New Photographic Exhibition

Flowers poster final.jpg

 

Flowers are as individual as people. Each one holds itself differently: some are naturally elegant and will almost always make a pleasing photograph, while others are resolutely unyielding—or perhaps I have just not found a way to see them yet.

It may be a matter of waiting for the right moment, which can take many days or even weeks. Snake’s head fritillaries, for example, were difficult to photograph because of the dark tones of the chequered pattern and the way they block out the light. It was not until eight days later, when the petals had started to curl and shrivel that a different aesthetic presented itself: each flower was dying in its own way and appearing to echo the human form in a graceful or an awkward pose.

Sometimes a photograph surprises one by creating something new. A multi-coloured, multi-layered orange tulip, luxuriant in its many-petalled splendour, becomes an abstract of colours in a two-dimensional photograph. Or a spray of freesias becomes a pyramid of forms and colours that somehow evoke the particular structure of the flowers.

It’s a matter of looking for the special moment, for the conjunction of light, colour, and form that go to make up a good photograph. If it’s not in the shot, no amount of tweaking can make a photograph work. I shoot using natural daylight, without flash or any studio paraphernalia apart from a tripod for the sometimes long exposures.

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John Thomas was a labourer's son from Cellan, Ceredigion. In 1853 he moved to Liverpool to work in a draper's shop. Over a period of ten years the work had a detrimental effect on his health and he was forced to find employment in the open air. Therefore, at the beginning of the 1860s, he became a traveller for a firm dealing in writing materials and photographs of famous people. At that time publishing and selling small photographs of celebrities (carte-de-visite photographs) was a very lucrative business. When he realised how few of the photographs he had to sell were of Welsh celebrities he undertook to change things himself.

He learnt the rudiments of photography and in 1863 he began taking photographs of the famous by inviting a number of well-known preachers to sit for their portraits. The enterprise was a success and by 1867 he was confident enough to establish his own photographic business, The Cambrian Gallery. He worked as a photographer for about forty years, and during that time he travelled widely in north, mid and south Wales taking photographs of landscapes as well as people.

When he retired from business a collection of over three thousand of his negatives was bought by Sir O M Edwards to illustrate the magazine Cymru. John Thomas had worked with OM for many years by supplying him with illustrations and articles for the magazine. OM paid the following tribute to him for help in illustrating the magazine, "... you can well understand my joy in receiving an offer of help from Mr John Thomas, in his own modest style. I knew that no-one has such a complete collection of views of Welsh historic sites. Whenever he visits a particular area, he adds to his collection the picturesque, famous or unusual that he finds there. His rich gallery has been made available to me to use with the warmest of welcomes... It is good to know that the Cambrian Gallery contains a collection of views from nearly every part of Wales, and of the characters who lived in those parts in recent years." (Translated from Welsh, Cymru 17 (1899), p.134)

John Thomas died in October 1905.

Today the negatives which O M Edwards bought from John Thomas form part of the photographic collection of the National Library of Wales.

Crimson Rhino would like to thank the National Library for its generous help in loaning the photographs for this exhibition.

 

 

Ganed John Thomas yng Nghellan, Ceredigion, yn fab i labrwr. Yn 1853 symudodd i Lerpwl i weithio mewn siop ddillad. Dros gyfnod o ddeng mlynedd cafodd y gwaith effaith ddrwg ar ei iechyd a gorfodwyd iddo chwilio am waith yn yr awyr agored. Felly, ar ddechrau'r 1860au, aeth yn asiant teithiol i gwmni oedd yn gwerthu deunydd ysgrifennu a ffotograffau o bobl enwog. Bryd hynny yr oedd cyhoeddi a gwerthu ffotograffau bychain o enwogion (ffotograffau carte-de-visite) yn fusnes llewyrchus iawn. Pan sylweddolodd yntau cyn lleied o ffotograffau o enwogion Cymru oedd ganddo i'w gwerthu aeth ati ei hun i newid pethau.

