My friend Leila McKellar is a creative vegan cook who makes even the most virtuous food taste great. At the end of May she hosted her first supper club at Kay Aplin’s Ceramic House in Brighton, just a couple of weeks before my own debut pop-up restaurant took place. In the run-up to our events we shared our nerves, and I was lucky enough to be invited round to test a few of Leila’s dishes. She made some delicious soft white flatbreads stuffed with toasted pine nuts and a sumac-rich spice paste and I was so impressed I had to steal the idea. Keane hasn’t stopped talking about them since. ‘Those shawarma things,’ he calls them, after the load of leftover roast lamb I sneaked in mine. Please forgive me, Leila.
This weekend was so gloriously sunny I thought it was the perfect time to try out another version of these breads. I had two small beetroot in the fridge and a block of homemade feta from the cheesemaking course I took part in last week. I came up with the following variation – on Nigel Slater’s variation – of Paul Hollywood’s flatbread recipe. I served the breads with salad and a dollop of Olive Branch ‘Greek Mezze’ red pepper paste with fresh chilli (one of the treats from my Food Blogger Connect goody bag) and the whole lot tasted very good indeed.
Notes: These breads keep well overnight for a perfect packed lunch and would also taste brilliant if cooked on a barbecue. I had a little beetroot and feta mixture leftover so I just stirred in some quinoa, parsley and cherry tomatoes to serve as a fresh-tasting side dish.
- For the dough
- 500g strong white flour
- 10g fast action yeast
- 10g salt
- 30g sunflower oil
- 300ml water (approx)
- For the beetroot and feta filling
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp black onion seeds
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 small beetroot, grated
- 150-200g feta cheese, diced
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Black pepper
- To make the dough:
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the oil and then add just enough of the water to bring together to form a dough.
- Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and soft.
- Set dough aside in a warm place covered with a damp cloth for 1 hour or until it has at least doubled in size.
- To make the filling:
- Heat a little oil in a shallow frying pan and add the whole spices. Fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop and the seeds are fragrant.
- Take the spices off the heat and stir into the grated beetroot.
- Fry the sliced onion and garlic in the remaining oil until softened.
- Combine the cooked onion and garlic with the spiced beetroot and cubed feta and season to taste with black pepper and lemon juice.
- To combine:
- Cut the bread dough as you would a cake into eight wedges.
- Take a triangle of dough and shape it in your hand to form a bowl shape.
- Place 2-3 forkfuls of beetroot mixture into the dough ‘bowl’.
- Pull the dough over the filling to make a parcel.
- Turn over and place on a clean surface, flatten the parcel with a rolling pin and set aside somewhere warm while you make the rest.
- Rest the breads for 15 mins or so.
- Heat a dry frying pan over a low-medium hob.
- Place the breads in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side turning only once, if they are a touch on the dark side I think this only adds to their tastiness!
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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