Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread 4A

Seven months after our lives were turned upside down by the Christchurch earthquake, we have finally settled into our own home in Nelson.  The last of the boxes (well, all bar two) have been unpacked;  the guest bedrooms have been painted in readiness for anyone who wants to come for a visit;  a new hot-water cylinder has been installed so that a decent shower is now a possibility; paintings have been hung;  and plans are underway for a new kitchen.

We are beginning to feel "at home" in our house and in this new community, and with that my inspiration to find my way back to the heart of my home - the kitchen - has returned.  I have unpacked all my cookbooks and spent hours pouring through them all, enjoying coming back to ones that I haven't opened for a long time, and I'm inspired by the abundance of beautiful fruit and vegetables and great small producers that I find at our local market.

This weekend I picked up some beautiful local cheeses and chorizo at the market, and was inspired by a recipe from Return of the Naked Chef, by Jamie Oliver, to make this Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread to accompany them.  Although it didn't quite start out that way - it was going to be a cheese, chilli and paprika flatbread, but when I went to the pantry looking for dried chillies and paprika, somehow dried figs and walnuts were what jumped into my hands.

This bread was easy to make, has great texture, keeps well, and the filling turns this into a great "stand alone" bread.  Hope you'll give it a try.

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Jamie Oliver
(Makes 2 large loaves)
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

For the bread:
3 teaspoons dried yeast
1 tablespoon honey
625ml (1-1/4 pints) tepid water
1kg (2.2 lbs) high grade flour
2 teaspoons salt
extra flour for dusting

For the filling:
6 dried figs
200g (7 oz) blue cheese
1 cup walnuts

Dissolve yeast and honey in half of the tepid water, and set aside until a thick foam forms on top of the water.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, making a well in the centre.  Pour the frothy yeast mixture into the centre and then, using your hand, stir in a circular motion, gradually drawing more flour into the centre until all of the yeasty liquid has been absorbed.  Pour in the remaining tepid water and continue mixing until all the flour has been incorporated and you have a nice moist dough - use more liquid if necessary.

Dust a board or bench top with some extra flour, turn your dough ball out and knead vigorously for about 8 minutes. 

Flour your hands well, and sprinkle a little flour over the top of the dough.  Form into a ball and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife, cover with a clean tea towel, and set aside to prove until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Soak the figs in a little hot water until soft and plump, then chop coarsely.  Toast the walnuts until golden;  chop coarsely.  Put the chopped figs and walnuts into a small bowl, crumble in the blue cheese, and mix together well.  Set aside.

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread 7A

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F).

When the dough has doubled in size, punch the air out of it and knead again for a minute or so.  Cut the dough into four equal sized pieces.  Set three pieces aside and cover with a tea towel, while you work with the first piece.

Roll the first piece of dough out into something vaguely resembling a large oval shape, and about the length of your baking sheet.  Place the rolled out dough onto the lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle half of the fig, walnut and cheese mixture over the top, leaving a 2 cm (1 inch) border. 

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread 6A

Roll out the second piece of dough to roughly the same size and shape (you don't need to be too precise), and drape this piece of dough over the top.  Press the edges together.  Make three or four deep slashes down the length of the bread, and stretch to open up the slashes exposing the filling.

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread 5A

Now repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Set loaves aside to prove for another 20-30 minutes, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

This would be a great addition to an antipasto platter, or tear into chunks and serve with your favourite soup.

Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Flatbread 1A

I'm sharing this post at I Heart Cooking Clubs, where this week we have our final week of cooking with Jamie.  Do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up for our farewell to Jamie, and find out who we'll be cooking with for the next six months ....


.... and check out Jamies Italy and many of his other great titles, available from Amazon or Fishpond NZ.

Jamie's Italy     Jamie's Kitchen     The Naked Chef


  1. Yay! Glad to hear you're settled in, won't be long til you're here for NZFBC and I can see you again ^_^

  2. Sounds lovely!

    Also glad to hear you're settling in. I imagine the weather is much nicer up there too

  3. @SasaThanks Sasa. It definitely feels nice to at last have found some kind of "normal". Getting very excited about NZFBC - can't wait to catch up with you again xo

  4. @Zo @ Two Spoons Thanks Zo. Feeling really happy here, and totally loving the weather - glorious sunshine almost every day :-)

  5. I'm happy that you are settling in to your new home and community. There is nothing that feels better than that. If I were not so "yeast phobic", I would be making this bread sometime this week. I love the blue cheese, fig and walnut combination. It looks absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe! Have a great week, Candace

  6. @Candace Thanks so much. The blue cheese, figs and walnuts is a great combo :-)

  7. This sounds and looks absolutely lovely, Sue. I'm happy to hear that things are starting to have some sense of normalcy again. I can't imagine what the past seven months have been like for you. So glad to hear your words and know that all is well :D

  8. Susan, so wonderful to read you are getting settled into your new home. I can only imagine how life has been, I know you will cherish the days ahead! Also very glad you are heading back to the kitchen, I look forward to your wonderful posts.

