side dish

Veggies Farinata

My happiest time of everyday is sipping wine and munching on snacks in late afternoon.  People usually start aperitivo around 7-ish but I start mine a little earlier meaning let’s say around 5ish at home before I start preparing for dinner.  That’s because I am still semi-unemployed.  Yes, semi- it is.  Marco's business keeps me pretty busy sometime.  ;)

Due to my utmost passion for aperitivo, I’ve also been exploring to pair my glass of prosecco or white wine with somewhat healthier snacks such as oven roasted chips and roasted chickpeas.  I recently got a bag of chickpea flour and since it was my first time, I spent a bit of time doing some research.  And that’s when I learned about farinata.  Some people call it socca, some call it cecina or torta de ceci depending on the region.  Well, my source, and that is Marco (who else), calls it farinata but after I added those vegetables on it, it shouldn’t be called farinata anymore.  But who cares.  It was delicious!  That’s all it counts.  So hey, chickpea flour has become our new best friend.  

Veggies Farinata

Servings: 2 small farinata (I used a small 8 inches ovenproof skillet)

Preparation Time: around 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 cup chickpea flour 

1/2 - 1 cup water (depending on your flour)

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking 

Toppings: 

3-4 thin sliced eggplant

2-3 tbsp diced capsicum

2-3 tbsp thin sliced red onion

6-8 olives

2-3 tbsp grated mozzarella *optional for vegans

Instructions: 

  1. To make the mixture, whisk together chickpea flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and water in a large bowl.  Let the mixture rest for 20-30 minutes.  
  2. Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Preheat the skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.  
  3. Once the skillet is hot, remove it from the oven.  Pour 1/2 of the mixture to the skillet and assemble the toppings except for the grated cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes then add the grated cheese and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and ready to serve.   
  4. Repeat the same steps for the second slice of farinata.  

Ingredients to make a simple farinata are: 

1 cup chickpea flour 

1/2 - 1 cup water (depending on your flour)

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking 

To make the mixture, whisk together chickpea flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, chopped rosemary, and water in a large bowl.  Let the mixture rest for 20-30 minutes.  

Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Preheat the skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.  Once the skillet is hot, remove it from the oven.  Pour 1/2 of the mixture to the skillet and assemble the toppings except for the grated cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes then add the grated cheese and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  

veggies farinata

1) Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu 2) Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

We’ve finally moved into our little apartment in Milan.  The entire place is still a mess, full of boxes waiting to be unpacked.  From the way I see it, it’s gonna take another whole month to get this home sorted.  Never knew my other half is such a hoarder.  

I’m just glad that we’ve finally got internet here so I can start my rant.  ;)  Lately, I’m a little obsessed with roasted vegetables because I’ve also got my awesome oven installed finally.  I don’t even have a fan in the kitchen yet I must have my oven first.  Those guys who installed it must’ve thought I was weird though; not to mention those awkward lost in translation moments we got there.  I kept asking if I could start using the oven right away with my broken Italian.      

So roasting vegetables has become my new forte and the best sauce to go with that, in my opinion, is the wonderfully nutty great old tahini.  I have two simplest and healthiest recipes to go with my easy tahini dressing here.  Hope you’ll like them.  Happy roasting! :D

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu - this is one delicious hearty salad 

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 small bowl broccoli florets

1/2 avocado, cut into finger-sized strips

1/2 package hard tofu, cut into finger-sized strips

1 bowl fresh salad greens

1 bowl cooked soba, rinsed and drained

1 fresh lemon, juiced

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 tbsp chopped fresh spring onion

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1 small garlic, finely chopped 

2-3 tbsp sesame oil/extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for tahini dressing: 

1/2 cup tahini sauce

1/2 cup water 

1 small garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp vinegar 

1 tbsp honey

1/2 lemon juice and zest

1 tsp grated ginger

1-2 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1-2 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions:

1)  Preheat the oven at 180-200ºC.  

2)  Marinate the tofu with chopped garlic and soy sauce for 10-15 minutes.

3)  To make tahini dressing, add tahini, garlic, vinegar, honey, ginger, lemon juice, tamari, sesame oil and add water to thin until smooth.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  

3)  On a baking tray, mix broccoli, avocado, tofu, dried chilli flakes, oil, and season. Roast for about 10 minutes or less.  

4)  On a large dish, assemble the salad, soba, and roasted vegetables with some toasted sesame seeds, nuts, spring onions, and tahini dressing.  Add a twist of fresh lemon before serving. 

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Soba Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Avocado, and Tofu

Here are the simplest and healthiest ingredients for my second recipe: Roasted Purple Carrots & Avocado Salad

Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 lb fresh purple salad

1 avocado, cut into slices

1 lemon zest 

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 handful chopped walnuts

1/4 cup tahini dressing (recipe is above)

handful chopped fresh parsley (you can use mint and others; they are just as good)

extra-virgin olive oil/sesame oil 

On a baking tray, mix carrots, oil, and season. Roast for about 15 minutes then add avocado.

Add avocado after 15 minutes of roasting the carrots.  

Instructions: 

1) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  

2) On a baking tray, mix carrots, oil, and season. Roast for about 15 minutes then add avocado.  

3) Roast for another 5-10 minutes.  I usually toss in the walnuts in the last few minutes of roasting for an extra nutty flavor.  

4) Garnish with fresh parsley, sesame seeds, tahini dressing and a drizzle of oil.  

5) Add a twist of fresh lemon juice to give the refreshness of this warm salad before serving.  

Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing

Roasted purple carrots & avocado with tahini dressing