Rosemary Black Pepper Socca


Socca, a delicious street food from the south of France, more exactly Nice (in Switzerland, Nizza as the city is known in italian) is something I just recently discovered. I know, right? not while travelling in France, mind you, but living on the good old East Coast of the US. Which just goes to show that good food knows no boundaries.


“La socca de Nice, ou socca caouda, est un des plats les plus populaires de Nice semblable à une grande crêpe mais à base de farine de pois chiches et cuite au feu de bois.
A l’origine, c’était le plat du pauvre, bon marché et consistante.”

Basically saying: Nice’s ‘Socca’ is one of the most popular dishes from that region, resembling a big crêpe but made from chickpea flour and cooked over wood fire. Originating as poor folk’s dish, cheap and filling

Today, it is as much casual as it can be sophisticated, and a crowd pleaser at any dinner invite or potluck. Plus since it is naturally gluten free and vegan, can be served to most anyone. Best of all it is super easy to make but tastes incredible! Use a cast iron skillet for best results but I have also come across folks making it in a  pie dish, during my internet research. Traditionally it is made on a large copper disk, over very high heat and in a very hot oven. As with most street food (I was going to say any, but the Malaysian Roti Canai might be the exception to the rule) it is easy to prepare and therefore I figured must be a good candidate for outdoor cooking.

I have even had success making this directly on the  camp fire (since traditionally it is cuite au feu de bois, I had to) while camping but there are no pictures to prove it, so in this day and age, it never happened, lol. The one I did manage to get pictures of was made on my camp stove. And maybe here would be a good spot to apologize for the quality of some of the pics in this post, it was quite dark when I took them. Though I have to say, my headlamp functioned quite well as a backup flash for my cell phone, no?


You can make this easily in the oven at home, but since I had a little weekend away at a campfire planned, I decided to hone my socca making skills on a real fire. Maybe not entirely traditional, since much thicker than usual, but entirely too yummy not to share 🙂  I might post a more traditional version at some later time, we’ll see, but for camp fire cooking, this is taking it out of the hot dogs and smores category that often comes to mind when hearing ‘camping’. To make things extra easy, combine the flour, salt and pepper in a zip top bag before leaving and all you have to do is add the oil, water and rosemary at cooking time!

imageHere shown with beef and red pepper kebabs, a match made in heaven!


  • 1 cup chick pea flour*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

*chickpea flour can be found at many health food stores or the gluten free section of your grocery store. But the cheapest way is to find an Indian grocer and get it there, it’s called ‘Besan’image


  1. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a 8″ cast iron skillet*, cook the onions until soft, turn down the heat and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until starting to brown and caramelize. Set aside return the skillet to the heat, and keep heating on medium high.
  2. Mix chick pea flour, water and 1 tsp salt, stirring with a whisk or fork until all lumps are gone. Set aside (you can make this and use it right away or set it aside for several hours, it’s all good)
  3. Over high heat, in the same skillet, heat the remaining oil, then pour in the batter. After cooking for one minute, sprinkle the top evenly with the cooked onions and rosemary, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt, then cover with a lid until cooked through and the top is set about 5-7 minutes. Serve hot as a side to roasted meat or eat on its own.

* If you have a 10″ or larger skillet, the result will be thinner and take less time cooking.

The setting during the day…

image© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade

Healthy Camping Pt1

So many think that when you take food along or cook outside your kitchen that forcibly the quality of your food has to go down, as in unhealthy and bad for you. But there is really no reason for that, whatsoever. As proven by or most recent camping trip and many hikes before that (I made Vietnamese summer rolls on time, put the peanut sauce right into them), you can definitely ‘rough it’ without sacrificing on the food side of things.

This time we only had a few days so it was sadly much shorter than we would have liked. But hey, that was in June (yes, sometimes that’s how long it takes me to get a post completed) and now it’s only August, and even if you are cold easily, camping season extends till at least the end of September.
We set off on a blistering hot weekend where temps here in the Lehigh Valley topped out just short of the triple digit mark, drove through several fronts of thunderstorm and heavy downpour ( there was an inch of water in my kayak by the time we got there! ) up to the Catskills which proved to be cooler and therefore much more agreeable with everybody. Oh and the best part? It did not rain one drop once we got there!

