Make-ahead, Snacks & Treats

Sea Salt & Black Pepper Crispy Wholegrain Flatbread

These wonderfully moreish crisp flatbreads are a simple solution to an inevitable problem: Carrots just get boring sometimes! I wanted something that I was actually looking forward to dipping into my hummus. I found it! These are adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s rosemary flatbreads. I tried doing the recipe first with thyme, because I don’t own a rosemary plant, but the delicate taste was lost during cooking. All that was left was the saltiness from the sea salt sprinkled on top. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved this. So, I paired it with some freshly ground black pepper, and swapped half of the flour for the wholegrain variety, and I was left with an incredibly tasty, crunchy bread for dipping.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that my craving for something less ‘veggie’ came when I entered into the final year of my PhD. I do, after all, think I am a little bit of an emotional eater. I remember a few weeks ago I was annoyed with Liam over the phone, hung up, and immediately headed for the waffle shop in Liverpool Street station (oopsie!). I didn’t even enjoy eating it. Making crisp flatbreads for hummus-dipping is definitely a more sensible option. They even taste great on their own if you want a little cheeky nibble here and there.

Anyway, PhD times. I think it is more the commute to/from London that is slowly wearing me down, rather than the lab work. The workload/stress is ramping up though, and after a long day, the last thing I want is to have to spend the next hour and a quarter getting home. (Poor me, I know.) A lot of the time I’m still feeling the buzz from working. I think to myself ‘yeah I’ll to this, this and this when I get home! I feel great!’. Then I get home… I feel like crawling right into bed!

These flatbreads will last for a little while in an airtight container (I think we have kept them for about 4 days – but then we had eaten them all! I’m sure they would last for longer though). You can break them up to get them in a container, or alternatively, you can make mini flatbreads! I haven’t actually done this, but I keep wanting to. Next time, definitely.

Ingredients:

115g Plain flour

115g Wholegrain/wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (125ml) water

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

For on top of flatbread:

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C (200 C Fan)

2. In a large bowl, mix together the two flours, baking powder, salt and pepper.

3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the water and oil, and mix with a wooden spoon until everything comes together into a ball. Tip it out and knead a few times.

4. Split the ball into 3 pieces (or more to make mini flatbreads), and wrap all but one up in cling film.

5. Place the ball on a large piece of greaseproof paper, and place a large piece of cling film on top. Roll the ball out with a rolling pin until it is really quite thin. Like a couple of millimeters in thickness. 

6. Peel the cling film off carefully. Brush a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top, then sprinkle on a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Pop in the oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Check on it though, you don’t want it to burn!

 

Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

Alice x

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Make-ahead, Salads

Kale & Pearl Barley Salad with a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Believe it or not, there are quite a few scrumptious uses for kale that don’t involve a blender (I do love a green smoothie though!) This kale and pearl barley salad is definitely one of them.
Since I made the switch from soup to salad earlier this year, probably around march/April time, I’ve been eating the same boring salad. Quite an achievement though. Anything else and I would have been bored senseless by now. Anyway, I needed a change, and I don’t quite feel like giving in to soup season just yet.

This salad has more of an autumnal, comforting taste than my usual, and combines a lot of my favourite things. Lemon, honey, sunflower seeds, avocado, feta, red onion. Amazing. The lemon-honey vinaigrette really softens up the kale, and makes it surprisingly delicious, and the pearl barley packs it out so it really is a filling lunch.

When in Ireland last week, I realised how much I love salad. Too many days (basically, anything more than 1) were spent making custom baguettes in delis and cafes for my liking. Custom baguettes, you see, because apparently most places in Ireland don’t cater very well for the vegetarian types. I ate so much bread in such a short space of time. Ugh! So this salad was a doubly nice change for me upon my return.

Kale is something I’ve come to love in the past year or so. It is high in vitamin K, which is needed for bone health and normal blood clotting. It is also a great anti-inflammatory food, as well as being good for cardiovascular health and implicated in cancer prevention.

Serves 4-5 (From Sweet Peas & Saffron)

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked pearl barley

4 cups of kale ribbons, stems removed

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 medium red onion, finely diced

1 avocado, cubed

100g feta, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons honey

 

Directions

1. Wash the pearl barley a couple of times in clean, cold water and drain. Pop in a pan of boiling water and cook as detailed on the packet instructions, or just simmer until cooked. When the pearl barley is cooked, rinse under cold water to cool it (so you can add it to the salad straight away!)

2. Put all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, put the lid on a shake thoroughly to mix. Pour all over the kale, and with your (clean) hands, rub it into the kale really well. I love this bit.

3. Add the sunflower seeds, chickpeas, red onion, avocado, feta and cooked pearl barley to the kale and mix.

3. Serve straight away or chill until needed.

4. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Alice x

 

 

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