Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Hello lovelies, I have been a baking bread. Not any ole squishy, white, sandwich loaf – oh no – Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

Delicious Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.
Delicious Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

 

I honestly can’t begin to tell you just how yummy this bread is. It truly is proof that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread is taking bites of bread and then experiencing your taste buds explode with all the flavours,  in your mouth.

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

 

This Focaccia is perfect with pasta (we had it with Lasagne, perfect for mopping up tomato and cheese sauce). I also think it would be great to take on a picnic, served with some good cheddar and a glass of something cold!

I made enough for 2 loaves, so just halve the recipe if only one Focaccia is needed – as the tomatoes won’t freeze well. Alternatively make two and leave the tomatoes off of the loaf you intend to freeze. Double wrap in cling film and the bread will last 3 months in the freezer!

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia.

 

We love any kind of bread with our meals, especially if it has garlic added. This hit the spot big time and Snugs, who can be a little but careful when it comes to ‘different foods’ loved this!! I guess you could even add some shards of sharp cheddar before baking? Might have to try that!!!!

Recipe :

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 x 7g Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast

1tsp Maldon Sea Salt (3/4tsp if using free flowing)

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling.

Approx 300-350ml lukewarm water.

16-20 Cherry Tomatoes – halved (half the amount for one Focaccia)

2tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (half the amount for one Focaccia)

4 Cloves of Garlic (half the amount for one Focaccia)

Method : Using bread maker or stand mixer with dough hook attached.

Place 300ml of water into the bowl of your mixer.

Add the yeast and then the flour.

Add 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Now add the salt.

Set the bread maker to the mix/prove cycle.

If the dough seems dry add extra water 20mls at a time until the dough has a smooth elasticity, while being mixed. If the dough is too dry either machine will be clunking!

With a stand mixer mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and elastic. Using Olive oil on your hands to stop the dough sticking, roll the dough into a tight ball, place back into the mixer bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size.

Using either method, once the first prove is finished, knock back, restarting the mixing on the bread machine and removing the cling and mix for a further 10 minutes.

Oil 2 x 20cmx20cm (8″ x 8″) square tins.

Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.

 

Cover and leave to double in size. Whilst proving preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan.

When your dough is doubled in size place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Breathe deeply. Mmm, that smell coming out of the oven is your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread. Enjoy, it smells amazing!

 

Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!

 

I cut my Focaccia into squares, what do you do?

This recipe is so easy and the taste is amazing. Let me know if you make this bread? I love to read your comments.

You may also like Sundried Tomato Olive Focaccia Bread

The perfect food for feasting and sharing.

Sammie x

 

 

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Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

Hello there people! The sun is shining and that makes me smile. It’s amazing how a little sunshine can improve our mood, as can the right food! Ooh that rhymed!! I have another fabulously easy side dish recipe for you today Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges.

Yummy Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Yummy Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges.

 

Perfect on their own or as a side dish these Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges are a tasty alternative to oven chips. They are quick to prepare, need no attention whilst they bake in the oven and have a finger licking garlicky flavour.

Why is it food tastes better when eaten with our hands???

Sorry I’ll get back to the point – which is – these baked beauties go with just about anything: Roast Chicken, Fish, Quiche, Steak, Sausages…. The list is endless. Try them and let me know what you had them with?

Delicious just on their own, or dunked in a dip of your choice!
Delicious just on their own, or dunked in a dip of your choice!

 

Recipe : Serves 4-6 as a side.

1.5kg/3lb Baking Potatoes – scrubbed and dried

2-3 tbsp Olive Oil

4 Garlic Bulbs – crushed/finely minced

1 tbsp Fresh Thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method :

Preheat oven to 200C/185C fan.

Cut each baking potato in half lengthways. Cut each half into wedges, approx 1/2 inch wide – try to keep all the potato wedges a similar size, this will ensure even cooking. Place all the potato wedges onto a large baking sheet/roasting pan.

Drizzle over the Olive Oil.
Drizzle over the Olive Oil.
I bought this pot of fresh Thyme from the supermarket and keep it on the kitchen window!
I bought this pot of fresh Thyme from the supermarket and keep it on the kitchen window!
Sprinkle over the Thyme and minced Garlic and then mix thoroughly so that each wedge is coated in oil, garlic and thyme.
Sprinkle over the Thyme and minced Garlic and then mix thoroughly so that each wedge is coated in oil, garlic and thyme.

 

Ensure the wedges are spread out evenly and then place in the oven.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes until golden and cooked through (I usually test larger wedges with a knife).

Note : I give the tin a good shake halfway through cooking, to ensure they don’t stick.

Hot Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges - straight from the oven.
Hot Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges – straight from the oven.

