Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Tutor with Food to Glow

Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers
Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers


Each Tuesday I ask a friend to be my tutor for a day. I select one of their original recipes, I follow my friend's recipe instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I sample the results - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



I first met Kellie through the Made with Love Mondays food series. And she found me, not the other way around. I'm not quite sure how she found me, but I'm so thankful she did because her dedication to nutritious food - food to make you glow - is a perfect fit with the from-scratch theme of Made with Love Mondays. And her creative use of a stunning array of vegetables is particularly inspiring for me. Because I'm always scratching my head when it comes to vegetables and salads: how do I liven-up greens or cheer up carrots? The answer is now obvious - check Food to Glow for ideas!

Kellie is fortunate (incredibly so) to not only blog about food but also to work with food every day as an educationist and nutrition adviser for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres. I'll be honest - the thought of helping cancer patients every day sounds vastly more rewarding than my sad day-job (working for a chemical company) or even my non-paid job of writing about food and snapping photos. It's not just Kellie's food that inspires me - it's her life.

So please give a big welcome to Kellie - Welcome, Kellie! And thank you so much for being my tutor!



Kellie from Food to Glow
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Kellie Anderson is the cancer health educationist and food writer behind Food to Glow, a blog promoting plant-based, real food eating, but with an occasional decadent treat. Nutrition and food history information is sometimes in there too, but it is really about the recipes and seasonal ingredients. Her cat Max sometimes photobombs for attention.

Featured Recipe: Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers


More About Today's Tutor
  1. Although I have never been to the Far East or Middle East, these are foods I am drawn to and write about fairly often. I love the complex flavours and largely wholesome ingredients typical of these cuisine types. I hope to go to Vietnam and Cambodia next year to explore and feed my food passion, but I am a bit nervous of the livestock markets. Yes, I am a ninny.
     
  2. We used to share an allotment (a stake in a community garden where you grow on your own little plot with others), but I was so hopeless at distinguishing between weed and plant that I was only allowed to do the heavy digging and make sure the kids didn't get into the sharp tools. I am a little better now and grow a variety of greens and Japanese vegetables.
     
  3. I used to be mainly vegan for ages but started eating fish when I was pregnant. I found that this change had a hugely positive impact on my energy levels, so I have stuck with a mainly plant-based diet with occasional fish and organic meat. I really encourage my patients and clients to listen to their body about what foods energise and what foods make them sluggish. No one diet seems to have the answer for everyone, and needs can change over time. Listen to your body: it will tell you what it wants.
     
  4. I love all things savoury and a bit salty. I do eat the odd cake, chocolate and sweet thing, but I would arm wrestle you for the last cheese plate at a fancy restaurant. Or the last kale chip, but that seems a bit sad really!
     
  5. My perfect food day would start with a sunny morning eating poached eggs with spicy kale outside; my cats at my feet and the morning newspaper in my lap. The perfect ending would be a thin slice of black truffle brie eaten off the knife, and a cuddle with my daughter.



How to Make: Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers
For a printable recipe and complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

Flour, Salt and Baking Powder in Sifter
Sift together 1 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (or use spelt flour as Kellie recommends), 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

Whisking Sifted Ingredients Together
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Fennel Seed in Coffee Grinder
Crush or grind 2 teaspoons of fennel seed.

Spice Mix for Crackers
To the fennel seed, add 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds and a couple pinches of cracked black pepper.

Spice Mixture Whisked into Dry Ingredients
Add spice mix to the flour and whisk together thoroughly.

Lemon Juice Water in Measuring Cup
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into 1/2 cup of water.

Lemon Water and Olive Oil Added to Dry Ingredients
Add the lemon water and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the dry ingredients.

Cracker Dough Before Kneading
Stir the dough together with a spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl to bring the dough together.

Cracker Dough Turned Out onto Floured Board
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 20 times.

Flattened Disk of Cracker Dough After Kneading
Flatten the dough into a rough disk.

Disk of Cracker Dough Wrapped in Plastic
Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Cracker Dough Divided into 4 Pieces
After the dough has chilled, form the dough into a log and slice into 4 equal pieces.

1/4 of Cracker Dough Rolled Thin
Roll out one of the pieces of the dough as thinly as possible. If the dough resists rolling or snaps back, allow it to rest a few minutes, then continue rolling out. This may take 5 minutes or so.

Cracker Dough Trimmed and Divided into Crackers
Trim the dough and cut into pieces. You can do simple rustic rectangles like mine or you can cut out different shapes or circles instead.

Baking Sheet Lined with Parchment Paper
Transfer the cutouts to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Fleur de Sel Salt for Finishing Crackers
Prick the crackers in several places with a fork, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a coarse finishing salt. I used fleur de sel but you could use any finishing salt you like.

