Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tomato and Basil Twist

Part of my job as a pavements engineer entails driving around Auckland to my various construction sites. It is absolutely mind-boggling how much planning and design goes into a regular ol' road that the average person doesn't know about.

First, comes the month's worth of site investigations and then comes another month's worth of design..

Spread half of the tomato paste over the base, dot half of the tomato mixture around the base
..And then comes comes another month's worth of bumbling around because I'm a recent graduate. This, along with construction monitoring, means I'm at the office quite a lot and miss out on my weekend baking times. I'm going to admit, the sheer amount of new information to process was very intimidating and stressed me out at times, but I always had very supportive co-workers around to lend a hand.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise and then twist the two strands loosely together
Last weekend, I was finally able to have some time to myself in the kitchen to use up the last of the basil and tomato from our garden before the winter cold sets in. The result was a very delicious tomato and basil twist and a very calm Lucy.

Boy, is baking therapeutic.

Tomato and Basil Twist (Makes 2 twists)
(An original Lucyeats recipe) 

3 cups plain flour + 1 cup extra (just in case)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 Tbs olive oil for brushing
4 Tbs tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
50g feta cheese, crumbled
Handful of basil, shredded
1/4 parmesan, grated
salt and pepper to season

1. Place the plain flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the water. Make sure the water is LUKEWARM. If it is too hot, it can kill the yeast.
3. Use a wooden spoon to combine and then use your hands to bring the dough together.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Around 10-12 minutes.
5. Shape the dough into a ball, lightly brush with olive oil and place into a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and place it in a warm place for 1 hour or when the dough has doubled in size.
6. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to release the excess carbon dioxide produced by the yeast.
7. Knead the dough for another 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
8. Preheat the oven to 200°C
9. Divide the dough into two equal portions and set the first one aside.
10. Mix the tomato, basil and feta together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
10. Roll out the first ball into a rectangle about 40cm x 20cm.
11. Spread half of the tomato paste over the base, dot half of the tomato mixture around the base then roll up tightly .
12. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise and then twist the two strands loosely together. Place on a baking sheet.
13. Repeat steps 10 to 12 again with the second portion.
14. Brush the tops of each twist with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
15. Bake for 35 minutes, taking it out at 20 minutes to sprinkle on grated parmesan.


  1. Yuuum yuuum making me hungry looking at it. Any "supermarket" alternative for Step 1 to 7 for "lazy" people like me? ^_^

  2. I so agree, baking is very therapeutic and I think this is the perfect therapy dish!the smell of it baking must be wonderful :)

  3. I bake when I'm stressed too! This looks awesome, I'll have to give it a try!

  4. This twist bread looks rustic and gorgeous! It's great that you can turn your stresses into something so wonderful. :)

  5. I love how you twisted it all up so that the filling gets interspersed in the dough. It's prettier that way, and much more interesting to eat. ;)

  6. These Twists look really nice, and I like to learn more about what it is involved in planning and making roads. Don't take your weekend baking to work or they will expect it every Monday!!!! :)


  7. Wow, Lucy! I really want to have this bread right now. I have lots of tomatoes and basil at home. I wish baking is therapeutic to me instead of stressful, which I always feel that way... Like you said most of us don't know details about city planning. It's fun to know what's going behind the scene.

  8. this would be delicious even without that aesthetically-pleasing twist, but with it, this is a masterpiece!

  9. Oh my goodness this bread looks amazing! I definitely have to try this recipe out some time, thank you so much for sharing it!

  10. Just made this for a small gathering of friends. It was a hit, though I forgot to put semolina on the pizza stone, so it stuck a little.

    I added a little olive oil and oregano to the tomato/feta/basil mixture, and I also did a version with sausage, caramelized onions and mushrooms.

    I was a little confused about the rolling in step 11. For those as dense as me, roll from the long side, so you have a long tube, and then cut it lengthwise.

    Thanks for an awesome tip Lucy!