Food blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs, author of the cookbook ‘Scrumptious: Food for Family and Friends’ (Struik Lifestyle), is passionate about heart-warming, home-cooked dishes that combine the latest culinary trends with a generous pinch of nostalgiaQUICK TOMATO, FENNEL AND THYME BREAD


  • 600g fresh white-bread dough (available from supermarket bakeries)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • small bunch thyme, leaves stripped, plus a few extra sprigs
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 2 bulbs baby fennel, finely sliced
  • 12 ripe cherry tomatoes, on the vine if possible
  • flaky sea salt
  • milled black pepper


1. Heat the oven to 170ºC. Grease a large baking sheet and dust with a little flour.
2. Press the dough diagonally across the sheet into an elongated oval. Take your time; you’ll find that the dough tends to creep back a bit, but persevere with the pushing and stretching until the dough is about 1cm thick all over. Using your bunched fingers, make deep indentations all over the dough.
3. Mix together the crushed garlic, olive oil, thyme and lemon zest. Pour 3/4 of this flavoured oil over the dough and use your fingers to poke and prod it into the indentations.
4. Scatter the sliced fennel and the cherry tomatoes over the bread and press them lightly into the dough.
5. Drizzle the remaining flavoured olive oil all over the bread and vegetables and sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper. Scatter the extra thyme sprigs on top.
6. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until puffy, golden and cooked right through.

This recipe serves 8.