Wednesday 5 September 2012

At 'Play' and olive bread (Ottawa memories)...

   I seems like yesterday ; we were eating at 'Play', a lovely restaurant in Ottawa with my brother in-law Pierre and his wife, Sandra.  I like the concept and food.  It always has a fantastic menu which is a delight as they mix in new tastes and combinations.  It has small portion,s so if you are hungry you can order more, the lighter the dish the higher it is up the menu.  They also have wine pairing with each plate in two sizes.  I like the simplicity with good service, there is always things to discover   
To start, we had grilled melon with goat feta, (I am going to make this weekend, post to follow). Also two of us had grilled shrimp with almonds, and another starter was cured meats.  For mains, which included,  hanger steaks and fries (sorry, it started before I remembered to photograph!)
I had gnocchi with pickled cherries, chanterelles, tarragon and bok choy

A really lovely afternoon and evening...

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Olive bread

(Photo to follow)

This bread I made for Nathalie's birthday!  It is good with drinks when you have a lot of people.  I make it as an easier version to a bread recipe in that I use a food mixer (with a bread hook) and I don't do a second rise (it's more bubbly but I quite like that).  I also slightly overcook it, so you have crisp and soft textures to please everyone.  It colours up very well.

500g bread flour
300ml warm water
1 pack of yeast (read back of packet - it may need two packets)
teaspoon of honey (sugar if not)
teaspoon of salt
6 table spoon of olive oil plus some to oil the pan and drizzle on top
half a teaspoon of black pepper
200g or two cups (approx) of pitted olives (green or black or mixed)
one heaped cup of hard cheese (cheddar is good) size of sugar cubes or smaller
bunch of basil (leaves torn)

In to small bowl, add the warm water, honey and yeast and leave for 5 minutes until it bubbles up.  In your food mixer, fix the bread hook on and put the flour in the bowl.  Add the salt and mix so it is evenly dispersed.  Add in the water mix and the olive oil.  It has to be a bit wet to start, so it mixes well.  Mix for 8 minutes adding a little water or flour if need be. The dough can be a little sticky, so just dust with flour to handle it.  Turn out the dough on a floured board and fold in the olives, basil and cheese.  I use a big deep baking tray (one you could roast two chickens in).  Oil it first and put in the dough pressing flat to the sides and in the corners, so it is all even.  Any olives or cheese that falls out just put on top. Put the black pepper on top with a little drizzle of olive oil (and a pinch salt if you like). 
 Let this rise for one hour, then bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 180°c/360°f depending on your oven - it could be longer. I keep it in the oven with the door ajar so it dries out for 20 more minutes, but I do remove the tin and put it on parchment paper. 
Serve just warm and cut into squares.


  1. I love reading about other people's restaurant experiences, and hearing about what they ate - it makes me feel better about how little we make it out to dinner!

    Your olive bread sounds amazing - I want to eat some now with a chilled glass of white wine.

  2. Hi,
    Thanks, it was a nice evening. The bread is good for feeding a lot of people at once. You can add lots of other things, roasted vegetables are really good as is bacon, ham or chorizo but as there was a vegetarian that evening I kept meat free.

  3. I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! olife


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