Brandi L. Bates
There's something truly magical about wandering along a hedgerow and picking the fruits that are hidden within, little hands reaching through shards of sunlight to grab the big juicy berries. It takes me back to a really peaceful place, of days spent running wild through the abundant countryside.
We were truly delighted when one of our favourite chefs and Masterchef Finalist, the wonderful Claire Fyfe, agreed to share her recipe for Blackberry and Thyme Focaccia. This is one for all the family to enjoy in both the preparation and the eating!
1. Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the olive oil
2. Slowly mix in the water until it forms a dough
3. Oil the work surface and knead the dough for 5-10 mins then place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover for 1 hour
4. Carefully remove the dough and stretch into an oiled baking tray (25cm x 30cm) cover and leave for another 40 mins
5. Using your fingertips make dimples in the dough (so satisfying!) Press in the blackberries and scatter over the thyme and sea salt
6. Bake in a preheated oven, at 220C, for 20 mins
7. Remove, top with another good glug of olive oil and enjoy!
Claire's top tips for a flawless focaccia:
🖐🏻 If the dough gets too sticky add some more oil, not flour
🖐🏻 Remember to put oil on the cling film before covering the dough while it sleeps.. or it will stick!
🖐🏻 Use the tips of you fingers to squished in the make dimples
🖐🏻 Remember to push your blackberries in
... and try not to eat all the blackberries before you bake the bread, although it's always easy to spot the culprit with the purple stained fingertips 🙄
Bramble's (the plant that bears the blackberry fruit) are one of the most important food plants for wildlife in Britain.
150 species of insects rely on the bramble for food, including beetles and butterflies. They are also loved by birds and field mice who stock up on the juicy berries before winter.
There are around 350 different microspecies of bramble in the UK, explaining the subtle
And finally, the study of these microspecies is called Batology .. and those that do it are Batologists.
" It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me. "
(I sincerely hope this is quoted by all Batologists)