A weekend of indulgence and a focaccia to serve with it - when hard work doesn't pay off

This past weekend I had to take a breather. I really had to. Lately, I've been working non stop, even over the weekends, and I haven't had a me moment in ages. I hadn't done my nails since the Holidays, just so you see. I love having my nails polished and looking pretty, but these last months all I did was trim them short and keep them clean. I had no time to sit down for a couple of hours working on them and waiting for nail polish to dry. It's unthinkable to do that during weekdays, as I have at least four school runs packed into the daily hours. And lately, not even my weekends seemed to stretch enough so I could fill in some self care. The vain, indulgent, selfish kind of self care, you know?

Like, I do my hair at home. I can't afford to splurge on a salon, so I trim it at home and I dye it at home. I hadn't dyed my hair for two whole months - and was actually rather liking the whites that were showing through, but as I had bought the dye already, I felt like I had to use it. Still, I kept postponing it, because it is a morose work. It takes time, and it begs for a quiet morning doing next to nothing. It's self indulgent and selfish, so I put it at the back burner. After all, I did have a book to finish and a blog to run. Same with my facials. I always do a rather indulgent face mask once a week, it's something I enjoy. But I hadn't done one in ages, because I couldn't fit it in. Over the weekends, if we weren't doing the weekly shopping at the market and the stores, I was doing house chores while hubby caught up on tests and class prep - try being a teacher at his school, slavedrivers, I tell ya!! I was cleaning, washing, cooking, prepping. Soon as I was done, I was back at my laptop, working.

But then I found myself asking myself: why? What for? The old maxim of in order to get great results one has to work really hard never made sense to me, because it simply doesn't happen like that in my life. I was working myself silly, actually, working really, really hard and long hours, stressing continually whenever I was not hunched over my laptop either editing and writing my novels or doing the marketing; or else working hard on my blog, with researching and studying and editing images and cooking and styling and shooting and prepping posts and doing social media rounds... all for next to nothing aside the pleasure I may or may not derive from there. Results? Nope, not many, for all the hard work I put in. So this sunday I decided enough was enough. I'm having such a bloody hard time finishing book three of my series, I thought it was high time I didn't touch it at all this past weekend. And so I didn't. I haven't opened it since last friday. It's stewing there in its own juices. Waiting for me to feel ready.

I did squeeze in some blog work, can't deny, saturday afternoon when all our shopping was done and the kid was doing his homework, I did get all those hundreds of photos sorted, edited and compiled for future recipes to be posted, and I even managed to have the kiddo lend a hand with the editing, giving me his opinion and his preferences. So I also squeezed in a bit of quality time with him, as I worked. And on sunday we got together to cook chocolate swirl brioches and to style and photograph them, too. Later, we got to enjoy them over a cuppa while we sat down on the couch together and watched a Sherlock Holmes movie. I hadn't done that with my son in ages, and it felt delightful. To just sit there, the two of us, me doing my nails and chatting about the film, relaxing and putting my feet up. I had also managed to dye my hair and do a facial, so last sunday was a fully delightful, indulgent, selfish day. We did not get to have focaccia, though, that is a thing for our saturday nights, and this focaccia right here is possibly the best we had in ages!

It's super easy to make, and super yummy to eat, but it is an indulgence and I wouldn't say it constitutes everyday fare. Or every weekend, either. Once in a while it is something we like to have at our table for our saturday dinners, where we get to unwind and sit at the table longer, talking about whatever we fancy, just being there as a family, you know? Joking and breaking bad and sharing good food and good conversation, and getting in touch with one another and telling the kid stories from our childhood or our parents' childhood, or the great grandparents, his ancestors, the boy loves that kind of thing. We end up leaving the table so much later than we generally do on weekdays, but hey, it's saturday and we can indulge. I use to go out every saturday and dance the night away, when I was younger, now I rather like sitting there at the kitchen table with my two loves and chat. It's really what I look forward to all week long. And when there's focaccia like this, it makes it extra special!

So, for this you'll need:
  • 350 gr strong bread flour
  • 200 ml luke warm water
  • 9 gr fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 - 5  slices of thinly cut prosciutto
  • 4 - 5  slices of cheese
  • mixed herbs such as herbes de provence
Place the flour in a bowl, and dig a hole in the middle. Around the edges of that hole, scatter the yeast. Inside the hole place the salt, the herbs, the oil and add the water. With the help of a fork start mixing flour and water together. When it's all mixed in, take the dough off the bowl and start kneading by hand over a surface scattered with flour, or use the hook implement on a stand up mixer. You must knead until you obtain a silky, smooth dough, that has some elasticity to it. Form into a sort of ball, cover with flour that you scatter by hand over all the dough, and let it proof inside the bowl four a couple of hours Once it has proofed, get the dough off the bowl with the aid of a spatula onto a floured surface and divide it into four smaller batches. On a bread tin that has been lined with parchement paper spread half the dough onto the bottom, without pressing it too hard. Now, place  half the prosciutto over the dough and half the cheese over the prosciutto. Add another layer of dough and repeat the process. On the last layer of dough, using your fingertips, press down holes that go all the way nearly to the bottom of the tin. Scatter some herbs over the dough and gently press them in so they adhere to the dough. Bake in a previously heated oven at 180º with the fan on - if you have one, of course! If not, get a baking dish with a few fingers of water and place it on the bottom of the oven, the vapours rising from the water will help the bread rise and get it softer and yummier. Bake until the bread looks golden on top and allow to cool for at least fifteen minutes before serving. It doesn't really need nothing else to go with it, but I find that a few olives and some cherry tomatoes are great company for this focaccia while you pop open a bottle of good, full bodied red!


  1. Sou uma gulosa de doces, mas este tipo de pães recheados, ai <3
    É muito fácil deixarmos para trás as nossas vaidades e por sempre o trabalho à frente e tal como falaste, também tenho o meu cabelo numa desgraça e as unhas nem se fala, porque lá está, é preciso tempo e muitas vezes preciso de não me sentir culpada por fazer isso :(
    Mas depois de fazer essas coisas por mim sinto-me sempre melhor :)

    1. sim, eu tb me sinto bem depois de as fazer, até pq acabam por ser momentos de puro relax, em q nem tenho de pensar no que está p fazer e no q devia de estar a fazer lol, mas é preciso tempo, sim.

  2. oh boy, how i feel ya. i managed to get some time blogging but i miss those little things like going to a salon, or shopping, or doing my nails- but i cant while she is little. i feel like a bad mom thinking about those things though.

    never tasted that type of bread, but it reminded me of chorizo bread and now im craving it like hell.

    1. epah, n faças isso, n te sintas culpada. o pior q podes fazer é deixares-te anular pelo facto de seres mãe. sim, és mãe, tens uma filha pequena, mas tb és mulher, continuas a ser a Sara e tens direito a ter a tua identidade q n pde ser definida pela existência da tua filha, mas q tb n a pode negar. Vai ao cabeleireiro, eu olha, nunca vou e qdo o meu puto era bebé foi qado mais fui. Vai ás compras tb, eu levava o puto qdo tinha de ser, mas tt vez o deixei c o pai, afinal ele existe para q? lol, a sério, n te anules. Yah, é tipo pão c chouriço.

  3. Que bom aspecto!

    Inês - http://www.indiglitz.pt

  4. It was like reading about myslef! O wow! Amazing! I am doing my nails today!
    Marta / What should I eat for breakfast today

    1. ahahah, Marta, my nails are already ruined!!


Post a Comment