Falafel


These delicious bean ” dumplings ” are popular with all my friends and family . They are wholesome and nutritious and can be servedin a pita with hummus or baba ghanouj and a tomato and cucumber salad . Typically falafel are made with large broad beans , sold as skinned in Middle eastern stores , but I often revert to all chickpeas or a combination , as chickpeas are so widely available .

Serves 10

Claudia Roden

1 lb dried ( skinless ) split broad beans , soaked in cold water for 24 hours

salt and pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

good pinch of ground chili pepper or cayenne

1 tsp baking soda or baking powder

1 large onion , very finely chopped or grated

5 scallions , very finely chopped

6 cloves garlic , crushed

2/3  cup  finely chopped flat leaf parsley

2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

sunflower or light vegetable oil for deep frying

The long soaking  of the beans to soften is all -important . After soaking , drain the beans very well and let them dry out a little on a towel . Then put them in a food processor and process until they form a paste ., adding salt and pepper , cumin , coriander , chili powder and baking soda or powder ( these last two release carbon -dioxide gas , which causes the paste to rise slightly and lighten ).. The paste must be so smooth and soft so it will hold together when you fry . Let it rest for at least 1/2 an hour .

Add the rest of the ingredients , except the oil. If you have chopped the onion in the food processor , strain to get rid of the juice , or the rissoles could fall apart when you fry them .

Knead the mixture with well your hands. Take small lumps and make flat , round shapes 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick . Let them rest 15 minutes .

Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot until sizzling hot . Fry the patties in batches , without crowding them , until crisp and brown , turning them once over . Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels .

Serve hot .

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Chicken Souvlaki


There is something so appealing about bite size pieces of chicken threaded onto a skewer and grilled . Skewered meat is found in most clutures some with their own names for them . The Thais have satays and the Greeks have souvlakis . Traditionally made with lamb , but  equally delicious with chicken .

Saveur magazine

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 lbs  boneless , skinless chicken breasts , cut into bite sized pieces.

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs , chopped fresh oregano

salt to taste

To serve , Pitas , chopped tomatoes , chopped cucumber and chopped onions

Thread chicken on 8  12 inch skewers  . In a shallow pan , large enough for skewers , mix lemon juice  , olive oil and oregano . Season with salt then add skewers , cover , and refrigerate for 2 hours .

On a  very hot grill  ( or a cast iron pan over medium – high heat ) , cook chicken , basting frequently , and turning occasionally , for 7 to 10 minutes . Sprinkle with salt .

Serve in pita with chopped tomatoes , cucumbers and onions .

Greek style roast lamb with potatoes


arni Psito me patates , is a Greek holiday staple in our home . Typically , this Greek dish is served at Easter , but it is really festive , and , in our home is even served on Christmas day , when the whole family gathers around the table for a leisurely gettogether .

Saveur Magazine

Serves 6 to 8

1 – 2 heads garlic ( about 18 cloves ) cloves , seperated and peeled

3 tbs dried oregano

3 tbs dried rosemary

3/4   cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups fresh lemon juice ( I only use freshly squeezed , you cannot beat the flavor )

3  1/2 cups red wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1    8lb , leg of lamb , bone in , trimmed of excess fat

6 lbs Idaho potatoes , peeled and cut into sixths lengthwise

MARINADE

Finely chop 8 cloves of garlic and place in a pan large enough to hold lamb . Add 2 tbs  oregano , 2 tbs rosemary , 6 tbs oil , 1 cup lemon juice , wine and salt and pepper to taste . Mix throughly . Place lamb in marinade , turning to coat well on all sides , then cover and set aside in refridgerator overnight .

Crush 6 cloves garlic and remaining oregano and rosemary together with a mortar and pestle  ( or chop them finely ) . Season with salt and pepper .

Preheat oven to 375*F . Remove lamb from marinade and pierce in 8 – 10 places with a paring knife . Rub garlic – herb mixture over lamb , pressing mixture into incisions with your fingers , then coat surface of lamb with about 4 tsp oil .

Mix remaining oil and lemon juice together in a bowl . Crush remaining garlic , place in a large roasting pan , and add potatoes . Place lamb on potatoes . Roast , frequently basting  lamb with lemon mixture and occasionally turning potatoes , for 1 hour and 45 minutes for well done . Turn off oven . Remove lamb and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes , keeping potatoes warm in oven until you are ready to carve and serve lamb .

Eggless ice chocolate hazelnut cake


This dessert , also called a semifreddo in Italian , is a great make ahead dessert . It is beautiful in presentation and has a delicious creamy nutty texture . It is flavoured with both coffee and brandy , so really an adult dessert.

Christine McFadden , Christine France

Serves 6 to 8

3/4 cup hazelnuts , shelled , roasted and skinned. Then finely chopped.

