I made my own sun-dried tomatoes this week, very proud. Well you might as well put the sun to good use. It’s out there all day blazing down and generally making a nuisance of itself.
If you’ve never tried it, now is the time (in the northern hemisphere anyway). It’s really easy and it makes you feel like a proper domestic goddess, for about five minutes.
I got the instructions on how to do it from Chica Andaluza, my fellow British food blogger in Andalucia. She grows her own tomatoes as well as many other things and I’m very jealous of her little huerto.
I don’t eat bread very often so when I do it has to be good bread. I’m not wasting my time with that supermarket bouncy fake stuff.
This is my favourite bread recipe and it uses sun-dried tomatoes and the oil they are soaked in. I couldn’t wait to try it with my own sun-drieds.
If you are scared of making bread, like I am, don’t be sacred of this. Me and yeast have issues, as in it won’t do its thing for me, ever.
I’ve lost count of how many heavy, dense and thoroughly unrisen loaves I’ve made. And the panettone? Don’t even go there, it was more of a flat tea cake than a light and airy, beautifully risen dome of loveliness.
This however, has never let me down, and I use wholemeal flour which is usually the kiss of death in any bread I’ve ever made. It’s a kind of flatbread so it’s not supposed to rise very much, but it does enough, every time.
You can use whatever herbs you like, rosemary is traditional, but I like basil with my sun-dried tomatoes. Just make sure you use the oil the tomatoes are soaked in. It adds so much more flavour.
Wholemeal Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Focaccia Recipe
makes one 8-10 inch round loaf, vegan
If you want to try making your own sun-dried tomatoes see Chica Andaluza’s recipe here
- 450 gr wholemeal flour (or plain)
- 1 tsp salt
- 7 g sachet dried fast action yeast
- about 50 gr sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp sun-dried tomato oil (the oil the tomatoes are kept in)
- 300 ml tepid (warm, not hot) water
- about 10 basil leaves, rolled up & finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Make a well in the middle and pour in 3 tbsp of the oil, the water and the sun-dried tomatoes.
Using a wooden spoon, mix it all together, then use your hands to make it into a soft sticky dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth & elastic, dusting with a little more flour if necessary but not too much.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and then rub some olive oil over the paper. Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto the baking sheet. Push it out with your fingers to an 8-10 inch round about 2cm thick. Cover with a clean tea towel, tuck the ends under the baking sheet and leave in a warm area for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 230 C. Uncover the bread and pour a little hand-hot water into a cup. Dip your index finger into the water and poke deep holes all over the dough, wet your finger each time.
Brush the remaining 1 tbsp oil over the top of the dough (some will collect in the holes) and sprinkle with the sea salt and basil. Poke some of the basil into the holes.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Then remove from the tray and leave to cool for 15 minutes wrapped in the clean tea towel. Keep wrapped in the tea towel or in a plastic bag in the fridge if you want to keep it longer.
I like to cut it into quarters and then cut off little slices or wedges to dip into some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Or you can cut it in half widthways, through the middle and fill it like you would a sandwich. Mozzarella, avocado and tomato is nice, especially toasted.
Things That Made Me Smile Today……
Dragonfly Porn… it was a bit windy, they were hanging on for dear life!
Is it me or does she look like she’s saying “What are you looking at?”…..