With summer finally starting to come to the party with warm weather, it feels like a good time to try your hand at making something from scratch, especially if you haven't done so before. Muesli can be expensive to buy but very simple and satisfying to make. This one is a great combination of cardamom and pistachio, although feel free to experiment with other nuts and spices. The basics of baking bread would need an entire column to itself (and there are excellent books around for that) but making your own flatbreads is a super simple way to get a feel for making dough. And cheesemaking itself is a science, but this simple Mediterranean soft cheese, labneh, is again an easy starting point.
Cardamom pistachio muesli
This is a simple combination of flavours that works extremely well together. Enjoy at breakfast time, or sprinkled over Greek-style yoghurt with some roasted stone fruit (peaches or nectarines or apricots) for a simple dessert.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
2 cups oats
½ cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
2/3 cup sultanas or raisins
½ tsp cardamom
Small pinch cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
In a large frying pan, on a medium-low heat, gently heat the oil and the honey together.
Add the oats, and stir quickly to cover in the liquid, for a couple of minutes.
Add all other ingredients, and stirring constantly, cook for about 7 minutes, keeping a close eye to ensure it doesn't burn.
Once the mixture is golden and gently toasted, remove from heat and allow to cool before storing in a jar or airtight container.
These are yeast-free and very quick and easy. Serve them at a barbecue instead of buying bread (they can be cooked on the hot plate) or with pulled pork or beans and slaw. They also work as a substitute for tortillas in tacos, or roti for curry.
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp oil (any neutral oil)
Place flour and oil in a medium bowl.
Slowly add the boiling water and, using a fork, stir constantly. Stop adding the water once the dough has bound into a ball.
Dust flour on your bench and turn the ball out. Knead the dough for a good 6-8 minutes.
Divide dough into small balls (about 12 should be about right) and roll out into circles using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle).
Heat a frying pan (preferably cast iron) to a medium-low heat, and cook each flatbread for about a minute each side.
Labneh is very easy to make. It's a thickened, strained yoghurt, which becomes a soft cheese. It will complement other things on a platter, but it also works well with savoury or sweet dishes - try it on toast with jam. You can also roll it into balls and roll in fresh or dried herbs, then drizzle in olive oil.
2 cups natural or Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp sea salt
Line a sieve with a cheesecloth. Stir the salt through the yoghurt then pour into the cloth. Place over a bowl and leave in the fridge at least overnight but ideally for two days.
Remove from the cheesecloth and serve immediately (or make into balls).
Keep in an airtight container or jar for up to two weeks.
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mixed herbs (such as parsley, mint, dill, chives, tarragon)
Zest of half a lemon
½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Mix the herbs with the lemon zest. Roll the labneh into balls, then roll in the herb mixture.
Place in a jar and pour over the olive oil.
Keep in the fridge for two weeks.