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Recipe for family meals :

Fiona Bird's Italian Rosemary Bread

This recipe for Italian Rosemary Bread comes from Fiona Bird of Stirrin'Stuff.

Stirrin'Stuff is a campaign (based in Scotland but working across the UK) to encourage children in the practical skills of preparing food - aiming for enquiring minds, active skills, discriminating tongues, family bonding and healthy diets.

Fi Bird is a mother of six and a past Masterchef finalist who has always had a passion for cooking. She is self taught with an approach to food based on knowledge of tight budgets and limited time. When, time permits she will complete an MSc in food policy. A member of the Guild of Food Writers, Fi has written extensively - articles, recipes and as a campaigner both for healthier diets and for cookery teaching at Primary schools. Fi and Dr Stephen Bird are the founders of Stirrin'Stuff which works in partnerships, to educate children about food. Stirrin'Stuff is committed to sustainable development and ethical best practice. Fi develops recipes for Tern television and writes for Country Kitchen Magazine, Green Parent, Organiclife and an occasional parenting column in the Scotsman. Fi and her daughter, Lili Bird have a fortnightly mother and daughter food column, in the Aberdeen Press and Journal.

Dr Bird has recently completed a course in human nutrition and Fi, a children's cookery book, to be published by Barefoot Books in September 2008.

Ingredients for Italian Rosemary Bread

1 1/2 lb (675g) strong white flour
1 sachet easy blend yeast
Approx 15 fl.oz (425ml) warm water
2 tsps seasalt
2 tbsps olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 sprigs rosemary

How to make Italian Rosemary Bread

  • Set oven to 230ºC / 450ºF / Gas 8 /Aga Roasting Oven. Add yeast and salt to the flour.
  • Add the olive oil and gradually add some of the water to form a dough - you may not need it all. Knead for 10 minutes (children are very useful at this point!).
  • Place dough in a lightly floured bowl in a warm place, cover and leave until it has doubled in volume (about one hour). Knead briefly and shape as required (a round looks very authentic and rustic).
  • Sprinkle with Rosemary and make thumb indentations on the top. Drizzle with additional olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Lower heat to 190ºC / 375ºF / Gas5 / Aga Baking oven and continue to bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack

© Fiona Bird December 2001