About 32 ladyfingers ( for an eggless version use eggless sponge fingers )

2/3 cup strong black coffee

2 tbs brandy

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup confectioners sugar , sifted

5  oz unsweetened chocolate , chopped fine

confectioners sugar and cocoa powder for dusting

Line a 5 cup loaf pan with plastic wrap and cut the lady fingers ( or eggless sponge cake ) to fit the base and sides. Reserve the remaining cookies . Mix the coffee with the brandy in a shallow dish . Dip the ladyfingers briefly into the coffee mixture and return to the pan , sugary side down , to fit neatly.

Whip the cream with the confectioners sugar until it holds soft peaks . Fold half the chopped chocolate into the cream with the hazelnuts.  Use a gentle figure eight movement to distribute the chocolate and nuts evenly.

Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water . Cool , then fold into the cream mixture . Spoon into the pan .

Moisten the remaining cookies in the coffee mixture , being careful not to soak the cookies , as they will get soggy . Lay the coffee  moistened cookies over the filling . Wrap and freeze until firm .

Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving to let the icecream soften slightly . Turn onto a serving plate and dust with confectioners sugar and cocoa .

Rich Chocolate Pistachio Fudge


Fudge is one of those feel good , childhood memories . I remember walking “Kingsway ” ( now Republic street , Valetta Malta ) and going  into the  tiny , quaint candy store , where they had the most delicious fudge . Funny , I used to imagine the store owner getting up before dawn to whip up a fresh batch !!! These are just delicious , enjoy !

Christine McFadden and Christine France

Makes 36

1 cup sugar

1 can ( 13 oz ) Condensed milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz dark chocolated , grated

3/4 cup pistachios , almonds or hazlenuts

 Grease a 7 inch square cake pan and line with parchment paper . Mix the sugar , condensed milk and butter in a heavy pan . Heat gently , stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is smooth .

Bring the mixture to a boil , stirring occasionally , and boil until it registers 240 *F on a sugar thermometer or until a small amout of the mixture dropped into a cup of ice water forms a soft ball .

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the vanilla , chocolate and nuts . Beat vigorously until the mixture is smooth and creamy .

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake and spread evenly . Leave until just set , then mark into squares . Let set completely before cutting into squares and removing from pan . Store into an airtight container in a cool place .

Maple Walnut Chocolate Chunk Squares


I stumbled upon this recipe years ago in the Chocolatier Magazine . It was love at first bite and has been a staple in my holiday gifts. These are a no bake , candy like bar . I like to call them , the give my oven a break square with yummy nuts , coconut and chocolate ….you can’t ask for more .

Chocolatier Magazine

Makes 48 squares

WAFER BASE

2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies

12 TBS unsalted butter , melted

MAPLE WALNUT FILLING

1 cup walnuts , toasted

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut , divided

3  oz bittersweet chocolate , cut into 1 inch chunks

3  oz milk chocolate , cut into 1 inch chunks

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tbs unsalted butter

1 tbs light corn syrup

BASE

Line the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with a piece of foil long enough to come up and over the two long sides of the pan .

In a large bowl , combine the ground wafer cookies and the melted butter and mix  well . Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press to cover the bottom of the pan evenly .

FILLING

Distribute the toasted walnuts , about 1/3 of the coconut , the bittersweet chocolate chunks and the milk chocolate chunks evenly over the surface of the chocolate wafer base .

In a medium saucepan , combine the sugar , heavy cream , maple syrup , butter and light corn syrup . Set over medium heat and bring to a boil , stirring constantly . Continue to boil , still stirring , until the mixture has reached 240*F  on a candy thermometer . Remove the pan from the heat . pour the hot filling over the nuts and chocolate . Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the candy .

Cool the candy for 30 minutes , then refridgerate until set enough for the squares to hold their shape when cut , about 20 minutes . Grasp the two foil handles and lift the entire cookie / candy bar from the pan to  a cutting board . With a sharp knife , cut into 48 squares . Store in an airtight container at room temperature .

Chocolate Raspberry Streusel Squares


I love the addition of oatmeal in my baked cookies or bars . It provides great texture , and , let’s face it , some nutrition , leaving you feeling better about your choice.  These make great gifts for the holiday , or just about any time of year .

Chocolatier Magazine

Makes 3 dozen

1  1/2 cups all purpose flour

1  1/2 cups  uncooked old fashioned oats ( Quaker oats is suggested )

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter ( 2 sticks ) butter , chilled

1 cup raspberry preserves ( about 10 ounces )

1 cup ( 6  oz ) semi sweet chocolate pieces

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup ( 3  oz ) semisweet chocolate  or one – 4  oz bar white chocolate , chopped , melted ( optional )

Heat oven to 375 *F . Combine flour , oats , sugars , baking powder and salt . Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly . Reserve 1 cup oat mixture for streusel ; set aside . Press remaining oat mixture oat mixture onto bottom of ungreased 9 inch square baking pan , bake 10 minutes .

Spread preserves over crust ; sprinkle evenly with chocolate pieces. Combine reserved oat mixture and almonds; sprinkle over chocolate pieces, patting gently .Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown .

Cool completely . Drizzle with melted chocolate , if desired .Let chocolate set before cutting bars.

Store tightly covered.