunt and Uncle's, and this easy and absolutely delicious lunch was on offer. I'd attempted to make myself presentable, but my Uncle swiftly picked that I'd had a back to back weekend of ridiculous nights out. Get this in the oven, impress whoever you're serving it to and momentarily forget all that stresses you. Sunday lunch bliss.
It's a little bit like my brunch calzone but without the yeast, and this recipe, like the brunch bread, is easily adaptable with other toppings. Someone emailed me recently with tales of work-shared-lunch success when throwing everything he had on a Sunday night into a brunch bread - including bacon, cheese and spaghetti: YUM. The message? Improvise! And success will be yours.
Sausage, Tomato and Olive Pissaladière
(made lovingly by my Aunt Robyn, and the recipe came from Annabel Langbein in Life and Leisure magazine)
Annabel explains that traditionally this French classic contains anchovies, and also that it's great served warm or cold on a picnic. This time of year, it's a pretty much amazing Sunday lunch with a green salad on the side, and I'll be making a tart inspired by this one on Good Morning this coming Easter Monday.
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
100ml olive oil
150ml lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large red onions, very thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, and a few sprigs for garnish
1/2-1 tsp finely chopped red chilli, to taste
salt and pepper
200g cherry tomatoes, halved and juice squeezed out
12-16 pitted and halved black olives
2-3 raw pork and fennel sausages, skinned and torn up
salt and pepper
Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Mix oil and water together and tip into flour. Mix with a knife until the dough comes together; it will be soft and supple. Cover and rest for at least 30 minutes, r overnight in the fridge.
Place oil in a frypan with onions, garlic, thyme, and chilli. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes then uncover and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 220C, leaving the baking tray inside (this will get the pastry crisp, according to Annabel). Roll out baking paper and roll out the dough on top into a large rectangle - about 24cm x 40cm. Fold in edges of dough by 1cm to form a raised border.
Spread cooled onions over prepared base and top with tomatoes, olives, and sausage meat. Garnish ith sprigs of thyme and bake until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Like I said: easy and delicious. And also pretty and easy, which my new awesome hairdresser told me my hair was going to be like when he recently cut it, and to which I replied, without thinking "just like me!" He laughed out loud. I was mortified and just trying to be funny and was clearly joking. Anyyyyway. Try the tart! And slightly less sporadic blog posts to follow soon, I assure you, including a pretty sweet party and some tasty pulled pork. Stay tuned.