Cold Weather Olive Bread

7.30 am. I look out the window and its snowing. Again. Not cool (or, rather, very cool, TOO cool.) We already had our winter- the two days of snow that settled, turning this grey city white and making everything beautiful (well, even more beautiful than it already is.)

The thing about London Snow is that it sucks. Its so rarely anything more than annoying brown slush on the side of the road.  This morning’s snow didn’t even have a vague chance of settling. So its just cold rain, stinging your eyes and freezing your fingers.

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So, there I was, waiting for the number 59, cursing the fact that three 133s had already gone past and starting to wonder if it was the worth the wait or if I should just head back home and hop into bed. I was really wishing I’d worn an extra pair of socks, wondering how cold your toes can get before they actually do drop right off. And I was craving soup.DSCF5162

And I’ve been craving all day. Soup and crunchy bread. It’s bad isn’t it, winter? I’m just craving comfort food, carby, starchy, warm and filling, all the time. So when I got home I made myself the biggest bowl of hot, steaming lentil soup, and this delicious olive bread to accompany it.

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Olive Bread (recipe adapted from Delia’s basic bread recipe)

700g strong white bread flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon dried yeast

1 teaspoon golden caster sugar

about 425ml warmish water (hot to the touch)

Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water. Mix into a dough, start using a wooden spoon, then your hand. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it is elasticy and smooth. Put it back into the bowl, cover with cling film, and leave it to rise for about 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

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Once it has risen, knock all the air out of it and knead it again. Mix the olives into the dough (its quite hard to get them right into the middle- so this may take a bit of working!) Shape it into a loaf: oblong or round, or use a loaf tin, and allow it to rise again for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C.

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Once it has risen, bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. You can check it is done by the tapping on the bottom- if it sounds hollow, it is ready to eat!

xxR

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