Sunday, February 10, 2008

Quick Pecan, Olive & Buttermilk Bread

11.5 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2.5 oz freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated good-quality tasty cheese or gruyere
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped, plus extra pecans, sliced, for topping
3 oz pitted black olives, slivered
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves, plus extra sprigs for topping
2 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 extra yolk mixed with 2 tsp water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a large loaf pan and line with greased baking paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, soda, mustard, and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cheeses, nuts, olives and rosemary, and mix well with a wooden spoon.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, 2 eggs and buttermilk. Make a well in flour mixture, add oil mixture and stir to form a thick batter. Scrape into pan and smooth top. Brush top with egg-yolk mixture, then scatter with extra nuts, rosemary and sea salt. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly).
Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a rack. (It's tempting to eat this bread straight away, but it tastes better after it has cooled.) Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days - once refrigerated, it's best to warm it gently in a 325° F oven or toast it.

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