Three Sandwich Ideas for Olive Bread

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Summer in the city means picnics, picnics, picnics. Okay so I may have changed the Regina Spektor lyrics slightly. Between massive storms (that are slightly more terrifying from high up in a tower block) and nipping back to Canterbury for the annual CAMRA beer festival I have been whipping out my picnic blanket as much as humanly possible. It may be a sign of my London naivety but I will take as many meals overlooking sparkling skyscrapers as I can.

Last night we hopped on a tube to Vauxhall to catch an outside cinema showing of the Big Lebowski. Sunday we rode our bikes to the Columbia Road Flower Market and stopped off for milkshakes at the Back To The Future pop up on Hackney Road. Summer in the city means text message made plans, wish lists as long as my arm and packing a blanket and sandwiches bundled in foil.

On Monday I shared a recipe for white bread speckled with black olives. I ate more than my fair share of that bread thickly covered in butter by the slice, but for the rest I had bigger plans. Here are three simple sandwiches all of three ingredients. They work easily well as open sandwiches, the ingredients layered on doorstop wedges of bread, or more traditionally between two slices, packed to be enjoyed out in the fresh air.

The Pescatarian Option

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tuna mayo – I like mine with half mayonnaise and half salad cream for a slight tangy finish
finely sliced sugar snap peas


The Vegetarian Option

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torn mozzarella
roasted peppers – toss in a little oil and roast at 180C for 15-20 minutes until slightly charred
fresh basil


The Vegan Option

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generous layer of hummus
sprinkling of seeds – I love Neals Yard Omega Sprinkle
grated carrot


Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sweet Potato Muffins
Two Years Ago- Summer Fruit Galette

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Black Olive Loaf

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As promised here is the first in a new monthly series all about the wonder of homemade bread. Bread has such a special place in my heart, and I love it so much more than cake. There are days when I eat it with every meal but never have the same type twice. There are an infinite amount of variations from types of shape, oven climate, flour used, this list goes on and on and on. The art of bread making is a lost one in most homes, which is slightly ridiculous when you see everyday people whipping up the most stunning dessert creations on instagram. A basic dough consists of only 5 ingredients and needs more of a heavy hand than finesse. All you need is a decent tin, and a little upper arm strength. I have already shared how to make a simple white loaf, and the softest, fluffiest burger rolls, so I thought I would start this series with something a bit special.

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I first tried olive bread I was out running errands with my Mother. A local supermarket was handing out samples, and I must have gone back at least three times to try it. The salty fruitiness of olives works so well with the yeasty wheaty flavours of the bread, and brings out the subtle flavours of the olive oil in the loaf (similar to this olive focaccia). Adding an extra ingredient to a plain loaf is such a simple idea, but it immediately elevated it. As soon as I tried it I knew I would be replicating it within days. The process couldn’t have been easier, a chopped pouch of olives to my bread recipe, and within a few hours I had my own loaf wafting mediterranean daydreams fresh from the oven.

It would be far too easy to demolish this whole loaf of bread accompanied only with a few bits from the nearest deli counter. Instead I put together a few ideas for moreish open sandwiches that I will be sharing later this week.

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Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sweet Potato Muffins
Two Years Ago- Summer Fruit Galette

Social Media Links

Black Olive Loaf

makes 1 loaf recipe by Jennifer Brown


560g strong white flour

5g sea salt

300ml tepid water

20ml olive oil

5g dried yeast

70g black olives


  1. Weight the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Mix the water and oil in a jug, stirring in the dried yeast to activate it, leave it for a couple of minutes until it starts to froth a little.
  3. Drain and chop the olives and set aside.
  4. Create a well in the flour and add the liquid.
  5. Bring together with a wooden spoon, then knead for 15 minutes by hand or for 10 minutes using a dough hook on an electric mixer.
  6. Add the olives to the dough and knead until they are well distributed throughout the dough.
  7. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
  8. When the dough has risen (this is the tricky bit to explain!) stretch the dough out until you have formed a thin sheet about 1cm thick.
  9. Fold into thirds – imagine you’re folding an A4 letter to go into a standard envelope.
  10. Starting at one of the thinner ends, roll the dough towards you, using your thumbs to tightly tuck the roll so it stays taut, you don’t want any gaps in the roll.
  11. Place the loaf in to a floured tin (I like this stone one), sprinkle with flour, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise a second time, for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size again.
  12. About 30-40 minutes in, turn your oven on as high as it will go (mine was about 250C) you want it screaming hot. If you have a baking stone – I used my pizza stone – put this in the oven now too.
  13. 10 minutes before your dough is ready put a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
  14. Remove the clingfilm and put the tin in the oven for and set a timer for 10 minutes.
  15. When your alarm goes off, remove the water tray from the oven and let some of the steam out, and turn the oven down to 210C.
  16. Cook for a further 15 minutes, you know when it is cooked because it will sound hollow when you knock on the bottom of the loaf.
  17. Leave to cool, if you can wait that long, and then enjoy!
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Wholemeal Honey and Vanilla Sponge

