Picture this. It’s a sunny afternoon and you’re gathered around a big table with a group of people you love. There are some delicious plates of food floating around, you’re contemplating dessert and thinking, “man – life is good”.
Been there before? It’s the best. It’s also backed by science.
Social eating plays an important role in our gut health and general wellbeing. A study on wild chimpanzees showed that oxytocin levels (the feel-good, love hormone) were highest following food-sharing events. Cute, huh?
As well as promoting bonding and connection with others, oxytocin has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels in the brain and helping us calm down.
So, gather a group of your favourite humans, celebrate the warmer weather and cook some delicious food. Science says it’s healthy!
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 175g (3/4 cup) chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes
- Pinch of salt
- 3-5 tablespoons iced water
For the filling:
- 300g of spring vegetables (think asparagus, peas, silverbeet etc)
- 300g of ricotta
- 60g of grated parmesan
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg yolk for brushing
- Salt + Pepper
First up: the pastry: (either by hand or in processor)
Gently, gently! If processing, only pulse gently and if mixing by hand, use a light touch on dough, flour should be on the tips of the fingers only - by not overworking the dough makes for tender, flaky pastry.
Keep things chilled! the butter, the water - you want everything as cold as possible.
- Mix spelt flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Rub the butter into the flour using fingertips or gently pulse until mixture is about the size of lentils
- Drizzle in enough iced water (only a tablespoon at a time) to just bring the dough together. It will still be shaggy but will hold together when pressed.
- Bring together on floured surface, flatten into a disc, return to the mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the dough to rest.
Now to bring it all together:
- Prepare your pastry
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
- Cut your spring vegetables into small pieces
- Mix all the other filling ingredients together and stir through the vegetables, setting some aside to decorate with
- Roll out dough to a 30 cm circle on a sheet of baking paper
- Fill with cheese mix, leaving a 4cm border. Arrange your veggies on top!
- Fold the dough to overlap filling. Brush with your egg yolk.
- Bake for 25-30 mins or until golden.
You're done! Pair with your favourite summer salad and go enjoy with those loved ones of yours. Us included, pls.