Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

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Today I have an incredible, easy recipe. In fact, this post is more an assembly than recipe. Simply look at the photos. Fresh ciabatta bread baked with the ultimate topping. I chose three different cheeses, kalamata olives and fresh basil. Resulting in crisp, crusty bread with the most flavourful, salty, fresh herb spiked, cheesy covering, Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread.

FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

A combination of Philadelphia cream cheese, mozzarella and sharp cheddar mixed together is the ultra cheesy topping. The result when baked, is melting gooeyness and great cheese flavour. Also, adding meaty kalamata olives and fresh basil, results in an overall herby saltiness that goes well with cocktails, especially a Martini. Because the topping is overly generous, it could be split to cover two open Ciabattas. Also you could slice the ciabatta thinly, or cut into squares and these would make elegant, pre dinner canapés.

FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

I love cheese and think it tastes even better when melted?

FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

 

Recipe: Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

1 x Regular size Ciabatta Bread – split open – I use Waitrose own make Ciabatta

200g/7oz Mozzarella

75g/3oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese – I find own brands too watery for this recipe

75g/3oz Grated Sharp/Mature Cheddar – I use Wyke Mature Cheddar

50g/2oz Kalamata Olives – I use olives with the stones in

1tbsp chopped fresh basil

1/4 – 1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F

Making the cheese and olive topping

  • First of all place a medium sized bowl on to some digital scales. This will make adding ingredients much easier.
  • Spoon the Philadelphia cream cheese into the bowl and break up the drained mozzarella cheese, adding it to the cream cheese.
  • Next add the grated mature cheddar to the bowl.
  • Remove the stones from the olives. Press each olive with the flat side of the knife. Remove the stone with your fingers.
  • Chop the olives roughly, adding to the bowl until the correct weight is achieved.
  • Now chop the fresh basil fairly roughly and add to the bowl.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Preparing the cheese, olive and fresh basil topping.
  • Use a fork to mix all of the ingredients together.

Cutting and covering the ciabatta

  • Cut the Ciabatta bread in half lengthways and place on to a baking tray.
  • Divide the cheese mixture in half and cover each half of the ciabatta.
FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Preparing the ciabatta for baking.

Baking the cheese covered ciabatta

  • Place the ciabatta into the top of the preheated oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. The bread is baked when it is golden and crusty and the cheese is meltingly bubbly on top.
  • While the ciabatta is baking pour yourself a long, cool glass of your favourite drink!
  • As soon as the ciabatta is baked remove from the oven. Also scoop any melted cheese that has escaped from the bread back on top.
FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread fresh from the oven.

Because I love cheese, especially when it is melted, I could probably eat this everyday. I prefer savoury over sweet anyday. Especially when it has the salty kick of olives.

FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Crunchy and oozing with cheese.

Finally to serve, place on to a wooden board and slice the ciabatta across, dividing each half into 5 or 6 pieces. Pass around to delighted guests.

The topping can be made one day ahead and kept in a sealed container in the fridge. Once baked the bread should be on the same day.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread you may also enjoy these:

Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia 

Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

FF Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread 

Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread
Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread

 

While baking from scratch is something I enjoy, quick easy recipes, or in some cases assemblies, are essential to have on hand. Whether we are rushed off our feet with the busyness of life, or the opposite, too hot or tired to contemplate ‘cooking’, we all need a stash of no fail, easy recipes. As soon as they are assembled and baked, we can breath a collective sigh of relief, take a deep breath and enjoy our time together.

So, whatever you are making, baking or even assembling in your kitchens, remember to have fun. Because food tastes better when shared and the hostess is relaxed!

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be copied or reproduced without the owner’s express, written permission. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

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I love easy, quick to make, healthy meal recipes. How about you? Pasta is quick to cook, versatile, economical and tasty, ticking all of these boxes. With so many varieties of pasta, there’s also an endless number of different sauce possibilities to suit any diet. I cannot imagine my kitchen without it! My culinary creativity would be far less fun and frankly, boring! So, thank you Italy, you may have invaded Britain, however it’s time to let things go, as you have given us pasta. More specifically the fusilli bronze die pasta used in this Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

So, next time you think of tossing a jar of pesto into pasta for dinner, think again. As this dish only takes 30 minutes to make, barely more than the time it takes to cook pasta. Not only do you get a balanced healthy meal, it is filling, like all proper meals should be. Tender, bite sized pieces of succulent chicken breast, fresh baby spinach wilted into the tomato and cream cheese sauce that wraps itself around the fusilli pasta.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Feasting Food

