This delicious savoury loaf is great served warm as a starter for lunch with a simple tomato salad. Also great with a bowl of your favourite soup. It can also be cut into squares and dipped into your favourite EVOO.
Well worth the effort!
Sun-dried tomato, asparagus and olive loaf
Preheat your oven to 190oC/380oF
3 1/2 fl oz/100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing 9 oz/250g asparagus spears, each one cut into three pieces 8 oz/200g self-raising flour 1 Tbsp thyme leaves 1/2 tsp salt (optional) 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 3 1/2 fl oz/100 ml milk Handful pitted black olives 4 oz/100g sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped 4 oz/100g Gruyere or Beaufort cheese, grated.
Oil and line the base of a standard loaf tin with baking paper.
Cook asparagus in boiling, salted water for two minutes, drain, then cool in cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
Mix flour and thyme with seasoning. Make a well in centre, then add eggs, milk and oil, stirring all the time and drawing the flour into the centre. Beat for one minute to make a smooth batter.
Reserve five asparagus tips and a few olives. Add remaining asparagus, tomatoes, olives and two-thirds of the cheese to the batter. Pour into tin, then put reserved asparagus and olives on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until loaf feels firm and is golden and crusty on top.
Cool in tin for five minutes, turn out and cool on wire rack.