Saturday 16 December 2017

Paleo-Gaga... for focaccia with rosemary and lemon

You don't need to be a paleo geek to appreciate this bread. It's achingly good.

Susan Jane White
Susan Jane White

Susan Jane White

Rosemary ain't just a pretty fragrance. Its medicinal properties - appreciated by herbalists and granny Joan for hundreds of years - are now being confirmed by modern science. Yes, a daily round of Sudoku or brushing your teeth with your left hand will help keep brain rust at bay. But so too might rosemary.

This woody herb contains several groovy compounds that are shown to inhibit the nasty breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter for optimum brain function. Some of the drugs available for Alzheimer's disease work similarly, by interfering with acetylcholine breakdown. Mother N! You clever beast!

A few other racy compounds, caffeic and rosmarinic acid, contribute to rosemary's health-buffing reputation. These acids, along with vitamin E and assorted flavonoids from the plant, may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body and the brain (hangover?).

If Sudoku doesn't tickle your brain cells, this bread should sort you out. Don't forget that flaxseed is nature's best plant-source of brain-pumping omega 3s. Bodyslam!

Paleo focaccia with rosemary and lemon

4-8 servings.

What is paleo? It's a screamingly trendy caveman menu of fruit, nuts, meat, dairy and eggs. Disciples are not so fond of grains or carb-rich foods.

Being a giddy herbivore for 90pc of my day, I'm not a fan, but I appreciate the appeal. Paleo bread recipes have been cantering across restaurants and cookbooks from Delhi to Dun Laoghaire. This one is the best of them all.

You will need:

3 teaspoons dried rosemary

240g (9½oz) milled flaxseed

1½ teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

125ml (4fl oz) regular milk or plant milk

2 tablespoons honey

1 juice of small lemon, plus a little zest

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Handful golden sultanas, chopped

Sea salt flakes, to dust

Preheat your oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. Line a 20cm x 25cm (8in x 10in) or a 20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) tin with greaseproof paper. This will look like a focaccia rather than a loaf, that's why we use something bigger than a bread tin or a brownie tin.

In a large bowl, let two teaspoons of the dried rosemary party with the milled flaxseed and the baking powder.

In a separate bowl, using a fork, whisk the eggs, the regular milk or the plant milk, whichever you are using, the honey, the lemon juice and lemon zest and all the extra-virgin olive oil, until happily glossed up. Add the chopped golden sultanas. Dried mulberries are also awesome, but are more expensive.

Now add these wet ingredients to the bowl that has the rosemary and flaxseed mixture, and immediately pour the finished mixture into the pre-lined tin. Spread it out evenly, and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of dried rosemary on top, along with a flurry of sea salt flakes. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and from its tin. Allow it to cool for another 25 minutes on a wire rack. Tickle with smashed avocado, black olive tapenade or hummus. This bread freezes exceptionally well; it's perfect for grilling when there's nothing in the cupboard.

You can see Susan Jane make this bread on her YouTube channel

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