Borough Belles: Sally Sculthorpe

Categories: Reflections and opinions

The Borough Belles, Borough Market’s neighbourhood branch of the Women’s Institute, is packed with keen cooks, happy to share their ideas and insights. This month: Sally Sculthorpe

I’m a freshly baked Borough Belle. I joined in January, partly spurred on by a new year’s resolution to ‘get involved’ in more activities, but my interest in the WI is long standing. I’m from a family of women who champion local causes. I have fond memories of helping my mum and gran count the takings from their latest charity car boot, filling shoeboxes with Christmas presents for the local hospital and, of course, baking! I’m excited to see where my Borough Belles journey takes me.

I’m originally from Darlington, a small town in the northeast of England with an original Victorian covered market full of locally sourced produce. I would visit every Saturday with my pocket money—although, growing up, I was admittedly more interested in the cheap nail varnishes than the food stalls.

As a student in Leeds I was a regular visitor to the city market where every Thursday you could buy high street seconds for a mere £1 a garment and enough fruit and veg for the week with change from a fiver. I was first introduced to Borough Market by my boyfriend and we often pop down for what always turns into more than just a quick coffee.

Last year I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, which means I have an adverse reaction to gluten. As a result, making my own bread has become a hobby. I still bake a lot, but I use a mix of different flours I wouldn’t even have considered pre-diagnosis. I find Pinterest and blogs a wonderful source of inspiration for gluten free recipes. My top gluten free tip is to invest in a good set of measuring cups, as a lot of recipes tend to be from America.

Sally’s sundried tomato and rosemary focaccia bread
Warm your oven to 180C for 10 mins before turning it off. Line a 10-inch cake pan with a piece of baking paper.

In a mixing bowl combine 180g oat flour, 180g potato starch, 60g ground almonds, 60g brown rice flour, 4 tsp dried basil, 2 tsp xanthan gum, 1½ tsp fine sea salt and three minced cloves of garlic.

In a large measuring cup, add ¼ tsp stevia to the water and dissolve. Add 1 tsp gluten free yeast, stir and set aside for about 5 mins. Add the yeasty liquid to the flour and begin beating to combine.

Beat 2 large eggs and add them to the mix, together with 3 tbsp good olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp vinegar. Beat for 1-2 mins until the dough is smooth.

Lightly chop 25g sun-dried tomatoes. Toss them into the dough and stir to distribute. Scoop the dough into the pan, shape and smooth the top with oiled hands. Add a few chopped sprigs of rosemary to the dough.

Set the pan in the warm oven, on the centre rack, and allow the dough to rise for 30 mins to produce a flat bread style rustic loaf. When the dough has proved, take it out of the oven while you turn the temperature up to 180C. Bake the bread for 30-35 mins until firm and golden. At about 20 mins, brush the top with olive oil.

This bread is delicious hot from the oven. I serve it with homemade beetroot and kale soup and rocket pesto, made from ingredients sourced from the various fruit and veg stalls in Borough Market.