Tag Archives: Paul Hollywood

Winter Warmers- Roasted Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup with Red Onion and Cheddar Soda bread

Winter is well and truly upon us, and as the days get shorter and colder there’s nothing better than hot soup and home made bread. Soup is a student’s best friend, myself and my flatmates have soup for at least one meal a week. Making your own soup is often cheaper than buying supermarket alternatives, and gives you the freedom to experiment. It’s pretty fool-proof, get some vegetables, add stock et voila…soup. Roasted pepper soup is one of my staples, roasting your vegetables gives the flavour extra depth and the addition of sweet potato makes for a thicker texture.

Roasted Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup


5 red, orange or yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into rough, thick, slices.

1 red onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic

1tsp dried oregano

1tsp chilli powder

150g dried red lentils

2tbsp olive oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed.

1 litre vegetable stock.

salt and pepper to taste


1) Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6, place the peppers, red onion and garlic into a large roasting tin, pour over the olive oil and stir to ensure it covers all the vegetables. Sprinkle over the dried oregano and season well. Roast in the oven for 25-20 minutes.

2) Once roasted place in a large saucepan with the cubed sweet potato, lentils and vegetable stock, bring to a fast boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes until the sweet potato has cooked.

3) Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly (if you blitz it straight away you run the risk of scalding hot soup being flung into your face, not fun) Once cooled slightly, blitz with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Stir in the chilli powder and season to taste. Return to the heat and heat but do not boil. Serve hot.

Red Onion and Cheddar Soda Bread

Soda bread is extremely versatile not to mention quick and simple to make. It’s stodgy, moist and, unlike most breads, contains no yeast (hence why it is so quick to make). An Irish favourite that relies on the reaction between baking powder and buttermilk to form bubbles of carbon dioxide to give it its rise. I used one of Paul Hollywood’s recipes for a twist on the original plain recipe, although I have to admit I added more cheddar than he recommends as I am a dairy fiend. I’m not going to do his recipe the injustice of rewriting, so here’s it word for word.

(makes two loaves)


500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, and extra for dusting

1 1/2 tsp salt

300ml/ 1/2 pint of buttermilk (I just used natural yoghurt and 2 tbsp of lemon juice)

30g/1 oz caster sugar

25g/3 oz butter, softened

20g/1/4oz baking powder

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

75g/3oz strong cheddar cheese, grated


1)Preheat the oven to 220c/gas mark 7. Place a baking tray in the oven.

2)Put all the ingredients except the onion and cheese in a food mixer and, using a paddle blade and medium speed, blend together for two minutes. Alternatively, put into a bowl and mix well by hand for 5 minutes. Add the onion and cheese and incorporate, either by hand or in the mixer (don’t overmix), into the dough.

3) Divide the dough into two pieces and tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into a ball, then flatten each with your hand so they are approximately 5cm/2cm inches thick. Cut a deep cross into each, dust with a little flour and put on to the hot baking tray.

4) Bake for 30 minutes, then serve warm.


This track has nothing to do with anything mentioned in this recipe, surprisingly there are very few songs about soup or sweet potatoes, but its a great song none-the-less, so enjoy..

Tiger Bread Rolls

Tiger bread, or giraffe bread as I probably should refer to it as, is one of my favourite things, ever. I’ve only made it once or twice before, it’s relatively easy. Although, I don’t think I applied a thick enough layer of paste on this batch of rolls, they still turned out okay.


500g strong white flour

7g/one sachet fast action yeast

1tsp salt

300ml lukewarm water

3tbsp sesame oil

for the tiger paste;

1 1/2 tsp fast action yeast

70ml lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

60g corn flour

1 1/2 tsp olive oil


1) In a large bowl, place the flour, yeast and salt. Ensuring the salt and yeast are at separate ends and do not touch, as the salt will kill the yeast.

2) Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the oil and water to form a sticky dough.

3) Place on an oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minute, until the dough is elastic.

5) Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, cover with cling-film and leave to prove in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

6) To make the paste; combine the corn flour, sugar and yeast, pour in the oil and water and mix to a paste, leave for 15 minutes.

7) Once the dough has doubled in size, place back on to an oiled surface and knock back. Divide into 8 equal bits. Shape into rolls, I use Paul Hollywood’s method of making a claw with your hand and encasing the dough, rolling against the surface to form a smooth ball.

8) Place on an oiled baking tray, leaving space for the rolls to expand. Using a pastry brush, brush a thick layer of the paste on top of the rolls.

9) Cover the rolls , ensuring not to touch the tops as not to remove the paste, the best method is to use two plastic bags, put back into a warm place and prove for a further 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.

10) Once the rolls have almost doubled in size, bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, until golden brown. To see if they are cooked through, turn one over and knock it, it should sound hollow.

I think these are best served once cooled and with lashings of butter, or alongside some home made soup to keep those winter chills at bay!

Everything-in-the-Cupboard Granary Plaited Loaf


This is called an ‘everything in the cupboard’ loaf as its very adaptable to whatever seeds or herbs you have in your cupboard, and can use any kind of bread flour. I used plain strong white, but wholemeal or seeded would be great. And you can shape it as you wish, I love plaited loaves (apart from 8 strand plaited loaves, damn you Paul Hollywood) they’re a quick way to produce a professional looking loaf.


500g or 1lb bread flour, whatever your preference is, I used strong white.

7g or one sachet of fast action yeast.

1.5 tsp salt

150g mixed seeds, I used sunflower, linseed and poppy seeds.

