I’m procrastinating. I’m writing this post as slowly as possible because I don’t want to clean the bath. It’s not really my fault: I blame whitefly, which are persistently infesting my indoor plants this year. I don’t mind if it’s herbs, I just bin them or put them outside to face the gale force winds on my balcony. But this is different. This time they have spread to my miniature orange tree, and I remember writing a post not too long ago about how keeping this tree alive means that I am a grown-up. I will not have my symbolic adulthood destroyed by whitefly! I don’t know what the real-life metaphor for that destruction would be, but I don’t want to find out. Which leads me to the bath. Today I painstakingly washed the leaves and branches of my orange tree with soapy water. It looks happier. My bath, the location of this washing, is however now full of leaves and soil. I want to take a shower. I need to move the orange tree. I need to clean out the leaves and soil. And then in 3 days I need to do it all over again. And then again. Or maybe I could write this post and put it all off, and then maybe I’ll go to the bath and see a little note of apology from the whiteflies saying they were sorry to bother me and won’t be coming back. I’d like that.
On to falafel. I’ve been making falafel for a while, and it’s always been fine but I’ve just been that bit underwhelmed by it. In my heart, I have known that this was because I simply refuse to put in the oodles of salt and oil needed to make plain falafel truly tasty like the stuff you get from a take-away. I just can’t do it. My solution was to add carrots, which give extra texture, flavour and bulk, and then to bake the lot to give it the crunch I’m looking for. Much better. I serve this with pita, salad veg and hummus/salsa. I’ve packed an extra serving for my lunch tomorrow, and I’m already looking forward to it.
1 red onion
a 400g tin of chickpeas
a 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped finely
1 large egg
4 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Makes about 20 falafel balls to serve 4 people
Calories per serving (not including pita etc): 260
Takes 15 minutes to make, 20 minutes to bake
Stage one: Preheat the oven to 190C/fan170C. Blend the carrots, red onion and chickpeas to the size of your choice. I blend a couple of seconds at a time, because I like my falafel chunky and I like to see the different colours. Other people may like them smoother. Anyway, pick a texture and blend accordingly.
Stage two: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. I’ve added sea salt as a specific ingredient here because you’ll need to add more salt than you would if you were just seasoning. Use sea salt if possible. You’re working with pulses here, which aren’t already packed with flavour and salt like meat or cheese. It’s like if you’re seasoning from a table salt shaker – season as usual and then add 3 more shakes for luck.
Stage three: Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper, and then ball out the falafel. Again, whatever size you like will work here. I went for falafel about the size of a heaped tablespoon. And yes, I did this bit with my hands. I’m sure you could use spoons if you want, but hands is easier as the mixture is quite crumbly.
Stage four: Bake for 15-20 minutes until they look crispy. Enjoy hot or cold.