Dysgodd elfennau ffotograffiaeth, ac yn 1863 dechreuodd dynnu ffotograffau o enwogion trwy wahodd nifer o bregethwyr adnabyddus i eistedd iddo. Bu'r fenter yn llwyddiant ac erbyn 1867 yr oedd yn ddigon hyderus i gychwyn ei fusnes ffotograffig ei hun, The Cambrian Gallery. Parhaodd â'r gwaith am yn agos i ddeugain mlynedd gan deithio drwy'r rhan fwyaf o Gymru yn tynnu lluniau o olygfeydd yn ogystal â phobl.

Wedi iddo roi'r gorau i'w fusnes prynwyd casgliad o dros dair mil o'i negyddion gorau gan O M Edwards ar gyfer darlunio'r cylchgrawn Cymru. Yr oedd John Thomas wedi cydweithio gydag OM ers blynyddoedd trwy ddarparu lluniau ac ysgrifennu erthyglau ar gyfer Cymru. Talodd OM y deyrnged hon iddo am y cymorth a gafodd ganddo i ddarparu lluniau i'r cylchgrawn, "... hawdd dychmygu fy llawenydd wrth dderbyn cynnyg cymorth Mr John Thomas, yn ei ddull diymhongar ei hun. Gwyddwn nad oes odid neb yn meddu casgliad mor gyflawn o ddarluniau o holl leoedd hanesiol Cymru. Pryd bynnag y bydd mewn ardal, ychwanega at ei ystor o bob lle tlws, enwog, neu hynod ynddi. Y mae ei oriel gyfoethog wedi bod yn agored, â chroesaw imi... Mae'n gysur meddwl fod yn y Cambrian Gallery gasgliad o olygfeydd ymhob ardal bron yng Nghymru, ac o gymeriadau hynod y blynyddoedd diweddaf ymhob un." (Cymru 17 (1899), t.134).

Bu farw John Thomas ym mis Hydref 1905.

Erbyn heddiw y mae'r negyddion a brynwyd gan O M Edwards yng nghasgliad Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru.

 

CAFE GARDEN PART 2                              before and after!

Bird/land photographs by Jeremy Moore

 

Bird/land by Jeremy Moore, the latest in the series of photographic exhibitions at Crimson Rhino Café, Northgate, Aberystwyth, opens on 16th May and runs until mid July. 

‘My interest in birds dates back as far as my interest in photography. Before I became a professional photographer I had worked for bird and wildlife conservation organisations such as the RSPB and Nature Conservancy Council.  However for many years I photographed the landscape and only watched birds.

Once I did put my two main interests together I attempted to do so in a way which gave “equal billing” to the main subject matter (birds) and their surroundings.  Inspiration came originally from the “Rakusan Kachou Gafu” - bird and flower wood block prints by the Japanese artist Rakusan Tsuchiya. In these the bird may be partly obscured by its surroundings, or perched near the edge of the frame, looking outwards.  Anathema to the bird photographer!

And in my dreams I would be able to emulate the vision of the English artist Michael Warren, whose paintings contain accurate records of birds, but set within a stylised and almost surreal treatment of their surroundings. The subject matter of Warren's paintings is 'in focus' from the nearest foreground detail to the furthest horizon, despite high levels of magnification. This is something that the photographer will never be able to replicate: the optical limitations of photographic equipment are just too great.

For the exhibition Bird/land it became my intention, just to make things more difficult, to combine three or more images within each work. Individual images would be linked by species, habitat or aesthetic considerations, and sometimes all three.’