1tbsp dried rosemary (or any herb of your choice, sage works nicely)

3tbsp of olive oil (preferably extra virgin)

1 egg ( for eggwash before baking)


1) Measure into a large bowl your flour, salt and yeast. Ensuring that the yeast and the salt are on separate sides of the bowl as direct contact will mean the salt will kill the yeast. Add the mixture of seeds and herbs, stir together.

2) Measure the water (some people use 2/3 tap water to 1/3 boiled water, I just use hand hot water from a tap). Make a claw shape with your hand, pour the water into the dry mixture and using your ‘claw’ mix until a dough is formed and all the liquid is used up.

4) Place your dough on a lightly floured surface, try to use as little flour as possible, as this will be worked into the dough, and too much is effectively adding flour to a recipe that has enough and will cause your dough to be dense. Knead for around 5-10 mins until your dough is elastic.

5) Place in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

6) You will know your dough is ready to knock back when you press it and it springs back. When this is the case, remove from the bowl and knead for a further 5 minutes, this will remove some of the excess air.

7) Shape your dough to desired shape and place on an oiled baking sheet. If plaiting, diving into three strands, push together the three straight at the top and proceed to plait, when you get to the end combine all the strands and tuck the end under the bread to leave a neat edge. Place on oiled baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes to prove.

8) Preheat your oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7.

9) The loaf should almost double in size, and again be springy to touch. Finally using a pastry brush egg-wash your loaf and place in the middle of the oven for 15minutes, after 15 min turn the oven down to 190 degrees/gas mark 5 and cook for another 15 mins. Turn the loaf over and tap to see if it sounds hollow, this will mean its cooked through, if not return to the oven for a few more minutes.

Great British Bake Off Hangover.

For the last 2 months The Great British Bake Off has consumed my life, and that’s no exaggeration. Week upon week I have laughed, cried, rejoiced and dismayed at the baking trials and tribulations of Great Britain’s amateur bakers. There were firm favourites (James), some bungling bakers (Manisha, I mean seriously, what was she doing there) and finally a very deserved winner. And I have been glued to my television each week guided through the emotional roller-coaster of the tent kitchen by the effervescent duo, Mel and Sue. I am now at an utter loss, what does one do with their tuesday evenings? Alas, I allowed myself the remainder of the week to wallow in my post GBBO depression and grieved the lost of my favourite reality show with some appropriate activities.

Firstly, I tried a recipe by the ‘Master Baker’ himself, his unforgiving Eight Strand Plaited Loaf.  Unfortunately, I attempted this before watching his masterclass at the Good Food Show (more on that to come!) which provided me with a tonne of tips that would have made my first attempt a lot less traumatic.

The actual bread recipe is very simple, and nothing I haven’t done before. The plaiting however, left me mumbling numbers like a mad woman for near on half an hour with little success. However, after much perseverance I ended up with a reasonably well plaited loaf (well, all apart from the start, but for a first attempt I like to think it was okay).

After the ‘hard bit’ that was the plaiting, comes the ‘easy bit’ that is the proving and baking. Well, I say ‘easy’, I ended up leaving my bread to prove for too long, which meant my loaf ended up being more suitable for the ‘flatbread challenge’ of bread week than Mr Hollywood’s technical challenge. As my mother would say- it’ll taste fine regardless, and it did. But after my triumph at plaiting I was thoroughly dejected that I had messed up the easy stages. However, bread making is a learning curve, and my next attempt will hopefully be a lot better. That’s not to say that my bread failure didn’t push me further into a post GBBO depression.


My GBBO week ended with a trip to Glasgow to the BBC Good Food Show. Other than eating a horrendous amount of samples I also got the chance to meet the one and only Bake Off God’s- Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Who also signed my Great British Bake Off Book, a gave me a very cheery hello. After the excitement of watching two reasonably old people use a pen (one of the most momentous occasions for a keen baker, for everyone else, a relatively mundane way to spend an afternoon) I went to watch their masterclass, and got some great (although belated) tips regarding eight strand loafs. As well as some invaluable cake making tips from the Queen of Cakes, Mrs Berry. It certainly took the edge off my GBBO come down.

Here’s a link to Paul’s recipe, and please learn from my mistakes and keep an eye on your bread!


And fellow GBBO fans, all is not lost, we do not have to go cold turkey, Paul and Mary have Masterclasses all of this week on BBC 2.



Rosemary Focaccia

This recipe is based on the great Paul Hollywood’s recipe, it’s a simple and effective base recipe which allows you to add whatever flavours you wish.


500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Flour

2tsp of salt

2 sachets of dried yeast (works out to 3 tbsp or 14g)

2tbsp of Olive Oil

350 ml of cold water

handful of rosemary (whatever your personal preference is) plus more for topping

Sea Salt to finish.


1)In a large bowl place the flour, salt, yeast and sprigs of rosemary, roughly mix together. In a measuring jug, measure your water and add the olive oil to the top of this. Using a wooden spoon, mix the water gradually into the flour mixture to form a dough.

2) Place the dough on a oiled surface and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic. The bbcgoodfood website has a really useful guide to kneading techniques. Bread Kneading with Paul Hollywood

3) Once kneaded, tuck into a rough ball shape and place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

4) Once the dough has doubled in size, place on a floured surface and knead for a further 5 minutes to remove the excess air from the dough.

5) Oil a baking sheet and place the dough on it, stretching the dough with your hands to make it fit to the size of the baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour.

6) After this hour, the dough should be springy to touch.

7) Preheat your oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

8) Using your fingers, push small holes through out the dough, then place whatever herb you wish to use into the gaps, I used rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

9) Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve warm.

I also made a sun-dried tomato and basil focaccia, with the same basic bread mixture. To provide the bread with a little more colour, replace the oil in the bread mixture with oil the sun-dried tomatoes are stored in.