Here we go? with Fougasse aux Olives


“5 have died, 7 moved away, 18 are confirmed coming and the rest are unknown” I receive the report for our next examination site.  We drive for over an hour and arrive at our examination center. We are to set up in a local hospital. We only have a tiny room so have to be creative with space, babies are screaming from the clinic next door.  An hour in and only two have turned up. Our advance team goes through the list calling everyone and the reply is consistently “we are on the way” Another hour passes and still no one else turns up. This is very strange.  It approached midday and having had only three people turn up we do some detective work. It turns out the hospital warden who stands by the gate has been telling our patients that there is no eye clinic here and has sent them on their way! What a nightmare. After much effort and our team driver making several trips we eventually see nine patients plus nearly 40 others who were not part of the study but heard we were in town.  Our next two examination sites are nearby so we hope to pick up the others on the way. The joys of fieldwork, my hair is thinning and greying in equal measure. I tuck in to some awesome olive bread Madeleine has whipped up over night and think to myself, at least something makes sense here!


Here we go…….8 weeks until we fly back for Maz’s Wedding (Andrew’s sister), the new look team are all ready, 3 clusters a week have been prepared, that’s going to be a lot of baking and blog posts! so get ready!

My phone rings, its Andrew, it seems things are not going to plan today, it’s so deflating but with all the set backs its how we respond that matters.

Lucas has just gone for his nap after a morning of pouring blue and green water with lots of bubbles from one container to the next, then making hand prints on the stone walls on the roof with the water and watching them evaporate in the sun.  His Duplo “Gand-ma” and “Gan-dad” did a lot of swimming, we had fun!  I am reflecting on our day yesterday, we visited nearby to the potential site for the bakery, it is a great site, so we really hope all the paperwork continues to go well.


Recipe – Fougasse aux Olives


Liquid levain (pre-ferment) prepare the night before.

35g strong bread flour

45g water

5g sour dough starter (or 2g dried yeast)

Final Dough

100g pitted olives washed and dried

375g strong bread flour

40g Rye flour

280g water

Pre-ferment as above

10g olive oil

8g salt

Pinch dried yeast

Fresh rosemary or thyme leave,  chopped finely


  1. The night before preparing the final dough mix the pre-ferment ingredients together until well combined, cover and leave out over night.
  2. Mix the white bread flour and rye flour with the water, bring together and let sit for 15minutes.
  3. Add the pre-ferment, olive oil, salt and yeast then knead for 15 minutes by hand or 12 using a dough hook on minimum speed, once well kneaded mix in the olives and chopped herbs.
  4. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size for about 1 hour in a warm environment.
  5. Take out of the bowl, divide in two and on a lightly floured surface flatten the two pieces of dough into rough circles about 1-1.5cm thick.
  6. To shape make a cut with a sharp knife or dough scraper down the centre of the flattened dough, leaving about 2cm each end uncut, then cut two lines on the diagonal on each side of the centre cut.  Use your floured finger tips to gently pull the dough out into the leaf/fan pattern.
  7. Gently transfer onto parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with rye flour and leave to rise for about 1 hour in a warm place until a finger indent keeps its shape in the dough.
  8. When you anticipate the dough to be ready, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
  9. Cook for 20-25mins until a good crust develops, to encourage a good crust place water in a tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam.

Work in progress (That’s my concentrating face!)


Lucas being tickled by his friends


Monkey staring at baboon