Archive for the ‘Rice and grains’ Category

I have reached a new understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As if they don’t have enough problems to contend with there appears to be some dispute over who “owns” falafels.  Even if peace is one day brought to the region this is something I fear they will never reach an agreement on. Because who could deny the desire to call the falafel your own?

The main feature of the picnic foods I made this weekend for Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival helf here in Sydney, Australia, the falafels had to fit my rules. I could not fry them (frying falafels in oil is traditionally the way to make them but for health and smoke detector reasons I decided baking was my only option) and I could not use a food processor to make them.

Disappointingly I found it difficult to find a recipe that fit both of these requirements. In fact I found one recipe where in the blog comments foodies argued over whether they could actually be made without a food processor with one clever reader pointing out that falafels were being made long before the advent of the food processor. Oddly the food processor advocates won out.

I eventually found this recipe from a blogger in Utah, USA called Kalyn whom I have to thank for saving the day with her recipe and dipping sauce combo. I’m not cure what her take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be. I adjusted here and there (Kalyn is blessed with a food processor it would seem) and tada! Falafels for the Tropfest picnic.


Makes 12 falafel

Two 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Half chopped red onion
One chopped spring onion
Bunch of fresh continental parsley, chopped
Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tablespoon of ground cumin
½ tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
Olive oil spray


  1. Place rinsed chickpeas on clean towel, fold towel over top and rub gently. When you remove the towel you should see the little chickpea skins have loosened or come off. Remove the skins. This makes them easier to mash and more likely to stick together once you need to bake them.
  2. Mash chickpeas with potato masher until the consistency of a crunchy peanut butter. (see picture)

    Mushed up chickpeas

  3. Add all other ingredients to the mix and stir with fork until well combined. It should have the consistency of a dough for scones (not as smooth as cake dough). Check that you can easily form the dough into balls.
  4. Place in sealed container and chill in fridge for a few hours.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celscius. Place flat baking tray with baking paper sprayed with olive oil in over to warm.
  6. Shape chilled dough into balls and gently flatten with the palm of your hand until about an inch thick.

    Ready to pop in the oven

  7. Place on warmed tray in oven. Cook for 12 minutes and then turn for even cooking/browning.
  8. Once browned (but not burnt!) remove from oven to cool.
  9. Serve with dipping sauce (see below)

Crunchy outside, soft inside

Dipping Sauce


  • 200grams Greek style yoghurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to thin


  1. Mix together all ingredients adding enough water for desired thickness.
  2. Serve with falafel.

Dipping sauce


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I have been wanting to try out the new curry paste since making it and now that I’ve been launched back into uni and the busy-ness is setting in I have excuses for very simple dishes. I’m always amazed that some people seem to think making curry is difficult. It isn’t. In fact its almost fool proof. I say ‘almost’ because I once served a very unfortunate vegetarian guest and an unsuspecting couple a vegetarian curry that was so hot we couldn’t get through a sentence without coughing. It was a dinner party disaster that was not made any better by us serving crumbling flavourless vegetarian and gluten free balls of muck as entree. Once again, amateur cook = mistakes.

So here is something it is almost impossible to stuff up and is gloriously cheap and simple to make.

Serves 2-4. Vegetarian.


2 tables spoons of curry paste (you can make your own or buy one, Patak’s Tikka Masala or Rogan Josh are great)
Assorted veggies (I used a carrot, a zucchini, two tomatoes, a large potato, and two small onions because that’s what I had. Also great in curries is eggplant, capsicum,  and okra)
1 small can of coconut milk
1 can of chickpeas
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
You can also add (and I have in the past to good effect), spicy mango chutney, chopped chilli, and any meat you like.


1.    Cut up vegetables into bite-sized chunks and put in medium saucepan with bay leaf. For tomatoes, leave slightly larger as they will reduce significantly in size as they cook.
2.    Stir through 1-2 table spoons of curry paste.
3.    Pour over coconut milk.
4.    Almost cover with water.
5.    Heat on high heat and once bubbling reduce to low.  Keep returning to the pot to stir every few minutes. Mixture will slowly reduce becoming creamier. The longer you cook the more flavoursome and tender everything will be.  Cook for at least 45 minutes and up to 2.5 hours.
6.    Serve with brown rice. Curry always tastes better the day after so don’t forget to save some for lunch!

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Serves two. 30 minutes to make. Vegetarian.

I have been wanting to put an egg on top of something that isn’t breakfast for while now. I haven’t been game to try it in a soup yet, I worry that the yolk floating around will put me off. When I saw this recipe in one of my new favourite food blogs – Smitten Kitchen, my mouth watered for days before finally getting the ingredients for it. See, what I was waiting for were the perfect eggs. I am happy to say I found them in the form of WildYards Farm Eggs from NSW and am happy to know that rather than being immobile, tortured, antibiotic fed, caged hen eggs my egg’s layers were grass eaters, rotated on different pastures (which is good for the soil and for sustainability), have never come into contact with fertiliser or antibiotics and, if I am to believe the very homey packet, they never even saw a cage! Brilliant.

Happy Hen Eggs


Two happy hen eggs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 leek, sliced thinly (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt to taste

Chop chop chop


  1. Heat peanut oil in large frying pan on medium heat adding garlic and ginger. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Set aside, add salt to taste.
  2. Immediately after removing garlic and ginger reduce heat and add sliced leek. Stir for about 10 minutes or until really tender (but not brown).
  3. Add cooked rice heating through. The longer you cook it the more crispy it gets so its really up to you. Remove fried rice and leek and place on two plates.
  4. Immediately add two happy hen eggs to fry, cooking until whites are cooked through but yolk is still runny.
  5. Position fried egg on top of fried rice, sprinkle with garlic and ginger mix, and drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over top. Enjoy!

    It may not be pretty but it is delicious

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