Wednesday 16 April 2008

Cooking with Rosemary

Before I stepped into the world of blogging, I have never cooked anything with herbs. I don't even use local Asian ones, not even Chinese parsley's or spring onions commonly available in the wet markets here. I am totally clueless when it comes to herbs and spices. It was only recently that I started adding some dried mixed herbs to ready-made pasta sauce, and have since ventured into cooking with fresh herbs.

I have chosen to use rosemary as my first fresh herb in cooking and baking...just so that I can make a Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia bread ;) When I first placed a sprig of fresh rosemary under my nose, I didn't really like the smell of it at all! It was only when the loaf of bread was baking in the oven, the distinct aroma from the rosemary filled my entired kitchen...this herb has since won my heart.

I made another loaf of rosemary focaccia last week. Once again, I was attracted to a recipe by the beautiful photo of the bread baked in a rustic looking skillet. Since I don't have a proper skillet to bake this bread, and even if I have one, it won't fit into my small oven, I halved the recipe and used a 20cm round pan to do the job...hoping I could duplicate the effect effortlessly ;)

Although this Italian bread was baked beautifully to a golden hue, taste wise I much prefer the first one I tried...maybe that one has got garlic in it, making it a winner compared to this one. Nevertheless, the crusty bread tasted really good on it's own when served warm and freshly baked. It should go really well alongside a bowl of clear soup or salad. If they were left over night, toast them a little just before serving to crisp it up. By the way, this recipe calls for proofing the dough not just twice, by three times, making it a light an airy bread.

The first dish I cooked with rosemary was roast chicken. I experimented with chicken thighs as my family would not be able to finish a whole chicken. This time I made roasted chicken wings instead. The wings were rubbed all over with some salt, pepper, chopped rosemary, some dried mixed herbs and lemon rind, and left to marinate over night. Half an hour before I was ready to roast the wings, I took them out from the fridge and rub with some cold butter all over, before baking at 200degC for about 45mins~1hr. I must say I prefer roasted chicken thighs than wings, as they are more meaty and juicy...although both types of chicken parts roasted in this manner yield nice, crispy & yummy skin.

With the leftover rosemary sprigs, I made this very simple and yet very very delicious oven-roasted Rosemary Potatoes. These were baked by adapting a recipe by Jamie Oliver. If you love potatoes, I strongly recommend that you give this a try...I am certain you will be rewarded with a tray of potatoes that are slightly crispy on the outside and yet fluffy on the inside.

Rosemary & Olive Oil Focaccia
(make one small loaf)


250g bread flour
3.5g instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 tablespoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
137.5 ml water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling


  1. Combine flour, yeast rosemary and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the water and oil. Mix with hand to form a soft dough.
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 ~ 10 mins until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Shape in to a ball and place in an oiled mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for 1 hour or until double in bulk.
  4. Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to form a round. Press the dough into a 20cm (8") round pan. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Using your fingers, press indentations over the dough. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for a final 30mins until well risen.
  6. Sprinkle dough with a little sea salt, drizzle with a little oil and scatter over some rosemary.
  7. Bake in a preheated over at 200degC for about 25mins until risen and golden.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

Recipe source: adapted from Fresh Baked by Louise Pickford


Mandy said...

The smell of rosemary~ Do you intend to plant any? I heard it's quite easy to grow in tropic climate. Now,I wish I could have some focaccia, chicken wings and potatoes now. That would make a complete meal. :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Mandy, oh really? I didn't know it is possible to plant rosemary here! I am only thinking of trying out basil leaves :)

Baking Fiend said...

i've not tried baking/cooking wif rosemary too... tho' the foccacia has always been on my to-do list.

yes, u can plant the rosemary. buy fresh ones and plant into soil. it shd root and grow well. :)

Bridget said...

Your bread looks gorgeous! I love rosemary! It grows well here in Texas. :)

Small Small Baker said...

Your 3 bakes looks great and appetising! I'm completely ignorant when it comes to herbs. :P

Anonymous said...

Where do you buy the fresh herbs? Have been wanting to find out for some time now. I've been using dried ones so far.

Really enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for sharing your cooking adventures :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ida, thanks for telling me :)Have you tried it? I'll love to plant my own herbs! You should give it a won't regret it :D

Thanks Bridget! Rosemary is not common here, and it's only available at certain supermarkets.

SSB, seems like I got company ;p

Andrea, you can get fresh herbs at most of the cold storage outlets. They come in small packages, besides rosemary and basils, I have spotted other fresh herbs such as thyme, tarragon, dills and oregano. You can forget about NTUC though. Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

I have a lot weakness about this dish.

Yan said...


i've been reading your blogs so very often and its high time i let u know....
your bakes are getting more temptalicious... slurpz....


Patricia Scarpin said...

That is a glorious focaccia, sweetie! It looks so beautifully golden, and delicious!

MH said...

Your chicken wings and potatoes looked and smell delicious! :) BTW, certain NTUC do have rosemary and other herbs "occasionally". I once spotted rosemary in a "small" NTUC near my house. Can try NTUC at Bukit Timah Finest or the furthest at Tampines Mall.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Yan, thanks for the encouraging words :D

Dear Pat, thanks so much for your kind words :)

Hi MyHomeKitchen, thanks for the info! I have not been to both of these NTUC branches...they are a bit too far from my place :{

Anonymous said...

wow so cool!

very nice bread,
yes can grow rosemary and basil... but thai basil..

i have few herbs at home trying to grow them..


Kitti said...

Lovely!! I will try this recipe for the chicken! It might be a little faster to simply mix the ingredients with the softened butter and spread over chicken, then bake - herb butter! Thanks! :)

bunbun said...

Hello HHB, I have to try the Rosemary Focaccia, It looks so good!!!!! I have to agree about rosemary, it doesn't seem like it would be so good, but it is!

I love your blog, and my husband even likes to look at it with me!

On your last post I love how you use the ribbon on the torte. It looks so elegant!

Nina Timm said...

Chicken wings for us is Friday nite food. Sticky and yummee.

The olive foccacia looks light and well risen.

Mrs Ergül said...

Hi! I've been trying to get my hands on some rosemary and thyme!! Now I will try Cold Storage soon :) About fresh herbs. I got a adorable little pot of Fresh Basil from cold Storage (holland V) fro $3.50 and was elated. However, after 3 to 4 weeks it died. I did water it and I'm really puzzled why it died. So i'm not so sure if i will wanna grow any of my own herbs for fear that it might die very soon again. But I sure wouldn't mind buying fresh ones to use.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Wombat, thanks for the info :)

Kitti, thanks for sharing your great idea! Will try that next time!

Hi bunbun, thanks so much for your lovely comments! My husband doesn't even bother to read my blog ;(

Hi Nina, thanks for your compliments :)

Hi Mrs Ergül, I have seen those little pots of basils at the branch at Vivo City. I didnt buy as I knew very well that I will kill it within days!!

Anonymous said...

Would like to check with you, where can i buy sea salt? Does NTUC sell sea salt?

Thanks :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sherly, you can get sea salt from Cold Storage(Market Place) or try Carrefour. I don't think it is available at NTUC.

Anonymous said...

For your potatoes that u mentioned using Jamie Oliver recipe, did you really use the drippings from the oil of the roast lamb/chicken as he suggested? Or what did you replace it with?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Zac, no I didnt toss them with the drippings, instead I used some olive oil. You can take a look at the recipe here: