Foodiva's Kitchen: Poetry Thursday #1 & Crazy-Colored Bread (Fruity Il Gianfornaio)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Poetry Thursday #1 & Crazy-Colored Bread (Fruity Il Gianfornaio)

Poetry Thursday #1:
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Extract from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Okay. I've decided that every Thursday would be dedicated to sharing my favourite poems with you. It gives more structure and meaning to my blog posts, something to look forward to each week. I like poetry, although if you just looked at me (or read me), you'd think I only ever read geeky, racy, corporate, foodie stuff. No, I like the lyrical, whimsical, silly, philosophical stuff too. Anyway, I thought you might like some of these poems too. You just never know.

So what has poetry got to do with food, really? That's a question I'm hard-pressed and not qualified to answer but nevertheless will try. They both have got plenty to do with emotions, filling a void, making the connection, feeling less lonely and more centred. Well, there are always social media, speed dating and religion too, but I'm not going to go into any of that. For me, reading beautiful, funny, cryptic, even violent poetry (and books) helps to fill some of my voids. Oh, eating does that too, but I'm acutely aware of how much nourishment and destruction my body can take, so I can't hope to eat all the time (don't we wish we could though?). But reading, I can, all the time. My brain will never explode from gaining too much knowledge. At least I hope not.

Saying that, reading through Diva D's Breadmaking book the other day left me a bit frustrated. There was a picture of a beautiful Australian vegetable bread called Il Gianfornaio, which wasn't accompanied by a recipe. Aaaargghhhh....! There wasn't much information on the net either, but I did stumble across this self-concocted recipe by Arundathi of My Food Blog. After 3 nights of tossing and turning in my bed obsessing about this multicolored bread, I woke up (though I never slept much all that time, anyway) and decided, it's time.

Fruit juices, matcha powder and chocolate filling

The only thing was, I really didn't fancy blanching, squeezing, mashing and blending all those vegetables to get those lovely colors. That was how I settled on making a fruit bread instead. I had some colorful fruits patiently awaiting their destinies in the pantry, so hey, let's go bend the rules a little! Besides, I'd already decided in my mind that the combination of brightly colored fruits would smell and taste great in the bread.

The bread would be made into smaller rolls as I want each person who gets handed this baby to enjoy its beauty individually. And because I'm such a slave for chocolate, there would be a piece of cocoa heaven embedded within the roll. Hmm, I really don't need to explain myself when it comes to my favourite ingredient!

So here are the fruity fellows and the corresponding colors they naturally imparted to the bread dough - raspberries (red), oranges (orange), coconut milk (white), mangoes (yellow) and matcha (green). Ah, so you spotted that I snuck green tea in there. Well, I didn't have avocadoes or kiwi or any green fruits in the house, and matcha just seemed the easiest choice to work with. Plus it generally goes well with fruity stuff, so I had my ass pretty much covered. ;-).

Let's see, how did the rolls taste? They were light, airy, wonderfully fruity! I ate them in two ways - by peeling the fruity sections apart to taste them individually (like a curious monkey) and then biting into them altogether to savour the homogeneity of flavors!

Oh yeah, this is going to Yeastspotting, my first submission ever. Won't be my last, for sure.

Fruity Il Gianfornaio
Makes: 8 rolls
Basic Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour for each bowl
1/4 tsp active dry yeast for each bowl
3/4 tsp salt for each bowl
1 tbsp sugar for each bowl
1/2 tbsp melted butter for each bowl
110 ml juice for each bowl

Juices & powder
110 ml each of raspberry puree (red), orange juice (orange), coconut milk (white), mango puree (yellow).
1 tablespoon of matcha powder (green) and 110ml plain warm water.

100g chocolate, chopped into 8 equal, chunky pieces

1. Make the basic dough 5 times over. Mix the dough until it comes together using the dough hook. Add individual juices/powder to each separate bowl of dough.
2. Empty the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Repeat for the other bowls. Set in a warm area and allow to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
3. Take the dough out of each bowl and form about 8 small balls using your palms. Roll each ball to form a rope and for each roll, line all the 5-flavored ropes end-to-end next to each other. Pinch the ends together to seal and then form concentric circles upwards with the ropes (like a beehive hairdo!) and end up on top. As you are rolling up the ropes, tuck in a piece of chocolate in the middle of the roll. Tuck top end into the centre.
4. Place in a well-oiled round baking tray and cover with a damp, clean tea cloth. Allow to rest for about 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 230C. Brush the tops of rolls with egg whites to glaze and bake for 15 minutes or until the bread is done (hollow sound when you knock on base of the bread with your knuckles). Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Serve on its own or with butter and jam.


Amy said...

These sound very interesting! I bet the fruit was wonderful in the bread! The colors are lovely.

Subterfuge Diva said...

Hiya Amy, you're right, the fruit flavors were surprisingly distinct on their own and melded well together. My favorite flavors in these rolls were that of coconut and raspberries!

Michael Toa said...

That looks so beautiful and I imagine they must be so delicious... If only I could grab one from my laptop screen... hehe.
have a great day. Michael

Foodiva said...

Michael, if only I could hand you one of these beauties through the screen, eh! Maybe in the future when technology allows, just like in Star Trek. Beam one fruit roll over, Scottie!

Victoria K. said...

Wow, this has to be the most beautiful bread I think I've seen!! I love the colors, I bet it tastes amazing too :)

Foodiva said...

Victoria, yes they do look rather pretty. And the fruity aroma while they were baking was just something I'd never smelled before! Bread + fruits, in the oven. Can you just imagine?

Indonesia Eats said...

Maya, you are so creative with colours that are sourced from natural plants. That is what I like. I don't like using additive colours as well.

Maya, please feel free to participate with Indonesia Eats Cook-Up. I won't be included you for the draw. Thank you.

Chef Dennis said...

wow...those are simply amazing! Your use of the different doughs to make those beauties really paid off, thanks for all your hard work to bring us this post!

Cooking Gallery said...

Love the colours...! And it's great to know that you use natural food colourings :).

Foodiva said...

Pepy, yeaaaayyy! Thanks for letting me participate. Got to see which recipe of yours I want to try, before Eid comes around and things get busy :-).

Chef Dennis, thanks for recognizing the efforts I'd put into making these bread rolls. I never said it my post, but all those kneading, rolling and shaping... They were tedious and took some time! But the taste was worth every second I spent making them.

Cooking Gallery, thank you for your kind comments. I try not to put needless chemicals in my children's bodies and that's why I use natural ingredients as much as I possibly can.

Sandra said...

The poem is beautiful and so is your bread, such gorgeous colors.

Torviewtoronto said...

colourful looks beautiful

Foodiva said...

Thank you, Sandra and Torview. Appreciate you coming by and taking the time to leave your comments.

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