Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

Socca with Cilantro Sauce

Socca with Cilantro Sauce

I very much favour sweet breakfast foods over savoury ones; it’s how I get to satisfy my incredibly sweet-tooth daily, but I also do appreciate a good savoury breakfast, I reserve meals like this socca and cilantro sauce for special mornings.

Weekend mornings where I do manage to get out of bed and go for a run or a long walk along the seawall.

Coincidentally, I got the recipe for this cilantro sauce on the seawall.

Walking the seawall is amazing like that; sometimes you meet the most interesting people, and last year a kindhearted woman gave me the recipe to this cilantro sauce – I rushed home, wrote it down and proceeded to make it straightaway.

Socca with Cilantro Sauce
Socca with Cilantro Sauce Socca with Cilantro Sauce

I’d made the batter for my socca the night before and kept it in the fridge, I left it on the kitchen counter to come to room temperature while I was out for my walk.

We must have both worked up an appetite because the woman and I got talking about breakfast, specifically what we were going to eat in the next hour or so… hers were savoury pancakes, which she pairs with this tart herby cilantro sauce.

This is how I got the idea to try it with socca, and it was absolutely special, it’s got to be since almost a year later I’m still eating socca with cilantro sauce, and can’t seem to stop talking about it.

It’s a convenient way to use up excess cilantro or other herbs; I should point out that it’s not just for socca, this sauce is for just about anything… I use it like ketchup or a dip and sometimes even stir it into soups or over roasted potatoes.

Socca with Cilantro Sauce
Socca with Cilantro Sauce

As for socca, I don’t think I’ve said enough to express how much I love socca!
I love that it has just so few ingredients, it’s easy to make and so very satisfying and filling.

It usually takes less than fifteen minutes to cook once I get back home and the cilantro sauce can also be made ahead of time.

A few weeks ago I piled on some caramelized onions, sometimes I top my slices with leftover roasted vegetables.

Have I mentioned that it’s naturally vegan and gluten free?

Socca with Cilantro Sauce
Socca with Cilantro Sauce

Socca with Cilantro Sauce

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

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There was a restaurant in Kits, it’s long gone now, I was so hooked on their sweet potato fries I was convinced they put something in them.

The rest of the food was subpar at best; nonetheless, we practically hung out there every Friday night for those crispy and salty sweet caramelized fries.

Served with a bright peppery aioli with hints of tomato and rosemary, they weren’t like anything I’d had before.

I didn’t go back for few months and then I heard the restaurant had closed, I wish I’d asked for the recipe, but I wasn’t much of a home cook back then.

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Sometimes I wonder if my idealist brain has created a far more impeccable sweet potato fry than the actual fries were, which is why none other has come close.

Now I always order sweet potatoes fries if it’s on the menu at a bar or restaurant… comparing and judging and chasing that illusive perfect crispy soft-inside savoury sweet taste.

And then other day I started this quest of creating my own perfect sweet potato fries, the one to knock the other off the pedestal – I don’t know if we’re quite there yet, but these baked sweet potato wedges are a pleasing start.

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Sweet delicate wedges with a bit of crunch, tender on the inside and a touch of tomato and rosemary – it’s my little cheer for this lengthy winter we can’t seem to shake.

I used garnet yams for this recipe, which in fact are sweet potatoes and technically not ‘yams’ – these are sweeter and richer in colour than the classic sweet potato, also rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), and a good source of other excellent vitamins and dietary fiber.

These potatoes are versatile and probably one of the easiest things to make; I cut them thinner sometimes and change up the spices – they make a great side or snack, and are surprisingly very filling, and of course slightly addictive.

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Speculoos Cookie Muffins

Speculoos Cookie Muffins

Long before the cookie butter craze, there were speculoos, the crunchy caramelized spiced cookies which is the main ingredient the cookie butter.

Speculoos are special in themselves, my local London Drugs used to carry the Belgian ones around Christmas time; crispy and thin with punchy flavours, they are so good with tea.

A while back, I discovered a package of speculoos lost underneath my stash of nuts, broken in pieces, looking forlorn and perfect for these muffins.

