Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Monday, 17 October 2016

An Evening With Jenny Chandler and Chilli and Oregano Pitta Breads

Last week I was lucky enough to spend an evening with Jenny Chandler, the food writer, teacher and UN FAO special ambassador for pluses. She was showing us how to cook some easy and delicious dishes using beans and lentils, which are among some of the most sustainable crops you can find and have been feeding people world-wide for centuries. I have been a fan of pluses for a while now, as someone who does not eat meat, and they more accessible than ever these days, often coming pre-cooked and soaked so all you have to do is open the packet and enjoy.

I almost assumed before the event that Jenny was a vegetarian, because, why else would you be pushing lentils when the rest of the cooking world is meat mad? It turns out Jenny is not a herbivore, but someone who just loves the taste of these ancient food sources and is really passionate about promoting their nutritional value through delicious recipes. It was a really refreshing evening, with the focus on tasty food that you could enjoy every day.

What we ate - Jenny cooked us falafels (the best I have ever eaten, she cooks her's with fava beans instead of chickpeas) and quesadillas with re-fried beans and Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire cheese. The falafels were so quick and easy, simply put all the ingredients into a processor and blitz, and nothing like the dry/flavourless ones I have had in the past from supermarkets. The quesadillas were spicy and moorish, a quick and easy dinner that I have already made twice since attending the class!

If you want to find out more about Jenny and her recipes, head down to Borough Market every Thursday in November, where she will be cooking delicious pulse dishes from around the world.

Jenny will be cooking at the demo kitchen in Borough Market every Thursday in November, 12.30pm - 2pm.

Something to serve your falafels with - Chill and Oregano Pitta Bread.

Makes 6 large pittas.

For the pitta breads:
250g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
175ml water

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, water, oregano, oil and chilli and mix until it forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and divide it into 6 equal balls.
Roll out each of the balls into a long oval shape, about the length between your wrist to your elbow.
Place the pittas on to 2/3 lined baking trays, leaving a small gap between each one.
Bake the pittas for around 5 minutes, or until the middle has puffed up and they are a pale golden colour.
Leave the pittas to cool for a minute on a wire rack before serving.

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