Over the past week I’ve been leafing through The Natural Food Kitchen, the second cookbook from Jordan Bourke. Just to clear this up right away, I love it.
Much like Jordan’s previous book, ‘The Guilt-Free Gourmet’, The Natural Food Kitchen aims to get natural, healthy food into the homes and bellies of the nation. I’m all about this message.
I’ve come across loads of books, blogs and speakers who are on the same mission as Jordan, and I think The Natural Food Kitchen actually nails it. The recipes in this book are familiar, not frightening, and the “alternative ingredients” (coconut palm sugar as opposed to standard refined sugar for example) can easily be slowly integrated into the kitchen cupboards.
It’s not pretentious or holier-than-thou, Jordan Bourke genuinely wants you to have everything you need to eat better long term and that passion comes across beautifully throughout the book.
I’ve tried a couple of recipes so far, the first was Pissaladière – made here with spelt flour – which was just gorgeous. I’ve included this recipe at the end of the post so you can try it for yourself. It’s easy to follow and well worth the tears you’ll cry whilst chopping five onions!
The second was with my Nan, she took a shine to the rhubarb crumble recipe and decided she wanted to give it a try after decades of making it the same way.
The whole family absolutely loved this recipe. We’d never thought to flavour the rhubarb in the way suggested here (but will do forever from now on) and the spelt crumble was just gorgeous, no bloating!
250g/2 cups white spelt flour | 1 teaspoon easy blend dried yeast (about 1/2 a 7g sachet) | 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar | extra virgin olive oil | 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus a little extra to serve | 5 large onions (about 1kg/2 1/4 lbs.), peeled and sliced thinly | few sprigs of thyme | 2 garlic cloves, crushed | 25 stoned/pitted black olives
Place the flour, yeast, coconut palm sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in 125ml of warm-hot water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring together and then with one hand, lift the entire dough into the air and slap it very firmly back down into the bowl. Repeat this movement 10 times.
It will be sticky at this point, but tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until it is no longer as sticky and has become smooth in appearance. Use a little more flour as you go to keep it from sticking, but make sure you use the minimum possible. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise in a warm place (near a turned-on oven or radiator is best) for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Meanwhile, place the onions, thyme and 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan/skillet and place over a low heat. Cook very gently for 30 minutes, add in the garlic and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring now and again until the onions are very soft and sweet, but not brown. Set aside.
Beat back the dough, tip out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into either 4 small or 1 large rectangular shape. Carefully move onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 245C (475F) Gas 9. After the second rising, dimple the dough with your fingertips, leaving the edges as they are. Cover with the onions and the olives. If you are not vegetarian, pissaladiere is often topped with anchovies, traditionally in a criss-cross pattern. Personally, I don’t really like my pissaladiere looking like a stain glass window so I leave it more rustic looking.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the dough is cooked and the edges are crisp and golden. Drizzle over a little olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and then serve immediately.
The Natural Food Kitchen by Jordan Bourke, photography by Tara Fisher, published by Ryland Peters & Small rrp £16.99