Mmm… Food

Not just Hummus!
February 5, 2009, 11:36 am
Filed under: Books, Cooking

While we do love the hummus, and make it almost weekly for a snack or appetizer, I upped the Mediterranean anty last nite by making  a cannellini bean salad and chickpea and goat’s cheese felafel.  My success varied between very tasty (the salad) and needing to learn more about correct frying methods (the felafel).


Both recipes are from a cookbook called “Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry” by Donna Hay.  This book is pretty superb.  But one of the things that can throw you, is the measurements.  Here’s the recipe for the cannellini bean salad.  See if you know what I mean.

Cannellini bean salad

Combine 2 x 400g (140z) cans drained cannellini beans, 200g (7oz) blanched and halved green beans, 200 (7oz) halved cherry tomatoes, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 cup chopped mint, 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup (2 fl oz) lemon juice, cracked black pepper and sea salt.  Serve with grilled flatbread.


Do you spot what I’m talking about?  400g?  200g?  Just where was this cookbook published.  Australia!!  That does it.  Metric rules most everywhere except for here in the US, and yet…  Not everything is metric.   1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons.  These are odd measurements in themselves that only seem to apply to the cooking world.  Are there non-food products sold in such increments?? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.  Hmm…  Anywhoozle, super tasty salad.  Healthy.  Try it.

So along with the salad I also tried to make chickpea and goat’s cheese felafel.  The problem was not in making the felafel.  The problem was in the frying of it.  April came home in the midst of my cooking and she was set to the task of frying.  She got out the candy thermometer, (cheap piece of crap that it is, we need to find out and upgrade to the one recommended by America’s Test Kitchen) but it was not going to cooperate with the pan.  So we had no idea what temperature the oil was.  Just that it didn’t work.  When she added the felafel to the peanut oil, it’s like the patties started to dissolve.  The outside layer would get crunchy and fall apart in the pan, coating the bottom with a fine brown sand.  Pull them out, try them in the broiler.  Helped some, but really there is some technique that needs to be researched to try and improve the end result.  So…  if you want to try and let me know what the secret is…

Chickpea and goat’s cheese felafel

Place 2 x 400g (140z) cans drained chickpeas, 1/2 finely chopped red onion, 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup each of coriander (cilantro) leaves, mint leaves and flat-leaf parsley and 2 teaspoons ground cumin in a food processor and process until the mixture is finely chopped.  Shape into rounded patties with a small piece of goat cheese inside, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Shallow-fry in hot peanut oil until golden and drain on absorbent paper.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon with drinks.


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