Wholemeal Bread

Dissolve 7g dry yeast in 400ml warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed vitamin C, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 teaspoons brown sugar. Make a well in 300g of wholemeal bread flour and 150g white bread flour in a large bowl and pour in water. Mix together with your hands until combined, knead briefly and then cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Punch down dough and knead on a lightly floured surface with your hands lubricated with olive oil to work the oil through the bread only until elastic and smooth. I also work in a good pinch of salt at this stage because adding it at the beginning can deactivate the yeast. Form a round shape on a baking tray and place in a very hot preheated oven at 250 degrees Celsius. For an extra crisp crust you can spray a large oven-proof bowl with water and cover the loaf that way the steam will create an outer layer that is crunchy and golden. After about 15-20 minutes remove the bowl and turn the temperature down to 200 degrees Celsius and cook for a further 20 minutes. The loaf should be cooked when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. You can spray the outside with extra water (or even the walls of your oven) to create steam and further crisp the crust. Even though it’s tempting, do not cut into the bread straight away – leave to rest for at least 15-20 minutes.

Cannellini bean

Tapenade

In a bowl or large mortar, combine (with a pestle or a potato masher or a fork) one 450g can of white cannellini beans, a generous pinch of sea salt, a grind of black pepper, a tablespoon of dried thyme, 1/2 cup of chopped black olives (not the supermarket Spanish kind that are tough and lacking in moisture, preferably the Greek kalamata or Italian olives) and a splash of olive oil. You want to leave the mixture quite coarse with a few beans still chunky for texture so there’s no need to grind it to a paste. Add more olive oil to amalgamate the ingredients if necessary. Taste to adjust the seasoning to your preference.

Toast slices of the bread by heating a pan with a little olive and rubbing each slice with a garlic clove before frying on each side. Spread the tapenade on thickly and drizzle with a little extra olive oil. I also often make this as a dip to eat with raw vegetables if you’re looking for a gluten-free snack.

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