creating Europe feature food vanlife

flat breads & olives

January 21, 2019

I have a love/hate relationship with bread. I love it but overdoing it makes me feel tired and bloated and other issues arise. So the trick is to not overdo it. But I am an imperfect person. And I love bread. When the kids were younger we’d make homemade pizzas at the weekend, and today is a bit of reminiscing on those times. This meal is also inspired by the huge bag of dried olives bought at the Míres farmers market this Saturday. I always end up buying too much because I can’t judge quantities outside of a kitchen environment. Some of the olives are a bit too squishy and I don’t enjoy the texture but I refuse to throw any food out so I decided to keep the firmer, meaty olives for eating and make a sort-of-tapenade with the rest. Usually this olive paste is made from pitted olives, capers & anchovies and can be used instead of pesto but I find those flavours a bit intense together so aimed to create a more mellow vibe with this. These olives are dried and already quite salty, they’re also not pitted. Of course you can use pre-pitted olives but part of slowing down for me is about enjoying sitting on the van step for an hour in the sun with a sharp knife removing the flesh from a bowlful of squishy olives.

To make the tapenade: remove the flesh from a bowlful of dried olives with a sharp knife; chop finely, put in a bowl and add a glug of good olive oil, juice of half a lemon & half minced garlic clove. Get a spoon and mash with the back of it into a paste. You can probably use a food processor but I don’t have one. 

For the tomato & feta salad: chop fresh cherry tomatoes and a large red pepper from a jar together in a bowl; add fresh chopped parsley and fennel fronds; mince half garlic, a glug of olive oil and stir; finally add some cubes goats feta and gently tumble in with the rest. To make this dish vegan just swap feta for vegan cheese or omit entirely.

For the flatbreads: 2 cups flour (I’ve got a mix of plain and self raising because that’s all we’ve got – it doesn’t really matter with flatbreads), 1 cup warm water, tbsp mixed dried herbs, tsp salt, sachet (7g) dried yeast, tsp sugar, tbsp olive oil. Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix; then make a well, add olive oil & half the water, mix well, keep adding water if needed. You might not use it all. When this makes a dough turn out onto pre-floured kitchen surface and knead for 10mins. If it’s too damp keep adding flour. I love this bit. Don’t skimp on it. The better you do it the better the dough will be. Get in the zone, take your time and enjoy bashing it around. Sprinkle flour in bowl and onto dough, put back into bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour covered in a damp tea towel until it’s doubled in size. 

Squash dough down, make into a snake and cut into 8 pieces. Leave on the side under a tea towel for 20mins. Get a good pan – ours is spun iron and make it hot. Roll out flatbread to the size of your pan. Not too thin. About the thickness of a pound coin. Cook flatbread in a dry pan on one side for a few mins then flip. 

To serve, smear a thin layer of tapenade onto flatbread, top with tomato and feta salad and serve with green salad & honey, lemon, olive oil dressing. 

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