Best Falafel

Falafel is a labour of love. It always takes longer to make than I anticipate, but is wholly worth it once it is done. This recipe is adapted¬†from the Guardian’s ‘how to make the perfect…’ series, and whilst I’m not entirely sure it’s perfect, it’s pretty damn good. This recipe uses a mix of chick peas and fava beans, but if you’re struggling to find fava beans (or dried broad beans, to go by their other name), I don’t see why you can’t just use all chick peas. I can’t say I understand enough about the intricacies of falafel making to understand why one is preferable over the other.

I spent much time searching around various shops to find fava beans, to no avail, so (as previously recommended) I went to Hodmedod’s and found them there. Hurrah!

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Unfortunately a mishap occurred with this batch – possibly not blended for long enough, or the beans weren’t dry enough, but they were a nightmare to shape into balls, and after they immediately fell apart in the pan once I started frying them, I gave up, smushed them all down and made a different sort of falafel, one that looks like a giant bowl of brown sugar. This was achieved by pouring all of the mixture with a few tablespoons of sunflower oil and baking at 200C for about 20-25 mins (turning the mixture occasionally). It’s better in this form if you want to make wraps, because unlike when they’re round, it doesn’t all collapse so easily. So, accidental discovery, would recommend. But you can also follow the correct traditional method below.

img_4666tOne final recipe note: I have to split the ingredients in half and make in two batches because my blender doesn’t fit all of it in at once – at least not for it to effectively blend. If you too have a not-huge-blender, you may want to consider this.

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Chocolate Raspberry Tart

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Today is my lovely boyfriend Oli’s birthday. Earlier this week it was his colleague Holly’s birthday, and at his request I made her, what I would fairly describe as, an epic cake. A Coke layer cake from The Outsider Tart’s “Baked in America”. It took a long time to make, and it’s only the second time I’ve ever made it (although this time I actually got to taste it!!). I forgot to take a photo before it all got eaten, so the one below is courtesy of another of Oli’s colleagues. Everyone at his office was very happy, and consumed the majority of the cake (apart from one small lump that was left and Oli brought home for me). And then I realised that I’d made a pretty impressive cake for Holly, and in a few days it would be Oli’s birthday and I would have nothing anywhere near as impressive to bake for him.

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My original plan for this week¬†was to make a raspberry and almond tart, but it just seemed too mundane to offer as a birthday cake. So I went one up, and I made chocolate and raspberry tart. Okay. It doesn’t sound that much more impressive, and I probably seem like a terrible person. But it has chocolate pastry. And I haven’t tasted it yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be good. I mean, look at it! Chocolate pastry is definitely my favourite thing of the week. Where once there were walnuts, now there is the glory of chocolate pastry. I ate the offcuts. It was great.

I was supposed to use dark chocolate for this recipe, but it said how super rich it was and how you could only eat it in tiny slices, and I just thought, that is not what anyone wants from birthday cake(/tart). So I made it with milk chocolate instead, in the hopes that it will be equally tasty and more quickly consumable. I’ll let you know. Somewhat disappointingly my tart tin wasn’t deep enough to hold all the filling, so I’m going to have to make another tiny one (with plain pastry this time I think though). Luckily this week I have become indebted to my friend Seb for the amount of baking equipment he has showered me with, which included two smaller tart tins than the one I currently have. I am however starting to realise that when I move house, 95% of the stuff I take from the kitchen will be baking related.

You can find the recipe for the chocolate and raspberry tart here.

Next week: Iced apricot and blackcurrant terrine