Flaxseed is especially nourishing for expecting mums, says Susan Jane Murray, and it makes tasty flatbread
Being pregnant is like taking a vacation from your usual body, and holidaying in another. Only the holiday has unforecasted thunderstorms and bursts of torrential tears -- I mean rain.
Hormones go wild. Bowel movements hibernate. And those once-supple joints start to sound like that doddering old floorboard upstairs. Sound familiar? You should enjoy this recipe, so. It's made with you in mind.
Omega-3 oils are to hormones what Edward is to Jedward: indispensable. Our bodies cannot make omega-3 itself, so we need to regularly include them in our diet. You'll find expansive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed -- also known as linseed -- which is the basis of this recipe. Omega-3s are also responsible for nourishing foetal brain development, arming mummy against 'pram brain' and significantly reducing the risk of post-natal depression.
For a bread, this recipe is unusually high in protein, making it ideal for those of you trying to minimise your comfort-carbs and bingo wings. It is free from wheat, dairy and sadistic devilment. But it's not free from taste -- I promise!
Not many breads can boast potent anti-cancer properties. Flaxseeds are rich in lignans -- these are naturally occurring phytoestrogens found in some plants. These chaps are associated with happy hormones and boisterous antioxidant behaviour. Studies have shown a reduction in prostate and breast cancers with a corresponding increase in dietary plant lignans. Flaxseeds are nature's highest source of these lignans.
I recommend Linwoods Milled Flaxseed from Co Armagh, which is available in all major Irish supermarkets. And a bit of Frank Sinatra on the airwaves, of course. A wooden spoon makes a terrific mic.
You will need:
2 cups milled flaxseed (aka linseed)
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 medium eggs
1/2 cup soya or regular milk
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses or honey
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Handful black olives
10-12 sun-dried tomatoes
Preheat conventional ovens to 180 C, 350 F, Gas 4, fan-assisted ovens to 160 C. Lightly oil a baking tray that's a little smaller than an A4 page. This bread needs to be about one-inch in depth, somewhat similar to foccacia.
Combine the milled flaxseed, the dried oregano and the baking powder together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and the soya or regular milk, whichever you are using. Then add the blackstrap molasses or the honey, whichever you are using. I prefer to use blackstrap molasses to honey for two reasons. Firstly, it gives the best baking results, and secondly, it's super-rich in iron and B vitamins for pre- and post-natal mamas. Next, add the extra virgin olive oil until everything is thoroughly combined. The oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes is perfect, if you wish to use it.
Chop up the black olives and the sun-dried tomatoes, adding them to the mixed wet ingredients. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mix, and immediately spoon this gooey dough onto your pre-greased baking tray. Spread the dough evenly, and sprinkle more dried oregano on top if you wish. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack without its tin or any baking parchment. Wait a few minutes before pillaging. Or allow it to cool and tickle it with black olive tapenade, or some super-garlicky hummus, served alongside your favourite bowl of soup. Scrumdiddliumptious. If you have some left over, slice it in half and grill with some grated cheese. This bread also freezes exceptionally well.