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Farinata – a simple treat discovered at Terra Madre

In Appetizers, Recipe On November 16, 2014 0 Comments

FARINATACHICKPEA FLOUR PANCAKE FROM LIGURIAN REGION OF ITALY (also known as Socca or torta di ceci)
Yield: 1 x 12” pancake
This is a traditional chickpea flour pancake of the Ligurian region of Italy. This crepe is also known as Socca, or Torta di Ceci. It was one of my favourite dishes at the Street Food area of this year’s Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto in Turin, Italy from October 23 to 27, 2014. It’s simple to make on the stovetop or in the oven. Treat it as a carrier for different toppings (like pizza) and it’s gluten free. My favourite version is topped with fresh pesto and grated Parmesan cheese. The oven baked version may be crispier than the stovetop and can be cut into thin ‘crackers’.

In a bowl, place the chickpea flour, salt and pepper. Slowly add the lukewarm water, whisking to remove any lumps. An immersion blender works well here. Stir in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cover and let sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes or longer if you have the time – the consistency should be like heavy cream.

Stove top method:Heat a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, pour in the batter to ½” thickness (there may be enough batter for two pancakes). Reduce heat to medium and fry until set and frying side is lightly golden. Carefully turn over in pan (you can slide onto a plate and flip over in the pan) and continue to fry until frying slide is lightly golden. Remove to cutting board and slice into think strips. Or before cutting, serve as they did at Terra Madre: spread a coat of pesto on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cut into wedges.

Oven method: Preheat oven to 450 F. Place a 10” to 12” pizza pan or ovenproof cast iron pan in the oven to heat up. When hot, remove and add 2 tbsp olive oil and batter. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until pancake is firm and edges are set. Heat the broiler and brush the top of the pancake with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if it looks dry. Set the pancake a few inches away from the broiler, and cook just long enough to brown it in spots. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot or warm, or as above, top with pesto and Parmesan cheese.

Other toppings: Sauté 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary with 1 cup thinly sliced onions. Spread on farinata and serve. You can also add the sautéed rosemary and onions to the baking pan before adding the batter and pour the patter on top and fry or bake as above.

pumpkin bisque

Pumpkin Bisque

In Recipe, Soups / Salads On October 17, 2014 5 Comments

An easy dish that will make good use of your Halloween pumpkin. Simple to prepare, serve with rustic bread and cheese for a hearty lunch or light dinner.

Method for Soup: Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place pumpkin and potatoes on prepared cookie sheet and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove meat from pumpkin and cut into chunks. Peel potatoes (if new, local potatoes, you can leave the skin on) and cut into chunks. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add onions stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Stir in stock, pumpkin, potatoes, ginger, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium to low heat for 20 minutes. Transfer to blender or food processor or use immersion blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in cream, adding more if too thick; gently heat through but do not boil. Taste and adjust seasoning and garnish with cardamon cream, chives, green onions or chopped parsley
Method for Garnish: Stir together sour cream or yogurt and cardamom. Garnish each serving with a swirl of cardamom and a sprinkling of chives, green onions or parsley
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applecake

Apple Cake

In Desserts, Recipe On September 19, 2014 10 Comments

My Aunt Rose was famous for this cake and I’m lucky to have the recipe. It’s easy to assemble and works in a 9″ X 13″ pyrex pan or 10″ round cake (with removable base).

If you know the apples are pesticide free and not waxed, leave the skin on (more fibre and flavour). Enjoy this recipe — I know it will become a family tradition in your home too!

Method to make apple cake: In a large bowl, mix sliced apples with ½ cup sugar and set aside. Preheat oven to 350º F. In a mixing bowl, put eggs, 1½ cups sugar and oil. Beat well. Sift flour and baking powder. Add alternately with orange juice to egg/sugar/oil mixture. Grease a baking pan (9” x 13” or 10” round) with 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Pour in 1/3 of the batter. Place apples evenly over the batter and sprinkle with raisins and sundried cranberries. Pour over remaining batter. Sprinkle top with ½ cup sugar and 2 tbsp cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour or until top and bottom are golden brown. If using a pyrex baking pan, turn over down 25º and note that baking time may be a bit less than an hour.

Serving suggestions: Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, ice-cream or caramel sauce.