When the sun pushes aside the clouds left behind by spring and winter, and the warm air on your skin invites you to be outside, basking without much fuss; eating with your hands feels good.
Falafel make a wonderful parcel. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Alone, with a sauce or in a salad. They are an excellent snack to carry around for hungry children (or adult) nibbles. The best part, I find, is that you can creatively add a nutrition punch to something so straightforward to eat.
The golden in the name of these falafel is inspired by the turmeric. The green spinach pancake fields are also a punch loaded with dark greens.
Both can be made ahead of time and be eaten in different variations. For example, the pancakes can go well with strawberries, or apple slices and rhubarb jam. Or Feta cheese. You can play around and make them into snack rolls to nibble on out in the sun. Or fold them in half with a nut butter inside.
Green spinach field pancakes
2 large handfuls of fresh, clean spinach leaves
1½ cups of whole wheat flour
1 big pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp of melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1½ cups of water (add more if the batter is too thick)
Put all of the ingredients in a blender jar and blend until liquid.
Set the batter aside to cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime you can prepare the golden falafel, as well as warm up the skillet or crepe pan ahead of time, at low heat. This will ensure that the pan is evenly warm so that when you start cooking the pancakes they will brown nicely. After the 30 minutes (or longer), or when you are ready, take the batter out of the fridge and turn up the heat under the pan to boost it up a bit. You can brush a thin film of olive oil on the pan before each pancake if your skillet gets a bit sticky. The trick to make nice soft and lightly browned pancakes is the hot pan and a relatively short cooking time. When you pour the batter on the pan you can spread it by swiveling the pan around until it is evenly coated. The pancakes should be thin, about 2-3 millimetres thick. Turn them over only when they are lightly browned on the first side. You will know when they are ready to be flipped, because it is easy to slide a spatula under them and pop them around. Stack the pancakes on a plate. They can be eaten both warm or at room temperature.
1½ cups of cooked chickpeas (from the shop or homemade)
1½ cups of raw sunflower seeds
1 medium onion chopped small
3-4 garlic cloves chopped small
1-2 Tbsp of turmeric
2 big pinches of sea salt
¼ tsp of hot chili powder (optional)
1 Tbsp of baking powder
5 Tbsp of whole grain flour (your choice, wheat, buckwheat, rye, etc.)
Parchment paper or silicon mat (if you have one) for the oven
Pull out a baking rack from the oven, set aside and preheat the oven to 180° C.
Place all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse repeatedly until the mixture is slightly coarse and creamy. You will have to stop and start and spoon the mix around several times to make sure it is all getting chopped up and mixed well. Prepare the baking rack with the parchment paper or the silicon mat on it. Transfer the falafel mix from the food processor into a bowl. With clean hands start rolling approximately a spoonful of the mix into small flattened balls. Rub each side of the flattened balls with a little olive oil and place them side by side on the covered oven baking rack. You should be able to make between 20 – 24 falafel. Pop them into the preheated oven and bake for six minutes, take them out, turn them around and pop them into the oven for another six minutes. Repeat about two more times, or until they are lightly browned on both sides. Let them cool on the wire rack.
Fresh summer salad sauce
½ a cucumber, seeded and cut in half lengthwise and then into thin slices
½ avocado, finely diced
3 medium, ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1 spring onion finely chopped
1 pinch of sea salt
Juice from one lemon
7 chives leaves finely cut (these can be replaced with a herb, for instance parsley or coriander)
Put all the chopped ingredient into a glass bowl and mix them together.
On this occasion we served the golden falafel in green spinach fields together with rocket leaves, another good cruciferous (Brassicaceae family) to add in, and sat out on the balcony in the afternoon sun. We also had enough to pack lunch boxes for the next day.