I belong to a reading group in St. Lucia (which was modelled on Emma’s reading group in London) which is made up of a group of ladies who are diverse in their original nationalities and opinions and taste in books. This makes for lively, interesting meetings and we all read books which are outside our comfort zones, because honour decrees that we finish each book picked and then meet to discuss it. We share who picks the books and then who hosts the meetings and this is what I served at what was my last turn to host.
454g (3 c) wholewheat spelt flour
295 ml (10 oz) water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey/ brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp active dried yeast
If you have a bread machine, then place all the ingredients into the bread pan and select the dough mixing setting or you will end up with a delicious cooked loaf of spelt bread. If you do not, many food processors or mixing machines have a dough attachment which you could use. If neither is available, then I’m afraid its a case of elbow grease and some serious kneading. I’m guessing I may have lost most of you at this point, so if that’s the case, then please know that bread dough is very forgiving and can be mistreated so don’t be afraid to give it a whirl.
Once the dough has had its first raising, divide it into 16 small balls. At this point its worth mentioning that each of these flatbreads has the same amount of bread dough as a very small bread roll, and its unlikely you will be able to eat a whole one by yourself, unless you are a big person with matching appetite. So, just to put it into perspective for you, if you look at the last photo in this posting, that shows only half of this dough in use. I also think that because you are not looking for a fluffy base, you could make these bases with a gluten free flour such as quinoa. I’ll check it out and let you know.
I chose to roast butternut squash, red peppers and eggplant, but you could use mushrooms, courgettes or indeed any vegetable that you fancy roasting. The pieces will need to be small enough to pile onto the flatbreads, so I would recommend cutting them before roasting. I simply toss the vegetables in olive oil and place in a hot oven until they are softened and a bit brown about the edges. Once you’ve got all the various elements assembled, roll out the small balls of dough into long strips. Again, this dough is very forgiving and not at all delicate, so the rolling is really simple.
I have been working on spreads and sauces lately, so I have all sorts ready to hand. Above in their order of appearance is a simple tomato sauce, green olive tapenade and watercress pesto. I will post the recipe for watercress pesto soon. You will need to either make one of the above or decide on a spreading sauce which is quite strong in flavour. You don’t need to be too precious here as with all the yumminess going on, I’m sure whatever you pick will work.
It isn’t necessary to use cheese as the oil from the roasting of the vegetables is enough to carry the flavour by itself, but I experimented with some mozzarella and some feta. This can be placed under or over the vegetables. You could also use goat’s cheese or crumbled, seasoned tofu. A smattering of fresh rocket (arugula) once they come out of the oven is sublime and you can just see some in the first photograph.. That’s what’s so great about these flatbreads. They are so versatile and as diverse as my reading group ladies.