2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g can chickpeas
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp baking powder
Handful of parsley, chopped coriander or mint work as well
1 beaten egg
For a spicy mix add ½ tbsp harissa paste
Sesame seeds optional
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan, then fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Tip into a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas, spices, lemon, baking powder and harissa, if using, then mash together with a fork or potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down.
Stir in the parsley and season to taste. Add the egg, then squish the mixture together with your hands.
Mould the mix into 6 balls, then flatten into patties in the sesame seeds to coat the outsides. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the falafels on a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and firm.
Serve hot and cold with couscous pitta bread or salad
ARANCINI RICE CAKES
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
330g Arborio risotto rice
100ml white wine
40g grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped tarragon
½ tsp chopped thyme
2 eggs, 180g dried breadcrumbs, 150g plain flour, 100g mozzarella and vegetable oil to deep fry
Place the stock in a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring just to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low, hold at a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add the rice to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until the grains appear slightly glassy. Add the white wine and cook, stirring until completely dissolved. Now add a ladleful of the simmering stock to the rice mixture and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful, for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender yet firm to the bite and risotto is creamy. Stir in the parmesan and herbs. Set aside for 2-3 hours to cool completely. Add 2 eggs and stir until well combined.
Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate. Place the flour in a bowl. Crack the remaining eggs into a separate bowl and use a fork to lightly whisk. Use wet hands to shape two tablespoons of the risotto mixture into a ball. Press your thumbs into the centre of the ball to make an indent. Place a piece of mozzarella in the indent, then mould the risotto mixture around the mozzarella to enclose.
Repeat with the remaining risotto mixture and mozzarella to make 28 balls.
Roll the risotto balls in the flour and shake off any excess. Dip in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. Place on a large plate. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Add enough oil in a large saucepan to reach a depth of 5cm. Heat to 190c over a medium-high heat (when the oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden in 10 seconds). Now fry the balls in small batches for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat in batches with the remaining risotto balls.
3 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1 head of fennel
Small bunch of herbs: thyme, 4 bay leaves, broken up, parsley stalks and a branch of tarragon
1tsp coriander seeds
¼ pint of white wine
10 black peppercorns
Roughly chop all the vegetables and wash. Heat a pan with a little oil then add the vegetables, coriander and peppercorns and give it a good stir. Turn down low and cook until soft but not coloured.
Add the white wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated then add the herbs and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for ½ an hour and then remove from the heat and leave to cool overnight.
Strain through a sieve and push as much water from the vegetables as possible, place back on the stove and reduce by half – this will give your stock a stronger flavour.
For mushroom stock, make as above with the addition of 50g dried ceps or porcini mushrooms and any mushroom trimmings you may have.
SMOKY BEAN CAKES
½ onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 – 2 red chillies chopped
400g mixed beans
250g cooked brown rice
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
Fry onion in a little oil until almost soft then add the garlic and chilli. Cook for a couple of minutes more then add the paprika.
Mash the beans, not too finely, leave some chunky bits. Mash the rice as well as much as you can.
Mix everything together, form into burgers and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat a pan and fry for a few minutes on each side to colour. If they break up, press them back together or place in a pre-heated oven 190c for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve with a nice tomato salsa, guacamole or mayonnaise
TOMATO, CORIANDER AND RED ONION SALSA
6 ripe plum tomatoes
2 small red onions, peeled
2 medium red chillies
½ oz coriander leaves
2 tblsp olive oil or avocado oil
Ground black pepper
Cut the plum tomatoes into quarters
Cut the onions into 1” chunks
Blow torch the chillies to blacken the skin and remove, chop the chillies
Roughly chop the coriander
Now mix all the ingredients together
HOT & SPICY GUACAMOLE
2 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
2 red chillies – de-seeded and roughly chopped
6 black peppercorns
2 large avocados
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste
Pound the chillies, garlic and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar to make a paste.
Peel and stone the avocados and mash the flesh well. Stir in the chilli paste, olive oil and lemon, season to taste.
FLAVOURED MAYOS FOR DIPS AND ACCOMPANIMENTS
Flavour mayo by adding the following:
- Grain mustard, lemon and herbs
- Garlic and parsley
- Reduce 50ml white wine with a pinch of saffron and 1 crushed garlic clove, add to the mayo for a rich flavour
- Creamed horseradish and tomato ketchup
SPICY AUBERGINE AND TOMATO SAMOSA
2 aubergines cut into small dice
4 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and cut into small dice
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of one lime
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
2 small hot chillies, chopped
1 tsp cumin
Cut the aubergines in half and sprinkle lightly with salt and sugar and toss together. Leave to one side for a couple of hours, squeeze out some of the liquid.
Heat a pan with a little oil and sautee the shallots, add the chopped aubergine, garlic and chilli and then the lime and cook until it starts to break down. Turn down the heat and cook slowly to dry the mixture just as you take mixture from the heat, add the tomato and coriander and allow to cool.
Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with butter. Cut into 2” strips and place a teaspoon of mixture on each strip and fold into a triangle. Brush the top with melted butter and refrigerate for one hour.
Cook in a moderate until crisp and golden
The addition of 60g of grated parmesan cheese to the mixture gives it a strong flavour.