As some of you might have noticed, if you have the same addiction, I like a bit of Anthropologie. For those of you who don’t know Anthropologie you might be thinking, my goodness, doesn’t she know how to spell by now? Or, what does the study of comparative cultures have to do with flatbread?
For the uninitiated Anthropologie, with an ‘ie’, is a fantastic clothing and home wares store full of well-crafted, unique items of lust. Yes, lust. These must-have, cleverly detailed and designed bits and bobs are displayed in such as way as to make you think ‘to hell with the budget, I’ll take it all’. A real credit card in flames kind of place. For me at least, but perhaps you as well.
my new 'best pin' from anthropologie
And I mention clothing, but really I can be found pushing past the dinky retro pinafores, peg-leg trousers (who, I ask you, looks good in those?!) and knee-length cobwebby sweaters straight for the ceramics, cutlery and glassware. I try and restrain myself from even entering its hallowed space because once in I’m as good as guaranteed to come out with one of their crispy white bags full of things I don’t need and for which I really don’t have space. Restraint when it comes to kitchenalia is not my forte. I don’t really give a fig for trendy clothes and I am curiously impassive about shoes, but present me with some oddly shaped recycled glasses on a kitchen table made from an old church pew, and I ‘m putty.
chunky Moroccan tumbler & hand-glazed rainbow plate
a bowl to make any soup special
My latest purchase is a sweet little rolling pin. Actually I did need a new pin, and this wasn’t pricey (which cannot be said for most of the clothes), so I thought, why not? Just because something (or someone) is a bit cute doesn’t mean it can’t be useful. Know what I mean? And I got to know my new best pin by making these light and crispy flatbreads. It was a great purchase – justify, justify – because the cool, stick-free ceramic rolls independently of the handle, making the rolling much easier and the resulting dough much thinner with less effort. And thin dough is the key to crisp flatbreads. That and a good amount of olive oil. Even a few tears are acceptable as it indicates a bloomin’ thin roll-out.
Now, I’m not saying, ooh, rush out and get a fancy rolling pin from Anthropologie. But I will say it is always worth getting the best kitchen equipment – and if it is attractive, even better – that you can afford as it will make being in the kitchen that much more pleasant. William Morris, influential 19th century English designer, put it best when he said, “Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.”
In the near future I will do a wee post about the kind of kitchen tools and equipment I find the most useful (and beautiful), as well as some of the duffers that lie waiting for me to get to grips with eBay. In the meantime, anyone need an air-popper?
What is your favourite piece of kit in the kitchen? Are you nuts for a good knife (that’s my fave)? Are you potty about your pressure cooker? Please let me know what you like, or aspire to get, and why. I am hoping for a few surprises…
Crispy Olive Oil and Lemon-Rosemary Flatbreads
These could not be simpler to make, both in ingredient choice and execution. And I don’t need to tell you how amazing your house will smell – herbal heaven. Luckily they only take about eight minutes to bake. Great for family snacking or get-together nibbles with olives and roasted peppers. Have the hummus handy!
Refined spelt flour is stipulated but feel free to use plain wheat flour, or a combination of wheat flours. And I used dark, peppery extra virgin olive oil but use what you have and like. As for the flavours, although rosemary and lemon is a classic combination, poppy-seed and crushed fennel seed is extremely moreish. As is black olive and rosemary. Crunchy sea salt is a must though. And lastly, on behalf of my gluten-free friends I did experiment with a g-f version but have to admit defeat – for the time being. If you have a great g-f way with crispbreads, would you please point me to a reliable recipe, preferably one using Dove’s gluten-free flour blend? If it’s from your own blog or recipe box, even better. I’d be happy to share the link.
225g refined spelt flour, or unbleached plain flour (wholegrain isn’t quite right in this instance)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine/regular salt
2 tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary
Zest of one unwaxed lemon
100 ml water
50 ml extra virgin olive oil + extra for brushing (Something peppery is nice. I like Waitrose’s PDO Umbria Colli Martani. The link is to Waitrose’s guide to choosing olive oil)
Flaky sea salt
Pop the flour into a large bowl along with the baking powder and salt and give it a good going over with a large whisk. You can sift this of course but even unrefined flour has ‘bits’ in it that stay in a sieve. A large balloon whisk is my weapon of choice when sifting chunky flour.
Now mix in ¾ each of the rosemary and lemon before making a well; pour in the oil and water. Stir well and then knead in the bowl a few times before turning out onto a floured surface to lightly knead 20 times. It’s not super crucial but I do think it helps to develop the gluten, even for a short time. Roll the dough into a rough cylinder, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Again, resting isn’t crucial but I do think it is worth doing if you have the time.
Roll the cylinder into a sausage shape about a foot long and pinch off a piece roughly the size of a walnut (in its shell). Roll this nugget out as thinly as possible on a flour-dusted surface, flouring the pin as necessary. I aim for a longue shape but do a circle or whatever floats your boat: just make it THIN. You can even divide the dough into four pieces and roll them out poppadum style to share in the breaking and eating. Your first one may not be that thin but the next one will be better.
Carefully lift and place each rolled piece onto a parchment paper-lined large baking tray, piercing each lightly and evenly at regular intervals with a fork. Brush with more olive oil (don’t be stingy), scatter over with sea salt, and a little extra rosemary and lemon zest. Bake in a hot (220C/425F) oven for between 8 and 10 minute. Watch carefully. You may get a few singed ends but that’s part of the charm of these (!). Remove carefully and lay on a baking rack to cool and crisp up further. Carry on with the remaining dough.
These keep really well in a airtight container. But as with most baked goods, this theory is rarely put to the test.