 

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges - delish!
Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges – delish!

 

I also make these using fresh, minced Rosemary in place of the Thyme. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite – both versions are equally delicious!

I hope you enjoy trying and feasting on this dish.

Sammie x

 

 

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Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Hi, have I got the easiest, tastiest, make ahead side dish for you?? Oh yes I have! Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – this dish does not disappoint – it is delicious.

Soooo delicious - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - the perfect Pasta side dish.
Soooo delicious – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – the perfect Pasta side dish.

 

Although I’ve said this is a side dish (& vegetarian), it also makes a fab light lunch. A few shavings of Parmesan would add extra oomph for lunch, served alongside some crusty, crunchy bread.

I’m getting hungry!!!!

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - perfect served at room temp!
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – perfect served at room temp!

I’ve used red onion, peas, sweetcorn and red bell pepper in this dish – but feel free to switch up the veggies (celery is good) with whatever you have on hand. All I would say is the Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo is best served at room temp, or even warmed – BUT NOT COLD!!! No matter how much lemon/oil you add, when served fridge cold the Orzo clumps together and not in a good way!!!! So there you go, an easy recipe that doesn’t take up any room in your fridge, or require any last minute fiddling. Yay!! We like easy!

Sooo easy, sooo delish - what's not to love - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Sooo easy, sooo delish – what’s not to love – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

 

Recipe : Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo serves 6-8 as a side dish.

500g/1lb Packet Dried Orzo

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

1 x Small Red Onion

150ml/5fl oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 x Garlic Cloves – crushed

200g/7oz Frozen Peas

Medium Can Sweetcorn

Fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method :

Put a large pan of water on to heat up for the Orzo.

Place the lemon juice and finely diced red onion into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix together. Leaving the onion in the lemon juice will remove the acrid taste!

Once the water in the pan is boiling add salt and then the Orzo. Cook according to the packet instructions – taking care not to overcook or the Orzo will simply clump together!!

Whilst the Orzo is cooking gently heat the Olive Oil and garlic together, for approx 2 minutes on a medium heat so the garlic infuses the oil and is lightly cooked. Pour the garlicky oil over the onions and lemon juice.

Lemon Garlic Onions and Oil - add salt and pepper.
Lemon Garlic Onions and Oil – add salt and pepper.

 

Drain the Orzo as soon as it is cooked and pour straight into the bowl. Using a large slotted spoon immediately toss the Orzo in the oil/lemon juice – this will stop the Orzo from sticking together.

Place the frozen peas (I used petit pois) in the bowl and mix in with the hot Orzo.

Add the sweetcorn (drained) and the diced, red, bell pepper. Mix together and taste for seasoning – add salt/freshly ground pepper as necessary.

Take a handful of Basil leaves, roughly chop and sprinkle over.

Cover with cling film and serve at room temp.

Voila!!! 10 minute side dish - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - delish xx
Voila!!! 10 minute side dish – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – delish xx

 

This side goes fabulously with fish – Salmon especially, Chicken and Pork. It makes a fab alternative to roast potatoes and hot veggies for a Summer roast and completely seals the deal as part of a buffet. With very little effort. Gotta love that?!

Enjoy feasting on this scrumptious dish and may we have many sunny days ahead to spend with friends and family, having fun round the BBQ!

With hidden ‘Super-Soakers’ primed for action if it gets too hot – or boring!!!!

What do you look forward to now the days are longer and the sunshine is out??

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Breadsticks Garlic Herb Dipping Oil

Hello there, have I got a new take on Garlic Bread for you today? Oh yes I have. Homemade Breadstick Garlic Herb Dipping Oil – deeeelish!! A fab recipe to make with the kids any day, but especially this week, during half term, here in the UK. Just like at Cafe Rouge except everyone has their own pot of dipping oil!

Crunch Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil
Crunchy Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

We first had a version of these at Cafe Rouge a few years ago and we all thought they were yummy. So my mind started whirring, thinking that these couldn’t be ‘that hard’ to make at home – and guess what, they’re not!! And, dare I say, they taste better!

 

THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta
THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta.

Usually, when I’m feeding a crowd, I double up on the recipe and two people share one plate. But last night, with our Spag Bol we each had our own bowl of Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil and Breadsticks (some of us are getting over colds – so thought individual was best!!).

Crunchy Breadsticks, perfect for dunking in the Garlic and Herb Oil.
Crunchy Breadsticks, perfect for dunking in the Garlic and Herb Oil.

Firstly to make the breadsticks, for me it really is easier to have a bread maker or stand mixer. There is no way I could do all that kneading by myself, but if you’re happy to make the dough by hand, feel free.

