Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Baked Broad Bean Falafels

Serve with bright red, ripe tomatoes and some tahini dressing.
Isn't it wonderful when you cook your first all-homegrown meal of the season? When, instead of tantalising bits of this and that, you finally have a substantial harvest of several kinds of vegetable? That's exactly what started happening to us last weekend, when we devoured platefuls of tender minted new potatoes and delicately flavoured broad beans along with some veggie burgers that weren't from the garden. That was only a few days ago, yet  tonight I was able to create these little patties using only our own produce. The fresh flavours of the broad beans and coriander leaves make them a very more-ish snack, so be sure to serve them with something filling like bread or rice if they are to be part of a main meal. This recipe serves 2 people.

225g fresh broad (fava) beans, podded
1 heaped tab (10g) fresh coriander, chopped
2 1/2 tabs grated courgette
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 1/2 tsps ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp compound hing
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-11/2 tsps salt

  • Put everything except the baking powder in a high speed blender or a food processor until it resembles a thick paste, like hummus, but can still hold its shape.
  • Form into little patties and press onto an oiled baking sheet. Cook at 200C, turning at least once, until just browning on the outside.
  • Serve with flatbreads or rice, salad and a creamy tahini dressing- but don't pair them with anything too strong-tasting or their delicacy will be overpowered.

Have you cooked with anything that you grew yourself recently? What meals have you invented from your garden?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Peach Melba Ice Cream-sugar free, soya free

Ideally, this picture would have been shot against a background of white sand, flawless blue sea and azure sky. But you'll have to make do with our garden just before dark because we live about as far away from the seaside as you can get in England. Never mind; perhaps the flavours in this ice cream will transport you to your favourite summer holiday destination anyway...
Since our last ice cream post (I think ice cream may now have overtaken cake as the most frequently-posted foodstuff on this blog!) I am delighted to announce that I have sourced a vegan waffle cone in Aldi, at £1 for ten. You can even get a chocolate-dipped version too! I still want to make up my own cone recipe, but for now I can serve up ice cream in cones with no fuss- and no bowls to wash up afterwards. I know from experience that if your ice cream mixture has too much of a water content from the fruit, then the result will be hard and icy rather than cool and creamy, so this is why I left the fruit in small pieces rather than blending it all in together. A little coconut cream and some ground cashews ensure a rich texture. Peach Melba., in case you were wondering, is a dessert named after the  19th century opera singer, Nellie Melba. It consists of peaches in raspberry sauce accompanied by vanilla ice cream. So why not just turn the whole thing into ice cream?

1 can coconut milk ( 400ml)
1 small can coconut cream (160ml)
100g ground cashews
2tsps natural Vanilla essence
300ml agave
1 cup fresh peach flesh, diced into 1cm cubes
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • Blend the coconut milk and cream, cashews, vanilla and agave together.
  • With your freezer on its coldest setting, leave the mixture in there until nearly frozen.
  • Return to the blender to break up any ice crystals and get it creamy smooth.
  • Put it back in the freezer, and when nearly solid, stir in the fruit. That way, it should suspend itself in the thick ice cream and not all sink to the bottom.
  • This is the hard part; you now have to wait a bit longer until your ice cream is completely frozen. Serve in a cone or a bowl.
Why do I love the idea of ice cream so much? I think food is so much a shaper of memories, in the way smells and tastes remind us of  people, places and feelings from our past. For me, ice cream conjures up my seaside childhood in Weymouth. Ice cream was a rare treat for me, if my school report had been particularly good or we had visitors. At the time, there were ice cream parlours along the seafront, owned by Italian families who had settled there after the Second World War, and Fortes, a large and glossy cafe selling all manner of milkshakes, ice creams and desserts. That was the place I  looked forward to the most. Their knickerbocker glories were the best; a seemingly endless tall glass filled with layers of fruit, cream and ice cream topped with a fan wafer that you needed a special long-handled spoon to excavate. I usually managed to persuade my grandmother to buy me one at least once a year. Happy times!