Stove-top socca with fresh figs, Parmesan and cracked pepper || to her core

Earlier in the week I posted how to make your own chickpea flour easily and quickly at home, so I thought it only appropriate to share with you a recipe for how to use your fresh chickpea flour, and what better way to go than socca. This unleavened flatbread – also called farinata – is native to Southern France and Italy and made from chickpea flour, water and olive oil. Despite my Italian background however, I had never eaten socca, nor heard of it until recently. 

My Nonna use to roast dried chickpeas on the fire, which she would call le cheech. My mother and her siblings would go crazy for these hard little burnt rocks which always confused me as to be they literally taste like little burnt rocks. Whether the le cheech were intended to be ground into flour to make farinata but never quite made it due to their, a-hem, irresistibleness – I’m not quite sure, but either way farinata did not form a part of the traditional Italian fare I grew up eating.

Stove-top socca with fresh figs, Parmesan and cracked pepper || to her core

Stove-top socca with fresh figs, Parmesan and cracked pepper || to her core

Farinata, or socca, is a great protein-rich and grain-free alternative to crepes or other flatbread. They can be eaten to mop up stews, curries and soups, or eaten on their own with a topping of choice. In Italy, they are often eaten with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper so I decided to use that idea but add a few extra elements to make it a bit more of a meal. I chose figs partly because they are  native to this part of the world and I thought the light, fresh taste and texture of the figs would pair well with the dense socca, but also because I love them and every time I see them at the local store – which unfortunately isn’t often – I have to snap them up. Side note – last summer I bought my own little fig tree which I planted in a pot and place in the sunroom. It looked very miserable and tired all winter, but now that it’s been moved to the backyard it seems far happier, so hopefully we will have some fresh figs of our own soon! 

The recipe below gives the instructions for cooking the socca on the stovetop, however if you want to cook them in the traditional way in the oven then head over to check out some great tips Katie has shared on how to ensure socca success over at Whole Nourishment.

Stove-top socca with fresh figs, Parmesan and cracked pepper || to her core

 This recipe is grain/gluten and nut free, though if you wish to make it dairy-free/vegan as well, you could easily omit the cheese completely, or even sprinkle some homemade vegan cheese across the top. Some cut up avocado would be lovely too to add a little creaminess, finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. I had a teeny tiny amount of hazelnuts left over from the last time I made these that I also sprinkled on top of one – amazing! If you try any flavour combinations that you absolutely love, please share them in the comments section so I can try your winning combo too!

Stove-top socca with fresh figs, Parmesan and cracked pepper || to her core

Stove-top socca with fresh figs, Parmesan and cracked pepper
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. For the socca;
  2. 1 cup chickpea/besan/garbanzo/gram flour
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. For the toppings;
  7. 4 fresh figs, thinly sliced
  8. 30g Parmesan cheese, thinly grated
  9. Cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the socca ingredients in a bowl and leave to sit for at least half an hour. I find that when I make my own flour as opposed to buying it, I need to add around 1 - 2 Tbsp water extra. You want the mixture to be similar to that of pancake batter, through slightly runnier.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium to high heat. Add a little oil and pour in some of the mixture, around 1/6th of the batter. Quickly spread the batter over the base of the pan either by tilting the pan to let the batter run out, or using a spatula.
  3. Once small bubbles have started to appear and the underside has started to brown, flip the socca and cook for a minute or so on the other side until cooked and starting to brown. Remove and place on a plate in a just-warm oven while you cook the rest of the socca.
  4. To serve, arrange freshly sliced figs evenly across the socca, top with the Pamasen and a generous sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper.
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Make you own sprouted chickpea flour at home || to her core

While making your own flour at home may conjure images of women in the kitchen in “the olden days” slaving away with what we may deem nowadays as unnecessary manual labour, I’m here today to try and convince you against this, and encourage you to try making your own flours at home.

If you have a high-speed blender, fresh flours can be incredibly easy to make at home and can also be a lot more economical. Unless you are buying processed white flour which is usually incredibly cheap (and, I would like to point out, incredibly devoid of nutritional value!) some flours these days can be quite expensive, especially if you are buying organic, wholegrain, heirloom and/or sprouted flours. All of these labels seem to be incredibly fashionable at the moment and attract a high pricetag – arguably with good reason (the process for gaining ‘organic’ certification can be a long and expensive one) which can often deter the budget-conscious shopper. 

But most, if not all of these fancy fours can usually be made quite quickly and easily at home. And all you really need is a high-quality food processor like a Vitamix.  Okay, okay – so I’ve just tried to convince you that it’s more economical to make your own flour, and now I’m telling you you need an expensive electrical appliance to do so… A bit of an oxymoron I know! But if you are lucky enough to already own a high-powered blender then it’s definitely economical for you, and if you don’t then there are other options such as a coffee or spice grinder which can be picked up quite cheaply.

Make you own sprouted chickpea flour at home || to her core

Another plus of making your own flours at home is that – as with most homemade foods – homemade flour tastes better. It has a fresher flavour than most store-bought flours, and as it’s so quick to do, it’s easy to grind it fresh each time you want to use it – or if you know it’s a flour you’ll use often, then grind it in bulk and store in an airtight container as you would normal flour. It also means that you can experiment more easily with different types of flour. Not only can grind all the regular grains and seeds, as well as nuts, but you can also grind pulses and beans.

Make you own sprouted chickpea flour at home || to her core

Today, I’m sharing with you how to make your own chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo or besan flour). This can be added to veggie patties and burgers, used to make pie crust or used in cookies and other sweet treats. And later in the week, I’ll share with you my current favorite chickpea flour recipe.

