plant food

Socca – One ingredient Grain Free Bread (GF + Vegan)

Socca breadSimple is my new thing.

I’m pretty good at making things more difficult than they need to be, blindly overlooking all short cuts and getting knee deep with the complex stuff. So naturally i’m loving simple, yet rewarding recipes and this socca recipe is right down with this simplicity stuff. ONE ingredient, really, just the ONE. By the way, I’m not counting the water and the salt – I hope you think that’s fair. Oh, and coconut oil too, these extras don’t count, surely.Socca

The one ingredient is gram, garbanzo, chick pea flour – whatever name floats your boat. I like chick pea flour because I’m from the UK and this is what we say. I’ve always perused the bean flours in my local indian supermarket and thought about finding out more about it but never really got around to it. So after some serious googling I found that it’s not just indian cuisine that favours this flour. Chick pea flour is used to make Socca which originates from France and Italy and sold in pizzeries and bakeries throughout. It’s usually cooked in a tin baking pan with olive oil and eaten hot from the oven. In my opinion, this is the best way but I have enjoyed it cold several times. It’s pretty versatile too and i’m certain you could create some seriously delicious flavour combinations. I’m thinking chocolate already………pumpkin maybe?Just one ingredient bread

Anyway, since making this I’m perplexed by a couple of things. Firstly, why have I not come across socca on trips to Italy and France, ever? I’m pretty offended as I was only in France last week and I didn’t see any socca……anywhere. My second trouble is, why don’t more people love the chickpeas? I mean, chickpea curry, falafel, cookie butter, pupadums, delicious dips, chocolate chip chick pea bites and now socca. Where would we be without chick peas? They get a bit of a bad rap and people assume if you eat a lot of chick peas you’re a barefoot, tie dye, free loving hippie, well maybe not but you do know what I mean right? They also have a reputation for producing excess gas……my advice here is to eat beans and lentils such as chick peas more regularly, always chew well and your digestion will soon thank you for eating them.  They’re tasty, healthy with impressive versatility and don’t deserve the bad rap they get! Love ’em.Simple socca

Let’s all get some more chick peas in our lives…..they’re seriously cheap and full of health so you just know I wanna sell chick peas a little more to you. Well OK……….

fibre rich so fantastic for digestive support
scientifically proven to increase satiety and decrease calorie intake
blood sugar regulation
unique supply of antioxidants
lowers cardiovascular risks

So, the take home message is………eat more chick peas and why not start with this simple bread. You cannot go wrong with this recipe and it’s great to experiment with, I often make this soft and bendy and other times I prefer a crisp and snappy socca! I usually bake it in a 12″ square baking dish but by using a smaller dish you can achieve a thicker softer bread and for a crispier version just use a bigger dish or less socca batter. I like to use the same ratio of water and flour but I’ve tried it with more water which works great too for a less dense lighter version.Socca pre slicing

Either way, enjoy this gluten, dairy and grain free bread on it’s own, with a hearty stew, some smoked black beans, topped with peanut butter or humous or used for a simple socca sandwich. I like it with a little cookie butter smeared on top…..a double whammy of chick pea love. It’s the perfect carrier for other flavours so get creative and add your favourite herbs or veggies.

What’s your simple 1 or 2 ingredient go to recipe?

Socca + cookie butter

socca

1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons coconut oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 ºC. Place coconut oil in a baking dish + put in the oven to melt.
2. Combine the socca ingredients to form a smooth batter. Leave to sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
3. Remove hot dish from the oven with the melted oil + pour in the batter. Place back in the oven + bake for 30 minutes.
4. Remove  from the oven+ flip the socca. Return to for a further 5-10 minutes or grill on high for 2 minutes for a crispier version.

 

 

7 Cheers for Chia Seeds – a Weight Loss Weapon

Chia Seeds 5This chia seed craze isn’t going anywhere soon, it’s here to stay. I’ve had many a fleeting affair with the latest in vogue food, some working out and others not. Sorry goji berries, it’s not you, it’s me. With chia it’s different…….I am fully committed to the humble chia seed, it won’t enter my life for a few weeks of dabbling only to be pushed to the back of the cupboard, lonely and forgotten! Chia has a firm place in my kitchen and has made itself very comfortable.

I wasn’t at first convinced when my first bag of chia arrived and as they bounced along my kitchen work top I couldn’t help but think these tiny seeds seemed a bit, well small and fiddly. And anyway, how could such a tiny seed contain so much goodness? So much goodness.

Chia is yet another amazingly nutritious food from the superfood continent South America (quinoa, maca, lucuma, cocoa nibs- why do they have all the best ingredients?). Anyhow, first recipe in I really liked them but I loved them a whole lot more when I learnt about their nutritional attributes and impressive versatility within plant based recipes. Chia doesn’t have a truly distinct flavour  but it has a unique consistency when combined with liquid, providing an excellent base to add your own flavour and experiment with your favourite ingredients. I like to think of chia as a powerhouse nutritional canvas to get creative with! Chia + liquid = very swollen seeds and a consistency that resembles tapioca pudding, all part of it’s secret weight regulating powers.

There’s a whole lot more to these Aztec wonder seeds and there’s very good reason(s) why they’re one of the big players in the realms of wellness. Here’s 7 of them:

  1. High in fibre so excellent for digestive function. Most of us could use more fibre and these contain a third of our daily requirements in just 2 tablespoons. We all know that a fibre rich diet keeps us fuller for longer, enabling us to maintain a healthy weight and beat cravings. These seeds swell to 10 times their original size when combined with water form a gel high in soluble fibre, which fills the stomach and satiates. Naturally, this fuller feeling reduces tendencies to over eat, so chia’s a weapon to any weight loss eating regime.
  2. A remarkable amount of antioxidants. Go away free radicals, ageing and cancer. Such high levels give chia a lengthy shelf life of up to 2 years.
  3. Calcium. Who needs dairy when you can get 1/5 of your daily needs from just 2 tablespoons, 5 times more than milk. These powerhouse seeds also contain sizeable amounts of magnesium and phosphorus.
  4. Good source of Protein. Made up of 30 % complete protein, containing all 9 amino acids in proper ratios,  they certainly give meat products a run for their money!
  5. No Gluten. Enough said.
  6. Brilliant egg replacer for plant based recipes. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 of water and leave for 10 minutes to thicken.
  7. One of the richest plant based sources of omega 3’s. In fact it contains 8 times more than salmon so is super for heart and brain health.

Bonus: I find chia helps fight fatigue, keeps me energised for longer and less likely to have late afternoon lethargy. I’m a recreational runner and find I am recovering quicker post exercise. Chia is a runner’s best friend.

So get cracking with an easy, feel good, filling chia pudding, a chia studded smoothie, sprinkle on cereal or make your own egg substitute.
Vanilla chia pudding

Start the day in spectacular fashion by making a yummy chia pudding!

Let’s all chia up!