Category Archives: Flatbread

Lunch at Matina – St Nicholas Market, Bristol

Fresh Mint Tea at Matina in St Nicholas's Market, Bristol

Fresh Mint Tea at Matina in St Nicholas’s Market, Bristol

I don’t really do eating out reviews as there are so many people who do them in blogworld but just this once…

I always have a good time visiting the covered market, which runs adjacent to Corn Street in the old part of Bristol City centre.  It is a small intimate space, which hums and buzzes with small independent food stalls, where you can either pick something up to take away, or sit down in one of their improvised seating areas and tuck in to a Caribbean curry, a Moroccan tagine, or a Portuguese fish lunch. There is a juice bar, a sausage shop, a pie shop, pulled port, pita and salad bar and loads more to choose from all crammed into this glass-roofed arcade of delights.

Matina is found at the far end of the market opposite the linen stall.  There is a constant queue outside and the reason is obvious. It is staffed by three busy cooks,  one making fresh breads, one on the grill and one organizing the salads. The baker sets the pace, as each order is made as it is taken. Kurdish bread is big, soft and fluffy, something like a naan.  We loved watching the baker stretching the dough over what my friend described as looking like an oversized darning cushion before positioning it inside the tandoor oven. He did the forearm slap as well!

Fresh Fresh Fresh!

Our shared mezze

The front of Matina’s is full of huge bowls of brightly coloured fresh salads, gleaming red cabbage and yellow pickles. The combination of the smell of sizzling koftas and chicken on the grill and the magical smell of freshly baking bread was enough to stay in my memory the first time I noticed it and I have now been back twice.  They offer fresh mint tea, or rose or apple tea and you can sit in an area adjacent to the kitchen where there is a communal table and benches and watch the queue move along and chat to other hungry folk seduced by the wonderful smell of freshly cooked food.

Today Brian had another enormous wrap filled with chillis and chicken and lamb and I shared a plate of mezze with a friend. We had the grilled halloumi on courgettes and aubergines, fresh lemony humus, and tzatsiki  and pickled vegetables and sauces together with a fresh bread.

We said no to the rice or couscous that was offered with it and we ate very well both of us sharing the plate.  It is incredibly good value and well worth queuing up for if you have a spare half an hour one lunch time.

There is something about eating outside in winter that appeals to people who spend so much time indoors and in the market you are both outside and inside, sheltered from any bad weather that happens to be lurking about.  It rained again this afternoon but we are promised better weather this weekend and Spring is happening regardless. Bristol’s public green spaces are full of croci at the moment. I don’t know whether there have been mass plantings last year or whether they particularly like the damp but they are so pretty, purple and yellow and white jewels brightening the roadsides and parks. I love them!

croci in Bristol

Semolina Bun Bread with Wild Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes

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23rd April 2013

The Dan Lepard fan club knows that in his repertoire of awesome buns are some absolute treasures to which one returns time and time again. My favourite three are the legendary soft white bap, the top teacake and our eternal favourite, the BBQ semolina bun. Known in this house variously as the duvet bread or the pillow bread because of the scoring to the top, I make this bread over and over again. The recipe for the Semolina BBQ buns is still available on the Guardian website and I don’t change anything at all when I make it.

Today I made a double batch and made a duvet with one portion. With the second batch of dough I thought I would try something a bit different for me. When the dough had finished its first prove, I patted and gently rolled it out into a largish rectangle and spread it lightly with some wild garlic, grated pecorino cheese, ground almonds and olive oil made into a pesto-like sauce and a few sundried tomatoes. I rolled it up gently into a sausage shape and curved it into a ring. I set it on a sheet of baking parchment on a tray and put it inside a clean bin bag to prove. Before baking, I slashed small slashes in the top and brushed it with water and sprinkled fine semolina over it.

I baked it at 240º C (220º C Fan) for 15 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 200º C (180º C Fan) for another 15 minutes and then took it out of the oven and left it to cool and stop sizzling on a rack. The bottom was very crusty. If you don’t like crusty then bake it a bit cooler.