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I can’t quite believe it but today is the three year anniversary of my first blog post. I have grown a lot in the past three years, and with me this space has evolved. I have been thinking a lot about what I have to offer those who read this blog, and have come to the conclusion that it’s more than early onset diabetes.

The accessibility of baking to every home cook is important to me, so with this in mind I am going to start a bread of the month series, kicking off next week with a Black Olive Loaf. Once a week on a Friday, I will also be sharing a few things that have been inspiring me from around the web. I love seeing what other bloggers have enjoyed reading and it’s a great way to show how much I appreciate the blogging community as a whole. There are so many talented people in the food blogging world and I have loved being able to contribute to the huge pool of food love over the past three years.

This time last year I took a moment to remember some of the great things that happened both here on this site and in my life. In keeping with this tradition here are my top 10s from July 18th 2013 to today.

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1. Spiced Pear Tarte Tatin – my favourite photo of the last year, and it was so tasty as well!

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2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
3. Madeleines
4. S’more Cupcakes
5. Warm Spiced Cider
6. Chocolate Bundt Cake With Boozy Berry Compote
7. Buttery Leak and Gorgonzola Pancakes
8. Sweet Potato Fries With Two Dipping Sauces
9. Challah
10. Sweet Potato Burgers

So many wonderful things have happened in the last year that it was so hard to reduce them down to just ten things. When I started this blog I was lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I had a job but not a career, and I lived in a lovely city, but it didn’t feel quite enough. In the last year I have accomplished some of the biggest goals I set myself after I graduated six years ago. I can’t wait to see what happens between now and 18th July 2015, but it has a lot to beat!

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1. Dan left his job working with some of his best friends and started a new one in London.
2. I answered a tweeted job advertisement to work on a marshmallow cookbook, and met the food stylist who would offer me a job as her assistant a few months later.
3. Started saying ‘yes’ more, beginning with an impromptu acceptance to visit Winter Wonderland with friends.
4. Drank wine half way up the Shard and started imagining what our life in London would be like (we were so wrong!)
5. I got emailed a job offer and after a lot of soul searching (and financial calculations) decided to make the jump!
6. We packed up our home of three years into a storage locker and went to live with Dan’s parents whilst we found a new home in London.
7. I went on my first hen do! It was hilarious!
8. I left the same job I had been in since I left University. I thought it would be scary, but not a single day has passed that I have regretted that decision.
9. We found our dream home in north Hackney, and moved in 7 days later.
10. I worked on my first commercial, which was the most rewarding and tiring experience of my career so far. I could have slept all the next day!

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I have eaten a lot of cake in the last three (ok twenty eight) years, and the ones I have enjoyed the most have been a balance between not overly sweet and with a tart kick from fresh fruit or citrus. I have been obsessed with raspberries since eating a bar of white chocolate with peach and raspberry that Betty & Walter with Creightons Chocolaterie sent me. They are just coming into season, which makes them sweet and bursting with flavour. Using wholemeal flour instead of plain give the sponge a subtle nuttiness which pairs well with the honey and vanilla. I have found in the past that wholemeal flour creates a slightly drier result which makes it important to add more liquid to the mixture to create a moist cake that can hold up without being smothered in frosting.

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The quantities for the sponge will make two of these cakes, I upped the size of the recipe to get the desired thickness of sponge. It freezes well, which I had to do promptly after cutting it as I was snacking on broken off wedges dipped into the hot lemon curd I was making. Lemon curd is my go to cake filling, I love the sharpness it adds to a sweet dessert. It is so easy to make at home, since making it for the first time I have never resorted to buying jar.