I’ve used dried chickpeas here to make my flour however for increased nutritional value, you can sprout and then dry the chickpeas before grinding them into flour. To do this, add a cup of chickpeas to a large jar, loosely cover with some cloth and soak 12 to 24 hours, then rinse well. Drain the beans and place in a sprouting container and rinse every 6 to 12 hours. Note that if its warm or humid where you live, you will need to rinse more frequently to avoid mold growing. Small tails should appear around the second day – after this you can continue to sprout the beans but make sure not to let the tails get too long – after they grow to the length of the bean, the bean will start to develop a bitter taste.

Once sprouted, the beans will need to be dried in a food dehydrator. Alternatively, you may be able to dry them in your oven at it’s lowest setting, however note that this will mean that the beans are no longer “raw”, as the lowest setting in most conventional ovens is above the required 117 F | 47 C temperature to still classify food as raw. The other draw back of drying them out in the oven is that you will need to run the oven for quite a long period of time, often overnight. 

Make you own sprouted chickpea flour at home || to her core

Make you own sprouted chickpea flour at home || to her core

DIY homemade chickpea flour
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup dried chickpeas | garbanzo beans
Instructions
  1. Add the dried chickpeas to a high-powered blender and turn on, increasing the speed to the machine's maximum. Blend until the chickpeas have been ground as finely as possible - note that their still may be some larger pieces in there.
  2. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour into a bowl, and any larger pieces that did not fit through the sieve, return to the blender and process again to break them down further. If there are only a few smaller pieces and they do not blend when you turn the machine on, increase the speed to maximum and the power of this should force the pieces up and start to grind them.
  3. You may need to repeat this step once or twice more to get all pieces finely ground.
  4. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the freezer.
http://tohercore.com/

Spicy thai carrot salad - to her core

Last week I bought my first ever lottery ticket. I generally am not a huge fan of gambling, I not really a huge fan of gambling, especially when it involves putting more than my standard $2 bet on, however I had a “good feeling” about the lotto a few weeks prior when it jackpotted at $20 million, and when I forgot to get a ticket that time around I remembered this time around. Because of my premonition that me purchasing said lottery ticket may eventuate in me winning the $20 million jackpot, by the time I went to check the ticket I had already mapped out what I would do with my winnings. I’d give some of the money to my family and friends, pay off our house, quit my job (sorry boss if you’re reading…) and instead focus my time of building up this whole blogging business, donating some of my newly-found free time to charitable causes and travelling. Perhaps even combining all three. The bulk of the money would be sensibly invested so that we would never be short of money and would be able to live a comfortable, but not overly lavish life. 

So when I stopped in at the newsagent on my way home from work yesterday afternoon, handed over the ticket and up on the screen flashed “Total winnings: “$0.00” a wave of disappointment swept over me. I like to think I’m usually quite a rational person – some of my friends may say even boarding on pessimistic in some situations – yet even so I still managed to build up this unrealistic idea of what may happen, and subsequently was quite deflated by it when it did not eventuate.

Spicy thai carrot salad - to her core

Anticipation is a funny thing. I think in general I think about things happening in the future too much, which ultimately often leads to disappointment. I sometimes struggle to find a balance between organising and planning an upcoming event or holiday which results in increased expectations of how it will play out, and just relaxing and letting things run their course. It’s something that I have really been striving to find a balance with – on the one hand I want to make sure that the best is made of every situation and experience, yet on the other hand I feel that sometimes that expectation and the ensuing disappointment can get in the way of enjoying a situation. 

Spicy thai carrot salad - to her core

Spicy thai carrot salad - to her core

 

But enough about anticipation, lets talk about this dish!  The inspiration for this salad came from a trip to Thailand my mum and I took a few years back. We had been walking around in the hot Bangkok heat all morning and stopped in to a local cafe to get some lunch. I was craving something light and refreshing and saw on the menu carrot salad. I was a little sceptical, but what arrived at our table turned out to be one of the most beautifully simple salads I have ever eaten. The salad itself was nearly entirely shredded carrot, topped with some tomato and fresh mint and coriander. The light dressing had all the wonderful flavours I associate with one of my favorite countries – lots of lime, a hint of chilli, that pungent but necessary fish sauce, and a touch of sweetness.

If you’ve been to Thailand before and love Thai food as much as I do, or even if you haven’t, this is a deliciously light salad that packs a wonderful flavour punch. It’s quick and simple to make, however if you’re unsure about some of the flavours such as the fish sauce or the spiciness, you could omit the offending ingredients and still end up with a tasty salad – however if these flavours don’t scare you away, definitely add them in so you get the all the wonderful elements of this dish.

Spicy thai carrot salad - to her core

Spicy thai carrot salad - to her core

Spicy Thai Carrot Salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. Sauce;
  2. 1 clove garlic, minced
  3. 2 Tbsp lime juice
  4. 1/2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  5. 3 Tbsp tamari
  6. 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  7. 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  8. 2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  9. Salad;
  10. 2 Tbsp cashews
  11. 3 Tbsp shredded coconut
  12. 3 large carrots
  13. 2 large tomato roughly cubed
Instructions
  1. To make the sauce, add all ingredients together in a bowl and stir well to combine.
  2. Add the cashews and coconut to a mortar and pestle and crush together to combine.
  3. Use a spiraliser or vegetable grater to spiralise/grate the carrots.
  4. Add the carrots to a bowl with the tomato then pour over the dressing and mix well. Mix through the cashew/coconut mix and serve.
Notes
  1. To bulk the salad out a little and make it more filling, thinly slice some firm tofu and marinate in some of the dressing for at least half an hour. Either fry lightly, or add uncooked to the salad before serving.
http://tohercore.com/