Tag Archives: vegan

Cleaning out my pantry

29 Apr

Wow! Tomorrow is the last day of April meaning May is just around the corner. For me, that means roughly thirty-five days to go before I set sail on my round-the-world adventure. I have finished my running list and the first major task complete: fly my cooking books and few sentimental goods like my tortilla press back to my hometown, Sydney. My remaining possessions fit into one medium-sized travel bag so that’s all I have to lug around for thirty-two days between nine or so cities.

Another item on my to do list is cleaning out my pantry. Whilst not the highest of priority, it’s still something that will need attention over the coming weeks. I’ve hoarded so many ingredients which I’d hope to experiment with or learn about, and others quite frankly I just bought too much of.

So what have I found deep in the abyss of my pantry? Polenta, semolina, agar, fungi, cracked wheat, vegetarian mushroom fluff, barley, several cans of coconut milk, hemp seeds and smoke dried chillies. Somehow, some way I will need to use up all these ingredients as I simply can’t throw food away. Any ideas?

Tonight to combat what seems like the start of an irritating cough and scratchy throat, I decided to go for my usual home soup remedy. No it’s not nice, not very tasty nor is the recipe worth sharing and it’s super hot. It’s a concoction of ginger, garlic, fresh chillies, an entire bag of black fungi (one item down) and a few vegetables.

After I’d finished scraping all the bugs off my throat with hot soup, I needed something sweet to soothe it. Honey was a must but I felt like I needed more ingredients with sustenance to maximise my chance of fighting off any remaining bugs. To a teaspoon of Manuka honey I added 1 Tbs Tahini, 1 Tbs hemp seeds, 1 Tbs pumpkin seed protein powder, 1 tsp coconut oil and 1 tsp sesame seeds. That’s it! Oh and a squeeze of lemon. Mix it up in a bowl, roll into a ball then coat with more sesame seeds. That was enough to make two bliss balls.

How were they? Blissful! Don’t believe me? Make them. If you don’t have pumpkin seed protein, use cacao perhaps. If they turn out too soft, put them in the fridge for a little while or add more cacao. Other variations? Sure, just use your creativity. Next time I’ll be adding crushed pistachios or walnuts.

And by the way, I managed to find my cooking mojo since my last post and delivered a Lebanese feast with several dishes plus Baklava and Mafroukeh which I’ll post soon 😉

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How to make real falafel

11 Sep

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Although the origins of falafel may still be in dispute, there is agreement on one thing: these vegetarian fritters are extremely tasty and very nutritious! They are very popular and virtually available every where from fast food outlets to the common supermarket shelf.

So how does one make a “real” falafel? For starters, try to avoid the dry mix that is sold in the supermarket. Adding falafel powder to water may sound appealing but it won’t give you crunchy falafel with a soft centre. To achieve that, all you need is rehydrated chick peas, fava beans and a food processor. Make up a large batch, separate into smaller portions, freeze and you’ll never get have to go back to the dry mix version.

Similar to most Arabic dishes, ratios can be adjusted to suit personal taste. Ask 10 different falafel connoisseurs for their recipes, you’d probably get 10 different recipes. However, one thing that doesn’t change is how falafel is served: pickles, salad and tahini sauce wrapped in pita bread. Savoury pickles include beetroot stained turnip, gherkin, mild long chilies and cabbage. Salad is usually shredded lettuce, tomatoes and chopped parsley. Leftover falafel can also be served cold for breakfast also with pickles and labna. (thickened yoghurt)

Below is my falafel recipe which borrows heavily from mum’s kitchen. Included below are some photos of the family table on Father’s Day. Yes, dad wanted falafel, not barbecued lamb nor seafood!

You’ll need to begin this recipe the day before.

Ingredients (makes about 40-60 small falafel balls depending on size)

  • 500g of dried chick peas
  • 500g of dried fava beans
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped roughly
  • 1 bunch of coriander, chopped roughly
  • 2 large white onions, peeled and dice roughly
  • 2 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp of ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

Soak the dried chick peas and fava beans in cold water, overnight.

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Place drained chick peas, fava beans, parsley, coriander and onion in a food processor then process until smooth. You may need to add a little water if the mixture is too thick, dry or grainy. (I went a step further and used a hand grinder, very laborious but the texture was unmatched)

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Scrape out mixture into a bowl then add coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and sesame seeds (optional). Mix until spices until well incorporated then rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Shape into small bit size patties and arrange on a plate then heat the oil, preferably canola or rice bran oil.

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Deep fry or shallow fry about 6 at a time. (Don’t overcrowd the pan or they won’t flash fry and probably turn out soggy)

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Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining falafel.

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Tips:

Leftover falafel may be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge when ready to use. Once defrosted, use within 2 days and don’t refreeze again as it is uncooked!

Father’s Day Lunch 2013

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I’ve used a 50/50 chick peas to fava beans ratio but the one above used a 70/30 ratio. Note the bright yellow tone from the higher chick pea content?

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