There's something compelling about sun-dried tomatoes. Maybe it's the fact they have the word 'sun' in their name, but they always make me think of lush Italian gardens and loggias with tables large enough to seat a huge, ebullient family as they help themselves to the colourful, fragrant and carefully prepared contents of beautiful pottery bowls; eating, talking and laughing all at once. So, finding some in the local deli I couldn't help buying a pack.
They sat around for a while, peeking redly from their cellophane like a bag of scabs. Then one day I thought to make bread to go with supper and spotting the tomatoes on a shelf decided to add them. I've had bread with sun-dried tomatoes in posh bistros and always enjoyed it.
I didn't have a recipe so I augmented Nigella Lawson's plain white loaf. First I chopped the tomatoes into little slivers, and added them to the water to reconstitute for ten minutes. Then, once the water had been added to the flour/yeast/salt (I use instant bread-maker yeast, it's great you just chuck it in!) I drizzled in three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. And then proceeded as usual
And here it is, a little dark on top, but none the worse for that, and wonderfully crisp of crust.
Inside it was soft and fluffy with a very slight cakey texture. The flavour of the tomatoes really did permeate the whole loaf, which, we thought, was a good thing.
I served it with cold meats, cheese, and salad.
I'm still not getting this picture thing right, but it's better. Alesa very kindly told me how to isolate each photograph with a bit of HTML code. That seems to have worked, but getting the text under, rather than to the right of, the shots is a real palaver, and so the whole thing seems no speedier than the way I was doing it before.