Never mind raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, falafel are definitely one of my favourite things. They transport me straight back to the bustling streets of Alexandria in Egypt. Every street corner had its own falafel vendor who sold them fresh and hot, stuffed into pitta bread and drizzled with tahini sauce. We used to have them for breakfast as a special treat. These air fryer carrot falafel may not be the authentic recipe, but they’re delicious and are a breeze to make.
A couple of weeks ago I made maple tofu skewers for a BBQ supper. They were a roaring success, as was the tahini sauce with clementines and smoked paprika that I made to accompany it. This recipe is another in my Flavours of the Middle East series.
These halva biscuits, adapted from a recipe for Sesame Crisps in Bake it Better Biscuits by Annie Rigg, really do taste like halva, only not as tooth achingly sweet.
Before we got to tuck into the matcha cake of my previous post, we had the enviable task of spending a few hours having fun on a mostly deserted Cornish beach. Despite being a local lass, I had never been to this beach before so it was a particularly exciting adventure. Down the long, winding and sometimes steep cliff path we went, with no sight of the beach or the group of friends we were there to meet. Was this beach a piece of fiction made up to give us an added adventure? The views were fantastic though and CT was botanising and enjoying the coastal flora. At last, around a corner, we spotted a hidden gem – a large and virtually empty beach. Apparently when the tide is in, there is no beach, but our more knowledgeable friends had timed our visit for maximum benefit. Despite the threat of rain, we remained dry and for a couple of hours we even enjoyed blue skies and sunshine.
As we don’t get to have picnics on special beaches very often, I thought something other than my normal work rye sourdough sandwiches was called for. So I pulled out the stops and made some milk bread rolls, inspired by Joanna of Zeb Bakes but actually using Andrew Whitley’s recipe in Bread Matters. But what for pudding? Something for all to share, but something that was not too heavy to carry and would travel well. I didn’t wonder for too long. I’d recently seen Dan’s wonderful recipe for Halva Flapjacks, first on Suelle’s blog Mainly Baking and then on Foodycat. It appealed straight away and I reckoned would be just perfect for a beach party. The theory is that using tahini means the butter content of normal flapjacks can be reduced. Well this maybe so, but I don’t think anyone could kid themselves these were healthy snacks. Even less so with my adaptation to include white chocolate!
- Melted 100g of unsalted butter with 50g brown sugar and 200g condensed milk in a large pan.
- Took off the heat and added 50g chopped white chocolate and left to melt.
- Added 75g tahini and 50g honey and stirred until all incorporated.
- Stirred in 100g chopped dates, 100g chopped walnuts and 20g sesame seeds.
- Worked in 225g rolled oats.
- Packed the mixture into a 9″ square mould and scattered a few more sesame seeds over the top.
- Baked for 20 minutes at 180C until golden.
- Left to cool, then cut into 16 squares.
A cross between fudge and flapjacks, these were a very sweet and sticky but delicious treat. Those middle eastern flavours of dates, sesame and honey worked really well together and the nuts were plentiful giving a lovely crunch to the texture. Luckily, I remembered to take some photos before we polished them all off. The party ended with a flapjack powered Frisbee session before clambering back up the cliffs and home for tea.
The meal that was cancelled due to the ice and snow just before Christmas was reorganised for early February. Luckily, the weather was mild, if a little damp and we finally had our meet up with friends. As some of these friends are virtually vegans, I thought I’d try something a little different. Out came Paul A Young’s Adventures with Chocolate and I set to.
- Simmered 80ml of water with 1 tbsp of honey (Vegans can use the equivalent amount of sugar or agave syrup or date syrup etc).
- Stirred in 2 tbsp of tahini until smooth and simmered for a couple of minutes.
- Poured over 125g of chopped 81% dark chocolate (Ecuadorian Arriba) and left to melt.
- Stirred carefully with a metal whisk to avoid splitting.
- Left to cool then placed in the fridge for an hour.
- Toasted 50g sesame seeds in a frying pan and left to cool.
- Dipped a tsp in hot water and scooped out spoonfuls of ganache, rolling them in the sesame seeds and dipping the spoon back into the hot water each time to avoid the ganache sticking to the spoon.