This is a recipe inspired by Jack Monroe over at www.cookingonabootstrap.com. Jack is one of my foodie inspirations. I bought their book for my sister when she started at university because I reckon it’s as good as any student cookbook out there. Jack is also a massive campaigner against poverty and LGBT rights and all round good egg. Check them out.
When I started this blog I promised myself I wouldn’t turn into those foodie bloggers that uses loads of ridiculous ingredients that you can only buy if you live in North London. Yotam Ottolenghi’s food is beautiful to look at, but a little tricky to actually make, or that’s what I think anyway (that being said, if anyone wants to take me out to Nopi or Ottolenghi I will not stand in your way!) I love him, but I don’t want to be him. So I was a little reticent about this post because it uses something you have to buy in the World Food aisle. But I really don’t think this goes too far. It’s not Za’atar. It’s not Dukkah.
Farinata is a pancake made from gram flour (also known as Besan) which is made from ground chickpeas. I’m fairly confident you can find it in most average sized supermarkets and a bag costs about £1.50. I’ve used the pancake as a base for a pizza-type thing, topped with my imaginatively named Red Sauce and a little cream cheese.
The nice thing about this recipe is that because it’s made from ground chickpeas, it’s full of protein and really filling. I packed mine out with spinach and carrot which increases the flavour and the veg content. It can be knocked up in no time, and I actually think it might be fairly healthy. It’s perfect for a midweek supper.
Farinata Pizza: no it’s not perfectly round. But it’s real life. And real life is full of wobbliness and wonky corners.
Serves 1 (easily doubled if you’re cooking for more than one).
- 50g gram flour
- 100mls milk (or water, or a mixture of the two)
- A good pinch of salt
- A shake of cumin
- A shake of cayenne pepper
- Half a carrot, finely grated
- 2-3 handfuls spinach (or whatever you have spare)
- Oil for frying
Red Sauce bit:
- An onion, red or white, chopped as finely as you can.
- 2 cloves garlic
- A splash of vinegar, (red wine, apple cider, balsamic)
- A tin of chopped tomatoes (I generally find that Basics/Value tinned toms are too watery, but they will still work if that’s all you have to hand)
- A good pinch of salt
- A good pinch of sugar
- A good dollop of cream cheese, or if you’re feeling fancy you could try goat’s cheese.
- Anything you fancy – grilled peppers, sauteed mushrooms, steamed courgette ribbons.
- Ideally the batter for the pancake needs to sit for 30mins before you cook it, so start by making this. (If you don’t have 30 mins, leave it for as long as you can and then cook according to the instructions. It will be ok. Jack Monroe says so.)
- Pop your spinach in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of water. Over a medium high heat, cook until the spinach is completely wilted. Remove from the pan and put on a chopping. Chop up the wilted spinach, ready to add to the batter.
- Mix the gram flour with a little milk/water to make a paste.
- Add the rest of the liquid.
- Add the cumin, cayenne and salt and give it all a good beat with a fork.
- Leave to stand for 30 mins and then stir in your chopped, wilted spinach and finely grated carrot.
- Meanwhile, make your Red Sauce:
- Heat a glug of oil over a medium heat in a medium sized saucepan.
- Put your finely sliced onion and garlic in the pan and turn the heat down to allow them to soften. Do not rush your onions.
- After about 6-7 mins they should be soft. Add your vinegar and give a little stir.
- Add your tomatoes, salt and sugar.
- Turn the heat up so it comes to the boil, then turn down to simmer for about 15-20 mins.
- Back to the pancake base:
- After 30 mins of standing, heat a glug of oil in a frying pan to a medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, pour your batter into the frying pan and squiggle it around the pan so it covers the base evenly.
- After about 4-5 minutes, the underneath should be cooked. Use a fish-slice or spatula to slide all the way underneath the pancake and deftly flip it over. It should be a gorgeous golden brown.
- After flipping, it should take a further 3 mins or so to cook the bottom.
- Turn out onto a nice big plate.
- Spoon as much tomato sauce onto the base as you’d like (I generally use about half the sauce for one person)
- Spoon your other toppings (cream cheese, veg etc) on to look as artful or messy as you wish. This is your meal. Own it.
- Photograph and upload to Instagram. Or not.