Thursday, 25 April 2013

Back with a bang! Vegan socca pizza! :)

Hello strangers! It's been a while... I cannot believe I haven't posted since January! Wah!

So what have I been doing?! Well, we've had some sad family times, some happy family times, a mystery illness with Dorrie (she is thankfully fine now) and some health problems with me which I'm still working on. We've also been thinking about moving, stepping up the girls homeschooling and looking at potential 'alternative' schools for them too. To say things have been manic would be a huge understatement. Plus we're saving for our super exciting holiday so there is way less experimental food money to play with!

The biggest area of change right now though has to be my food choices. In response to my health issues, I did a bit of a diet overhaul...

In the last couple of months I've switched to a low oil plant based diet. Not totally free from any oils at all, I still use linseed/flax and hemp (uncooked), just a little, but I've certainly stopped using olive oil for cooking in. It's meant that I have kinda had to learn to cook all over again! Tried and tested tasty wholefoods recipe favourites needed tweaking to be oil free and vegan. I have perfected the skinny pancake and all is well with the world- but it did mean needing to track down (and pay a lot of money for) a non toxic ceramic based non stick pan! So I've been learning alot, really tons. I feel really good about eating this way right now, but at the same time I realise that it's a journey and nothing is set in stone. I am considering removing soy and wheat from my diet too, as a period of total cleanse, I kind of feel this is where I need to go to make some major shifts. So it's not without a little fear of the challenges I will face that I move on with my healing journey. Excitement too, but definitely some fear, though it helps that I get to share it all with you!

This marks the first of my oil free (more) plant based recipes and what a treat I have for you today-  socca 'pizza'! As its made from chickpea flour, this also happens to be gluten free. It tastes delicious and is something I'll be making frequently. The socca crust is chewy and delicious and the garlicky mushrooms with the spicey garlic and salad leaves is an amazing combination, this pizza *needs* alot of mushrooms, the more the merrier!

Vegan socca pizza- makes 1 pan size pizza, serves 1-2

For the socca batter
1 cup of chickpea (gram) flour
1 cup of water
Pinch of unrefined salt

For the sauce
3/4 cup passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 tsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano

For the toppings
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
10 small chestnut mushrooms, sliced finely
1/2 romano pepper, sliced finely
5 kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs like basil, chervil, sorrel, parsley
2 cups of spicy salad greens such as watercress or rocket or a mix.

First make the batter ahead of time. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth and leave to ferment for at least 2 hours, you can leave it overnight if you like.

Pre-heat your oven to around 180 degrees. Put the mushrooms and garlic and a couple of tablespoons of water into an oven dish and bake until cooked through. Take out the oven, drain off excess liquid and set aside.

When your batter is ready, heat a ceramic (non-toxic) non-stick pan* on the hob until medium heat. If you are using a cast iron frying pan, feel free to spray a little olive oil/water mix to make it non stick.
Cook until the batter is just over half way cooked and then pop in the oven to finish off cooking.

While it is cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together! Easy :)

When the base is ready, flip it out onto a lined or greased baking tray. Spread the sauce evenly over the top. Top with the garlicky mushrooms, then the chopped herbs and then the sliced olives and peppers.

Pop into the oven and cook for around 10-12 mins (depending on your oven) until the crust is golden and the vegetables are soft. Serve with the fresh spicy salad greens on the top and a little sprinkle of unrefined sea salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Delicious.

 * Note: you'll need a metal handled pan that is also oven safe.