Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Ingredients

  • 450g (1kg) plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, baking soda
  • 14fl.oz (450ml) buttermilk, or sour milk
  • 1 red onion, cut into six wedges lengthways, then halve the wedges crossways
  • 12 black or green pitted olives
  • 4-6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, about 50-75ml
  • Sea salt flakes
  • For the Tabasco Oil:
  • 25ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tsp Tabasco sauce

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 230C.
  • Brush the inside of a small Swiss roll tin or roasting tray generously with some of the olive oil. Sift the dry ingredients, mix well with your hands, and make a well in the centre. Pour most of the buttermilk into the well at once.
  • Using one hand, shaped like a claw, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, moving your hand around clockwise or anti-clockwise, whichever you prefer, but making sure not to knead the dough. Once it comes together stop mixing at once. The dough should be soft and a little sticky. Turn it out onto a floured work surface, dusting it with flour on top, and roll it out so that it will fit into the Swiss roll tin.
  • Once transferred into the tin make dimples with the tips of your fingers, to make little wells for the olive oil. Place the 12 red onion chunks, the halved cherry tomatoes and the pitted olives onto the dough, making sure to press them down ever so slightly so that they don't fall off the focaccia when cooked. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil (but not the oil for the Tabasco oil) and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
  • Bake in a hot oven 230C\450F\ gas mark 8 for about 30 minutes or until cooked. When cooked, the bread should be nice and golden on top and on the bottom. If the bread gets a good golden colour and you don't want it to darken any more, while cooking, turn the oven down to 200C and continue cooking.
  • When the focaccia is cooked but still hot, mix together the olive oil and the Tabasco and drizzle over the top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.