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For the past month and a half, I have been commuting to Germany for work and while it has been nice (I’m convinced you cannot find a bad German restaurant), I’m getting sick of the traveling and am missing my kitchen badly. I try to bake and cook when I get home and so far I’ve managed to make Sam’s birthday cake, focaccia bread, a marble cake and even whipped up a meal to last the weekend. Not bad for a perpetually empty fridge!

That said, I am loving Germany. Everything is amazing! OK, so maybe my workplace might be a little better if it didn’t smell of cow poop all the time…but you have to love a country who tells you “Ausfahrt” or “Gute Fahrt!!”. Or a shop called “BARFBuffet“. Literally. Cracks me up all the time. Yeah, yeah, I’m a juvenile. ANYWAY!!!!!! I was not so recently awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Tobias at Tea and Tea Cake. My very first blog award!!! I would like to thank my parents, my sister, my dog, my manager, my wonderful friends and blog readers who have all made a big difference in my life…ok so I got carried away.

Liebster is German (see why I love Germany!) and translates to ‘dearest’ or ‘favourite’ and can be awarded to new and exciting blogs with fewer than 200 followers.  This award is meant to be passed along or “paid forward” and the following rules apply:

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog

I really do want to thank Tobias for the award and to everyone who read and follow my blog. I really appreciate the support! I would love to award the Liebster Blog award to:

Food Molecule – A super smart scientist who cooks amazing food. And pretty much the inspiration for me starting this blog. I’m still waiting for my 3 course meal when I come visit! Actually, make it 10!

Chew On… – My gorgeous and amazing friend Pat who is the most amazing person I know. How do you juggle a family (plus a newborn!), work, and cleaning and feeding (curries from scratch!) your family? Pat does it with amazing ease that you’re soon deceived into thinking you can do all that too, only to realize that you (well, me) can’t balance work and chores, much less a family. Because of said newborn, Pat has taken a short rest from her blog but do check it out, it has amazing recipes and hopefully she’ll be back soon!

Baking with Sibella – Sibella’s blog is full of creativity and different types of cuisines that make me want to go over with an empty plate in my hand. She inspires me to actually plan on paper instead of “planning” in my head and then freaking out.

Whisks & Chopsticks – I recently stumbled across this blog and am loving what I’m seeing! I will definitely be back for more.

Ginger(ly) Homemaking – Corrie also inspires me to be more organized with my cooking (she’s got weekly meal plans!). Her posts go beyond food and are an absolute joy to read.

Anyhoo…back to my bread. I made the focaccia bread on a whim because I wanted to bake something that did not require eggs (lack of eggs in kitchen and sheer laziness to walk down to store is usually a big motivation for that). Focaccia bread is so versatile. You can add anything you want to it: sundried tomatoes, ham, cheese, olives, peppers…the possibilities are endless! This recipe uses fresh yeast that can be found in the bakery section in supermarkets. If you prefer to use dry yeast, divide the amount by 3 (and vice versa for conversion of dry yeast to fresh yeast).

Focaccia Bread
350g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
10g fresh yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
250ml tepid water
¾ tsp coarse sea salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
Dissolve yeast into the water. Pour the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 3 tbsp of olive oil and yeast/water. Gradually mix the flour into the oil and water, using a wooden spoon first, then by hand to make a soft slightly sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Keep the dough moving by turning, punching and folding to prevent it from sticking. Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto a greased baking sheet, then roll it out into a round and leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200C. Uncover the bread. Pour a little hand-hot water into a cup, then dip your fingers into the water and press into the risen dough to make deep dents all over the top. “Plant” the rosemary in the dough. Brush the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with coarse salt and garlic.
Bake the focaccia for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.