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REAL FOOD

italians love bread and many of their classic breads are easy to make at home. Italian 00 pasta flour is available from good delis and mixing it 50-50 with strong white Irish flour (eg Odlums) is a good substitute for basic Italian bread flour.

Olives don't grow in Ireland but cold-pressed rapeseed oil is an interesting substitute for dipping or drizzling.

Focaccia

This easy version is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday, a good basic cookbook.

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, Gas 7. Add 250g of 00 flour and 250g of strong white flour (or 500g of strong white flour) and a sprinkling of sea salt to a bowl with 1tsp of fast-acting yeast and 350ml of warm water.

Work the flour and water until it has come together roughly. Add 2tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil and squish the dough until the oil is integrated. Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth. You add air by folding and re-folding the dough (or use a bread maker). Add a little more flour if the dough is very sticky. After seven to ten minutes the dough should feel stretchy and pliable. Return to the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise. Place the dough in a square baking tin, cover and allow to rise again (one hour).

Finely chop fresh rosemary (or thyme and sage) and mix with flaky sea salt. Drizzle some oil over the surface of the bread, sprinkle over the herb/salt mix and push some holes in the dough with your finger. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Leslie is on Twitter; lesliesrealfood


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