IMG_0060 Speculoos Cookie Muffins
Speculoos Cookie Muffins Speculoos Cookie Muffins

I can’t recall where I found this recipe, I really wish I could, because it takes the humble speculoos to new heights, I guess it’s similar to the cookie spread in that way

One idle grey morning, we watched the rain pour down the windows, and made these muffins, then we made coffee, sat down and relished the wonderful aroma of the muffins baking.

We ate them warm, right out of the oven with coffee and good company.

These speculoos cookie muffins aren’t the healthiest, but they have a delicious specialness and comfort that makes them perfectly suited for cold rainy days.

I really like how they turned out – wonderfully spiced, moist and cakey with a delightful crunchy streusel topping.

Speculoos Cookie Muffins
Speculoos Cookie Muffins by Elsa Brobbey


Speculoos Cookie Muffins

Almond Chickpea Flour Cookies

Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies

I really like these cookies! I think about them sometimes in the most inopportune times – like while walking through the fog this morning.

We were awoken by foghorns today; it went off persistently every few minutes until it forced me out of bed, and as the sun shone through the fog on my way to work I figured we were in for the most perfect of winter days; sunny, bright with crisp chilly air and brilliant blue skies.

I thought of how much I’d love to have a winter picnic… perhaps of hot cocoa and cookies, and how ideal these almond chickpea flour cookies would be.

Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies by Elsa Brobbey

This is probably the first cookie recipe I ever pinned, yet I only started making them quite recently, and I’ve made them several times since.

It’s delicate and crunchy, the kind of cookie you would crumble over ice cream – if you were into that sort of thing.

I like these cookies a lot!

The first time I made them was an experiment of sorts; I substituted fine-ground white cornmeal for semolina because that was what I had around at the moment, it worked so perfectly I haven’t yet used semolina like the original recipe called for.

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They are a lot like these almond butter cookies, another favourite… both are almond based, gluten free and of course vegan – these however are a little airier with a subtle fragrance of cardamom.

Chickpea flour also adds sweet nuttiness and a good boost of protein, which isn’t typical of cookies.

The cookies in the photos are from a month ago when we were in the throes of the holiday season, I was eager to use my new Christmas present, a cookie press. It was a trying endeavour… some shapes more so than others but they turned out well (I think).

I feel I should caution against the temptation to taste the dough before it’s baked as raw chickpeas tastes not too pleasant.

Something wonderful happens when they’re baked though, and you can’t really tell that these cookies have chickpeas in them.

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Spiced Banana Cake

Spiced Banana Cake

And so begins a gleaming New Year, inspiring and hopeful; when you think about it, the start of the New Year is a little like mornings, both bearing the optimism of a new beginning, except mornings come around daily.
My little end-of-year break sadly ended today, and this morning I got ready for work thinking about resolutions, and how I try not to make them on New Year’s.

I used to think I wasn’t really a resolutions maker, but the fact is, I’ve been making resolutions all my life, just not necessarily at the start of each year.

Spiced Banana Cake by Elsa Brobbey

One resolution I’ve had a hard time keeping is breakfast, for some reason eating in the morning has been a bit of a challenge. So my resolutions for mornings this year is to eat breakfast.

It seemed so easy during our relaxing Christmas holiday, breakfast just seemed to happen naturally; we had our granola on some mornings, mum made her special Hausa koko, then there were those endless pots of coffee and tea to go with panettone, pandoro and this delectable spiced banana cake I made for Christmas morning.

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This cake is truly simple, more like banana bread but fluffier, finely spiced and topped with crushed nuts and dried cranberries.

It gets its yellowish hue from turmeric, a mildly fragrant warm spice with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
I love the colour it lends to the cake, also, it boosts the flavour of the cake with earthy hints and and a faint peppery flavour.

I try to add turmeric to my cooking as often as I can since it’s such a powerful healing spice.

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What I do is mix all the spices; cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and turmeric together to make a rich warm mixture and then add it to my flour before the wet ingredients.

And when it’s baking, the smell of the bananas and the spices sweetly wafts through the kitchen and fills everywhere, that’s how you know something wonderful is baking.

It’s perfect with tea for wintry mornings, the spices aren’t overpowering, hints of ginger, cardamom and cinnamon comes thorough, balancing with the delicate aromas of bananas and vanilla.

This cake makes me hopeful, that maybe breakfasts wouldn’t be so hard after all.

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Slice of Spiced Banana Cake IMG_8391


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