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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Breakfast, Snacks & Treats

No-Bake Cranberry & Macadamia Granola Bars

Who doesn’t love a granola bar, hey? I used to eat them all the time as a snack, but then stopped as I was put off by all the junk and refined sugar that is in them. You don’t need high maltose corn syrup, sugar, honey and fructose, ALL in ONE bar. Well, according to some on the supermarket shelf, you do. Because of this, it has been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of tucking into one of these (I have to admit, they are yummy). Why didn’t I make my own before now? I have no good answer for that. However, I have ventured down the homemade granola bar route now, and I am quite sure I shall never return!

A good friend of mine asked me to make a ‘no-bake’ granola bar recipe for her, so I started googling straight away! Why no-bake? I have no idea, you would have to ask her that, but I cracked on, no questions asked (I was excited!), to find what I thought would make a healthy yet really satisfying bar. What are good friends for, if not to make scrumptious recipes for one another?!

I’m so glad she asked actually, because Liam and I have spoken recently about making some, but we never actually got pen to paper, or fingers to laptop, to create or find a recipe we wanted to make. Not enough hours in the day, and all that nonsense.

From my research on the ‘no-bake’ element of anything granola-like, I seemed to find that there may be a problem of binding everything together strongly enough, so when you pick up a bar at one end, the other end doesn’t fall off. There were all sorts of suggestions flying around the internet. Some recipes use coconut oil, some use peanut butter, and others use mashed banana. I decided to go with using cashew butter. I thought a nut butter sounded like it would do the job well, but I didn’t want that well-known peanut butter taste in my bars. I preferred a more mellow, creamy taste that you get with cashew butter.

Then came the almighty decision of what to actually put in the bars. Anyone who knows me well, will know that I hate making decisions. I really hate making decisions when there is too much choice, mostly because I want more than one of the choices, and I’m worried that my choice will turn out to not be the best one in the end. This may sound like a problem, but in reality it involves situations such as ‘which snack shall I buy from Pret?’ or ‘what shall I get for lunch from Pho?’ Hardly life or death decisions.

In the end, after much internal debate, I settled on cranberry and macadamia for the main elements. Why? Well, I didn’t just want to put something in there that I ate every day, or that I don’t regard in my mind as a ‘treat’. I wanted to make my mouth water when I thought about them, basically. So that part was settled.
As I’d taken all that time to choose the stars of the show, or bar, I didn’t want to overpower them with loads of other nuts, seeds or fruit. I chose just one extra, a popular seed for granola bars: pumpkin seeds – scrummy little nuggets of nutrition. For a little bit of extra sweetness, I added a small amount of agave (or honey, if you want to substitute), and cinnamon.
I like that you can taste each element of the bar, as one ingredient doesn’t overpower the rest.
Regarding the ability of the bar to crumble despite your best efforts, it is best to keep them in the fridge. This keeps the nut butter more solid, and I found this does actually keep them together really well. I like to eat mine in the afternoon, to give my morale a little pick-me-up while I’m slogging away in the lab (ha), so I take it to work wrapped in a little bit of kitchen foil and pop it in the fridge until I’m ready to eat it.
I just realised, this is another oat recipe! Oh well, I guess this just shows you another super easy way to make them into something delicious.

These granola bars are definitely a healthy alternative to the store-bought kind, and these ingredients together will provide you with a little hint of indulgence. Lovely!

This is what you need:

1 cup whole rolled oats

80g (I estimate about 1/4 cup) of nut butter (I used cashews for their lovely creaminess)

50g dried cranberries

50g macadamia nuts

25g pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp agave nectar/honey

1 tsp cinnamon

This is how you make them:

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and press the mixture into it, making sure to pack it in really tight. If the mixture doesn’t fit the tray, don’t worry! just cram it all up to one side (like i did – pictured 2 images above).

Pop into the fridge for at least a few hours, before cutting into bars. I made 8 – I find this makes nice sized bars.

Keep them in the fridge in a sealed container.

When I take one to work, I wrap it in kitchen foil/cling film and keep it in the fridge until I eat it.

I hope you enjoy these. Liam and I sure did!

Stay happy,

Alice x

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