Bird/land was originally shown in extended versions at MOMA Machynlleth and Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

Jeremy Moore publishes a range of distinctive postcards - Wild Wales / Cymru Wyllt, - now (2016) in their thirtieth year.  For many years he has also worked on self-generated and publisher-led photographic projects. His most recent book was "Wales at Water's Edge" (with the author Jon Gower) published in 2012. He is currently working on a new book with Jon Gower, due for publication in 2018.  In 2013 he undertook a lengthy landscape commission for the Countryside Council for Wales. The National Library of Wales has a large collection of his photographs.            www.wild-wales.com 

                             

 

 

Cantre'r Gwaelod

Phil Jones Photographer

 

The submerged forest at Borth is an ever changing space that rarely fails to inspire me whenever I visit. At low tide and particularly after stormy weather, the sand is scoured away to reveal the remains of the woodlands that once extended out into Cardigan Bay. Caught up in the tangled roots lie weathered rocks and pebbles. Starfish can be seen at some times of the year as well as crabs and a multitude of shell fish. The sand adds another element of interest in the way it has been sculpted by the tide. Blue skies or cloudy skies, sunset or mid-day all change the way the land is presented.

This exhibition has been selected from photographs taken with a camera specifically adapted for infra red sensitivity. Changing the way the resulting exposures use the colour information can change the appearances of the sky or the reflections. Stumps covered with weed evoke a very different feeling to the wider view with reflected skies. Where the branches are still half buried in the clay and sand the infra red gives an appearance of fossilized bones from an ancient beast.

Phil Jones is based near Aberystwyth and has been photographing the submerged forest, and other areas of the world, for 15 years. His work has won appearances and awards in the British Wildlife Photography Awards and Take a View-Landscape photographer of the year. His book The Ceredigion Coastal Path is published by Gomer Press.

The Lost Land of Cantre’r Gwaelod

According to the legend, Cantre’r Gwaelod was the rich and fertile land governed by Gwyddno Garanhir, whose palace, Caer Wyddno, was reputedly near Aberystwyth. The land stretched across what is today the open sea of Cardigan Bay, and lay below sea level, protected by sea walls. The guardian of the sea defences was Seithennyn, a friend of the king charged with the all important role of shutting the sea gates every night. One night Seithennyn, who liked his drink, was at a feast in the king's palace, and forgot to shut the sea gates. It was a stormy night and the high spring tides broke through, quickly flooding Cantre’r Gwaelod, and forcing its people to flee to the hills.

The tale is first recorded in the 'Black Book of Carmarthen along with tales of Arthur and Merlin. This precious manuscript is in the keeping of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

 

 

The Campaign for Real Soup

I’m starting a campaign for real soup. I always think twice about ordering soup when out in case it’s just boiled vegetables blended up, or some ridiculously thin broth. Or supersweet tinned stuff. In my (perhaps lonely) opinion soup should be thick and hearty and it should be a meal not a drink. I wonder too if that goes for Welsh soup in particular. After all, we need something nourishing to help us climb the hills!

I’m making it my business to feed as many people good soup as I can. With that in mind I thought you might like my recipe for red pepper and sweet potato soup. It’s thick, smoky, and just a little sweet if you add a bit of sugar at the end like I do. I only use a few teaspoons when I make 20 portions so don’t go overboard! This recipe has been scaled down and should produce 4 large servings and will take you 30 minutes.

Let the campaign commence!

Red pepper and sweet potato soup

Ingredients

-          2 fist-sized onions

-          2 fist-sized sweet potatoes

-          2 red peppers (3 if using Ramiro)

-          2 garlic cloves

-          40ml oil

-          2 heaped teaspoons bouillon

-          1 teaspoon smoked paprika

-          1 teaspoon ground cumin

Method

1)      chop all the vegetables, it doesn’t really matter how small but the larger the pieces the longer they will take to cook

2)      heat the oil until it’s just smoking then add the onions and fry them until they are soft and transparent

3)      add the garlic, peppers, and sweet potato and continue to cook on a high heat for 5 minutes stirring all the time

4)      add the cumin, paprika, and bouillon powder and cook for a further two minutes before adding a litre of hot water

5)      turn down the heat. Cover and allow to simmer until all the veg is soft

6)      blend and check the seasoning. add brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste

A few tips

-          it keeps well… it’s actually even nicer the next day

-          you want an oil with a high smoke point like rapeseed oil, groundnut oil, or coconut oil. Rapeseed will have the most neutral flavour

-          don’t add the water too soon – you have to cook the vegetables in the oil before you boil them!

