About this recipe:Based on a quick soda bread, this low-fat, savoury loaf has lots of healthy additions – grated courgette, toasted hazelnuts and bran. With gentle handling, it is easily shaped into an attractive twist. Cut it into generous slices and serve with soup or a hearty salad for a satisfying lunch.
1 small, firm courgette, about 115 g (4 oz)
400 g (14 oz) plain flour, plus extra to sprinkle
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
30 g (1 oz) bran
55 g (2 oz) toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 plump garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil
400 ml (14 fl oz) buttermilk, or as needed
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:30min › Ready in:50min
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF, gas mark 6). Coarsely grate the courgette (including the skin) and press it between several sheets of kitchen paper to absorb the excess moisture. Set aside.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the bran, chopped nuts, sugar and garlic, then stir in the grated courgette.
Drizzle over the oil and gently stir in with the buttermilk using a round-bladed knife. Stir just until the mixture is combined into a soft dough. Do not overmix or the bread will be tough. If there are any dry bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl, add a little more buttermilk.
Gently gather the dough together into a rough ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half, and knead each piece very briefly until smooth. With floured hands, very gently roll each piece of dough to make a rope that is about 30 cm (12 in) long.
Lay the ropes side by side on the work surface. Pinch the top ends together, then carefully twist the ropes round each other, and tuck under the bottom ends. Lift the twisted loaf onto a greased baking sheet and sprinkle over a little extra flour.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool slightly before slicing. This bread is best eaten freshly baked, but can be kept for up to 2 days.
Each slice provides
Some more ideas
Replace half of the courgette with finely grated carrot. * For a courgette, cheese and chive twist, omit the hazelnuts and garlic, and stir in 55 g (2 oz) grated Edam cheese and 3 tbsp snipped fresh chives. Sprinkle a little extra grated cheese over the top of the loaf before baking. * Instead of shaping the dough into a twist, keep it in one piece and shape into a round or ball-shaped loaf.
Courgettes provide several B vitamins, with their tender skins containing the greatest concentration of these nutrients. The skin is also rich in beta-carotene. * Hazelnuts are particularly rich in vitamin E. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E also helps to keep the heart healthy by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. In addition, studies suggest that vitamin E may help to boost fertility in men by protecting the sperm cell membranes from free radical damage.