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Posts Tagged ‘picnic’

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.

Ingredients

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

Recipe

  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

Ingredients

  • 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

Recipe

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

Dipping sauce

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Minted Fruit Salad

My balcony herbs are out of control. I went out there the other day and couldn’t work our what to do with all of that mint. It is spilling out of the pot. I never have any success with gardening up until now when I think I’m having a little too much success with the mint. While at first I was tempted to make a few too many mojitos (I am still considering this option) I decided a fruit salad on a hot summer day was probably more appropriate. The minty flavour makes the fruit taste just that little bit more refreshing. And in 35 degree Sydney heat, you need refreshing.

My balcony mint

Ingredients

Two kiwi fruit, peeled and cut into chunks
Two bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
One green apple, cored and cut into chunks
One punnet of strawberries, halved
2/3 cup orange juice
Handful of chopped mint

Recipe

1.    Mix together chopped mint and orange juice in medium bowl.
2.    Cut bananas and apple first immediately placing them in juice to avoid browning.
3.    Add other fruit chunks and stir.
4.    Can be stored in the fridge ready for a picnic!

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I have discovered a new rule to life. It is: You can never have too much guacamole at a picnic. Think about it, you never get to the end of a group picnic and hear someone say, “Oh my goodness, what on earth are we going to do with all of this excess guacamole?” And if you do know anyone that faces this problem, introduce me to them an they’ll never experience it again. Its the ultimate dip, delicious and chunky and perfect. And the best thing about it is it is so easy to make. So here is a very very easy guacamole recipe that I think could work for 4-6 people.

Ingredients

Two ripe avocadoes
One vine-ripened tomato chopped into small pieced
Half a large red onion chopped into small pieces
Juice from one lime
Salt to taste (chilli salt is best)

Recipe

1.    Cut avocado in half removing seed. Slice each avocado while still in skin without piercing the skin and remove with spoon into medium sized bowl.
2.    Mash avocado with fork slowly mixing in juice of lime. The more juice you add the easier it becomes to mash.
3.    Add the chopped tomato and red onion. Stir through.
4.    Add salt to taste.

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