Stolen time is the best kind. I love short periods of existence when I am somewhere but nowhere, when friends and family have a vague notion of my geographical location but no purchase on my plans. This sort of time works differently to normal time, hours shift in stops and starts and creative projects are quietly absorbing. It is wonderful to exist for a while without the bump and scrape of others, without the hum. At the beginning of the year I spent several days alone in a snow-muffled cabin on the Isle of Skye. It was in the highest village on the island and I would sit and stare out at the deep, frosted valley beneath, listening to the crackle of fire in the hearth. I ate wedges of dark, toasted barley bread from the Isle of Skye Baking Co. with butter and marmalade and drank mug after mug of hot chocolate. At night it was inky black, not another soul in sight and on one of those nights there was a screaming storm that woke me and left a fresh blanket of perfect snow across the hills. The next morning the stillness was tangible and unnerving.
Almost one year later and I have found my way to another Island, this time on the other side of the world, for some days of uninterrupted existence. Waiheke Island is a paradise of secluded beaches and hills that rolls much like the hills in England. Time spent here is spent on the empty beach, skirting the rural furrows of vineyards or sat in the sun, one leg across the other knee watching my foot gently sway with my heartbeat. I am eating fat, crisp squares of pumpkin pizza and drinking cup after cup of dusty tea from the depths of my little Bach (kiwi holiday home) kitchen. I made the pizza before my trip, baking it the night before and sandwiching the slices in baking paper to bring across on the ferry. I adore this simple crust, I suppose it’s somewhere between a pizza and a tart in that it does not require yeast or kneading but is still a crisp base topped with cheese. Pumpkin and goats cheese is a sweet and salty combination I will never tire of. I have made this in many forms with many flours and flavour combinations but the use of Spelt flour feels particularly wholesome and nutty. This is what I want to take out of my back pack when I sit down on the beach to watch the waves and it’s what I want to eat when it’s dark outside and I’m blissfully alone.
Simple Spelt Pizza Dough
400g Spelt Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1. Preheat oven to 200C degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
3. Combine water and oil and add to dry ingredients.
5. Knead for several minutes until soft dough is formed. Add more flour water as needed
6. Roll dough into square on baking paper to fit large baking tray, roughly 1/2 inch thick, place into tra and prick all over with a fork.
7. Pre bake for 10 minutes. Prepare toppings whilst dough is baking.
8. Remove from oven and top (I use a tin of tomatoes that I cooked for several minutes with a chopped red onion and then a crumbled log of soft goats cheese, half a sliced eggplant and about a cup of roasted pumpkin). Drizzle with olive oil.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until topping is bubbling and browning slightly on top.