  9. Wow, that looks so picturesque and delicious! I never on earth would have thought a) to make a flatbread with filling or b) to combine blue cheese with figs. I can't wrap my mind around what such a combination would taste like, but since I enjoy both, I'm sure the combination would be terrific!
    Thanks for linking up to the Hearth and Soul Blog hop!

  10. Beautiful! What a great bread. And thanks so much for fixing up a room for me! ;-) xoxo

  11. Ciao Sue, glad that you are settled now, Nelson is a lovely place :-) and I look forward to hearing more about the wonderful produce that you can get there!

    Lovely flat bread, yum!


    don't forget the Sweet New Zealand blogging event (you can recycle an old recipe for it) this month hosted by Allison of Pease Pudding. Info here http://peasepudding.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/sweet-new-zealand/

  12. Sue - I am so happy to hear that you have a new home and are settled. It must have been a great feeling to open up your cookbooks and relax in your new place.

    This is a beautiful bread recipe and I simply love the filling you chose. It looks incredible!

  13. Glad to hear things are going well in Nelson, enjoy getting to know the area and your new kitchen! This bread sounds wonderful - what a gorgeous mix of flavours.

  14. Hi Sue - I was happy when Couscous & Consciousness popped up in my email - I knew it was going to be any day. It must feel good settling in and connecting with all your old blog friends.
    The recipe looks fabulous, stuffed flatbread-yum!
    Can't wait to visit Nelson and check out the farmers’s market.

  15. @girlichef Thanks Heather. Has certainly been an "interesting" seven months, but has been great to have the support and friendship of lots of wonderful people - like you :-) xo

  16. @Melynda Thanks, Melynda - it is amazing how comforting it is to be finding some kind of routine again xo

  17. @Penniless Parenting Hi - the blue cheese and figs are a great combination - hope you'll give it a try. Thanks for visiting my blog, hope you'll drop by again :-)

  18. @Natashya KitchenPuppies Looking forward to your visit, Natshya - you'll be welcome here anytime xo

  19. @Alessandra I have my eyes peeled for the first asparagus and artichokes which should be arriving any time now - love spring. Will definitely be participating in Sweet New Zealand this month xo

  20. @Kim Thanks so much, Kim. Definitely loving exploring the cookbooks again xo

  21. @hungryandfrozen Thanks, Laura - bought the oven for the new kitchen today - very exciting xo

  22. @Clare
    You're so right, Clare - it's really lovely reconnecting with the wonderful blogging community again. We're looking forward to your visit - you'll love the market xo

  23. Glad you're starting to feel at home in Nelson, Sue! Love this combination of flavours. I've got so much blue cheese in the fridge right now... will have to keep it in mind :)

  24. @milliemirepoix Thanks. Hope you give it a try - this would make a great home for some of your blue cheese surplus xo

  25. I am SO GLAD things are starting to turn around for your guys. That makes me incredibly happy.

    What a way to kick start your return to normal! This flatbread has all of my favorite things in it!

  26. Hi Sue,
    It's great to know that you are settling down in your new home. Wish you lots of joy, happiness, laughter and good health in your new home.
    And it is nice to see that you are back in action at your kitchen. The bread looks fabulous, I can tell how full of flavour it must be. I have not baked with blue cheese before, should really give it a try one of these days!
    Thanks for sharing, looking forward to another one of your delicious post. Have a lovely day!

  27. I congrats you Sue by settling down in your new hoem. What lovely blog you have Sue, the bread look amazing, Im following you!! gloria

  28. This looks so delicious! What a great combination of flavors!

  29. I am SO happy to hear that you're getting settled!!! I've felt awful for the loss you and yours have experienced. I am glad that there has been some sunshine come your way.
    The bread looks marvelous. :),
    Miriam@Mealtess Meals For Meat Eaters

  30. This is beautiful! Great flavors too.

    I'm glad to hear that things are coming together. It's been a long road.

  31. I am so glad to hear how you have settled in and doing well. This bread looks amazing--I think the figs and walnuts are a great addition. ;-)

  32. Sue, it is good to hear you have normalcy in your life once again. I always think of you as a grounded person and to get through what you have gone through proves, I am correct.

    Your enthusiasm for cooking is coming through and this bread must be proof of it. I have never seen anything this delicious looking --- ok, not never. It is fabulous.

    I appreciate your linking it up to Meatless Mondays. If you have a moment, I am going to impose and ask if you could link it to Bake with Bizzy. It is different than what we have right now and would be a good balance. While, you are there, take a look at some of the treats, foodies make. Good to have you active again. If you start your linky, please let me know. http://bizzybakesb.blogspot.com/2011/09/bake-with-bizzy_21.html

  33. You had me at dried figs. Your bread looks wonderful! And having moved to a whole new town in another state 6 months ago,I understand a little bit.

  34. This bread sounds amazing...what a wonderful combination of flavours, must add it to my bread baking repertoire :) Hope you are enjoying sunny Nelson.


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