Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

There are a few interesting stories to this chocolate pizza; two involve children, sort of – fitting since I’m pretty sure kids would love this sweet pizza.

Both are cute stories, of how I came to own a box of colourful Dutch sprinkles and a gooey tub of chocolate spread made with cocoa from Ghana.

Months ago, when I was strolling the canals of Amsterdam, my friend N who was expecting a baby at the time, sent me a text asking if I could pick her up some sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles (Muisjes) – auspiciously, I was standing in front of an Albert Heijn and they were the first things I spotted upon entering the store.
I got a pink one and a blue one since I didn’t know the sex of N’s baby.

N’s baby came this January past, a sweet little boy with the most adorable smile. She borrowed the Dutch custom and served guests who came to see the baby, donuts sprinkled with blue and white Muisjes, and I came home to a box of pink and white sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles.

Chocolate Pizza
Chocolate Pizza

Then there’s my little friend E, a passionate nine-year old with a slight obsession with vampires and Goth.
Choco Delight, a chocolate peanut butter spread from Ghana is on her list of favourite things at the moment – it’s better than Nutella, she said and I was intrigued. Her dad graciously got us a tub to try.

I initially wanted to make this chocolate pizza for E; to share with her on one of the evenings she passes by my place on her way to Girls Guide, but our timing was always off and I was sure we’d run out of chocolate spread if I waited for that perfect opportunity.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

So one morning when we would have just had bread with chocolate spread with our tea, I made chocolate pizza instead.
It’s simple really; bread dough slathered in chocolate and baked to perfection with a sprinkle of aniseed.
The sprinkles were an afterthought, but I do love the combination, the chocolate and the subtle liquorice flavour do well together.

I love it with tea; it’s like bread with your favourite chocolate spread, but so much more – it’s soft warm chewy bread with gooey melted chocolate – so good!

I used ’00′ flour for the dough, I got a small bag from the Italian store months ago to try out. I put my bread machine to work using a very simple dough recipe, same one I used here.
The dough can be made by hand too; here is a great step-by-step direction on how to.

I’m hopeful, E and I have set a date this summer, to get together and make chocolate pizza, and I’ll even let her choose the toppings.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

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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