Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Healthy, right?

Today, I perfected homemade falafels. These are one of my favourite things to eat in summer, and they feel really virtuous (though they're fried, they contain healthy chickpeas and lots of leafy herbs, and they go well with salad) I've tried to make my own a couple of times before, but always got stuck when it came to making them stick together and hold their shape.
This time, I took a recipe from my favourite veggie cookbook (Vegetarian Cooking by Roz Denny and Christine Ingram) and adapted it - the recipe calls for mint, which I didn't have so had to skip that, but I also added one beaten egg and dipped the finished falafels in breadcrumbs. Fried in a little oil saved from a jar of sundried tomatoes (I think it's a mix of olive oil and vegetable oil), they came out beautifully even with the missing mint!

I thought I would share the recipe here. This made me 14 falafels roughly an inch wide.

You need:
A 400 to 425g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 garlic clove, crushed or chopped finely
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large egg, beaten
One or two slices of bread made into breadcrumbs (2 tbsp for the falafel mix, the rest for dipping the falafels into)
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Use a food processor to whizz the chickpeas into a smooth paste, then add the rest of the ingredients apart from the oil and the leftover breadcrumbs. Whizz again (that's the technical term for it, right? :) ) until everything is mixed well. Make the falafel mix into bitesized balls, roll between your hands and roll in breadcrumbs to cover slightly. Heat the oil in a pan - ideally you'll need about a quarter inch deep of oil (half a cm) Fry the falafels gently for about 8 minutes, turning over once.
Serve in warm pitta bread or tortilla wraps with salad and hummous.
Apparently they freeze well (reheat for 15 mins in the oven) so if you have a big food processor, it's probably a good idea to make a big batch at once and save some. Buying a pack of 8 similar sized falafels in my supermarket costs £2, but making them at home is a snip of that (especially now I'm growing my own coriander!) so I recommend giving the recipe a go. :)

I also have been enjoying some homemade icecream...but the recipe isn't quite perfect yet, so I'll save the details until it's just right.
I like to tell myself homemade icecream is much healthier (and I suppose it probably is in that you can minimize the additives in there) so I think I'll be making lots of different flavours this summer. This first attempt was chocolate and peanut butter icecream...made more healthy by having low fat crème fraîche in it, but sadly this does seem to make the iciness a little much and the creaminess a little lacking...

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