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Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- Traditional Birthday Cake
Two Years Ago- Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Social Media Links


Wholemeal Honey and Vanilla Sponge

serves 2 by Jennifer Brown


For the Sponge:

125g wholemeal plain flour

80g caster sugar

40g honey

125g unsalted butter at room temperature

2 eggs at room temperature

3 tbsp greek yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Curd:

1 egg yolk at room temperature

30g caster sugar

1 tbsp flavourless oil, I like rapeseed

zest of ¼ lemon

25ml lemon juice

To Decorate:

75g raspberries, washed and dried

4 tbsp greek yoghurt


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, line a 8x8 inch tin with baking paper.
  2. Put all your ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth. This only works if the butter and eggs are at room temperature, I have never found any difference in results doing this compared with creaming the sugar and butter first.
  3. Pour into the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Depending on your oven you may need to rotate the tray halfway through baking to make sure it cooks evenly. I thought this was an unnecessary step at my old flat, but the oven at my new place is hotter towards the front right, you learn something new every day!
  4. Leave the sponge to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and allow to cool to room temperature on a rack.
  5. To make the curd, whisk together the sugar and yolk in a heavy bottomed pan until slightly paler and creamy.
  6. Put the pan on a medium heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Keep stirring until the curd begins to thicken. Remove from the heat when you notice the first few bubbles. You want the curd to be slightly thicker than normal as you want it to be able to support the top layer of sponge.
  8. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  9. To assemble, cut out two circles of cake. I used a 3 ½ inch cookie cutter this time, but I have used an appropriately sized glass in the past.
  10. Spread half of the yoghurt on to the base sponge, and arrange 2/3rds of the raspberries in a circle on top.
  11. Carefully spoon the curd over the layer of raspberries, and top with final layer of sponge.
  12. Dollop the rest of yoghurt onto the middle of the cake and tumble the rest of the raspberries into it.
  13. Serve immediately. Without a full crust to the cake it will begin to dry out within a couple of hours.
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Caramelly Apricot Breakfast Smoothie {Vegan}

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On Sunday we celebrated the one month anniversary of moving into our London flat. And by celebrated, what I really mean is we struggled to find enough signal to use an internet banking app to pay our rent whilst trying to work out which bus to catch to the Columbia Road Flower Market. I love living in London, they call New York the city that never sleeps, but even if London does take the odd nap there is still more than enough to keep me occupied, even at 7.30 on a Sunday morning.

As promised way to many weeks ago, here are a few sneak peeks at my new place. The theme throughout, if you can call it that is ‘very bright’. There is so much light, and with our white furniture the rooms almost glow, and I’ve tried to showcase all my favourite brightly coloured possessions. I’ve also thrown in a couple of pictures of the views for good luck, as it makes an amazing change from our last place where the windows looked out into other peoples flats.

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I feel completely lost without a morning routine. Now I am not working the traditional 9-5 I find it especially important because it is far to easy to sit down on a day at home alone and suddenly it be gone lunch. Smoothies are my go to breakfast of choice, I throw a handful of ingredients into a blender, leave it whirring whilst I dig out my running gear, and then wash the blender up whilst I drink it. That’s the most important part, never just leave it until later, you will regret it! It takes two minutes whilst it’s still fresh, if I wait until I get back I end up spending 10 minutes scrubbing the thing.

My go to smoothie is frozen berries, banana, kale, oats and almond milk, which fills me up until lunch every day, and makes my skin look far better than normal. As great as it is, I was still feeling in a bit of a smoothie rut, so I have been trying out a few new ideas. Now I can buy all the ingredients for this smoothie in my local Turkish corner shop which I completely love. When I made this, I was still living in a small town but could still find pretty much everything in the nearest large supermarket.

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Make sure the apricots are very ripe as they can be a unpleasantly tart if not, if you aren’t sure substitute in peaches instead which are a little kinder on your morning palette. Medjool dates are a relatively new ingredient to me, they are softer and squidgy than their average cousins with undertones of caramel, which makes them very popular in low sugar baking. They are incredibly rich in potassium which helps maintain heart, kidney and muscle health. I love to throw a handful of raw oats into my smoothies, as it helps keep me fuller for longer, rather than grabbing a snack at 9.30, which I generally do when I eat toast for breakfast. This is a sweeter smoothie than I would normally have, which makes it a great choice for people who are trying to get into drinking smoothies

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Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- Bread and Butter Pudding
Two Years Ago- Lemon Mousse

Social Media Links

Caramelly Apricot Breakfast Smoothie {Vegan}

serves 2 recipe by Jennifer Brown


4 very ripe apricots, or 2 ripe peaches

4 medjool dates

200ml almond milk

45g raw porridge oats

honey to taste (you might not need any)


  1. Throw everything into a blender until smooth.
  2. Taste, and add honey if needed.
  3. Best drunk straight away.
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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers

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I absolutely love food trucks. I am really lucky that Dan is more than happy to be dragged round to where ever they happen to be congregating. He doesn’t mind that I insist on doing an entire lap to check out my options and then always go back to my first choice. Best of all he always shares his food with me.