If you are cutting down on carbs you may wish to skip this paragraph. Which is, to serve this tasty bowl of goodness with a chunk of baguette, or any of my homemade focaccia bread  recipes. While this dish not swimming in sauce, there is always some pooled on your plate or bowl. And this is where the bread is important. To dunk with! Using the bread to absorb every last drop of the luscious, creamy sauce. Also, keeping with the low fat theme, why not leave the bread unbuttered. As well as reducing calories, the bread is more absorbent without butter.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Eating should be an enjoyable experience. Indeed it should be a feast. It should feed more than our tummies, it should feed our soul. Giving thanks before eating is a custom here at home. Yet stopping for a moment to look and smell the food in front of you is also important. Too much food is literally shoved down throats while watching television. I wonder too if the taste and texture, even has time to register with the brain. Eating with family and friends, sitting at a table, not only slows down the rate at which we eat, it can also regulate how much we eat. Resulting in an altogether, more pleasurable experience. My opinion is that all food tastes better when it is shared.

In addition, if you live on your own and cook for yourself, as I did for many years, being mindful while eating is still beneficial. Taking time to really enjoy the experience of eating, really is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Time to make this delicious dish.

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta serves 4-6 people

500g Diced Chicken Breast skin off and cut into bite size pieces – I use Graig Farm

1tbsp Olive Oil – I use Filippo Berio

1 Large Leek – washed and cut into small dice

2 x 400g Chopped Tin Tomatoes plus 1 tin of pasta cooking water. Alternatively use the same weight of chopped, fresh tomatoes and approximately 400mls of pasta cooking water.

200g Washed Baby Spinach – use frozen if out of season

1tbsp Fresh Thyme finely chopped – plus additional Thyme for garnishing the finished dish

140g Philadelphia Cream Cheese – use the full fat version

1tsp Sea Salt  – I use Maldon

Good Grinding of Fresh Black Pepper to taste

450g Fusilli Pasta – bronze die pasta has rougher edges and so absorbs more sauce

Method: Making the Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

  • First of all, place a heavy bottomed pan on to the hob over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat.
  • At the same time place a large pan of water on a high heat, ready to cook the pasta. When the water is boiling add a teaspoon of sea salt and then the pasta and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Into the other pan add the chopped chicken breast and cook until lightly browned.
  • Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and then add the chopped leek to the pan.
  • Saute the leek until it is softened and then add the cooked chicken back to the pan.
  • Immediately add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and use a wooden spatula to scrape the base of the pan clean. Follow by adding the chopped fresh thyme.
  • Now tip the baby spinach into the pan. Don’t worry if it is piled high it will wilt down.
FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
  • Remove a can full/2-3 ladles (approximately 400ml) of hot pasta water and pour on to the spinach. Take extra care as it will be hot.
  • Drain the pasta and tip on to the spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt down, it will release it’s water and make the sauce thinner.
  • Next add the cream cheese to the pan and stir so that it melts into the sauce.
  • Most importantly, taste the sauce. Add a good grinding of fresh black pepper to taste. Additional salt shouldn’t be needed, but do check and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  • Sprinkle over fresh Thyme and the dish is ready to be served.
FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Time to eat

Serve this delicious Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta in bowls.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Not only is this recipe perfect for making ahead, it’s also easy to transport. Which makes it an easy dish to gift to a new family, friend who is unwell, or anyone who really needs a break from cooking. Resulting in a great meal that is as perfect to share outside the home, as well as with family and friends around the dinner table.

To freeze leftovers, cool completely and then spoon the cold pasta into freezer bags, or freezer proof containers, removing as much air as possible. Label, including the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer, place on a plate or bowl and defrost in the fridge overnight. Reheat until piping hot, serve as previously suggested and enjoy!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta then you may also like these:

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Lemon garlic vegetable orzo.
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Roasted summer vegetable orzo pasta salad served in a white bowl and garnished with fresh, flat leaf parsley.
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad.

Pasta is one of the most important ingredients in my kitchen. A go-to staple when I need to whip up something super tasty, super quick. Another bonus it that after cooking and cooling, it can usually be frozen, such as this Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta, Chicken Four Cheese Lasagne and Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake all can be. Serving with bread and salad enables this dish to feed more people, ideal when last minute dinner guests appear (a necessity when a house full of teenagers and their friends lose track of time!). Although cooking pasta from scratch takes barely more than 10 minutes and even though there are countless ready made sauces to available to buy, homemade pasta dishes can be just as quick and easy. And here at home, easy meals are a busy household’s must.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. See my Disclosure Policy for full details.

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Super Light Scones

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Hi there, I hope wherever you are the sun is shining on you today. Here in Kent it is beautifully sunny, with a light breeze. Perfect Summer weather. So much so it inspired me to bake Super Light Scones for breakfast this morning.

