Monday, 14 March 2011

Savoury Dead Easy Bread

I'd love to be the kind of cook who is always serene and unflustered, able to perfectly coordinate all the components of a complex meal so that everything is served at exactly the same time. I manage this sometimes, but often (usually) I forget something and then arrive at the table flushed and flustered, minus something that I think would have improved the meal immeasurably. So over the years I have found and developed recipes that get me out of the culinary swamps of my own making.

This recipe is one of those recipes, based on one found in a wonderful children's cookery book, 'Easy Peasy All the Time' by Pru Irvine and published by Ted Smart, and given to my daughter when she was very little. For those of you with very little people in your house I'd say hunt it out - it's a wonderful source for shared kitchen time. Obviously (because this is me) I have added to and experimented with the recipe over the years, and as we are a family of dunkers, this is now my "Oh bother, so focused on the soup, I clean forgot the bread to go with it" standby. Made last when I was so busy sorting out photos for last week's soup recipe I once again forgot to either make or defrost some nice bread!

225g self-raising flour
25g cold butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
150 ml yoghurt (I use goat's yoghurt)
2 spring onions (scallions) sliced finely
6 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into smallish pieces
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley

Heat the oven to 200 degrees C and grease or line a baking sheet. Sieve the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt, onions, tomatoes, and herbs. Pour the yoghurt into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a soft dough. Flour your hands and form the dough into a ball.

Put it onto the baking sheet and flatten it slightly. Using a sharp knife, slice into 8 segments, but don't cut all the way through. If you want to, brush milk onto the top of the bread and put into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned and the cut edges look dry and slightly crumbly.

Serve hot with soup, or just with butter and cheese. And you HAVE to be greedy with this one as it doesn't keep and will taste stale by the next day!

Experiment with the flavourings for this bread. I have used flavoured oil instead of the butter. I have used a clove of garlic cut into ultra thin slivers and a teaspoon of rosemary. I have added about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese and some finely sliced red onion. If you come up with a yummy alternative, please comment so I can try it too...

You can even make this into a sweet bread by leaving out the onions, tomatoes and herbs and adding 1 tablespoon of caster sugar, and some chocolate chips or dried fruit. Then be really decadent and serve it hot with butter and bananas and really posh chocolate spread......

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