Crackers Brushed with Olive Oil and Sprinkled with Salt
Be generous when brushing the crackers with olive oil but be careful not to over-salt the crackers - a little salt goes a long way.

Baked Crispy Flatbread Crackers
Bake the crackers at 425F until golden and lightly browned at the edges, about 10-12 minutes. I like my crackers a little darker, a little crispier. Repeat with the previous 3 sections of remaining dough.

Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers Closeup
Transfer the baked crackers to a wire rack to finish cooling. The crackers will continue to "bake" for another 2-3 minutes after you remove them from the oven, so watch them carefully to avoid over-baking.

Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers
Nosh. These crackers are particularly tasty with cheese but could be paired with a whole variety of dips.


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • Have you heard the word? The word is crispy! These crackers are delightfully crisp, especially when you let them get the tiniest bit browned around the edges. In fact, I actually think the overall cracker flavor is improved with a little toasting, so don't be afraid of letting these crackers go a little beyond blond.
     
  • These crispy little devils are so addictive! It's hard to have just one - my mouth kept craving that next crunch, the next little hit of salt - and more of that delightful toasted flavor. I especially enjoyed these with cheese. But then given my addiction to cheese, is that any surprise? I'd imagine these would also be tasty with hummus (such as Kellie's beetroot hummus shown below) or a rich pate.
     
  • I found I needed to bake my crackers for 10-12 minutes at 425F to achieve the level of toasted crispness I wanted. However, I also rotated the baking sheet halfway through the bake-time to ensure even toasting, so that could have added an extra minute or two to the bake time. Just be careful to watch these crackers closely during the final couple of minutes. They go from toasted to burned so quickly!
     
  • Fennel is the dominant flavor for these crackers, so if you're not a fennel fan, use something else. Kellie has a number of helpful flavor suggestions on her blog and I really want to try these with a little celery seed. Or maybe with just poppy and sesame seeds. Be brave, pick a flavor you love and go with it.

14 comments:

  1. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)July 9, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Mmmmm these crackers look great!!! Love meeting another blogger too!

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  2. Kellie@foodtoglowJuly 9, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    Thanks so much for inviting me to be your Tuesday Tutor - what an honour! I loved how you approached this simple recipe, explaining how to get them extra snappy if you want. Yours look beautiful. I didn't mention in my post but I used an amazing purple volcanic salt from Iceland. A wee bit niche but so lovely. Your fleur de sel or flaky English Maldon salt are great too. I hope your readers enjoy this easy recipe. Cheers Mark!

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  3. The crackers were very tasty & so simple to make. And there's a world of options to customize these - I've already got plans ;) So glad you enjoyed meeting Kellie, Kayle :)

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  4. It was a real pleasure having you as my Tutor, Kellie, and I'm so glad I selected to bake these crackers. They're so versatile and so many different ways to customize them for different purposes. I have never seen purple volcanic salt before, but now I'm going to look because I have pink and black already ;) And I'm so glad you enjoyed the post :)

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  5. OOoh I so have to try this recipe, it sounds fantastic! How have I missed it before? I love Kellie's recipes - she's such an inspiration and her photos make me want to jump in and start eating. :)

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  6. kellie@foodtoglowJuly 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Thanks Kayle :-) Mark did a wonderful job with them. So glad you like them

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  7. I agree, Elizabeth. Her photos are stunning and I love the WAY she stages food. There's so many different styles and techniques out there, but she has a way of making the food come alive. I'm so glad you enjoyed these crackers!

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  8. kellie@foodtoglowJuly 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Gosh, Elizabeth, you're almost making me blush with your fabulously generous comment. I hope you find time to try them.

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  9. Another great tutor! I've done very little in the way of baking my own crackers, but it's something I want to do. So many of the store bought ones have unpleasant ingredient lists, plus by the time I buy them they're weeks (probably months) old. Do I really want to eat them? So crackers are one of the things I really need to get on my to-do list. Fun post - thanks.

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  10. I hope you get the chance to bake up a batch of crackers - there's definitely a time commitment but I was surprised at how straightforward and simple the whole process was. And thanks to Kellie, now I don't really have an excuse to buy them ;)

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  11. mjskit @mjskitchen.comJuly 11, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    WOW - they do look addicting!! Great tutorial Mark! I could probably make a meal out of a plate of these crackers. Nice to meet Kellie!

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  12. I agree, MJ! I practically did make a meal out of these with a little cheese one day. They're so much more appealing than the stuff from a box... I'm so glad you enjoyed getting to meet Kellie!

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  13. This looks absolutely delicious! I love the sound of home made crackers and will give it a go! The beetroot "hummus" sounds delicious

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  14. I hope you do get a chance to give Kellie's crackers a try, Petra. They're delicious and so may different flavor possibilities! And I agree - the beetroot hummus is gorgeous!

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