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A couple of weeks ago I went shopping with a friend and she took me to an Indian food shop that I never knew existed! We love Asian cuisine, so it’s a real treat to find a good local supplier of Asian ingredients.

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Whilst we were mooching around this shop I picked up a bag of gram or chickpea flour. That evening we feasted on fresh pakora… oh my word I love pakora! Then I was thinking what else to make with the gram flour and hunted around for some inspiration. It came in the form of socca or farinata, a flatbread which is made in various ways in Italy and the French Mediterranean regions. All the recipes I saw were pretty similar, basically a cup of flour to a cup of water, some olive oil, seasoning and herbs.

Here’s how I made mine:

1 cup of gram flour
1 cup of water
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A good grind of sea salt
A grind of pepper
A sprig of rosemary, leaves pulled off the stem, bashed and finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients in a large jug and leave the batter to stand, covered, at room temperature for at least half an hour. When ready to cook, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat (you don’t want your socca to be too thick or it’ll be a soggy socca!). When hot, add the batter and let it fill the pan like a large pancake. Let it cook for a few minutes – checking that the bottom is not burning! Meanwhile, preheat your grill. When the bottom of the socca is set and starting to colour, pop the pan under the grill and cook until the top is set and starting to brown. Remove from the grill, flip your socca over in the pan (large fish slice will do it) and brown the other side slightly. You want it to be cooked through and have some colour but not to char, charring is not good! When your socca is ready, slide it out of the pan, sprinkle over a little sea salt and cut into wedges. Serve with whatever you like and enjoy whilst it is still slightly warm.

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Everyone in my household declared socca a success, as you can see from the photos the entire thing didn’t even make it to the dinner table! I think it would also work very well with Indian flavours so I am going to experiment with that and I’m also going to try it as an alternative gluten-free pizza base, as pizza night used to be something of a family tradition and I miss that. It is so easy and quick to make socca, I urge you to have a go even if you’re not gluten-free!

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