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Ruby’s Smørrebrød with Fennel, Flax, Poppy and Chilli 

This seeded, lightly spiced Danish rye bread is ideal for breakfast or brunch. Each topping will make 4 ‘open’ sandwiches. 

Makes: 1 loaf (16 slices)   

Hands-on time: 1 hour, plus rising  

Baking time: 35 minutes  

Skill level: Some skill  

For the bread: 

200g wholemeal rye flour, plus extra for dusting  

200g strong white bread flour  

1 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast 

2 tsp salt  

25g sunflower seeds  

15g flax seeds (linseeds) 

15g poppy seeds 

1 tsp fennel seeds 

1/2 tsp chilli powder 

1 tbsp black treacle 

250ml lukewarm water  

For the tandoori topping: 

1 1/2 tbsp tandoori paste 

1/2 tsp garlic paste 

1/2 tsp ginger paste 

1/2 tsp garam masala  

1/4 tsp ground cumin 

1 tbsp finely chopped onion 

1/2 green chilli, seeds discarded, flesh finely chopped 

1 chicken breast, cut into 2cm chunks 

1 tbsp olive oil 

For the raita: 

1/2 small red onion, grated 

5 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped  

4 tbsp Greek yogurt  

pinch of garam masala 

pinch of sea salt flakes 

pinch of chilli powder 

1 lemon, halved 

1/4 small cucumber, flesh sliced into ribbons, core reserved  

25g feta cheese, diced 

1 preserved lemon (optional), finely chopped  

ground black pepper 

For the asparagus & avocado topping:  

1 ripe avocado, halved, stoned and flesh coarsely mashed   

25g red onion, very finely diced 

juice 1/2 lemon 

50g chorizo, thinly sliced  

8 asparagus tips  

1 tsp salted butter 

2 quail eggs 

sea salt and ground black pepper  

You will also need: 

900g loaf tin, dusted with flour 

Proving bag or cling film 

Step 1 – Make the dough. Place both the flours, along with the yeast, salt, all the seeds and the chilli powder into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Step 2 – Mix the treacle with the water and pour into the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, to a soft, slightly sticky dough. If the dough looks too dry, add more warm water. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until about doubled in size.

Step 3 – Transfer the dough to a lightly dusted worktop and knead briefly to knock out any air. Shape into a smooth oval loaf and place it into the prepared tin. Place the tin into a proving bag or cover loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place for a further 1 hour, until it has risen to the top of the tin. Towards the end of the proving time, heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7.

Step 4 – Lightly dust the loaf with rye flour. Slash 5 diagonal cuts across the top, then bake for 35 minutes, until dark brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes to cool before cutting.

Step 5 – To make the tandoori topping. In a large bowl, stir together the tandoori, garlic and ginger pastes, then add the garam masala, cumin, onion and chilli and stir to combine. Add the chicken, stir to coat and leave to marinate, covered, in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Step 6 – Make the raita. Mix the red onion and tomatoes into the yogurt with the garam masala, salt, chilli powder and a squeeze of lemon.

Step 7 – Dice the reserved core of the cucumber. Place in a bowl and squeeze over a little lemon juice and season to taste with pepper.

Step 8 – Cook the tandoori chicken. Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside.

Step 9 – Spread the raita over 4 slices of bread, top with equal amounts of the cucumber ribbons, then the chicken and sprinkle with diced cucumber, feta and preserved lemon (if using). Serve straightaway.

Step 10 – To make the asparagus and avocado topping, put the mashed avocado in a bowl and add the chopped onion and coriander. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Step 11 – Fry the chorizo in a small pan over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, until the slices release their oil. Set aside.

Step 12 – Boil the asparagus tips for 4 minutes, until just tender. Drain well, then melt the butter in a griddle pan over a medium heat, add the asparagus and cook for 1–2 minutes, until lightly charred.

Step 13 – Boil the quail eggs in a small pan for 1 minute, drain, then immediately run under cold water to stop them cooking. Remove the shells and cut the eggs in half.

Step 14 – Spread the avocado equally over 4 slices of bread, arrange the asparagus spears, chorizo and quail egg halves on top and season with a little more salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.