“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!”
James Beard

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar FougasseWhole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse … nothing can be as comforting as the smell of bread baking. Nothing! And this bread took me by surprise. Rustic, nutty, earthy, full of flavour, great texture and a good bite. I couldn’t ask for anything more in fresh bread, and fougasse is one of my all time favourites.

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse Googling for whole wheat focaccia took me to a NY Times feature by Martha Rose Shulman. Recipes for health as it was aptly marked, Shulman says of this bread “What’s called focaccia in Italy is fougasse in Provence. Fougasse, though, is often shaped like a leaf, which is easy to do and very pretty. The nutty, toasty whole grain bread is irresistible.”Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse I couldn’t agree more. If you’ve visited my blog on and off, you might have noticed my love for the French Fougasse. I love the rustic appeal it offers and the fact that you can stuff it with pretty much whatever you like and the flavours call your name. Roasted bell peppers, gouda, fresh herbs, nuts etc. Leaf like in appearance, this flatbread is moorish!

Millet & Whole Wheat French Fougasse

French Fougasse with Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Garlic, Walnut & Mozarella 6The one on top is a  Millet & Whole Wheat Fougasse and below it the French Fougasse with Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Garlic, Walnut & Mozarella 

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse It was just the therapy I needed this Monday! The day began like a nightmare! Broken toilet flush 6am. Reversed the car to drop the kids to school and heard a massive THUD! 7am … The engine underplate had broken while wading through the ‘rivers of North India‘ the previous night. When it rains, it really pours; the city was flooded! Thankfully got the kids out of my way and to school, to come back home to find I had run out of cooking gas! {Yes we still have cylinders}. Decided to spring clean and walked straight into a sharp corner which narrowly missed my eye. Blood poured down the side of my face! Mr PAB was in Hong Kong … and I could have wept!

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse Bravely I did not! I decided to bake bread instead! What a good decision. Nothing like some yeasty dough to drown your sorrows into. It worked like magic. And the recipe came out amazingly good! I could visualize the bread loving younger teen take a deep happy breath as he entered home from school. “You’ve made bread!!”, he’d exclaim, stars in his eyes!

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse That is enough to mend a bad day! What I didn’t visualise was how much the dieting diva, carb cutting daughter would love it. I made half of the dough into fougasse and saved the rest for another day {it refrigerates well for a day or two}. With garlic flavouring the dough beautifully, and walnuts and cheddar making it divine, the bread was history as soon as the teens got home!

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse Recipes like this are seriously therapeutic. I forgot about the car, fixed the broken loo, got the gas going. Left the car for Mr PAB. He would come back and take over everything! I was born to bake, and I was loving it!! The smell of dough rising and bread baking is enough to make the soul happy! 

Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse With the good verdict on the fougasse, I pulled the remaining dough out of the fridge the next day and patted a focaccia into shape. That came out yummy too. Got stuffed with everything I had on hand, ending up as sandwich for dinner.Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Focaccia

[print_this]Recipe: Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse
your picture

Summary: Whole Wheat Walnut Garlic Cheddar Fougasse … nothing can be as comforting as the smell of bread baking. The bread took me by surprise. Rustic, nutty, earthy, full of flavour, great texture and a good bite. Couldn’t ask for anything more in fresh bread. Fougasse is one of my all time favourites. Yield: 1 large or 2 smaller fougasses or focaccia, about 12 generous servings. Minimally adapted from NY Times

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes {plus rising time}

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 340ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 350g  whole wheat flour
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15g salt
  • Filling
  • 100g walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 100g cheddar, diced into small cubes
  • Topping
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil if making focaccia (optional)
  • fresh herbs
  • sea salt for sprinkling over top


  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, whole wheat flour, all-purpose and salt and mix together briefly using the paddle attachment. Change to the dough hook and beat for 8 to 10 minutes at medium speed, adding the remaining flour as necessary. The dough should eventually form a ball around the dough hook and slap against the sides of the bowl as the mixer turns but it will be sticky. Remove from the bowl, flour your hands and knead for a minute on a lightly floured surface, and shape into a ball.
  2. {Thermomix:  Place all dough ingredients in bowl of TM and process at Speed 6 for 10 seconds. Then knead at interval speed for 3 minutes}
  3. If kneading the dough by hand, dissolve the yeast in the water with the sugar as directed. Stir in the walnut oil, whole wheat flour, salt, and all-purpose flour by the half-cup, until the dough can be scraped out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, for 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic. Shape into a ball.
  4. Oil a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in it, rounded side down first, then rounded side up. Cover tightly with plastic and let rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours, until doubled.
  5. Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into two equal pieces for smaller breads. You can also make 1 large fougasse or focaccia.
  6. Roll one half out to about an 12″ oval, spread half the walnuts and cheddar. Fold over the dough 2-3 times on itself to incorporate the stuffing.
  7. Shape each back into a flattish ball, then fold the bottom third up, & top third down to make an oblong.
  8. Roll into ovals with a flat base, cut slits diagonally, three on each side. Pull slightly to open the cuts, leaf like. {Repeat with other half, else make focaccia with it}
  9. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover with cling wrap & leave to double for 35-40 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220C, brush the loaves with olive oil, sprinkle over sea salt and fresh herbs.
  11. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes till golden brown. Brush with more olive oil as they come out of the oven. Cool on racks. Serve warm {that’s how we love it} or at room temperature.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
James Beard

