I am a very bad author, because I have a serious Amazon habit. They just make it too freakin easy to go batshit mental on there. What with their suggestions and wish lists and things other people have bought together and oh, here’s a deal to get both at a special price. There’s the extremely dangerous ‘one click ordering’ and the stealthy Amazon Prime, which obviously, I have. They’ve made it all so easy, and now the stuff turns up before you’ve had a chance to remember you ordered it while drunk.
I struggled to carry my latest haul of no less than 8 fat cookery books home, in the rain, from the office, which is where Amazon delivered them because I forgot to change the address. Surely telepathic assessment of preferred delivery address is not far off? Anyway, amongst the spoils, a couple of Turkish numbers, from which I plucked this flatbread recipe. I needed something to do with the za’atar you see, an option other than just eating it straight from the pot in such vast quantities that it makes my mouth pucker and sting.
It’s the house blend at Peckham Bazaar and it’s the best za’atar recipe ever. The word za’atar means ‘thyme’ in Arabic, and I generally find that shop bought blends are way too heavy on the herb; too many dusty green flecks, mixed with some sesame seeds and not enough sumac. This recipe contains poky Turkish chilli, and rose petals, which apart from adding a bit of Turkish delight fancy, also look the bomb. Salt is important too; proper, pyramid-crystallised sea salt and plenty of it.
Mixed with a bit of oil it’s ace smeared onto these breads. Now bear with me when I say they’re brilliant flatbreads because they’re all soft and er, bready. I just mean that they’re not tough and floury as a home made flat bread often can be. The recipe makes 12, which with hindsight was a dangerous move when I’m working at home alone all weekend. Not only does Amazon empty my bank account, it is also trying to make me fat. Don’t let me put you off buying my book from them though; it will cost you money but all the recipes in it are 100% calorie free. Fact.
You can also buy it direct from the publisher and in doing so side step a whole heap of problems. Ta da.
150g toasted sesame seeds
20g sea salt
30g red chilli flakes
30g dried thyme
15g dried oregano
1 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 teaspoon rose petals
Toast the sesame seeds either spread out on a baking tray in a low oven or in a dry pan. They will darken slightly in colour and smell all, well, toasted. Keep an eye on them. Allow them to cool and then mix with all the other ingredients.
Flat Bread Recipe
Makes 12 breads
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons dried yeast
600g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
Olive oil and za’atar, for brushing the flat breads.
Mix the sugar with 100ml lukewarm water and add the yeast. Set aside until frothy. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then add the yeast mixture. Combine into a dough, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Cover with cling film and set aside until doubled in size (mine took an hour). Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface then divide into 12 balls of equal size. Roll each out to a circle (about 9 inches) and cook in a dry frying pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes each side, until just coloured. In a small bowl, mix some za’atar with olive oil, just enough to lubricate matters slightly so you can smoosh it onto the bread. Give each a rub with the za’atar mix while still warm.