Focaccia with Blue Cheese & Parma Ham


Happy New Year folks!

So here we are in January again, the month of starting new resolutions, adopting ‘out with the old, in with the new’ philosophies and commencing new eating and exercise regimes. So yes, privately this is my mantra, and I am enjoying fresh green juices in the morning. However, publicly, I am urging you to try this delicious Focaccia with Blue Cheese and Parma Ham. [Read more…]

Rosemary and Smoked Sea Salt Breadsticks


So why make breadsticks today?

I knew I wanted to bake with dough. I was toying with the idea of baking doughnuts, cinnamon buns or Devonshire Splits. Then I couldn’t decide whether to do a ‘kids’ doughnut, or one with more sophisticated grown up flavours; then cinnamon buns, sticky, or with a tasty frosting; and the iced buns, plain with jam and cream, or fruit inspired? So with such indecision, I needed to try out something completely different – something savoury…breadsticks. I have been doing a fair bit of ‘experimental’ baking lately and have a lot of sweet bakes that need consuming, so my sweet dough antics will just have to hold off for a bit.


So my inspiration for these breadsticks came from a trip to the supermarket (not as glamorous  as a farmer’s market or PYO today!) This wonderfully fresh rosemary caught my eye and I couldn’t resist it. Also, as I was alone in the shop, I had an opportunity to have a good browse at the spices and condiments. I stocked up on what I needed and thought I try out this smoked sea salt. The flavour is indeed smoked and has a lovely intensity in these breadsticks. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have this version of salt, a good quality natural course natural sea salt will do the job nicely.


Once again I have adapted a Paul Hollywood recipe. They work every time and hey, The Great British Bake Off starts again this week! This breadstick recipe is super easy and not time consuming. The ‘sticks’ are light, flavoursome, crunchy on the outside, beautifully ‘doughy’ on the inside. These are perfect dipped in olive oil and served with drinks or, just like every bake in this house, a good snack for the children. Just adapt the quantity of rosemary to suit your taste and you will be delighted with this bake.


Rosemary and Smoked Sea Salt Breadsticks

Makes approximately 15 breadsticks


  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting surfaces
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 350ml tepid water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10-12 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. smoked sea salt (alternatively, course natural sea salt, like Maldon)
  • Semolina for dusting (optional)


  1. Oil a bowl, or plastic container, with olive or vegetable oil.
  2. Put the flour into the bowl of a free standing mixer. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add most of the water and start to mix with the dough hook attachment. Add the remainder of the water if required and mix on a medium speed for about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and continue to mix further. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough becomes less wet and more elastic. Add the rosemary, freshly stripped from the sprig. Note. The quantity of rosemary to be added should be to suit your taste. Just ensure you have sufficient to sprinkle on the dough sticks prior to baking. Place the rosemary dough into the oiled bowl/container and cover with a tea towel or seal with a lid.
  3. Allow to prove for a couple of hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Prepare two baking trays by lining with baking parchment.
  5. Once proved, tip the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour and semolina. Sprinkle more flour and semolina onto the damp, top side of the dough. Gently spread the dough into a rectangle shape, avoiding knocking any of the air out. With a sharp knife or dough separator, cut the dough into approximately 15 equal dough sticks. Place them onto the prepared baking trays. Sprinkle with the smoked sea salt and remaining rosemary. Place the trays into a clean plastic bag and allow to prove for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, or Gas Mark 7.
  7. Bake the breadsticks for approximately 15 minutes until they are a light golden colour.
  8. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  9. Store in a bread 'bin' or tin.

Source: Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’