Wine and Booze

BEER! Is it vegan? If so, which ones.

A typically Black Dog greeting

 

The sun is out over Tiger Hill and Dad has just emailed me from our favourite pub in the entire world, the Black Dog in Whistable (Kent). Yes, its named after the Led Zeppelin song and the owner Mike is a thoroughly great publican and keeps a spectacular array of local ales, not to mention vegan samosas on the menu. So my mind has drifted towards the finest of British beverages…..BEER! (aka Real Ale)

Known as the ‘hammer of the gods’ I believe

Jane and I are not drinkers a la Ollie Reed (a British actor who famously claimed to have drank 106 pints in two days) but the occasional, proper glass of bitter, stout or porter is right up our winding country track. Wishy washy lager is a no no in the B.H.K.  We like beer with character and depth.  Ale with substance and meaning.  We don’t want to bloat up on ten pints of fizzy dish water, we are seeking that perfect, 1/2 pint of dark and potent nectar. There are a few breweries around us and a brilliant pub called the Snowdonia Park which brews all of its own beers in the cellar beneath the bar. You have to love that set-up!  An institution built on beery foundations.  It is also, sometimes conveniently, a campsite.   Their best ale is ‘Karmen Sutra’, named after the landlady.  A quirky name for a beer is much appreciated.

So the suns out and I’m wondering about beer……but wait, is it vegan? There seems to be a grey area around this and I’d like to attempt to clarify the question.

IS BEER SUITABLE FOR VEGAN?

Some, is the the best answer. The Camra website has some good info on this. Basically, the main ingredients of the vast majority of beers are very vegan; hops, barley, wheat, plants one and all. However, when it comes to clearing the beer of sediment, making it clear, many brewers use finings derived from the air bladders of the sturgeon fish (how random and disappointing is that!!!) These are called ‘isingas’ and draw the pesky yeast particles down through the beer.  Although these are not consumed in the final product, most vegetarians and vegans will opt out of non-veggie beer.

Beers can be sold unrefined, but they take longer to settle and can be slightly cloudy. Some pubs in the UK are now serving only ‘unfined’ beers. Vegans also need to keep an eye on honey, it can crop up in the production of some ales.  Some brewers may also use egg whites and gelatin in the brewing process.  The good news is that beers can be fined vegan-stylee, using seaweed!  How cool.

There is a directory of vegan UK beers below with some of my favourite names being Concrete Cow, Lizard, Fallen Angel, Wobble Gate and Why Not (?!) Which is a very good question, one I have posed myself many times before entering a pub.  One I may pose myself this evening.

Here’s a comprehensive list (you could even call it a database) of vegan beers from the good folk at Barnivore.  In fact, Barnivore is a one stop shop for checking all your vegan booze queries, including wines and liquor.  I love the fact that their commitment to booze have led them to research the beers of Nicaragua, Philippines and even France!

Local tipple.  Good stuff.

SOME POPULAR BRANDS OF BEER (NOT NECESSARILY GOOD ONES) THAT ARE VEGAN

Black Sheep Ale (Wahee!)

Goose Island (Waheeeee!)

Affligen beers (Hoorahhhh!)

Alhambra and Mahou Spanish Beer (Yeeesssss!  Fiesta!!)

Amstel (Hmmmmmmmmmmmm)

Asahi (Hmmmm, refreshing and points for being exotically Japanese)

Budweiser (Hmmmmmm.  Only in Wyoming.)

Aspall Ciders (Whoopp!)

Badger Ale (Double Whhooopeeee!)

Becks (Nostalgic nod of semi-approval.)

Black Isle, Isle of Skye (THANK YOU!  Thank you!!)

In fact, I’m only on ‘B’, I’ll be here all day.  There are more major brands listed below, but the good news is that most pubs will stock some vegan beers and you can always have a pint of Becks if you arm is being severely twisted.  Being vegan does not mean that you cannot be boozy.  Kale smoothies are wicked.  As is a tankard of tepid local ale!  We are British don’t you know!!!!!

Corona (plenty of lime please)

Pacifico (as above and very cold)

Peroni (if in Napoli, pleasant)

Fosters (Not if I was dying of thirst on a small antipodean island)

XXXX (See above but with much more conviction)

Bernard Beers (the absolute opposite of the past two comments.  Heavenly Czech nectar.)

Budvar (Fizzy yumvar)

Staropramen (Fueled my early 20’s misadventures.  Strong)

Stella Artois (no comment, except it can be decent if in Leeuwen.)

Conwy Ales (if you live in Wales, this is the finest of spring time news)

Birra Morretti (nice bottle and Italian, so brownie points)

Erdinger (!!!!!!!YES!!!!!!)

Kronenberg (who drinks beer in France.  Wine!)

Potentially, not everything these guys brew is vegan, but it seems like most.  Best checking with uncle Barnivore to be sure. 