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When the Vue cinema asked if I would like to create a street food inspired recipe as part of their promotion of the film Chef I couldn’t say yes fast enough (which is probably why mine was the first recipe to be featured). They were even kind enough to send me a pair of tickets to go see the movie, which was a bonus as I have a love of Jon Favreau’s movies and any film about food so I was already planning on seeing it. The film, a story of a once famous chef opening a food truck, was everything I hoped it would be; extremely funny in places, heartwarming and full of excessive shots of melted cheese (which inspired these post movie sandwiches). The winning aspect of the movie, the main character is incredibly well developed and written, but most importantly likeable. Sure he can be a jerk, he’s flawed and he’s human, but throughout you cheer his victories and forgive his mistakes. It’s the kind of movie I could watch time and time again, along with Julie and Julia and When Harry Met Sally.

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The burger recipe I created was inspired by my attempts to eat a more balanced and plant based diet. Summer isn’t summer without an excessive number of burgers, and whilst a love the traditional beef patty sometimes it is fun to mix it up. I have been experimenting with adding more vegetarian dishes to my repertoire and have been surprised by how varied and delicious the results have been. We try to make three dinners a week vegetarian (then two fish and two meat) which makes buying responsibly sourced meat more affordable and has the added bonus of making it easier to eat seasonally.

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One of the downfalls of vegetarian cuisine can be when a vegetable is simply substituted for meat. A mushroom is not an alternative to steak, it’s unimaginative and chances are you it won’t fill you up either. Flavour and texture are important, which is why sweet potatoes are one of my favourite fridge staples, they can easily be whipped into something delicious. These thick patties are chock full of mexican inspiration from mixed spices, fresh coriander and a generous helping of black beans for protein. I prefer my food extra spicy so I added two green chillies to the burger mix, but feel free to add as much or as little as you like. To balance out the hot burger it is paired with a cooling guacamole. Stripped back to the barest ingredients soft ripe avocado, a little lime juice and a handful of herbs, makes the simple sauce the perfect creamy and tangy accompaniment. These burgers could easily be made vegan by omitting the mayonnaise and using a vegan bread roll (these are from this recipe and use an egg glaze).

To see my recipe card and loads of others from exciting bloggers click here.

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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers

serves four recipe by Jennifer Brown for BAKE as part of the Chef Street Food Campaign


for the burgers:

400g sweet potato

½ tsp coarse sea salt

½ tsp peppercorns

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp paprika

1 clove garlic

1 tsp olive oil

0-2x green chillies (depending on how spicy you like your food)

1x spring onion

10g coriander

100g black beans

100g plain flour

for the simple guacamole:

1x avocado

½ lime

10g coriander

to serve:

4x burger buns

4x tbsp mayonnaise

4x lettuce

1x tomato, sliced


  1. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 2cm cubes. Put into a pot of boiling water and cook for 8 ½ minutes until soft, a knife should be able to pierce it easily. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. Place the dried spices, salt, pepper, garlic and oil into a pestle and mortar and grind into a thick paste.
  3. Finely slice the chilli and spring onion, and chop the coriander.
  4. When the sweet potato is cooled, mash until completely smooth. Stir though the spice mix until evenly distributed.
  5. Using a wooden spoon gently fold through the spring onion, coriander and chilli.
  6. Drain the black beans, and then stir through the burger mix.
  7. Gently stir the flour into the sweet potato a tablespoon at a time until it forms dough. Depending on how moist the potato was you may not need all the flour. Just keep slowly adding it until the flour stops being absorbed into the mix.
  8. Liberally flour a chopping board. Split the dough into four equal portions. Then, in floured hands, roll each portion into a ball, and then squash slightly to form a burger patty.
  9. At this point, you can either lightly cover the board in cling film and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook them, or you can cook them straight away.
  10. To cook add a tablespoon of oil to a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the burgers and fry for 20 minutes, turning at 5 minute intervals to prevent from burning, whilst still allowing them to crisp slightly.
  11. Whilst the burgers are cooking make your simple guacamole. Finely chop the coriander, juice the lime, skin and pit the avocado. There are a few ways to make the guacamole, you can pound it using a pestle and mortar, blitz it in a food processor or methodically mush it with a fork in a bowl. My preferred method is to squeeze it into the desired consistency with one (very clean) bare hand. I find it to be quicker, you have better control over the end result, and it is immeasurably satisfying.
  12. When the burgers are cooked, halve the buns and toast. Generously smear with mayonnaise, place the lettuce and slice of tomato, lay the burger on top, and then finish with a generous scoop of guacamole.
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