Falafel – Gluten Free

Had you been wondering if I did any cooking anymore? Well I have to admit, I’ve been a bit slack, I do still cook, I just been sticking to staples and not really bothering to take pictures and remember recipes.  But here we have a simple little falafel recipe, perfect for summer days as part of a mezze or stuffed in a pitta.

falafel

So for the recipe…

Ingredients (makes 10 small falafel):

  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tablespoons of gram or gluten free flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a handful of mint
  • salt
  • oil for frying

Method:

First soften the onions and garlic, I do this in a microwave because I find it easy but gently frying in a pan has the same results, you just want them soft and translucent.

Then add all the ingredients bar the flour to a food processor.  Blitz, you may need to scrape down any stray chickpeas or you might want to keep it chunky.  Then depending on the wetness of the mixture I add two to three tablespoons of flour, now my plan was to have chickpea flour (gram/besan) but  mine was out of date so I substituted gf plain flour, if you’re not coeliac then plain regular flour would work too.   You want a thick but not too wet mixture that you can easily manipulate, see picture for clarity there, it’s awful hard to describe!

Once you’ve got the right consistency, scoop out walnut size blobs if you want to emulate mine, but frankly any old size will work, you could make big fat burgers or round footballs or cut them into star shapes should you desire but flat patties was what I was after.

Then chill the patties for a while (time constraints permitting, I’m sure they would be fine fried straight away should you need to).

Shallow fry for about 3/4 minutes each side on a medium heat.  Then serve hot stuffed into a pitta with chilli sauce and yoghurt.

falafel stages

You can freeze these and heat up in the oven at a later date should you need to, I made too many for me and my little dinner guest so I’ve stashed the remainder away for a mid-week dinner.

Ok, so that was the first recipe for a while.  It felt good, what do you think?

 

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower with Spiced Minced Lamb

I’ve been stockpiling carrots recently, I do love a carrot, it might well be my favourite vegetable.  Anyway it would seem I’m not really using the quantity I’m buying at the moment so my little orange friend must come to forefront for once and start starring in a dish or two.

This is a very moreish warm salad type affair that mixes the sweet earthy carrots, almost crunchy cauliflower with the spiced, crispy minced lamb

Serves 2 with a couple of toasted pittas on the side

Ingredients:

  • 4/5 carrots halved or quartered lengthways
  • half a large cauliflower, broken in to small florets
  • 100g minced lamb
  • 1 onion
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • A handful of mint
  • a large tablespoon of yoghurt
  • a heaped teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce
  • water
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.  Mix 1 teaspoon of garam masala with the cumin, coriander, honey and oil.  Throw your veg into a baking tray and pour spiced dressing over, tossing until all the veg are covered. Roast the veg in the oven for about 35 min or until tender and slightly charred.

Whilst your veg is roasting get on with the lamb and dressing. Chop the mint, put half in a bowl and leave half for garnishing later.  Add the yoghurt and sweet chilli to the mint and let down with water until you have a runny dressing the consistency of double cream.

Soften a chopped onion in the a pan  (or microwave) then set aside.  Fry the minced lamb in a dry pan until golden, add the onion and continue to fry until browned, add the other teaspoon of garam masala and toast for a further minute or so then turn the heat off until the veg are ready.

When the veg is ready, season generously with salt and pepper and pile up on plates.  Top with the crispy minced lamb and onion mix and drizzle over the yoghurt dressing.  Finish with a scatter of the remaining shredded mint and serve with toasted pitta or flat breads.

Pan Fried Mackerel with a Quinoa and Mango Salad

I’ve been trying to up my fish intake recently, I’m on holiday so can make more of an effort to get down to the fish mongers and see what is on offer.  Mackerel is one of my favourite fish. It’s full of flavour, packed with healthy omega 3s and a reasonable price. This is a fresh summery way to serve this rich fish and would work well packed up for lunch as well.  The mango and lime cut through the oily meat of the fish and the flavours meld perfectly with the light quinoa grains.  So, errr, yeah,  it tastes good, OK? Try it…

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 mackerel, filleted and boned
  • 1 large mango
  • A ramekin full of quinoa
  • A handful of coriander
  • A handful of mint
  • 1 or 2 spring onions
  • 1/2 a lime

Method:

Cook your quinoa following the instructions on the packet or check out these instructions here.  Peel and chop your mango into little chunks (about 1/2 cm dice), finely chop your spring onion, coriander and mint and mix together with the quinoa.  Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, season and spoon onto plates.

Heat a dry pan.  Oil your mackerel fillets and place in the searing hot pan skin down.  Cook until for a couple of minutes or until the fish is almost cooked through then flip and cook for a further minute.  Sit the fillets on top of the quinoa salad and serve.

