We are still sans-oven


It’s becoming a pain now. I think it has been almost two months. Apparently our oven manufacturer went bust a few years ago, so new elements have to be ordered individually, and hand-crafted by artisans up an Italian mountain. Or something.

In any case, I’m heartily sick of it. And I’m tired of wet, sloppy, hob-cooked food. You can keep your risotto, mash and soup for a good few months. I want pizza, crusty, cheesy pasta al forno, and proper bread.

Fortunately, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Wednesday is apparently the day. I have mozzarella and bread dough ready and waiting!

The lack of an oven has, however, forced me to get to grips with sourdough flatbread. From eggy naan dotted with nigella seeds, to tortillas, to my latest creation – cheese and ham stuffed flatbread things.

I made these for our trip to France to stock up on wine for the wedding. For Oli’s entire childhood, his mother apparently baked dozens of ‘cheese baps’ (for a family of 6!) every time they crossed the channel. Ferries, I am told, are not the same without them.

Sans-oven, I have been forced to improvise. And mmmmmmmm I shall definitely be doing these again. Blackened, crusty layers of bread, stuffed with salty ham and slightly smoky-tasting cheddar.

Who needs an oven anyway?

Cheese and ham flatbreads

Take a load of bread dough (I used sourdough) and let it rise once.

Divide into balls of about 100g, and then cut these in two.

On floured greaseproof paper, roll each 50g dollop out into a big circle – about 7″ across.

Leaving a 1″ gap around the edge, lay down a thin layer of ham on one dough circle. Cover the ham with a decent sprinkle of grated cheddar.

Run round the outside of the lower round with a damp pastry brush, then lay the other round on top. Use a rolling pin to gently roll over the rounds and seal the edges.

Heat a ridged griddle pan on high for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down slightly. Pick up the flatbread and lay it down. After about two minutes, turn it 90 degrees with some tongs. Flip it over after another minute or so to cook the other side.

I’m sure these would taste amazing hot from the griddle, but they’re lovely cold and doubled over to make them easier to munch.


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