The trick with doing this is not to squash all the air out of the dough when patting it out to the rectangle, use the flat of your fingers to start the process off. When you use the pin, roll as gently as you can from the centre of the dough towards the corners to get a rectangular shape, and take your time. If the dough is pinging back a lot, walk away for five minutes and let it relax before you try again; try not to compress the dough too much, you are sort of stretching and fluffing it, rather than rolling and squashing. I am thinking about the way I pat out pizza dough rather than use a pin, though that is of course a different dough and more delicate than this.

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My dearest old neighbour from where I used to live came round for lunch and we ate in the garden, yes really it was warm enough to eat outside!! We were accompanied by the sound of building work from two doors down, visits from some very large bumble bees, and the grumbles of small poodles, but you know what, it was glorious!

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Brian had bought an entire box of aubergines for the sum of £2.75 at the weekend and even though he gave two-thirds of them away we still had lots left to cook, so it was more swooning and more olive oil and more Imam Bayildi for lunch today. I changed the spices slightly this time and left the onions chunkier, using allspice and a very new hot smoked paprika. We are still swooning… and I promise not to mention it again, but it is really very good indeed.

Sourdough Mashed Potato Pancakes

25th March 2013

Sourdough Potato Pancakes

I thought I would contribute this small brunch dish to the ‘what shall I do with my old starter’ conversation.

Not everything in life needs a recipe and these are a prime example.

I had some old starter in the fridge from when I had been away and when I stirred it up it had a bit of life in it still. I dipped a finger in and had a taste, sour but not unacceptable.

It was so cold yesterday that I thought we had better have something warm for lunch.

So I dry fried a couple of slices of Lindsays of Cockermouth’s best dry cure middle cut bacon, no nasty white stuff coming out of this like the supermarket rubbish, and not very salty either, a little black pudding for Brian and a few tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar to give them a bit more taste than they have at this time of year.

I then found a small bowl of mashed potatoes from last night’s supper in the fridge and thought oh why not…

So here is the method. Forgive the quantities.

In a large bowl

  • Pour in your old starter
  • Add a couple of large spoonfuls of cold mashed potato
  • A glass or two of milk (skimmed is fine)
  • A couple of spoonfuls of flour
  • Two large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Whisk it all up, but don’t worry too much about the little lumps of mashed potato.
  2. Heat a small pan on the hob.
  3. Put the oven on a keep warm setting and pop a plate in.
  4. Chase a fingernail’s worth of butter round the pan once it is hot.
  5. Tip little ladles of mixture into the pan and swirl them round.
  6. Cook on one side, till nice and golden brown,  flip and cook the other side.
  7. Stack on the warm plate in the oven.

Sourdough Mashed Potato Pancakes with Brown Sauce

Serve your sourdough mashed potato pancakes with optional brown sauce and toppings and a large mug of tea.

That’s it. No added sugar, no added fat. I can’t believe that this is particularly bad for you, but the food police might say it is. I don’t care.

Soft and fluffy and just the thing for a hungry gap.

Falafel with Fava Beans and Chickpeas

Fava bean falafel

This is my small contribution to the falafel making discussions.  I have till now, only ever either made a packet mix one or bought someone else’s and re-heated them.  I have read many posts and people saying sadly that their falafel fell apart and what was the secret, so I have been reading and asking a little and Lynne has been making them too and I think between us we are establishing some clues…. Continue reading

Snapseed, Shards and Spirals

Snapseed is an inexpensive photo editing programme for the Mac that I am quite fond of and try to use with restraint, though I do love the textures that it creates as above.

This is one of my most recent batches of sourdough rye crackers cut out with a spiral roll stamp which is a good use for this funny little object apart from making pretty patterns on small dinner rolls. Celia made some very good rolls with hers in her Playing with Bread post when we were going mad for Rosetta rolls last year.

Here are a couple of the other pictures, including some rather elegant, or so I thought, shards. These keep so well in an ordinary kitchen tub with an airtight seal. I keep the little packets of absorbent gel that come with camera equipment and put them in the tubs. You can dry them out in a warm oven when they get damp and re-use them, very useful! These crackers are well worth making if you have some spare time and a little old starter that you are not sure what to do with. I have adapted the original recipe to use other ingredients that I like, so don’t be afraid to do that too!