I hope you enjoy it!

Tom

soup

New spring evening menu at the Rhino

So I’ve finally finished our spring menu, and I’m really pleased with it! There were a few things I really wanted to do with the new menu. Firstly, and probably most importantly, I wanted to reflect the increased amount of fresh Welsh produce available this time of year. Choosing seasonal Welsh products makes sense because it always tastes better to have food that’s been grown in its natural season and without travelling a long way. And it’s great to have the store room stocked with produce that has only just been harvested, not stuff that’s arrived only as it’s on its last legs. The leek fritters and the mushroom ragu are both dishes that reflect this.

Another change is an increased amount of organic food. It’s been a goal for a couple of years now that every time the menu is changed it should include yet more organic produce, and we’ve managed it again. We’ve seen some ingredients increase by 30% in price since last summer, so it’s still not possible to switch absolutely everything, but the fresh vegetables are the easiest to source organically so by using more of them we’ve nudged ourselves a bit further.

I also wanted to find a balance between keeping the dishes that are popular and making room for new dishes. There’s no way we can just add on new dishes every time because the larger the menu gets the worse I’m going to be at cooking it. We’ve had to remove a few dishes that we’re not pleased to see the back of, such as the lovely quinoa tabbouleh salad. Sadly, it took a long time to prepare and didn’t enjoy enough orders, and I think that time will be better utilised slicing lovely fresh organic mushrooms for the new ragu. I’m not ruling out a return! The ever-popular burgers remain without changes this time, although I can still see change on the horizon for the burger menu. We’ve gone back to making our own chilli chutney and it’s so good that I can’t remember why we stopped. We’ve decided it goes well with the falafel so we’re not using chilli jam anymore – it’s chutney only now!

The menu testing evening a couple of weeks ago was hugely helpful in putting together this new menu. Thanks again to everyone who came and gave their feedback to me and Sasha. Sasha went to every table because I was a little caught up with doing the cooking and she asked everyone for their feedback and wrote it down. So many more dishes were popular than I’ve been able to include here, but I’ve decided that you can look forward to the coconut and cauliflower dopiaza, and perhaps some other dishes, as specials rather than as permanent menu fixtures.

Crimson Rhino’s spring evening menu launches this Saturday 11th March. Thanks for reading!

This Saturday: More veg! More organic! More Welsh!

Hello to you!

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about using more Welsh organic vegetables. We already use almost all Welsh leafy veg (salad, spinach, kale, parsley, etc) and we use wonderful Welsh shitake mushrooms (£17 a kilo but worth every penny!). However this time of year more and more Welsh produce starts to become available and we want to hit the ground running with getting as much onto the menu as possible.

That in mind, this Saturday 18th February we’re going to get rid of our usual menu for the evening and instead do a menu to roadtest some dishes with more Welsh produce, or at the very least with products that we can get organic now from the rest of the UK and from Europe but that we will be able to get from Welsh producers when the season begins.

What I’m hoping is that some of these dishes will be really popular on Saturday and we can put them on the menu straight away, to bring a little more organic seasonal vibrancy to our little Aberystwyth café.

One dish I’m particularly excited about is the thyme roast Jerusalem Artichoke. The main event is available right now from a Welsh grower, and it’s a recipe shamelessly borrowed from the great Yotam Ottolenghi, who probably knows what to do with a Jerusalem Artichoke better than anyone.

There’s a couple of Leek dishes on the menu too, and I’m really excited to see which is the most well received. I don’t know how a Welsh vegetarian café has survived without a leek dish this long! We’ve managed to get hold of British leeks but they aren’t Welsh, so if there are any Welsh growers out there growing organic leeks please get in touch!

