Last week I went to a baking masterclass hosted by inspirational Great British Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley. It was great meeting her as she is absolutely lovely and also a mine of information – I came away feeling I’d learned heaps of stuff. Jo’s just brought out a new cookbook that’s exclusive to Sainsbury’s and it’s become my absolute go-to when looking for ideas – both for new recipes and old favourites. We’re off on our big annual picnic on Sunday with family and friends and I’m taking two of these Italian style loaves as one definitely won’t be enough. And for my sweet contribution, you can’t beat these shortbread biscuits. Both recipes are so easy to do and the finished results travel well…
Picnic Loaf - make sure you take two
Makes 1 large loaf
1 jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves
340g strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
7g easy-blend/fast-action yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
200ml water, warmed
100g sun-dried tomatoes, drained
150g mozzarella (not buffalo), drained
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 Drain the peppers and reserve the oil. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil and half of the basil leaves into a pestle and mortar and pound until lightly crushed. Leave for 30 minutes to infuse.
2 Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Strain the basil infused oil into the flour, then slowly add 200ml of the water and mix until you have a soft dough. Knead either by hand for 10 minutes or in a free standing mixer fitted with a dough hook for 6 minutes. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place in a large, oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3 Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back and then roll into a 40 x 20cm rectangle. Brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then scatter the remaining basil leaves, roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes on top. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and scatter evenly over the dough. Fold the shorter ends of the rectangle over and roll into a tight Swiss roll spiral. Carefully transfer the roll to the tray with the seam on the underside. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
4 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Brush the loaf with the oil and push the rosemary sprigs into the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown, turning the temperature down to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 after 10 minutes. Cool and then cut into thick slices to serve.
New take on an old classic - Pistachio and Orange Shortbread
Makes about 18
60g unsalted pistachios, shelled
225g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
zest of 1 orange, finely grated
1 Whizz the pistachios in a food processor and tip into a bowl. Add the butter, caster sugar, flour and semolina, and using your fingers rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the grated orange zest and work until the mixture comes together.
2 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very gently until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3 Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough out to a thickness of about 4mm. Using heart-shaped cutters, stamp out cookies and arrange on lined baking trays. Gather any dough off cuts into a ball and re-roll to make more cookies. Chill for a further 30 minutes.
4 Meanwhile preheat the oven 170°C/325°F/ Gas Mark 3. Bake the cookies on the middle shelf of the oven for about 15–18 minutes or until pale golden. Remove from oven, sprinkle with caster sugar then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Read more →
At the masterclass with Jo