Clearly, things are not always going to plan. Originally the plan was to go to Iceland in May, a country I have wanted to go to for a long time. But of course, Corona came along, flights were canceled and the trip postponed to autumn. So what to do with this sudden week of holidays without any plans?
Well, I am definitely not the kind of person to sit at home and watch movies all day. So instead, I have been out on trips to discover the country I call home since 2 years. Going to the coast was still complicated, with rules in some of the German regions that do not allow visitors from other regions for tourism purposes just yet. But fortunately, visiting mountain areas was possible. So one of the days I (finally) went to the Sächsische Schweiz, an area close to Dresden. It turned out to be a great choice. The train dropped me off at a small city along the river Elbe. After crossing the river on a ferry, I arrived at the main town square. The colourful houses and May tree in the middle of the square made for an instant holiday feeling. From there, the hiking route I chose let up into the mountains. The path brought me to a viewpoint from where you have an amazing wide view over the river Elbe and the surrounding green land. And to the Bastei: an impressive rock formation with a sandstone bridge that almost seems out of place if you compare it to the gentle landscape around the river.
All in all, this was the best day I had in a long time, feeling like being miles away from all the negativity of the pandemic. But of course, it was also a long day. Even though hotels in the area had been allowed to open a few days earlier, it was all still a bit of a hassle. So I made it a one day trip, going back and forth from Berlin by train. And long days of taking the train and hiking make you hungry. Now I don’t know about others, but personally I crave carbs when I am hiking. Or, to be honest, I always do. I really like bread in pretty much all its shapes and sizes, and it’s easy to take in your backpack on a trip like this as well. So that is why, after a long time, I thought of making Gözleme again, a savoury Turkish stuffed flatbread dish. I learned about this while working in the kebab shop in Australia, but had not thought about it for a long time. It turned out to be a perfect choice for a hiking day like this, but also for taking to a picnic with friends.
Spinach and feta stuffed flatbread
Ingredients (for two portions)
- 200 grams of flour
- Greek or Turkish yogurt – 2 tablespoons
- 3 grams of yeast
- Olive oil
- Around 150 grams of spinach
- 1 clove of garlic
- 80 grams of feta – or another type of salty white goat or sheep milk cheese
- Salt and black pepper
Start off by making the dough. Place the flour in a big bowl. Add the yogurt, yeast, a good pinch of salt and half a tablespoon of olive oil. Measure around 25 ml of lukewarm water. Start mixing the ingredients with one hand, while slowly adding the water. Depending on the day and the exact quantities of the other ingredients, you might need a bit more or less water. Knead the dough until it comes together to a smooth dough, that does not stick to your hands anymore. The easiest is taking it out of the bowl and kneading on a clean working surface. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with some plastic foil against drying out. Leave in a warm place for at least half an hour.
While the dough is resting, it is time to start on the filling. Finely chop the garlic and wash the spinach. Place a frying pan with a dash of olive oil over a medium hot fire and add the garlic. Once the oil has warmed up and the garlic starts to become fragrant, add the spinach. You might have to do this bit by bit, depending on the size of your pan. Fry the spinach until it has just wilted. Meanwhile, grate the skin of the lemon and place the lemon zest in a bowl. Finely chop the feta, or break down with your hands, and add to the same bowl with a good pinch of black pepper. Once all spinach has wilted, take it out of the pan and mix with the cheese. Be careful to add as little of the excess liquid from the spinach as possible. Taste the spinach and cheese mixture to see if any extra salt is needed, but the cheese might already be salty enough.
Divide the dough into two parts, and place one of those on a floured working surface. Place a large frying pan over a medium hot fire. Roll the dough out to a rectangle of about 20 by 40 cm. Spread half of the filling out over one half of the dough. Fold the other half over so that you get a square of 20 by 20 cm and press the edges well together to close. Make sure there is no extra air inside while you seal the edges. Carefully go over the dough with the rolling pin so that the filling gets divided evenly. Once your pan is hot, add a little bit of olive oil and spread this well over the pan. Fry the filled bread for around 3 minutes and flip it over to fry the other side for the same amount of time. Once both sides are golden brown, take the bread out of the pan and repeat the same process with the other half of the dough and filling.
Chop into smaller squares, and enjoy with some extra lemon.