FF Super Light Scones

Since I don’t make a habit of making scones every morning – in fact, as a general rule I don’t like scones! Well at least the heavy, dense prepackaged ones from the supermarket. I don’t know why, they’re just not my thing. However, it’s Summer and scones with clotted cream and jam are a MUST! And especially the clotted cream has to be Rodda’s from Cornwall!

Super Light Scones, super easy to make and even easier to eat with a dollop of Rodda's clotted cream!
Super Light Scones, super easy to make and even easier to eat with a dollop of Rodda’s clotted cream!

Coming Up With A Great Scone Recipe

This probably sounds crazy, but I trawled through at least 8 cookbooks this morning, as well as looking online, but I just couldn’t find a recipe I was happy with. So I came up with my own! And it worked! I watch enough Food Network UK to have picked up some tips along the way and the Green Goddess (my friend, but unbiased taste tester) gave them the thumbs up – although she would have preferred them a little sweeter. Just trying to keep it honest round here.

Super Light Scones - the quintessential British cream tea.
Super Light Scones – the quintessential British cream tea.

 

I had these Super Light Scones for my breakfast. They are so light with soft flaky layers inside. I didn’t even use a knife to cut them open, they pulled beautifully apart. I now like scones – these ones!

 

Super Light Scones - so light they just pull apart. Delicious!
Super Light Scones – so light they just pull apart. Delicious!

 

If you are not in the UK and wish to have the British cream tea experience, but can’t get hold of clotted cream, Mascarpone cheese would make a good substitute. Alternatively book  a holiday to the UK and stay in Dorset, Devon or Cornwall – cream tea’s are readily available. Although, I admit, it’s a long way to come for a cup of English tea and a cream scone – or maybe not??

Super Light Scones - a very proper English Cream Tea - delish!
Super Light Scones – a very proper English Cream Tea – delish!

Recipe : Makes Approx 20 Super Light Scones

450g/1lb Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Salt

50g/2oz Cold Unsalted Butter

25g/1oz Vegetable Shortening

2tbsp Caster Sugar

250mls/9fl oz Cold Whole Milk

3tbsp Milk – for brushing on top of scones

Method : Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan

Making The Scone Dough

First of all, in a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the butter and shortening, use a pastry cutter, or your fingers to work the fat into the flour.
Add the butter and shortening, use a pastry cutter, or your fingers to work the fat into the flour.
Small pea sized lumps of fat should be present in the mixture.
Small pea sized lumps of fat should be present in the mixture.

 

Add the sugar and stir through to mix. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, pour in the milk and stir together using a butter knife (ordinary eating knife).

Stir until the mixture just comes together.
Stir until the mixture just comes together.
Tip the scone dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Tip the scone dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Bring the dough together with your hands. Gently pat the dough out to approx 2.5cm thickness. The less you handle the dough the lighter the scones will be.
Bring the dough together with your hands. Gently pat the dough out to approx 2.5cm thickness. The less you handle the dough the lighter the scones will be.

Cutting Out The Individual Scones

Using a straight sided, floured, 2 inch deep cutter, press straight down through the scone dough. Do not twist the cookie cutter as you press down as this will affect the rise on your scones. Cut out as many scones as possible then collect the pieces of dough together, pat out and cut out more scones until the dough is used up.

Place the cut out scones onto a non stick baking sheet, or line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the cut out scones onto a non stick baking sheet, or line a baking tray with parchment paper.

 

Lightly brush the top of each scone with milk. Try to avoid the milk dripping down the side of the scone - as this affects the rise of the scone.
Lightly brush the top of each scone with milk. Try to avoid the milk dripping down the side of the scone – as this affects the rise of the scone.

Baking The Super Light Scones

Place your scones into the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes. The scones are baked when well risen and lightly golden in colour. As soon as they are baked remove from the oven and transfer the scones to a baking rack to cool.

Delicious Super Light Scones - cooling!
Delicious Super Light Scones – cooling!

 

Once cooled, split in half and slather on your favourite jam. For added indulgence add a dollop of clotted cream and some sliced fruit. Enjoy with a refreshing cup of tea.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Super Light Scones you may also enjoy these:

Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins 

FF Super Light Scones
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins

Spicy Sausage Rolls 

FF Super Light Scones
Spicy Sausage Rolls

Super Easy Shortbread Cookies

FF Super Light Scones
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies

These are a great treat and perfect for Fathers Day – you could use a larger cutter, just add a couple of minutes onto the baking time.

Most Dads just want to know they are loved. Making or baking them a gift is such a personal way to say I LOVE YOU.

What jam and fruit combo do you like with your scones?

Sammie x

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