FRUMENTY WITH LEEKS AND WILD GARLIC
Use this recipe as a basic template, the vegetables and flavouring ingredients are infinitely variable.
Clove of garlic, crushed
Bunch of wild garlic leaves
160g pearled spelt
Approx. 500 ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan. Add the chopped onion, leeks and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and sweat gently for 5 minutes. Meanwhile bring the chicken stock up to simmering point in another pan.
Add the pearled spelt to the vegetables and stir in enough stock to cover. Leave the pan open whilst this stock simmers away, stirring every now again to prevent the spelt sticking. Add more stock whenever the mixture is getting a bit dry. Begin tasting the spelt after about 15 minutes – it usually takes about 20 minutes to reach the right consistency – soft but still with plenty of substance. Wash and chop the wild garlic and add towards the end of the cooking time.
FRUMENTY BAKED IN THE OVEN
Frumenty predates the invention of an enclosed oven, but having made the traditional recipe, the similarity with rice pudding occurred to me and also that this would be a much easier method. I tried it, and personally prefer it made this way.
50 g pearled spelt
1 tbsp caster sugar
500 ml good creamy milk
Cinnamon (or saffron)
Cream for serving
Butter an ovenproof baking dish, ideally one that has a lid but foil can be used instead. Put the rest of the ingredients into the dish, stir and cover. Place in a low oven (120̊ C) and cook for several hours until the milk has been absorbed. Serve with additional cream.
Makes 16-18 ravioli
200 g refined spelt flour
2-3 eggs (depending on size and absorbency of the flour)
Carrier bag loosely filled with young nettle tops
Clove of garlic, finely chopped
200 g ricotta
2 tbsps of grated parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
Salt and pepper
Make your pasta dough several hours in advance; the dough will stretch more easily for having rested.
It may be frowned upon in Italy, but I usually make my pasta dough in a food processor and can judge the right consistency by when it begins to come together in a ball. Put your flour into the food processor and crack in two whole eggs. Process, and at this stage the mixture will probably form crumbs. Separate the third egg and add the yolk. Process again. If the mixture has still not formed a ball, lightly whisk the white, to break it up so that you can add a little at a time, and do so until the mixture forms a ball around the blade. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it briefly on a worktop. Put the bowl in a plastic bag and rest it in the refrigerator for several hours (up to a day).
Wash the nettle tops in a sink full of cold water. Lift the nettles out into a colander, leaving any grass or other debris behind. Place the colander in the sink. Boil a kettle of water and pour it over the nettles to remove their sting and wilt the leaves. Refresh by running briefly under cold water. Drain using the back of a wooden spoon to press out excess liquid.
Heat a mixture of oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the drained nettle tops and cook for a minute then add the chopped garlic. Cook for a further minute, leave to cool slightly, and then transfer to a food processor. Process until the nettles finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ricotta and parmesan cheese and process again to blend smoothly.
Roll the pasta dough into sheets about 10 cm wide. Place teaspoonfuls of the filling in a line along one (the shorter) sheet leaving a gap about the width of two fingers between each spoonful. Dampen a circle of the dough around each pile of filling. Lay a longer sheet of pasta dough on top of the first using your cupped finger to form a seal around the filling taking care not to create an air bubble as you do so. Cut around each raviolo (you can use a pastry cutter, knife or scissors). Now take each raviolo and seal firmly between your thumb and forefinger. This is another opportunity to check for air bubbles, which you should be able to expel before sealing firmly.
Bring a large pan of well salted water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile melt some butter in a saucepan to serve as a sauce. Drop the ravioli into the boiling water. You will probably need to cook them in two batches, removing the first with a slotted spoon when cooked, but they take only a few minutes. The ravioli are cooked when they have all risen to the surface. Drain, but only briefly, before turning in the melted butter.
Season with freshly cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese before serving.
SPELT, ROSEMARY AND RAISIN BREAD
10g fresh yeast (or 5g traditional dried yeast)
300 ml water
500g refined white spelt flour
Blend the yeast in the water then stir in the flour. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature overnight.
20g sea salt
300 ml warm water
500g wholemeal spelt flour
Overnight sponge (see above)
Needles from a 10 cm length of fresh Rosemary
Begin by melting the butter and infusing it with the chopped rosemary needles.
Dissolve the salt in the warm water and then stir in the flour. Add the overnight sponge mixture and melted butter/rosemary. Knead together to make a smooth dough, adding more water if required.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, stretch it out into a large oblong (as large as it will go without tearing). Sprinkle the raisins evenly across the dough and then fold one-third of the dough over, followed by the other side so that the raisins are enclosed. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the stretching and folding. This will incorporate the raisins more easily than kneading as well as giving the gluten in the dough a good stretch. Fold the dough into thirds a final time before placing in a bowl, covering and leaving in a warm place to prove for about 1½-2 hours.
Shape into two small loaves or 16 individual rolls. Push any extruding raisins back under the surface or they will burn during cooking.
Heat the oven to 220˚C whilst the loaves or rolls rise again.
Rolls will bake in only 10-15 minutes, for loaves the oven temperature should be reduced to 180˚C after this time and the bread baked for a further quarter of an hour.