They do end up quite floury so I decided to dust them down with a clean paint brush as I don’t like the taste of rye flour when it is loose on the surface of a cracker. I did feel a bit like Mrs Matisse dusting the fruit (Great Housewives of Art) but it was all in a good cause. I am always delighted with the way that the sun transforms the appearance of bread. Rye has a characteristic grey tone normally but in the sunlight everything is touched with gold.

Try a Little Tenderness

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

Here are some brilliant flatbreads filled with spicy dal rolled out with my magic Turkish rolling pin for Short and Tweet over this last weekend. This recipe is by Dan Lepard (P.73 of Short & Sweet, Lentil Filled Flatbreads) with the help of Franka Philip.  Check out Franka Philip’s photos of making these with Dan; she kindly gave us advice on Twitter on how to seal the little pockets of dough around the filling before rolling them out. Twitter is a funny place, I would never have thought I could ask a cook book writer I had never met for help directly but all the ones I have had contact with are extraordinarily kind and positive. Thank you once again Franka!

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

This dough was really interesting in that the dough is made without yeast or sourdough and is left to age in the fridge. Pooh pooh you might say, what difference would that make?  Well, the flat breads rolled out really easily after their long chill, puffed up in the pan and were incredibly tender to eat, light and just yummy.  If I compare them to these quick flatbreads that I made recently these Trinidadian style roti are way superior in terms of their tenderness and flavour.

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I had every conceivable colour of dal in a scruffy box in the cupboard, waiting for me to make dal with, except I only had half the quantity of the red dal I needed for this recipe, so I added some uri dal in, thinking that would be OK. It was in the end, but whereas the red dal cooks fast and goes quite mushy, the uri dal stayed resolutely uncooked for ages and retained its shape, so when you look at the photos you can see the pattern the uri dal made. Still it wasn’t a disaster by any means!

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I found it quite fascinating how the spiced and garlicky filling started off dark yellow and then as it cooked again within the confines of the roti turned a wonderful rich amber-red colour. I don’t know quite why it did that, the combination of spice, salt and lentils?

We used our flatbreads to scoop up a spicy pork mince dish that I made up with some ancient freezer aged mince, garlic, ginger, fresh garam marsala, a mild  chilli and a tin of tomatoes (the sort of thing I made as a student, only a bit better than my cooking abilities then)  and a little dark green fresh spinach on the side. All eaten before I thought to take a photo, oops.

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I rolled like a demon, a rather slow demon, and B flipped the breads in the pan. The recipe made loads, so we paused half way through our roti making, ate far too much and then I made the last few balls up and put them in the fridge for a further night.

Incidentally, I also learnt that a Tequila Sunrise made with blood orange juice is called a Tequila O Positive. Dad gave me this beautiful glass when I visited him last year, he told me he bought it when he was a student so it has survived a long time.

I slept well after all that hard work, concentrating on the delicate rolling out of these breads. We watched the season finale of Borgen, best thing on TV the last month,  and shared a plate of atmospheric (dark and gloomy Copenhagen)  lemon cardamom (no baking powder this time!) madeleines made from Thane Prince’s recipe here.

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Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

Edit: Another oops, I forgot to add this picture in!

Back to the tale of the Tender Ones – The following morning I pulled the remaining balls out of the fridge (36 hours after the dough was originally mixed) and rolled them out in the early morning sunshine and we had them for breakfast topped with egg and bacon and a squirt of tomato ketchup and took sunshine filled photos to share with you.  I was so pleased the sun came out!

Last year we made some alloo parathas  (left) with Mellow Bakers, but they weren’t a patch on these! I will definitely make today’s recipe again. We are going to investigate making thin rolling pins from dowel as I really think it makes it much easier to roll these little quite frail balls of dough out and I would like one that is a bit shorter so I don’t hit stuff off the worktop when I am rolling.

I am getting on much better with this skinny pin than I do with my big rolling pin, or else it is just practice.

PPS Here’s Evidence Matters’s super round up post for this week’s baking. Have a peek and discover some new blogs to read and if you want to join in it’s very easy and all explained over on her blog.

What have you been up to this weekend?