Trip to Suffolk- Part 1 and a recipe for Indian spiced focaccia

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Last month I went on a press trip to the beautiful Suffolk countryside along with a few other bloggers and it was 2 days packed with activities and a lot of fun. Polly and Lucy of Food Safari put together a fabulous itinerary keeping all of us on our toes and feeding us (also literally) with loads of info on Suffolk and of course some delicious local produce.

We visited two of Suffolk’s most successful food business- Hillfarm Oils the first UK producers of cold pressed rapeseed oil and Blythburgh Free Range Pork, one of only a handful of truly free range pig farms in the country who produce pork for many leading butchers and restaurants. I have so much to write about each of them so I split the trip into 2 parts. Part 1 on Hillfarm Oils and 2 on Blythburgh Pork.

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Me and a few others got to Denham by train from London and Sam Fairs of Hillfarm Oils took us to the farm, where we met the rest of the group including Sam’s wife Claire, and Lucy and Polly. It was a beautiful sunny day and we got ready armed with our cameras and note pads to grab as much information possible. After a short coffee break Sam took us around the farm, explaining everything about rapeseed oil, stressing that it is the most healthiest and versatile cooking oil you can now buy in the market.

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He explained all about the farming, the rotation of crops, harvesting, issues he faces and so on, all the while depicting the passion and dedication he had. Moving on to the main shed which is powered by solar panels, we were taken through the process of how the seeds are cleaned and separated and then pressed, filtered and packed, which was quite interesting. After sitting down to a gorgeous lunch of locally sourced produce, which were generously sponsored by the brands and thoroughly enjoyed by all of us, we went on to checking out some of the farm equipment or as Sam calls it his toys.

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We all climbed on top of the harvester which to me looked like a mini plane that ran a bit of a complicated mechanism, but no doubts whatsoever on how good a job it does. The most interesting part of the day for me was the session with David of The Cake Shop Bakery where he explained about baking with rapeseed oil and its benefits. We also got to sample some of the breads he made using rapeseed oil and omg it was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The focaccia was simply out of this world and so was the root cake which I am hoping to give a go sometime. The day ended on a fun note with a blind taste-testing of different oils and then a lovely dinner at the The Crown Hotel in Framlingham with the Food Safari team, Sam and Claire and Alistair of Blythburgh Pork. 

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We were given goody bags with Hillfarm rapeseed oil and Hillfarm Mayonnaise, made with rapeseed which I’ve been generously using in salads and spreads and even in cooking. I have started using rapeseed for most of my cooking and i must say, although it took a little bit of getting used to, i now use it quite regularly. This Indian spiced focaccia was made using Hillfarm rapeseed oil and it was absolutely flavourful and delicious. Its my go to recipe for a basic focaccia and quite versatile in the sense it can be flavoured with whatever you have in hand. There is only one rising cycle which works to my advantage because the urge to bake bread comes without notice 🙂

Indian spiced focaccia (adapted from here, serves 4 as starter)
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Bread flour- 2.5 cups

Instant yeast- 1 tsp

Sugar- 1/2 tsp

Salt- 1 tsp

Dry red chillies- 2

Dried Fenugreek leaves- 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp (lightly toasted)

Hillfarm Rapeseed oil- 3 tbsp + enough to coat the pan and to drizzle on top

Warm water- Around 1 1/3 cups

Garlic- 3 to 4 pods, finely chopped

Garam masala salt- to sprinkle

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Gently crush together the red chillies, fenugreek leaves and cumin in a pestle and mortar. It doesnt have to be powdered.

Mix it into the flour along with the yeast, salt and sugar and rub in the rapeseed oil with your hands till you get a somewhat crumbly mix.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the luke warm water and using a wooden spoon bring it all together.

Either using the dough hook of your mixer or on a clean surface, knead the dough till it no longer sticks and is pliable, around 5 to 6 minutes on medium speed and around 10 minutes if using hands. If you feel it needs more flour, add it only spoon by spoon.

I like my focaccia thick, so I use my square 20cm pan.

Pour enough rapeseed oil to coat the base of the pan (generously) and transfer the dough into the pan.

Using your hands gently coax it to take the shape of the pan, pushing into the corners, and making sure its as even as possible.

Cover loosely with cling film and leave aside to proof for an hour or 2.

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When ready to bake pre heat oven to 200C

Make small indentations all over the dough with your finger around an inch apart and generously pour over some rapeseed oil to cover the entire surface and the holes.

Sprinkle the garlic on top followed by a bit of the garam masala salt and bake in the middle shelf of your oven for about 30 minutes. 

Once done remove from the oven, drizzle some more olive oil and salt and have warm.

Notes: You can use normal rock salt in place of garam masala salt

Make sure the garlic you sprinkle on top is coated in oil ir else it would start to burn

The focaccia stays perfectly fine in an air tight container for about 3 to 4 days and longer if refrigerated.

This is a mildly spicy focaccia, avoid the chillies if you cant handle the heat.


With thanks to Food Safari for inviting me to Suffolk and Hillfarm Oils for a great day out

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