Whole wheat foccaciaFocaccia … bread that comforts. Just simple bread is good enough sometimes. I am constantly torn between my two crusty favourites, the fougasse and the focaccia, both flatbreads that are hearty, chewy, flavourful and earthy. Breads that bring alive words by Robert Browning “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.Ottolenghis foccacia is one of my all time faves.

Whole wheat foccacia I needed to bake something soothing, something therapeutic. I lost a very dear maternal uncle over the weekend. He was the glue that held my mothers side of the family together. Intelligent, largehearted, a disciplinarian, always there, often intimidating, brutally honest, sometimes scathing, but a place we happily headed to year after year to spend two months of the summer vacations. It was routine, and we loved it as kids.

Lucknow mainHe passed away in Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs, over the weekend. That left a deep void, and restlessness. I knew I had to bake bread. I find comfort in food. It gives me an escape. Bread especially. Getting the dough going, seeing it rise, punching it down and then popping it into a hot oven. Always comforting and therapeutic.

 Whole wheat foccacia

Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and salt, and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.

 Whole wheat foccaciaI remember making a similar focaccia when the tsunami struck Japan. Roasted Garlic Focaccia for the Fukushima 50‘. Those days were devastating even though we were miles away from Japan. The images that rolled over and over again made life look so vulnerable. I had a helpless feeling then and yes, I baked bread.

Whole wheat foccacia I added a little whole wheat to the dough this time. The recipe yields two loaves, or two round breads. I baked one for lunch and left the other to slow rise in the fridge. Baked it the next day. Worked fine. I like to flavour the dough. Garlic and herbs are normally part of my dough as I love the depth they lend.

 Whole wheat focacciaDepending on time on hand, roasted garlic is my first choice. If not, then I throw in some garlic cloves and the Thermomix blends them in with the flour. You can add minced garlic instead. If you love garlic like we do I mean! Else just skip it!!

whole wheat foccaciaThe rest is pretty much your palette to play with. Once dimpled and looking pretty, give it a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Then dress it up! You can either sprinkle on some fresh herbs and sea salt, or like me, load the bread a wee bit more. I like to add sliced red onions, olives, jalapenos, pickled peppers, cherry tomatoes, even nuts.

whole wheat focacciaI have two Victoria sandwich tins which are perfect for my bread. It’s a nice accommodative dough and the end result is always rewarding. A focaccia sandwich is the perfect answer for any left over bread.  Stuff it with balsamic roasted veggies, a relish, cheese, slices of salami. I sometimes grill it too.

  [print_this]Recipe: Whole Wheat Foccacia your picture

Summary: One of my favourite breads that doesn’t need much advance planning, and never fails to please. This focaccia is part plain flour and part whole wheat.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes plus rising time Ingredients:

  • 360g plain flour
  • 130g whole wheat flour {aata}
  • 30g vital gluten
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½tsp teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 460 ml lukewarm water
  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Topping
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, sliced fine
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced onion, olives
  • Fresh oregano leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a large bowl mix with your hands flour, sugar and yeast.
  2. Pour in the water. Add salt, roasted ,if using, and knead in the bowl for 5 minutes. Eventually add more water.
  3. {Thermomix: Place flour, sugar and yeast in TM bowl. Run at speed 10 for 6-7 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, including the olive oil, other than the toppings and run on interval speed for 2 minutes {Don’t leave the machine unattended in interval mode}. Proceed …
  4. Allow to rise covered with plastic wrap for about 1 hour or until it doubles.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  6. Grease  a shallow oven dish with plenty of olive oil. Pour the dough into this without kneading any further. {I used 2 round 8″ Victoria sandwich tins}
  7. Generously pour extra virgin olive oil onto the focaccia and press with your fingers to create multiple wells. Add toppings.
  8. The focaccia does not need rising at this stage {but it does not harm it. It will just make it thicker}.
  9. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes until risen and light golden brown.
  10. Pour over some more extra virgin olive oil if you like.
  11. Eat warm or at room temperature.


