flatbread & rituals
Our annual midwinter fest celebrations, weekly bread making and breaking, the cleaning of the face and teeth every night, tea ceremonies, the daily hot shower after a long workday, lighting the candles every dark winter eve, the clearing of the dinner table before enjoying a meal and holding hands before digging in. These are all small gestures yet powerful tools. They are daily, weekly, monthly or yearly rituals that add intent, awareness, gratitude, emotional stability, strength and focus to our lives. Rituals performed before embarking on a high-pressure task, such as speaking in front of a large crowd, reduce anxiety and give confidence. Rituals are so powerful, scientific research shows they benefit even the biggest of non-believers.
It is these exact daily, weekly and seasonal rituals that I hold so dear. I use them personally, at home and in the kitchen. I use them for myself and my family and during my workdays. One of the rituals we as a family hold dear is starting and concluding our day in the safety of our bed. Every morning, when our daughter Lou wakes, my husband or I bring her into our bed and we hug, read, snooze, lie still and laugh for 30 minutes or so. It affirms the intent of connection, security and joy. It makes the transition from the calm night to the active day easier, as we slide into the morrow slowly and steadily. The day ends in the exact same way. Before Lou goes to bed in the evening we three get into ‘the big bed’ and lie still, read and hug. Lou is allowed to then switch off all of the (night) lights. We stare out of the window into the dark. It is in this moment that we realize, once again, it is evening and time to take our winding down to a peak, to get into bed and take deep rest.
This is just one example of the many ritual adventures I embark on daily. The end of the year has invited me to explore which rituals work and I want to continue with and which rituals are perhaps passé and could be let go off. And I have been thinking about the new rituals I’d like to welcome into my life. One of them is baking our own bread.
Bread has been baked, every single day, for the past 30.000 years and has therefore clearly owned the title of daily ritual. The first breads were un-yeasted flatbreads, made from simple ingredients such as flour and water. A little later, perhaps by accident, perhaps not, flour was fermented to create a sourdough base. Bread became fluffier and a little easier to absorb. It has been a powerful, praised and much revered food for tens of thousands of years. Nowadays the nutritional, healing and ritualistic value of (baking) bread has dropped dramatically. We handed the task of baking our bread to the supermarkets, they did a good job at making bad loaves so we chucked eating it altogether. We curse it even. Yet when prepared and baked using the right ingredients and techniques, bread can be nourishing and healing. (Read more about the healing powers of bread here.)
There is something truly magical and empowering about making your own bread from scratch. It connects you to the past, to those who’ve baked bread before you. It connects you to the present, by infusing the dough with your love and attention. And it connects you to the future, by making something that will nourish you and your family later.
A ritual such as this one heightens your enjoyment of the food you eat and makes it less likely for you to overeat or throw it away mindlessly. It creates a sense of value and appreciation that is beyond. And this is when food becomes nourishment.
Below I share my favourite (rituals) of last week and a simple recipe for making your own flatbreads. To make it even simpler I have taped a ‘how-to-bake-your-own-flatbread’ video with instructions too! You can find it here.
Happy holidays, lovely Christmas, merry midwinter!
RECIPE & FAVOURITES
WHAT I’VE MADE
I have reorganized our entire bookcase, which takes up the whole of our living room wall. My father in law started the process and since I am a giant lover of organization I have used his initiative to indulge in more clearing and structuring.
WHAT I’VE READ
I’ve read an online article about ‘The power of simple food rituals.’
WHAT I’VE SEEN
I have been replaying a Dutch documentary series called Fresco’s Paradise, it’s about food and history. This specific episode is about Japan, rice and rituals.
This gorgeous cooking video is by Valentina who shares a cake that’s filled with memories and tradition.
And I saw this campfire bread stick recipe video by Kinfolk.
WHAT I’VE LOVED
Hubs and I’ve enjoyed a plant-powered 8-course dinner at restaurant Vaartsche Rijn. It was fully vegan and included dishes such as cavolo nero with beetroot and cacao, smoked, pickled, pureed and baked cauliflower with a hazelnut tuile and sea buckthorn in lemon vanilla ‘water’ with preserved elderflowers. I tasted every bit of the care and attention that these dishes were created with.
WHAT I’VE COOKED
I’ve made my very first sourdough starter (for pancakes and breads) and baked many variations of flatbreads. I made a simple one with deluxe toppings, like the recipe I share below. And I have experimented with adding spices to the flatbread dough. I loved the one with cardamom and clementine zest, it tastes like a breath of fresh air.
Makes 2 flatbreads
Takes 10 minutes
100 grams wholegrain (sprouted) spelt flour
75 ml filtered water
1 large pinch sea salt (optional)
To make two flatbreads: combine whole (sprouted) flour, sea salt & water. Knead and shape into ping pong sized balls. Cover with moist cloth and let sit for 30 minutes. Use rolling pin to spread each ball out into flat disc. Place into skillet and continuously use your fingertips to turn disc so it won’t burn. Do this with both sides until the disc has slightly hardened but not browned yet. Remove skillet and place dough disc straight onto fire. Turn it around every few seconds until disc starts to puff up. Place to the side and repeat until all discs are done.
Ideas for toppings:
1.Cashew paté with chicory and bloodorange
50 grams raw cashews
1 tsp nutritional yeast
3-4 drops raw apple cider vinegar
2 pinches sea salt
2 pinches fresh thyme or oregano, leaves
1 small chicory bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood orange, in segments
1 hand arugula
½ red onion, pickled*
Fresh thyme or oregano
Sea salt, to taste
Place cashews in blender with 150 ml water. Blend and pass through cheese cloth. Store cashew milk in airtight container and use pulp. Place pulp in bowl and add nutri yeats, vinegar, sea salt and herbs. Mix using your hands, press together slightly. *Make pickled red onion by putting the rings in a container, top with apple cider vinegar and store in fridge for a day or so. They keep for a very long time so you may choose to make a larger batch. To finish the cashew flatbreads: place paté on or in flatbread and sprinkle with chicory, orange, arugula, onion, sea salt and fresh herbs.
2.Pumpkin puree with samphire and pomegranate
½ small Hokkaido pumpkin
1 small hand samphire
1 small hand pomegranate seeds
½ small red onion, pickled*
2 pinches rose petals, finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Cut pumpkin in half and place half on baking tray in preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Scoop out the seeds and use the puree. Spread puree on to flatbread and top with samphire, pomegranate, pickled red onion, rose petals and sea salt.
photos, recipe and text (c) (copyright) kyra. at kyra’s kitchen.