My mother just got back from a long business trip in Perth and presented me with one of about ten books she bought over there. I am not quite sure how she managed to fit so many books into her suitcase to bring home, but she did it. The book, Parrot and Olivier in America, is written by Australian author Peter Carey. I must tell you that Carey is one of only two writers in the world to have won the Booker Prize twice. My mum seemed excited about giving Parrot and Olivier in America to me. I’ve been told that the keeper of the shop highly recommended the book.
The little synopsis on the back cover is simple, whimsical and alluring.
Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatised child of survivors of the Revolution; Parrot, an Englishman who always wanted to be an artist but has ended up a servant. Through their picaresque travels in the New World – in love and politics, prisons and the world of art – Peter Carey explores the adventure of American democracy with dazzling wit and inventiveness.
It’s about time I read a good book.
There is something beautiful and rustic about homemade flatbreads. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s terrific recipe for flatbreads with honey, thyme and sea salt, this is a slightly healthier version that works well. The addition of wholemeal flour gives more texture to the flatbreads, as well as a wonderful crusty, bronzed appearance once baked. Without a doubt, a genuine crowd pleaser.
The luscious, fruity flavour of extra virgin olive oil mixed through a simple part-wholemeal dough. The crumbly, complex tang of parmesan cheese melded with the rich, syrupy sweetness of warm drizzled honey and the refreshingly zippy aroma of thyme. Oh, there are so many things right about this dreamy combination! The bold flavours of each individual component blend together seamlessly, creating a mouth-watering, savoury-sweet experience.
Crisp Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme and Sea Salt
adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup organic honey
1 tablespoon fresh/dry thyme leaves
Flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 230°C. You will want to leave the baking tray you’ll be using in the oven while it heats up.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and add the water and oil. With a wooden spoon, gently combine the ingredients until a soft dough forms.
- With your hands, gently knead the dough a few times.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll out each piece on separate sheets of baking paper into longish, rustic shapes. Roll them out thin!
- Remove preheated baking tray and slide the baking paper with rolled out dough onto the tray. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Working quickly, remove tray from oven and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated parmesan. Return tray to oven and bake for an additional 3 – 4 minutes, or until brown and crisp at the edges.
- Remove tray from oven and drizzle desired amount of honey over flatbread. Be generous! Then, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and thyme leaves.
- With a sharp knife, cut flatbread into smaller pieces.
- Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Serve warm. Best eaten the day it is baked.