22 Jan Vegan Kale Pesto & Pear Foccacia
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
― Bruce Lee
This basically describes how I have operated for most of my life. Productivity is a topic that has been on my mind recently. Maybe because I have neglected to increase content on my blog and also because I could not understand the logic behind myself not spending time doing something that I supposedly love. To make things clear, yes, I do love creating content for this blog and in a way it is a space where I can be unapologetically me. The other question or question mark that is still a puzzle for me is the idea of productivity being a reduction as opposed to becoming more active. I have suffered from the misconception that being active is always having a full agenda, never having a spare moment and filling in all the time slots with appointments. It has taken me almost 43 years to figure out that productivity in my case is doing less, focusing on the most important things and, yes, I know this will come as a surprise to many, resting and taking more breaks. So, that could be going for a walk, drinking a cup of tea, meeting friends or just doing nothing. The word nothing conjures up all sorts of bad thoughts of being lazy or dare I say unproductive. I have also realized that being in my head all the time disconnects me from the rest of my body and I become less sensitive to the signals my body are sending. Yoga has helped me get in touch with my body on another level and to be more intuitive about when to do things. Allowing myself to be more spontaneous or to plan or to do things over again if it feels good. All these things have helped me to become more productive and to listen for the subtle nuances that are present everywhere at all times.
If someone spoke to me in this way when I was in my twenties or thirties I would probably brush them off as being overly esoteric or “woo woo” and yet I am here slowly embracing this side of myself and not really afraid at all of making a fool of myself. If my journey is about finding out what makes me feel whole and it happens to involve strange concepts than I can embrace that. I have grown tired of being someone that I am not and in a way it feels oh so liberating to take off masks that I have been wearing for so many years. How does this all connect to my recipe today you may ask. I can tell you.
There is a notion in the health community as of late that bread and gluten are bad for you and luckily I count myself to the lucky group of people who don’t suffer from any intolerances or at least none that I am aware of. I am intrigued by gluten free baked goods and I love creating gluten free desserts mostly because I love the challenge and I like to vary my diet.What I love especially is that gluten free grains and options offer a great flavour profile that is often much more interesting and complex than normal baked goods. In keeping with my desire to listen to my intuition I do enjoy and love eating good bread on occasion, not in excess and mostly whole grain. Here’s where foccacia enters the picture. We do go through a lot of bread and sometimes I experiment myself with bread baking as you can see from this post. Tending to sourdough is a little bit like taking care of plants so if that is too time consuming for you, you may try your hand at foccacia. Foccacia is an Italian flatbread similar to pizza and is leavened with commercial yeast making it much easier to make then sourdough breads. As far as toppings are concerned you can let your imagination run free. A simple rosemary topping with coarse salt is more classic, or with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. I wanted to experiment with new flavours and combinations and of course what I had on hand. I never made a pesto out of kale before and was surprised how well it turned out. The leftovers we ate with pasta the next day. The pears add a nice sweet touch and are totally optional as are the pine nuts. Whatever you put on your foccacia, the most important thing is of course the quality of your ingredients and that you like it. In a way it is basically a simple pizza. I also decided to create a wholegrain spelt crust because I prefer whole grains. It requires a little more time but it is totally worth the effort. Ideally you should calculate a few hours to make it because it needs a lot of proofing time but most of it is hands off, so you can get productive in other areas of your life.
If you try this recipe I would be delighted to see or hear the results and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram #veganart. Wishing you all a wonderful day! xo Aleksandra
Kale Pesto & Pear Foccacia
400 g wholegrain spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry active yeast
300 ml warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
120 g kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
50 g + 2 Tbsp pine nuts
zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt & pepper
100 ml olive oil
1-2 pears, core removed and sliced
- In a small bowl combine the flour and salt and mix it together.
- In another bowl combine the water with the yeast and wait a few minutes until the yeast has activated. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix them together with a wooden spoon until everything is combined.
- Oil a clean bowl with olive oil and put the dough inside. Proof for one hour.
- After the first hour the dough is ready for the first turn. Fold the dough from one side to the other and then the other side as if folding a letter. Cover with a bowl and allow to proof for an hour.
- Repeat this process 2 more times each time adding a little olive oil.
- After the last proofing hour prepare a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the dough out using your finger tips to make indentations in the dough. I divided the dough into two long rectangular foccacias. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and repeat making indentations with your fingertips. The whole surface of the dough should be covered with little pools.
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
- Heat the pine nuts in a small pan until just lightly browned. This will take a minute.
- In a food processor add all the pesto ingredients besides the olive oil and process for about fifteen seconds. Slowly add the olive oil to the pesto while the food processor is still running.
- Bake the foccacia for fifteen minutes, remove from the oven and spread the pesto onto the foccacia followed by the slices of pear and additional pine nuts. Bake for another 8-10 minutes until the edges of the foccacia are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven cut into wedges and serve as a snack, with soup or as part of a mezze spread.