I would say this, “vegans…..don’t be shy and ask at your local watering hole about vegan options.  The more we ask, the more awareness spreads and the more pubs stock vegan tipples.”  Many vegans I know provide their local pubs with excellent support and are a mainstay of their local public house.

VEGAN BEER!  Why not!!

Enjoy in moderation (or otherwise.)

Rainbow…..Dad, this ones for you big man!  Roberts still got it (never in doubt!)

Categories: Wales, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Red Onion & Beetroot Tatin, Green Lentil Stew, Orange & Mint Dressing

My Dad is visiting, he likes his food meaty, hearty and tasty. This dish seemed to fit the bill (even though it had no pork chops in it!)

We had a thorough beer tasting before dinner, sampling the full range on offer. This got my inspiration well oiled for cooking dinner. Like almost all of the BHK food, this required little thought, preparation and execution.

The tatin works a treat with the sweetness of carrot, onion and beetroot being lifted by the touch of balsamic and orange. You can do the tatins individually, but one large one is easier and much more impressive when you flip it out (queue a few ‘ooohhhhhhsss!)
The green lentil stew would be better with puy lentils, but they were expensive. Your humble green lentils still have a nice bite with some earthy flavour. The stew is rich with addition of coriander.

The orange and mint dressing is an added dimension of flavour that balances the sweetness of the tatin.

I’m not a huge pastry fan at the minute, but this was a real treat. Dad happy munched away, without mentioning sausages of chops for at least half an hour. A major breakthrough!

We are so lucky that all of these veggies come from Hootons, the organic farm down the road.

The Bits

Tatin
Puff Pastry (we bought ours, make your own if you prefer, enough to adequately cover your dish, needs to be snug)

1 chopped carrot

1 red onion

2 beetroots (veg should fit snuggly in your dish after cooking, so add around a 1/4 more initially and allow for shrinkage)

Small glug of balsamic vinegar

Glug of cooking oil (we use sunflower)

1 knob vegan butter/ margarine

2 teas of fresh thyme

Zest of 1/2 orange

Juice of half an orange

2 teas light brown sugar.

 

Lentil Stew
3 cups of green/ puy lentils

1 finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves

Big handful of chopped cherry tomatoes

1 carrot

Zest and juice of half a lemon

Handful chopped coriander

1 bay leaf

1 glug olive oil

1 teas thyme

1 teas chilli flakes,

Good veg stock.

 

Dressing
Zest and juice of half a orange

1/2 cup of good olive oil

Handful of finely chopped mint

1/2 teas dijon mustard

Touch of sweetener (to just slightly sweeten)

Alittle lemon juice (if your orange is super sweet, needs a little sourness in the dressing)

Salt + Pepper

 

Do It

Preheat an oven, 200oC.

Lentils

Cover the lentils with water and bring to a simmer in veg stock, add bay leaf, herbs (not coriander), veggies (except toms), chilli (monitor chilli level depending on who’s eating!).

Cook for half and hour, or until tender.  5 minutes before serving, add toms and olive oil, stir well and just before serving stir in the lemon and coriander.

Tart

Roughly roll out and measure you pastry, should be slightly larger than the dish you are using, prick well with a fork, keep in fridge until needed. We used a heavy bottomed oval casserole dish.

Tatin Pre-bake

Heat dish in the oven for a few minutes, then take out and add your oil, veggies, sugar, vinegar, thyme and season.  Mix well and bake in the oven for half an hour or until caramelised.  Then take out dish, squeeze on orange juice and a splash more oil.  Stir the veggies around to loosen and coat with the oil, make sure the veggies are packed in nice and tight (and flat), then carefully lay on your pastry case (brush top side with some olive oil), tuck in at edges, should fit nice and snug.  Put back in oven for 20-25 mins, or until pastry is nicely golden brown…..

Prepare dressing.  Add all ingredients to a bowl (small blender would be good for this) and mix vigorously together.  Check for seasoning and make sure its nicely citrus, to balance the sweetness of the tart.  Perfect when drizzled on all over the tart.

This is a good time to throw a green salad together.

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The Voila! Moment

Take tatin out of oven and grab a serving plate that fits over the dish, place on top and skillfully using your oven gloves/ cloth, hold plate and dish together and flip over.  There should be a nice gentle thud, your tart is turned! Take off dish and viola!  A steaming, beautifully caramelised tatin in all its sticky glory.

Green Lentil Stew

Serve 

We chopped the tart up and served everything family style on the table with a nice glass of beer (flavoured with elderflowers!) and a green salad (rocket, romaine lettuce, cucumber and more mint).

We Love It!

This was a proper feast for St Georges Day.  The patron saint of England (I am English) and countless other countries, including Syria, Serbia and the Isle of Gozo.  Strange day really, celebrating the slaying of a dragon?!

