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   Jul 05

Flour power

Spinach and feta tart with spelt pastry
Nanjing Night Net

I love the crumbly texture of spelt pastry. It can be quite tricky to work with because it’s low in gluten, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

For the pastry

• 1 cups white spelt flour

• 140g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

• pinch of salt

• 1 egg yolk

For the filling

• 1 tbsp olive oil

• 1 onion, chopped

• handful pine nuts

• 1/2 tsp caraway seeds

• 1/2 tsp dried oregano

• 300g baby spinach

• 200g feta cheese, crumbled

• 3 eggs

• 200ml crème fraîche

• 3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan For the pastry, put the flour, butter and salt into a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp water.

Whiz again until it comes together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit a 23cm tart tin. Line the tin with the pastry – it is quite crumbly, so use the trimmings to patch the inevitable cracks. Chill the pastry case in the fridge for 20 minutes. Prick the base with a fork then line with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for

10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until cooked through.

For the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, pine nuts, caraway seeds and oregano. Cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft. Stir though the spinach until just wilted and set aside.

Combine the feta, eggs and crème fraîche in a separate bowl and stir into the spinach mixture. Spoon the filling into the pastry case. Scatter with parmesan and bake for about 15-20 minutes until set. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Chickpea pancakes with carrot and cauliflower

This makes a substantial meal on its own but if you’re entertaining, add dhal or a meat curry.

For the pancakes

• 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)

• ½ tsp salt

• ½ tsp ground cumin

• 2 spring onions, sliced

• 2cm piece of ginger, very finely chopped

• 1 garlic clove, crushed

• 1 green chilli, seeded and chopped

• handful coriander, roughly chopped

• 2 tbsp light-flavoured oil

For the roasted vegetables

• 1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets

• 3 large carrots, cut into chunks

• 2 tbsp light-flavoured oil

• 1 tbsp black mustard seeds

• 2 tsp cumin seeds

• 1 tsp coriander seeds

• ½ tsp turmeric

• ½ tsp chilli flakes

To serve

• 1 small red onion, sliced

• 1 green chilli, sliced into rounds

• handful of coriander

• plain yoghurt

For the vegetables, preheat the oven to 220ºC. Place the cauliflower and carrots on a large oven tray so they fit in one layer. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Roast for 15 minutes until beginning to char. Reduce the oven temperature to 200ºC, stir through the spices and chilli flakes and roast for a further 5 minutes.

For the pancakes, place flour, salt and cumin in a large bowl. Slowly pour in 1 cup water, stirring as you go, to make a smooth batter. Add the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Ladle about ¼ of the batter into the centre of the pan and tilt the pan to spread it evenly. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 2 minutes, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

Spoon the roasted vegetables over the pancakes to serve. Top with red onion, green chillies, coriander and plain yoghurt to taste.

Bill’s tip

I love the textures and flavours that result from using spelt, rye, buckwheat or chickpea flours. They’re so much more complex and interesting than plain white flour.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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