 Recipe : Breadsticks Makes 10

1lb/450g  Strong White Bread Flour

2tsp  Dried Fast Acting Yeast

300ml Water – Approx 37C Body Temp

2tbsp Olive Oil

3/4 tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I used Maldon

Method : see below for hand kneading

Place the warm water into the bowl of your bread maker or stand mixer with the dough hook attached.  Add the dried yeast and mix with your fingers.  Place the flour on top of the water/yeast.  Pour the oil on top of the flour and sprinkle over the salt.

* For bread maker set cycle to knead and prove.

* For the stand mixer, mix the ingredients for 10 minutes. When the dough is soft and elastic remove to an oiled bowl, turn once, so the sides and top are slicked in oil, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to double in size (1-2 hours).

* For hand kneading, place all the ingredients into a large bowl, as per the other methods. Bring together with your hand, in the bowl, until a complete lump of dough is formed. Place the dough on a lightly floured worktop and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic – proceed as for stand mixer.

Once the dough has doubled in size knock back – gently punch down into the bowl to knock out the air (in a bread maker set to mix and allow 30 seconds of slow rotating to knock back your dough).

Tip your dough out onto a floured worktop.

Form the dough into a flat, done shape.
Form the dough into a flat, dome shape.
Divide the dough into half - using a dough cutter or knife.
Divide the dough into half – using a dough cutter or knife.
Divide the first half into 5 equal pieces of dough.
Divide the first half into 5 equal pieces of dough.
Pull each piece into a length.
Pull each piece into a length.
Twist each length of dough, pulling as you do so, to make a long twisted, uncooked bread stick and place on an oiled baking sheet.
Twist each length of dough, pulling as you do so, to make a long twisted, uncooked bread stick and place on an oiled baking sheet.

Repeat the same process for the other half of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm draught free place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 215C (200C fan).

Place the baking sheets into the hot oven and bake the breadsticks for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Crunchy, golden breadsticks.
Crunchy, golden breadsticks.

 

Place the cooked breadsticks on a cooling rack to cool.

Recipe : Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

4tbsp  Virgin Olive Oil

4tbsp  Butter

3  Fat Garlic Bulbs

1tbsp  Fresh Finely Chopped Herbs – I used Thyme and Rosemary – or 1tsp Mixed Dried Herbs

1/2 tsp  Flaky Sea Salt

1/2 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method :

Firstly I have to admit I didn’t actually measure the butter or olive oil when I made this!!  But you are aiming for a 50:50 mix of Olive oil and butter!  My laziness is your gain, as you can add more oil/butter if you want to stretch this recipe out for more servings!!!  And I get called Cheeky – can’t think why?????

Anyway back to the dipping oil for the breadsticks!  Put the Olive oil and butter into a small pan. Chop the herbs finely and add to the cold oil/butter.

Finely chopped Thyme (left) and Rosemary (right).
Finely chopped Thyme (left) and Rosemary (right).

Either mince finely, or use a garlic press to chop/squish the garlic bulbs and add to the pan.  Finally add the salt and pepper – you can add less salt if you’ve used salted butter – too little salt however, will result in this dipping oil having a very bland flavour (sorry Cafe Rouge, but it’s the seasoning in your dipping oil that let’s it down!).

Ooh a little heat, a little time and this will become the MOST delish Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil x x x
Ooh a little heat, a little time and this will become the MOST delish Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil x x x

Place the pan over a very low heat.  The idea is to melt the butter, infuse the oil/butter with the garlic and herbs and of course NOT BURN THE GARLIC!!!!

As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat.
As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat.

Leave the pan off the heat to sit and infuse with the Garlic and Herb flavours.  Even a few minutes makes a big difference to the final oil.  I made the oil whilst the Breadsticks were baking.  10 minutes before serving place the pan over a medium heat. As soon as the oil is bubbling and the Garlic is sizzling, remove from the heat and decant into individual serving bowls – I used ramekins.

THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta
THE perfect food for sharing. Perfect with pasta.

Breaking into the crunchy Breadsticks and dipping into the Garlic and Herb Oil is a taste explosion in your mouth!! It’s a fun change from the usual Garlic Bread.  As always these Breadsticks go amazingly well with all pasta dishes.

NOTE: The Garlic and Herb Oil can also be spooned over Ciabatta or Baguette for a more traditional style Garlic Bread.

The Breadsticks can be made smaller (this will stretch out the number of servings), just remember to reduce the baking time – I’d start checking at 15 minutes.

Any leftover breadsticks can be frozen, in a freezer bag, for up to a month.

If you do try this recipe I’d love to hear how you get on?

Have fun making these and most of all sharing them!

Sammie x

 

 

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