One of my Saturday pleasures is perusing through The Irish Times. No, not the online edition, the old-fashioned paper version. A pot of strong coffee, something to nibble on and the IT are my idea of heaven.

I`ll wade swiftly through the national and world news sections. On then to soak up the best of the Weekend Review section-I particularly like Michael Viney`s column there. I`ll leave the Sports section to the Teen boys and then, saving the best pleasures til last, I`ll leaf through the magazine section.

My favourite section there-and in all of the newspaper-is Domini Kemp`s food column.

I just love her recipes. They`re generally fusion of tastes, but with strong middle eastern and mediterranean influences. She often plays with vegetarian options too.

She did all of those things last week with her recipe for Falafel.

I`d eaten this dish before in a middle-eastern restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I`d no idea the main ingredient was chickpeas. Or that it was so easy to make.What`s nice about this Domini Kemp`s recipe is that she has offered gluten free flour in it so that coeliacs can enjoy this falafel too. I made mine with ordinary plain flour though,


  •  500g dried chickpeas
  • 100g flat leaf parsley
  • 100g coriander
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Few glugs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Few tbsp spelt or gluten-free flour
  • Sunflower oil


Soak the chickpeas overnight in salted water. Drain, rinse and then blend in a food processor until they resemble fine ground sawdust. Put them in a bowl and then process the herbs with the olive oil and garlic (which you need to crush first). When it resembles green sludge, mix with the chickpeas. The chickpeas should take on a nice green colour. Season well and add enough spelt flour so that when you make a ball between your fingers, it will just stay together, not as well as small meatballs will, but they should be strong enough to be shaped and then put on a plate, carefully.

Heat up the sunflower oil and cook off a batch of balls at a time, carefully turning them over when they are crisp and golden brown on one side. They don’t take too long to cook. Basically, once they are golden brown on all sides, they are done. Drain on kitchen paper, season with more salt and keep them warm in a low oven while you finish the others off. They are lovely cold, and can be re-heated, but taste best when they are eaten soon after frying.

Since the Teens refuse point blank to eat anything that`s both ball shaped and vegetarian, I ended up having this delicious treat all for myself. It`s perfect running recovery food, with all those protein-dense chickpeas. I also ate them cold, and enjoyed them. Then I froze the remainder and ate some more during the week.

I really should do a DNA test and see if I`ve any Middle Eastern leanings as I seriously love that kind of food.

At the very least though, I should have gone the whole hog and made tzatziki. After all it`s just a blend of yoghurt, mint, cucumber,garlic and seasoning. But I dunked in Gardini`s Caesar Salad Dressing instead. Tzatziki will wait till next time. And there will definitely be a next time, as this is perfect running recovery food.

Week seven of Hal Higdon`s Marathon plan done! I did pretty well this week too. Actually began to feel like a runner again on Wednesday`s seven mile run. This weekend is a tad running heavy with a seven mile run today and a gasp! fourteen mile run tomorrow.

So with  seven miles to run and a whole newspaper to read, and tzatziki to make, I`d  better get moving!




30 thoughts on “Falafel

  1. MMM, Falafel. One of my favourites. The first time I had it was when I was in college in Washington, D.C. It was a Middle Eastern kind of fast food joint in Tenleytown. I remember it had some kind of beet pickle in it. I must look that up because I always think there is a little something missing when I make falafel and I think it might be that beet stuff.

    • Oh, interesting! There must be lots of recipes out there and, now that I know it`s really easy to make, and nutritious, I must try different ways of flavouring.
      In the meantime, I`m looking forward to catching up with your Galway gardens!

  2. We had falafel as veggie student food in Leicester in the (cough) late 80s. I have never managed to make good ones, though I will give the recipe a go. I love chickpeas so much I chuck them in chilli and soups and pretty much everything (not coffee though)

    • Oh, yum! I`m sure Yotam Ottolenghi`s got a falafel recipe worth checking out. I wonder if they`re high in calories? Probably, what with the oil in them and the frying, though I think I`d rather not know!

      • Well, the frying doesn’t help with the calories but the rest of the ingredients are fine. And chickpeas are a great source of protein. Ottolenghi has a great hummus recipe in his “Jerusalem” cookbook. I just made it and can’t get enough of it. Just a straightforward hummus recipes but with two tricks I never thought of that make all the difference.

  3. I don’t think I’ve eaten falafel before, but it (they?) sound like perfect food for me, so I shall have to look out some chickpeas. Today though, I’m going to cook liver and bacon. I don’t much like the liver, but I love the gravy, and everyone else likes the liver.

    • Gosh, it`s so long since I had liver! Can`t even remember if I ever liked it or not! As for the falafel, I know you`ll prefer the gluten free flour over the spelt and of course, I`ve been thinking since if there`s gluten free pitta bread available? I`m guessing yes, as there`s so much other gluten free stuff around. And shop bought dressings can be a problem too, which we don`t often think about on behalf of the gluten avoiding people we`re feeding.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Will definitely be giving this a try. Feeling a bit jealous of your long runs….having had a bit of time off I shall aim to do a longish one tomorrow (no not 14 though).

    • Oh please, don`t been envious of my LSRs. I think we runners have to think more about running being cyclical rather than in a set trajectory. We all have to deal with the slower, injured, unfitter patches. I`m not even sure I`ve dealt with mine yet.Longish and relaxed and comfortable is the run to aim for on a Sunday I think.

  5. I love love love Middle Eastern food too and happens that you may well be “on track” (as we Australians often say) re: the DNA testing.
    Happens that just recently my DNA results, from the National Geographic Geno 2.0 Project, came back and the scientific evidence shows that WAY BACK when my ancestors emigrated from Africa they took this particular path… and then up through Europe, always heading westwards until finally reaching Ireland. No wonder all that “exotic” food tickles my tastebuds… 😆

    • How very interesting about your DNA results! I want to know more! I thought only the male of the family could be tested? My Dad`s family have a streak in them which bestowed some of them with very sallow complexions, jet black hair and blue eyes. I`m told the Spanish armada is not responsible-apparently, we natives slaughtered them before they got a chance to procreate. so I wonder about that not-so-Celtic streak. Very, very interesting about your journey though. And the subsequent one of emigration and blending with other tribes.

      • Here’s the link to the Project… Mine went up through Turkey etc… and westwards heading to Ireland 🙂 … You’ll see a link there re: the rolling out of the Project in Ireland. No, women can have their DNA analysed but for a more detailed examination you need a close male rellie ( father or brother). I don’t have access to that so my “picture” is not entirely complete… but that’s OK. Cheerio for now.


  6. One of my favorite foods, too. My mother taught me to enjoy Middle Eastern food. She was a German/English American and grew up in Oklahoma in the 1920s. In the middle of the oil fields and Native Americans, some immigrants from Syria moved there and opened businesses and restaurants. Talk about a mix of cultures. One restaurant is still in business and makes delicious tabouli, too.
    Thank you for inspiring me to make some tonight!

I love reading, and responding to, your comments. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s