We went with friends and the cooking duties were split evenly: we were responsible for one dinner and one breakfast.

But first, here are some general guidelines for meal planning, away from you regular kitchen:
Use seasonal produce for fresh and healthy meals. Most produce can be kept at room temperature for a period of time ( unless it’s berries, which we did put on ice in the cooler) Things like cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, apples, grapefruit, oranges, watermelon , cantaloupe , red bell pepper, onions or green beans, even kale if wrapped in a moistened paper towel before put in a plastic bag will happily keep a while. And if you end up having more space than expected, you can always store them on top of the rest in your cooler. ( don’t refrigerate your tomatoes or bananas)


Mix up the dry ingredients for pancakes and store in a zip top bag, all you need to add is the liquid stuff (a liquid like milk, oil and eggs, if you are making them with eggs)

Omelettes are always a good choice, easy and versatile that can be made with pretty much anything added.
Desert: doesn’t have to be roasted marshmallow or smores either, branch out. Try fruit salad with watermelon or mixed berries with yogurt the first couple of nights. Yogurt keeps fairly well, it’s fermented. Folks used to turn milk into cheese and yogurt in order for it to keep before there was no refrigeration. Keep it cool, but you can also bring it along for a picnic on a hike, no need to panic about it. When you get down to the end of your supplies and the more delicate things are gone, make these chocolate bananas over the fire. Or make a fruit compote topped with granola for crunch!

Dinner choices beyond the hot dog and chips: Pieces of meat are healthier than mystery meat in a casing. That said this time we did have chicken sausage the one night. Carl at the farmers market is a sausage genius and I know for a fact that his chicken sausage is made from chicken breast he sells right there alongside the sausage made from it. Steak, pork chops and chicken breast can all be easily grilled but need to be kept cold on ice in your cooler until you are ready for them. In my experience, meat, like ground beef, sausage or steak. (Oh yes, I said we did it in style, didn’t I?) keeps well right on the ice or bottom of the cooler, submerged in the water. To make doubly sure and make it keep longer, freeze it solid at home, then place in a zip top bag to keep it from getting ‘watered’ or in one of those Rubbermaid ‘take alongs’ (storage containers), they seal the water out and keep the meat inside cool and dry. You can cook chicken breast pieces in an aluminium foil pack with vegetables and seasonings included. Potatoes do well cooked that way, too, although they do take a while, sweet potato seems quicker.

Oh and remember, aluminium foil is your friend, as is a good set of grill thongs and a mitt 😉

imageWild Blue berries along the hiking route

Serves 4


We decided to go with an omelette with spinach and feta for sustenance and flavor. I cooked these over a camp stove, not the open fire. And it ended up being easier to make one at a time since the pan i have, makes it hard to put more than 3 eggs on at a clip and still have it cook through. Wasn’t a problem at all since other really only takes minutes to cook.

Basic Spinach Omelette:

  • 12 eggs (3 per person)
  • Spinach ( about 2 hand full per person)
  • 4 oz Feta Cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes

Variations on a theme:

  • Use Swiss Chard or Kale, instead of Spinach
  • Add some deli ham, or prosciutto for additional flavor
  • Use cheddar, Fontina or Swiss instead of Feta

imagewith Fontina and Prosciutto

This one’s with Swiss Chard from the garden & Ham


© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade

Grilled bananas with chocolate


 And for an easy camping desert, bananas with chocolate:

  • Cut in to the top of the banana, making sure not to cut through.
  • Use 1 row of fine quality semi dark or milk chocolate (Lindt is excellent) and push the single pieces into the top of the banana
  • Wrap in a rectangle of aluminium foil: Place banana in the center, flip the foil up on both sides and fold down twice, then fold in ends
  • Place on a hot grill until bananas are tender and yield gently to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes (depends on the heat of the embers)
  • Carefully open packets, and eat with a spoon. Careful very hot!!

Waking up to sunlight…

image…and some lovely scenery from the kayak cockpit!


Looking up through the rocks at where we will end up, after the uphill hike. And of course I had brought some Trail mix Granola Bars!

imageSunset Rock, overlooking North South Lake. You can’t see it from here, (I know this from the map) out of sight, off to the left there, are the Kaaterskill Falls, the lake water drains over the rocks into a fantastic multi level waterfall

© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade