Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Socca with Caramalised Onions, Zucchini and Thyme

 I love Socca. I admit I love anything that has chickpeas or chickpea flour.
But Socca has a special place in my heart, with memories of special times
with special people, spent in the South of France.

Socca is a specialty of South East France, mostly in and around
the city of Nice. Across the border in Italy it is called Farinata.
Traditionally there are no toppings, it is made with chickpea flour, salt and
olive oil. And this is what I've had in France - simple plain delicious Socca.

But I had lots of zucchini in my fridge and I thought it would make a perfect
topping for my Socca and I'm so glad because it really did :-)

You can play around with variations - different toppings, or additions.


2 cups Chickpea flour ( also called gram flour or garbanzo flour)
2 and 1/4 cups Water
4 tbsp Olive Oil
Fine round slices of zucchini
Half a red onion lightly caramelized in olive oil (optional)
1 tbsp of Herbes de provence (or mixed dried herbs)
sea salt to taste
Fresh thyme (optional)
Lots of Black pepper

 This makes two trays of Socca. You can half the ingredients and make
just one, but use 1 tbsp of oil in the batter, and 1 and a 1/2 on the tray.

Add water little by little to the flour and whisk till well combined
and there are no granules left. The batter should be totally smooth.
You might need to add a little more water.
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and the herbs. Mix then leave it to rest
for around 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200 C and warm a baking tray or cast iron oven pan
for a few minutes.
Pour 1 and a 1/2 tbsp of Oil on to the tray and move the tray to spread
the oil all over. Pour the batter on the oil till you get around 1/4" thickness
or even slightly less.
Spread the onions over it then lay down the zucchini slices.
Crush fresh thyme over it and sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Bake it for 15 to 20 minutes till it is set and a knife comes out clean.

Drizzle some olive oil over and eat it warm.

We ate these slices of Socca for lunch with a big bowl of greens
and a yummy ginger and garlic roasted broccoli

Keep it Simple. Be Creative.
Taste and Play. Find your Own Way.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pesto and Nut Butters


This is a simple and delicious pesto with a grainy nutty crunch
and the cheesy taste from the nutritional yeast.

2 cups fresh basil
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup almonds
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Process all the ingredients in a food processor till well combined.

Almond Vanilla Butter:

2 cups of almonds
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tbsp oil (I used sunolive, which is a combo we get here)
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of sea salt

Process the almonds in a food processor for 10 to 12 minutes,
pausing to scrape the sides. The nuts will first become powder,
then they will clump together like a dough, then split and become
smoother and smoother and you will see the fats/oil
ooze out and glisten. Then add the salt, vanilla and the tbsp of oil
cinnamon and process for another minute.
Scrape the sides and spoon the butter into jars.
I got a jar and a half with this quantity of almonds.

You can make instant almond milk by using a tbsp of butter
and a glass of chilled water, adding a mild sweetener or
blueberries and viola - you have a lovely
almond milk drink :-)
I use almond butter with rice crackers or even better, slices of apple
for a healthy snack or in cookies and cakes too.....
Just be careful as this is so yummy, you could get carried away,
so measure out a serving and stick to your quota for the day ;-)

 Cashew Brazil nut Butter:

1 cup cashews
1 cup brazil nuts (high in selenium)
or you can use 2 cups of cashews.
1 tbsp oil
a pinch of sea salt

Use the same process as for the almond butter, adding the oil
towards the end.
I don't add anything else to cashew butter at this stage, leaving it
simple and basic.

I use the cashew butter in the following ways:

- adding a little water, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and
lemon juice will give you a cheesy sauce to go over your
pasta or veggies.Thin it out with more water and you get
a dressing for a salad. Add any herbs, spices or flavors to this
sauce or dressing, yummy!!!
- make instant cashew milk (like the almond milk above) for
your smoothies and shakes.
- blend a couple of tbsp with mangoes or blueberries, add
a sweetener of choice and some nutritional yeast, a little lemon
juice and you have a filling for a raw fruit and cheesecake pie

See my earlier post of recipes for raw mango cheesecake pie and
raw avocado lime pie :-)