Being a food blogger certainly has its perks. Most of them delicious.
For example, this Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, which I was happily offered by Millies. How can one say no to such an offer? 'An ideal culinary oil', you say? Well then, I'll take two.
The best thing to do with flavoured oils is (and forever shall be) to use them as a dip for fresh, crusty bread. Throw a little bit of balsamic in the mix and you've got a party in your mouth, where all the sexy Italian flavours are getting their groove on.
So we picked up a ciabatta load from Handpicked Hall and dipped away to our heart's content, whilst I mused over what else to do with this flavoursome oil. It had to be something good - the flavour is so rich and deep that you can't mess around. A salad dressing seemed unworthy (although no doubt it would be the best salad dressing you'd ever tasted). Some sort of rub for chicken or salmon, perhaps? Maybe as part of a sauce for pasta? The options seemed endless.
After a little bit of musing - and no small amount of Googling - I came across this recipe from Baking Bites for Mozzarella and Basil Bread. No kneading? No yeast? What is this witchcraft?! It seemed a long shot - given my relative lack of expertise when it comes to all things bread-based - but the offer of a loaf of bread stuffed with cheese was too good to pass up. So I drizzled a bit of the garlic oil into the mixture and all was well. In fact, it was more than well. It was absolutely divine.
To have a go yourself, you'll need:
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 tbsp. caster sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 carton of buttermilk (284ml)
- Lots and lots of finely chopped basil (around 20 leaves)
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- A drizzle of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil with Garlic
- A little bit of faith
Before I get on to the instructions, let's chat about the mozzarella. The recipe here called for full-fat mozzarella so that is what I used. However, after a little bit of research, I discovered that using low-fat mozzarella means it's less likely to spill out of the edges - so you can use that if you prefer a neater loaf. I wouldn't usually recommend low-fat but in this case, it might be worth giving it a go!
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough starts to come together.
4. Add in the basil, mozzarella and a drizzle of garlic oil and continue to stir until the dough is well combined.
5. Flour a surface liberally (I kept getting my dough stuck so don't be afraid to use more flour!) and turn the dough out onto your surface.
6. Knead for a minute or so until the dough is smooth. Shape into a ball.
7. Pop onto the baking tray and brush with more garlic oil. Cut an X shape into the top.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden. You can double check the bread is cooked by turning over (careful - use oven gloves!) and tapping the bottom. It should sound hollow and there shouldn't be a soggy bottom in sight!
9. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
The bread alone is delicious, but if you want to take it to the next level (and I know you do) then you'll want to roast some tomatoes. It's easy as pie - just place on a baking tray, drizzle with garlic oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes at 180°C.
As you can imagine, the smell is heavenly and the sweetness of the tomatoes compliments the creaminess of the mozzarella and the sharpness of the garlic wonderfully. Serve with rocket and a splash of balsamic vinegar and you've got yourself a fancy dinner party starter. If you're feeling particularly posh, it'll also transport well in tupperware for the most lavish desk-side lunch you've had this year. All in all, rather a triumph.
If you live in Leeds, you can pick up your own flavoured oils to experiment with (I'd also recommend the lemon!) from Millies on Vicar Lane. Or, if you're not lucky enough to be local, you can shop online here.