I’ve included what I’ve got so far here but it could change a bit by Saturday. The plan is to have every dish priced at a fiver for a tapas dish. I'd recommend bringing a few friends, ordering everything on the menu, sharing it out and then ordering more of your favourites! Here's the menu:

Thyme roast Jersusalem Artichoke with cherry tomatoes and rainbow chard

Sweet potato cakes with tahini yoghurt sauce

Leek fritters with tahini yoghurt sauce

Fried tempura leeks with sweety drop peppers

Chargrilled Halloumi and seasonal vegetables

Shitake and chestnut mushroom ragu on crusty sourdough

Cucumber, organic onion, ginger, and coriander salad in a rice vinegar dressing

Cauliflower and coconut dopiaza

Organic brown rice salad with apricots and basil

I know it’s not a huge amount of notice but we’d appreciate some bookings if you do fancy coming down. You can phone us on 01970 627203 or contact us through the café facebook page (www.fb.com/crimsonrhinoaber).

As always, we really appreciate any feedback and suggestions. If have any suggestions of suppliers, dishes, or vegetables you’d like to see then I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks all

Tom

Trip to Cardiff

Trip to Cardiff

As I mentioned in my last blog post I love visiting other cafes whilst I'm away on my travels. This time in Cardiff I visited three places I've never been before, so I've written a little about each of them. If you ever find yourself in Cardiff then The Moos and Baked @ 88 are really worth a look.

Baked @ 88

In Llandaff North I stumbled across a café and bakery called Baked @ 88. At first glance I thought it might just be a cake shop. There were three or four pedastals in the window with a jar of cookies on each. Behind that was a counter covered in more cakes and a fridge behind with even more! Only after taking all those in did I notice the coffee machine and a few tables so we went in for a drink and we were so glad we did!

The manager/chief-baker (Lindsay) was serving a customer when we came in who was obviously a regular picking up takeaway cakes – a good sign if ever there was one that the taste of the cakes would match their amazing appearance. I had a slice of the oreo cheesecake (pictured) which was amazing and as you might imagine pretty filling. With the free samples and pinching bits of friends cakes I also tried a couple of types of cookie, a rose and pistachio cake, and a brownie! Everything was stupendous, if you're ever near Llandaff North you should go here!

Lindsay makes all the cakes herself and she has been trading for less than a year but obviously word has spread fast about her talent because a fair few takeaway cake boxes were picked up in the half hour we spent there. It’s so nice to see someone do well making everything from scratch. As we concentrate on maintaining quality with an ever-expanding menu at Crimson Rhino I can see Lindsay might get a wholesale enquiry from us pretty soon! She does plenty of gluten free and dairy-free cakes too!

Gourmet burger kitchen

I was pleased to see a fair few vegetarian options on the menu of this chain burger restaurant. A burger with chips sets you back about £12-£15 so it’s a fair bit more than you spend in Aberystwyth but they had made some really good falafel for the falafel burger. I’ve been concerned about putting falafel burgers on our menu because falafel burgers can be pretty dry affairs, but GBK had included so much sauce that it wasn’t a problem – definitely food for thought!

The Moos

I’ve been so excited to try the Moos since they opened as Cardiff’s newest vegetarian eatery just last summer. I wasn’t disappointed – Rhys and Amy definitely make a great smoothie and I loved my sweet potato falafel wrap as well! Crimson Rhino is obviously popular for smoothies but the Moo’s use some cool ingredients like baobab and maca that I’ve thought about offering for some time… the cogs in my brain continue to turn – something to talk to Alan about when I next see him!

The interior of the Moos is really cool as well. They’re going for a shiny-but-homely, costa-but-veggie-vegan vibe that certainly worked for me! I’ve included some pictures so you can see what you make of it as well.

Did you enjoy my reviews of the places I visited in Cardiff? Crimson Rhino Aberystwyth would love to have some more TripAdvisor reviews ourselves- here’s the link:

 https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186428-d7372005-Reviews-Crimson_Rhino-Aberystwyth_Ceredigion_Wales.html

Cqrd payments arrive at Rhino!

