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A sprinkling of spelt

PUBLISHED: 11:24 22 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:24 22 June 2015

PHOTO: Lara Holmes

PHOTO: Lara Holmes

PHOTO: Lara Holmes

Mulberry founder Roger Saul has come up with a different set of marvellous creations

Also the owner of Kilver Court designer village in Shepton Mallet, Roger Saul has continued to invest his time and energy in Somerset. At Sharpham Park, a 300 acre estate near Glastonbury, Roger has grown, harvested and milled organic spelt since 2004, paying particular attention to ensuring the ancient grain is produced in an organic and eco-friendly way.

His latest recipe book Spelt is inspired by the versatility of the popular grain, and his determination to make sure that the products he produces and champions are understood and supported by education and instruction.

The collection of homely recipes found inside includes a host of ideas inspired by Roger’s own most cherished family meals. Also featured is a selection of spelt dishes from friends of Sharpham Park, including Mark Hix, Sven-Hanson Britt, Signe Johansen and Amanda Hamilton.

The wide variety of tempting treats means cooks will find ideas for all occasions, from elegant dinner party fare to quick week day snacks. This is not a book with standard recipes with a bit of spelt added or substituted.

Roger says: “Spelt is highly nutritious with tonnes of iron, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese.

“Spelt is one of today’s healthiest grains. Its unique gluten structure makes it easier to digest than modern wheat so it’s the friend of anyone who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or wheat intolerance.

Spelt has a low GI, is high in fibre and is an excellent source of slow release energy.

“The Romans called it their ‘marching grain’.

“It is a healthy source of protein and is known to aid the prevention and treatment of a variety of ailments and conditions.”

Seeded crackers with smoked mackerel dip

MAKES: 20 crackers

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling

COOKING TIME: 5 minutes

FOR THE CRACKERS:

2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing

220g/8oz/ 1¾ cups white spelt flour, or equal quantities of white and wholegrain spelt flour, plus extra for dusting

¾ tsp fine sea salt, plus extra for brushing

¾ tsp baking powder

3 tbsp mixed seeds, such as flaxseed, poppy, chia, sesame

FOR THE SMOKED MACKEREL DIP

2 skinless smoked mackerel fillets

200ml/7fl oz/1 cup crème fraiche

2 tbsp horseradish sauce

1 bunch parsley or dill, plus extra, roughly chopped to garnish

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

A pinch of black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Lightly oil a large bowl.

2. Put the flour, salt and baking powder in another large bowl, mix well and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and 125ml/4 fl oz/½ cup ice- cold water.

3. Mix together, using a wooden spoon, to a rough dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until smooth, then flatten into a disc.

4. Transfer to the prepared bowl, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. Pre heat the oven to 200C/400 F/Gas 6 and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a thin sheet (the thinner you roll out the dough the crispier the crackers will be). Brush with oil and scatter the seeds on top, along with the extra sea salt, if you wish.

7. Cut into 20 rectangles or squares, or use a biscuit cutter if you want perfectly round or shaped crackers, then put them on a prepared baking sheet.

8. Bake for 3-5 minutes until the crackers are crisp, have risen and feel sandy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

9. Pulse all the dip ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the crackers and the dip garnished with herbs, if you like.

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