Food and drink review blog with an ethnic twist. Focus on new, unusual and seasonal products
bought in the UK.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Homemade Pitta Bread and Cauli Falafel

A Little Bit Busy In The Kitchen....


Was delighted to get the afternoon off work.  Decided that I'd take advantage of the time and get down to some cooking and baking (of the bread variety).  Pitta breads have always been a staple on my shopping list, handy for a quick lunch and my favourite thing to dip into a mug of soup.  How hard could they be to make?  Along with having a go at ptita's, I also made a variety of different salads- a cous-cous with roasted pepper, a raw cauliflower, lemon and dill as well as a grated carrot and lime salad (Summer Salad Recipes).  Made fairly decent sized batches of each to have alongside leaves, pita/baked tatty for easy meals over the next few days.  As there was a bit of a Middle Eastern theme developing,g also made a small batch of mini cauliflower and pink peppercorn falafels.  With cauliflower on offer at Lidl it is a veg I really enjoy but rarely buy.  Most often have it in a curry or raw but it is about time I thought outside of the box!  As well as the recipes today; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a recipe for a cauliflower snack that I suppose eats as a kind of crisp- intrigued to try those out (Hugh's Cauliflower Recipe Ideas)
As there was a 100g bar of white chocolate in the back of the cupboard, leftover from the chocolate barks I made at Christmas.  With this I had a go at  making some white chocolate peanut butter cups.  Melting the choc, mixed up the peanut butter with some vanilla in separate bowl and used paper cake cases.  Encased the whipped peanut butter in chocolate by spooning the choc into the cups distributing thinly and added a spoon of peanut butter then sealed with more choc.  Allowed these to set in fridge.  Provided pictures but are poor quality as they were taken via laptops webcam. 



Pitta Breads

- 250g Flour (Ideally Bread Flour)
- 1 Sachet of Fast Action Yeast
- 1tsp of Salt
- 1/2 tbsp of Rapeseed/Olive Oil 
1. First thing i to make up the dough, I used a half batch of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's basic bread loaf, I used it from his book Hugh's Veg but here is a link Basic Bread Recipe.
2. After the dough is suitably risen, knock it back and then divide it into pieces.  Each piece should be about the size of an egg.
3. Set oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.  Place a baking tray/sheet in to heat.
4.Roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface until very thin, (less than 5mm).  Once rolled, let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the tray/'s, probably helps using more than one but my oven is very small and has only one shelf!  Place the dough onto the trays, was able to fit three per tray.
6. Place back into the oven for seven minutes.  The breads puff up in the oven and it is quite cool to watch.  Be a good  bake to make with children.  If you have a powerful oven these will probably bake in less than seven.
7. Keep repeating the process and store the baked breads under a tea towel between batches.  The breads can be frozen and keep for 3 days in a cupboard.
8. Was very happy with these and think I'll opt to bake, opposed to buying them in the future.  Few ingredients needed and yeast sachets are only 18p- will surely save some pennies in the process!  If making them again will be inclined to experiment by adding in some flavour, possibly some poppy & sesame seeds, spices or garlic.


 

Quick Healthy Cauliflower and Pink Peppercorn Falafels

-  Small piece of Cauliflower, cut into thin pieces (small apple sized)
- Gram Flour (3 tbsp's)
- Handful of tinned Chickpeas
- 1 Clove of Garlic, finely sliced
- Salt, cumin, mustard seeds, paprika, pink peppercorns, fennel seeds
- 1 Spring Onion, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp's of Oats
- Splash of water to bind
1. The above recipe is a small batch and it made 14 mini falafel balls.  As with anything I post recipe is very easily adapted and can be increased easily too.
2. First of all prepare the veg and garlic and then place it into a bowl along with chickpeas, crush these lightly with a masher- ensure that you leave some whole.
3. Next add the gram flour, oats (put these in for an added texture) followed by the spices and salt.  A pinch of salt and half tsp of each will do, I am especially generous with the cumin.  For the peppercorns add a-few extra in, these have a lovely piney aromatic flavour- they aren't very spicy and soft to the bite.
4. Combine well and then slowly add in the water.  The mixture should be pretty dry but wet enough to bind the falafels.  Don't worry if you do add too much water just bring it back with more gram flour.
5. Roll these into mini balls and then place onto a baking tray.  I opted to bake these in the oven as it is healthier.  Just at a moderate temperature, 200°C approx for a good 15 mins.  Alternatively they can be cooked as is traditional in hot oil on the hob.
6. These are a cross between an Indian bhaji and a falafel.  Very light in texture, they are nice in a sandwich/on their own with a dip/as part of a meal and there are various other ways.  The mix would also work well for veggie burgers flattened out then shallow fried and for extra crunchy ones, flattened into a burger shape then dipped into beaten egg then breadcrumbed.

My tea tonight is going to be a salady sort of thing: will use the mixed salads I made earlier, lettuce, some hummus (with a drizzle of harissa on top), falafels and the pitta bread.  Looking forward to it and it is pretty healthy too!