There’s usually some fuss about Gwyneth Paltrow’s books. They are supposed to be “too perfect”, unrealistic and only suitable for those with lots of spare time and money (or a private chef). Recipes for avocado toast would be way too simple (the same criticism Nigella Lawson encountered in the Telegraph and even I did myself, in the Dutch NRC newspaper). Furthermore, Gwyneth wouldn’t even write those books herself.
In all honesty, some of the diet advices in the former books were a bit questionable and Gwyneth definitely wouldn’t be the first celebrity to use a ghost writer (in fact: she was always open about her coproduction with Julia Turschen, who recently brought out the lovely ‘Small Victories’ herself), but Gwyneth’s latest ‘It’s all easy’ is definitely, really worth a closer look.
Gwyneth wrote this book together with Thea Baumann, who’s also involved in Gwyneth’s very successful lifestyle empire GOOP. And although most of the recipes are healthy and light, this time the focus was put on achievablity. Gwyneth’s friends all asked her for easy, fast recipes and this book is really meant for the crazy busy homecook. People who don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen, but find good eating really important.
In this thick and pretty book, you will find no less than 125 recipes, divided in nine chapters with titles like ‘summer nights’ and ‘unexpected guests’. And from the minute I started browsing through this book I noticed: this book inspires. Maybe it’s the amazing food pictures by Ditte Isager, that are clean and tempting at the same time. Or it’s the recipes: fast variations on popular dishes. Fact is that I’ve already made several recipes from this book and they were all a success.
The chicken piccata for instance, fresh and sour because of the lemon and with a salty caper accent. Or the nori wrap with an Asian chicken salad and a very addictive miso dressing. Or the avocado toast (oh yeah, still a fan) with spicy sesame mayonnaise. None of them extremely surprising recipes, but they are well-written and – most importantly – taste really good.
I have made the trendy socca pizza’s from the book several times now. A socca is traditionally from Nice, kind of a savory pancake made from chickpea flour. Glutenfree by nature and therefore very hot these days. With this recipe you easily bake the socca’s in a frying pan and cover them with toppings of your liking. Gwyneth suggests for instance burrata with shaved vegetables, or roasted carrots with avocado (highly recommended).
My version is with sweet figs, smoked buffalo mozzarella and spicy arugula. I ordered my smoked mozzarella online and love its subtly smokey taste, but you can totally use a different kind of mozzarella.
It’s such a delicious combination that gets even better when you put the socca under a hot oven grill for a few minutes, so let the cheese melt a little. Addictive!
for 6 small pizza’s
2 ¼ cups (250 g) chickpea flour
(sometimes called gram flour)
2 tbsp olive oil + extra
7 oz (200 g) buffalo mozzarella
4 figs, sliced
1 handful of arugula
To make the batter, whisk together the chickpea flour, olive oil and 2 cups (500 ml) water and season with 2 big pinches of salt.
Heat a 20cm (8in) nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil, pour in about 4 tablespoons of the batter and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the bottom is crispy and the top is almost set. Carefully flip the socca and cook for 1 minute more.
Transfer to a plate and dress with the mozzarella and figs. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Optional: put the socca’s under a hot oven grill for about 3 minutes, to melt the cheese.
Top with the arugula and serve straight away.