 

 

Courgette, Feta and Mint Burgers

I suspended the weekly supermarket shop this week for a couple of reasons; 1.  I’m skint, 2.  I’m sick of the Saturday morning trudge round the aisles, and 3.  I want to do more with vegetables this week and if all that fails I’m going to try and use up some of the contents of the freezer (which contains meat!).  So instead of the monotony of the Saturday morning supermarket run, I relaxed on my morning off and spent the afternoon taking a little stroll down to my favourite greengrocer in Addiscombe.  They’ve recently had a fire so they’ve moved a little down the road to what was a small deli and set up shop there.  It’s still great though and they have oodles of gorgeous, fresh produce with lots of variety to get that recipe brain ticking.  I bought lots of things, in fact I was one of those annoying mums who load the pushchair with too many bags, but it was worth it.  I bought some gorgeous veggies and I hope to post another recipe of my awesome cauliflower curry later.  So to whet your appetite here is a little taster in the form of these lovely, light burgers.  I say burgers, I didn’t put them in a bun, but I’m not sure what else to call these little beauties.  They would be smashing in a bun or with a nice salad, a few chips or wedges or unadulterated in a large portion with a trickle of sweet chilli sauce.

Serves 1 on their own, or 2 with additions, makes about 4 burgers   

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium courgette, grated
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • A gluten free muffin (or a slice or 2 of stale bread)
  • A third of a packet of feta, crumbled
  • A handful of mint
  • An egg
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Blitz your bread, mint and spring onions in a food processor until crumbed.  Mix crumbs with grated courgette, feta and egg then form into patties.  It makes quite a wet mixture, to compensate you can squeeze some of the juice from the courgette before you add it to the mix and once you have made the mix and formed into patties refrigerate for a while to set the mixture. 

Fry the patties in a little olive oil until browned on both sides.  Be gentle when turning, but have faith the egg will set it together! Serve on their own for a full on veggie burger feast for one or share in buns, with a salad and maybe a few cheeky chips!

p.s. If you don’t like feta (I’m talking to you E ;), try halloumi, grated – this was what I had intended to do but my local shop didn’t stock any so I used up the feta in my fridge instead.

Tandoori Chicken and Potatoes with a Cucumber and Mint Raita

I love Tandoori Chicken, brick red and charred from the tandoor, nothing quite beats that authentic cooking. However I’ve found a way to recreate it at home, ok you can’t necessarily replace the tandoor oven but you can get a good replica of the spicing by using a packet! (and a few other key ingredients)  I’d never thought of making it myself until I saw this seasoning in the supermarket and thought why not?  A little piece of advice though, don’t buy the teeny pots for about £2/3 browse around and look out for the massive bags of the stuff for less than £2 in the Asian food aisle or in more specialist shops.  I bought Natco’s Tandoori Masala which worked a treat but I’m sure there are other reputable brands around. It’s really easy to make and after you’ve bought a big bag of the stuff you’ll be wanting to tandoori everything in sight.  I even sprinkled it on my potatoes before I roasted them and what a treat they were, do try them.

Serves 2/3

Ingredients:

  • A packet of chicken thighs and drumsticks, there were about 3 of each in my pack

For the marinade:

  • A small tub of yoghurt (I used that greek fat free stuff)
  • A heaped dessert spoon of Tandoori Masala powder
  • 3/4 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 2 inches of ginger, grated
  • Juice of half a lemon 

For the tandoori potatoes:

  • 12 or more baby new potatoes, washed
  • A drizzle of oil
  • 2 teaspoons of  Tandoori Masala powder

For the raita:

  • 1/2 Cucumber, cored and sliced
  • Small tub of  plain yoghurt
  • A large handful of mint, chopped
  • A dessert spoonful of sweet chilli sauce

Method:

Slash your thighs and drumsticks down to the bone.  Mix the marinade and coat the chicken.  Leave to marinade for as long as possible, mine were in for a few hours, over night would be plenty.

Heat an oven to 250 degrees.  Put your potatoes in a pan and drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle on your Tandoori Masala powder and toss together until evenly coated. 

Shake off excess marinade from the chicken and lay on a baking tray.  Put the potatoes and the chicken in the same oven for 20/25 min.  I’d put the chicken on the top shelf as that needs more heat. 

Whilst the chicken and potatoes are cooking make your raita.  Core and slice the cucumber, mix with the chopped mint, yoghurt and sweet chilli, if you want extra heat add some freshly chopped chilli to the mix as well. 

After 20/25 min check the chicken is cooked through and is slightly charred (slightly!!).  Serve together with the potatoes and raita then rave about how you made your own Tandoori Chicken! 

You could make this more authentic and healthier by taking the skin off the chicken pieces, I forgot, but lets forget health for a while and indulge in crispy, spiced Tandoori Masala chicken skin, mmmm, oh boy that skin was delicious. 

Mini Lamb Kofta Burgers

I nearly didn’t make these but they are a late addition which will form part of tomorrow nights tea.  I adapted the recipe from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2187/lamb-koftas and just added a heaped tablespoon of sultanas to the mix.  I made mine into little mini burgers and am hoping to serve them with some homemade Tzatziki.  Watch this space!

Anyways goodbye lovely weekend, hope to see you again soon…