Up until now, my life seems to have been a series of ebbs and flows, sometimes good and sometimes bad, occasionally full of challenge and heartache; more often balanced and solid with a few spikes of heady joy. Yet life has always, always moved forward in a steady, reliable pace, one that I have come to rely on; a familiarity in my life that has gone almost unnoticed, until now. It would seem that the rate has stepped up a little, and life has developed the kind of demands and tempo that would, only a few years ago, have floored me.
In an attempt to stem the vague whiffs of panic that have been creeping into my mornings, I have decided that a gratitude list is in order. Not to go too hokey on you all, but it seems happy people all have one thing in common: they are truly grateful for everything they have. I know from personal experience that the physical act of actually listing things that you are grateful for can have a surprisingly impressive affect on your mood. So, in order to focus my mind each morning (and not to mention quash my fearful inner voice), I am going to voice today’s gratitude list with you now. 1. That I am well and healthy and comfortable in myself (no, that’s not three) 2. That I get to eat hummus and flatbreads, plus an incredible carrot and fennel salad, for supper (it’s the little things) 3. That I am so busy in the first place. And....zen.
For those of you who are also feeling a little over subscribed (can you be such a thing?) I highly recommend this simple pairing: what could be better in the wind down part of your day than to tuck in to a bowl of creamy, voluptuous and gloriously flavoured hummus, using the slightly charred and freshly baked flat breads as your utensil of choice. Truly, both dishes are really easy to make – the flatbreads take only a few minutes to cook and the ever reliable source of tinned chickpeas available make this a breeze. You do need a little ice to make the hummus – it’s what makes it so incredibly creamy, a gem of a tip – so prepare that in advance. You can add a few cubes to something refreshing, and dare I say, alcoholic, to give yourself a little extra gratitude in your day.
HUMMUS AND FLAT BREADS
Serves 4 or 2 hungry people
For the flat breads
220g/8oz Doves Farm Gluten Free Self raising Flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
A large pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
8 – 12 tbsp water
For the hummus
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
2 ice cubes
2tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of sea salt
A little extra virgin olive oil for drizzling.
To make the hummus, drain and rinse the cooked chickpeas and place in a food processor with a pinch of sea salt, begin to blitz, adding 50ml of water, bit by bit, until you have a smooth, but thick puree.
Add the ice cubes, tahini and lemon juice to the puree and then blitz again, until the mixture is smooth and light and creamy – the time that it will take to do this will vary depending on the power of your processor but you want the hummus to be as smooth as possible so I recommend a good 5 minutes blitzing. Taste the hummus and add more sea salt to taste, then transfer to a bowl cover before storing it in the fridge until ready to serve – it will thicken slightly when chilled so ideally leave it for half an hour to an hour before serving. Once you are ready to serve, drizzle with a little olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt. If kept like this in the fridge the hummus will keep for a few days.
To make the flatbreads, sift the flour into a large bowl with the xanthan gum and salt, making a well in the middle, then pour in the oil and water and mix into a stiff dough. (Add a little more water if the mixture is not coming together, bearing in mind that you don’t want it to become sticky.) Pull the dough together with your hands and knead for around 2 minutes.
Divide the dough into four and roll into four balls. Place one ball of dough between two sheets of cling film and roll it out into an oval shape just under 1cm/1/2in thick, then remove the cling film and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan until very hot. Lay the flatbreads in the pan – two at a time - and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. If your pan isn’t big enough to hold two, cook them one at a time, keeping the previous breads warm in a clean tea towel until ready to eat. Serve immediately.