Crimson breakfasts now and everything!

As you may well have noticed (thanks for the amazing Facebook reaction!) we did breakfast for the first time on Saturday. We’re doing it again this Saturday 21st January, from 9:30am. We figure if it’s popular again we’ll do it every Saturday, but if it’s not as busy we’ll decide it’s destined to be a once a month breakfast club, not weekly. So come along and vote with your feet!

In the meantime, I’m personally off to Cardiff for a couple of days (our Aberystwyth café open as usual – thank you team!). Both Alan and I think it’s really important to visit other places and get inspiration for our little café. Some might call it shamelessly stealing ideas! I loved the bottled Karma Cola available at Anna-Loka in Cardiff and that’s why we stock it ourselves. I found the vegan jerky at the wonderful Simply V store down there too. There’s even inspiration to be found in England. A highlight is the wonderful Lancaster institution the Whaletail café, who introduced us to the lovely Taifun smoked tofu that features sometimes on our menu.

This time in Cardiff it’s strictly for pleasure not business, but I’m sure if I find some wonderful vegetarian, vegan, and ethical delights then I’ll have some lovely pictures to show you on my next blog post. It might not even be just pictures I bring back – I’m always looking for ideas!

It’s always nice to finish a blog post with a recipe, so I’ll share how we make our granola from the breakfast menu (remember, if you want to try the real thing it’s Saturday from 9:30am.

Crimson Rhino Aberystwyth’s maple granola

ingredients:

-  500g oats

-  125ml maple syrup

-  100g muscovado sugar

-  40ml rapeseed oil

-   teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Method:

-   Mix all the ingredients apart from the oats until the sugar is beginning to dissolve

-   Add the oats and mix well. It’s really important you can’t see any oats that aren’t coated

-   Spread the mixture over three large baking trays. It’s best to use non-stick, coat in parchment, or grease them with more rapeseed oil

-   Bake at 150 degrees C for 20 minutes

-    Stir them to make sure they cook evenly, then cook for another 15 minutes at 150 degrees C

-    Allow to cool outside the oven then keep in an airtight container… assuming you need to store it that long!

Thanks for reading

Remember to contact us on Facebook or email me on trtrevarthen@gmail.com if you have any comments, queries, questions, suggestions… or to book a table!

Tom and Alan, and all the team at Crimson Rhino Aberystwyth)

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Did you enjoy it?

We’re trialling breakfast this Saturday 14th Jan from 9:30am. 

We’re a café that specialises in vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and organic food and drink. We do our best to source everything fairly and even try to use as much local produce as we can. There are lots of cafes in Aberystwyth that you should try, but we think our unique combination of ethical food, free Wifi, and special discount offers makes Crimson Rhino a great place to start!

Remember to find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Tom and the Crimson Rhino team

 Here’s the menu:

 

Crimson Rhino Aberystwyth: Christmas 2016 and the New Year!

We had a great Christmas this year at the café. We decided to do a Christmas menu although we haven’t had much luck with them in previous years. I’d always put it down to be something to do with the absence of meat on our menu – after all, if there’s one time of year people are less likely to want to be a vegetarian it’s bound to be Christmas. Also, Christmas parties are usually pretty large affairs, and the larger the group the likelier it is that there will be someone who can’t get to grips with a veggie meal.

Crimson Rhino is here to offer the option rather than force anything upon anyone, so I can’t say I’d lost much sleep about having quiet Decembers in the past. However we are nothing if not chancers and tryers so Alan and I put together a menu and put it out there. We were just amazed by the response. Clearly a year is a long time for the vegetarian movement and the wonderful folk of Aberystwyth kept us busy with lots of bookings for our festive (and yes still vegetarian!) menu. The sage and onion falafels were a particular treat, and although it is now well and truly January I’ve included the recipe at the end of this post so you can save it for next time around.