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“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Traditional savarinsSavarins. It was the Daring Bakers time of the month on the 27th. I missed posting. Missed not because I didn’t complete the challenge, but despite baking very early in the month, something didn’t quite work out right. I lost the steam to post it. Yet, as a part of this fantastic group, I have a larger responsibility so here goes. Better late than never I guess!

Traditional savarins 3

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

Traditional savarins Time to share something that didn’t quite work out right, yet was pretty to photograph. Also time to ponder why. You win some, you lose some. I often lose some but that doesn’t reach my blog. The amount I experiment at home gives me huge ground for failure. Thankfully you are not at that receiving end as who would like to read about the ones that went wrong?

Traditional savarins I loved baking these. The dough seemed good too, maybe didn’t pass the windowpane test. They came out looking rustic pretty. I made half the recipe suggested. Even half made loads of mini savarins. Where did the problem lie? Not sure what I did wrong, and why things went astray, but the savarins refused to ‘drink up‘!Traditional savarins

Traditional savarins I soaked the little ones in an Orange Spice Tea Syrup, then filled the centres with pastry cream. Some were topped with balsamic strawberries and others with candied kumquats. They looked irresistible. 

Traditional savarins 6We ate them. They were OK. The kids didn’t ask for seconds immediately. Quite perplexed at the fate as they were rather dry inside. Maybe I should have dunked them in hot spiced tea syrup.

Traditional savarinsI reserved the larger ones for later. They went into a filter coffee syrup, hot this time, and I had plans for Tiramisu Savarin. I was sure I had figured out the issue. Sadly I hadn’t. The blighters didn’t drink up the coffee and get soaking good! For a paired pastry cream, I had lofty ideas. I added some espresso and homemade irish cream to the pastry cream and whipped up some delicious Tiramisu pastry cream.

LFP Day 4 DOFDidn’t hit the ball out of the park. At all. The good bit was that I used the little savarins for a food photography 30 day exercise I was part of with Neel @ Learn Food Photography. So many savarins on hand ensured that I had something to shoot for 3-4 days! The above pictures explore depth of field {f2.8/f11/f22}. Today is the last day of the exercise. It was a fabulous learning experience.

Traditional savarinsDid I regret that the savarins failed? I did feel sad, but didn’t regret it. No! Baking is always a learning experience, this was just a little steeper! I might not try the recipe again since it was quite involved. You can view it here, and I am sure you will have better luck. A lot of Daring Bakers certainly did. Check them out here.

Traditional savarins

Balsamic Strawberries with basilI have included the Crème Patisserie recipe below, and balsamic strawberries too. It is one that I make in the Thermomix and it takes me all of 7-9 minutes. You can try making it the traditional way keeping the ingredients the same. It’s a yum recipe. I put it to good use on the Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Fallen Gateau. Was delicious!


[print_this]Recipe: Crème Patisserie 

Summary: Simple, easy and delicious, a crème patisserie recipe which is very versatile. Pour it over desserts, add whipped cream to it and fill a cake, or pipe into choux pastry.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

  • Crème Patisserie 
  • 200ml milk 2%
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 tbsp {10g} cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml low fat cream
  • Balsamic strawberries 
  • 200g strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped {optional}
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar


  1. Crème Patisserie {can be made the day before}
  2. Stove top method
  3. Bring the milk to a simmering boil. Reserve.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk and sugar with a wooden spoon in a big bowl until the mixture becomes pale and light. Stir in the flour slowly until it is thoroughly mixed with the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the boiling milk into the mixture a little by little while whisking continuously to avoid curdling. Then stir in the cream until the mixture is well combined.
  6. Transfer the whole mixture into a pot, with the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and heat it under low setting. Stir it constantly with the wooden spoon or spatula scraping the sides and bottom until it has thickened.
  7. Once the custard has thickened, take it off the heat, and strain / pour it into a clean bowl. Cool, cover  and chill.
  8. Whip the low fat cream to soft medium peaks. Gently fold into chilled cream patisserie.
  9. Thermomix Recipe
  10. Place sugar and vanilla bean in TM bowl, and process for 30 seconds on speed 10. Add remaining ingredients, plus vanilla bean shell and cook on 90C/Speed 4 for 7 minutes {until thick}. Strain into a bowl immediately to cool. I chilled it overnight.
  11. Balsamic Strawberries
  12. Place all ingredients in saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the strawberries soften. Strain strawberries, transfer to bowl. Return syrup to pan and reduce to a thick syrup. Pour back over strawberries and cool completely. Can be stored in a jar in the fridge for 4-5 days.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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