One change we made this year was to close between Christmas and New Year. Previously, we’ve opened in between but it was never a busy time for us so this year we decided to let ourselves have a rest. I was worried about letting down customers who wanted to visit in that time, especially those just visiting Aberystwyth, but honestly the rest has been so worth it. The whole Crimson Rhino team, myself especially, feel so much more energised and fresh than we did the week before Christmas. At the end of the day, if a break is good for us then it’s good for the café and therefore the customers so hopefully we will get away of depriving everyone of their halloumi burgers for a week!

That being said, January really did come around quickly, and I think we’ve got off to a good start. It’s been a couple months since we last overhauled the menu and I’m getting the impatience I always get when it’s time for a bit of new life. If you have any suggestions of what you’d like to see more (or indeed less!) of on the menu then I’m all ears, gimme a shout!

In the meantime I will be putting my creative juices into the next seasonal menu. Almost unbelievably it’s time to write a fresh Crimson Rhino Valentine’s Day menu! If you’re in Aberystwyth for then (or for St Dwynwen’s Day on the 25th January) be sure to consider us!

There’s also rumour that a Chinese New Year Rhino-style is in the works, but plans for that are rather more formative! Here’s the recipe for the falafels I mentioned above:

Sage and onion falafels

For the food processor:

-          one onion (about 150g)

-          50g parsley

-          20g fresh sage

-          50ml lemon juice

-          50ml water

-          10g salt

-          1 tin chickpeas drained (or 240g fresh cooked chick peas)

For the sieve:

-          15g mild curry powder

-          150g gram flour

Method:

1)      Blend all the food processor ingredients until combined but not smooth

2)      Sieve the other ingredients on top of the wet mixture

3)      Use a spoon to mix the dry ingredients in well

4)      Either deep fry for 3 minutes at 160 C or spray with cooking oil and oven bake for 15 minutes at 160 C for a healthier option

Thanks for reading and see you at Crimson Rhino Aberystwyth soon!

Tom

Socca pancake recipe

Lots of you ask us for recipes when you come into the cafe. As a way of thanking you for your interest and for your belief in our abilities I’m aiming to start sharing more of them. I’m starting with this recipe for Socca pancakes. A year or so ago we had ‘socca pizzas’ on the menu for a short period in which time they gained a small but loyal following. I’m hopeful that some of those who enjoyed them at the time will find this recipe and be able to enjoy them once again!

Socca is basically a chickpea flour pancake. It hails from Nice in France or from across the border in Northern Italy, and is fairly popular in both. The recipe here allows you to make fairly thick, strong socca. You can use these as gluten free pizza bases like we did or just do your own thing!

- 100g chickpea flour

- 1 tsp salt (5g)

- 1 tsp black pepper (3g)

- 50ml olive oil

- 800ml tepid water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Begin to add the oil and water gradually, a tablespoon of each at a time until the oil is used up and you have a paste. Then gradually add more of the water to form a batter, using a whisk or a blender constantly to remove any lumps. Don’t let the batter get thinner than the consistency of beaten eggs, once it reaches that consistency or you have used all the water, stop. If the mix is still lumpy, sieve it at this point.

Allow the mixture to rest at room temperature for an hour before use – it won’t work otherwise trust me! After an hour, heat a dry non-stick frying pan (whatever size you want the pancakes to be) on a medium to high heat. Coat the base with the batter mixture, a few millimetres thick. After a couple of minutes of medium-heat cooking, it will be firm enough to easily turn over. Cook the reverse for just one further minute before turning onto a paper towel to cool. You can even freeze the pancakes at this point and use them as pizza bases straight from frozen!

The pancakes have a nutty taste suited to use in savoury dishes. However, they could be used in sweet dishes if you add a teaspoon of sugar to the batter. Also just use half the amount of salt and omit the black pepper entirely. I hope you enjoy your Socca!

Tom :)