Foodie Fact

You know we love our beet!  The greens of beetroots contain more nutrition than the roots and a higher iron content than spinach.  Beetroot is a great blood cleanser and builder for the blood.

 

Categories: Baking, Dinner, Dressings, Local food, Organic, Recipes, Special Occasion, Welsh produce, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Purple Moose Brewery (Bragdy Mws Piws) – Our local brew

http://www.purplemoose.co.uk/pmb_home.htm

I have encountered few better pints in my time and never a Purple Moose.  These are delicious ales, some of the finest in Britain, making them the finest beers in the world (or am I slightly bias?!).

Purple Moose are lovely folk brewing an award-winning range of beers just down the road in Porthmadog, North Wales.  They brew four ales throughout the year with regular specials, available to buy in bottles or by the cask.  We have been looking for an excuse to buy a whole cask for the Beach House!  Anybody fancy a barbecue?

Purple Moose beers are always interesting and full of character, reflected in the brew names which started with ‘Startled Moose’ and also include such classics as ‘Dark Side of the Moose’ (they are Pink Floyd fans), ‘Madog’s Ale’, ‘Myrica Gale’, ‘Old Wobbly Antlers’ and at Christmas time ‘Merry X-Moose’.

The ‘Myrica Gale’ is particularly interesting, brewed with Halletau Hops and Welsh bog myrtle this is a brilliant, malty dark ale which has hints of Marmite.  The Myrtle adds an almost aniseed-y flavour.  You won’t have tried anything like this.

I love my dark ales and stouts, so the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is a real winner.  Described as ‘chestnut-hued, malty, nutty and chocolaty’.  It has recently won a golden fork at the Great Taste Awards 2011.  With the temperature rising, I hear there is a summer elderflower pale bitter coming.  I’m getting thirsty.

The Range

‘Purple is my favourite colour and everyone loves a moose, don’t they?’ says Lawrence Washington the man behind the moose.  It all started as a little jokey ‘brand’ being brewed in Lawrence’s home.  He thankfully decided to make these beers on a commercial basis in a former saw mill.  Six years on and they have recently celebrated their 1000th brew.

What I love about real beers, wines, foods etc like Purple Moose is the tale behind them.  There is always an interesting human story behind all quality produce, normally a tale of passion and commitment that defies logic and reason.  You have to be slightly nutty to commit your life to good beer, cheese,  carrots etc.

We are not drinking much alcohol at the minute, which makes us savour great beer even more.  We are incredibly lucky to have the Purple Moose just down the road.  They never fail us for quality beers and quirky names.  If you can’t get hold of Purple Moose locally, you can now buy cases on-line.

Iechyd da! (pronounced ‘Yechidda’, Welsh for ‘Cheers!’)

Don’t just take our word for it, see the Purple Moose trophy cabinet here:

http://www.purplemoose.co.uk/pmb_awards.htm

Foodie Fact

Real ale contains folates, which are good for the brain, heart and bones.

Categories: Local food, Treats, Wales, Welsh produce, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coconut & Sweet Potato Polenta with Asian Vegetables

P1140694

Mwynhewch eich bwyd! (Bon appetit in Welsh)

The East meets Wales with a stopover in Rome.

This is a rich polenta dish that adds a full-on Eastern flavour to this very European dish.
We served this dish with pan-fried Asian vegetables, flavoured with sweet chilli. We kept the veg organic and as local as possible, so we made some substitutions here. Instead of water chestnut, we used chunks of jerusalem artichoke, instead of pak choi, we used swiss chard, instead of spring onion, we used leek.  You can use any mixture of veg here, preferably a good mix of colours and textures.

This is luxurious modern dish that takes little time to prepare and was inspired by chef Paul Gayler, who’s recipes I find extaordinary.

This makes enough for two hungry people with leftovers.

The Bits

Polenta

1 large sweet potato (peeled and chopped)

1 1/2 pint of veg. stock

1 1/2 cups of coconut milk

4 cups of polenta

salt and pepper

 

Veg

3 cloves of sliced garlic

1 leek sliced

2cm cube of ginger sliced

1 teas chilli flakes or fresh sliced chilli

1 small head of broccoli chopped

4 jerusalem artichoke chopped into chunks

1 large carrot

1 large handful of chopped swiss chard

splash of veg stock

4 tbls sweet chilli sauce (we use Linghams brand)

splash of veg oil

 

Do It

Polenta – Simmer veg stock in pan, cook sweet potato in stock until tender, around 15 minutes.  Blend with stock to a smooth paste in a blender.  Put mix back into a pan, add coconut milk, bring to a gentle simmer and add polenta gradually whilst stirring.  Texture should be that of a wet mash.  Season.  Cover and leave on a low heat until serving.

Veg. – Move onto veg, all pre-chopped and ready to go (important when cooking in an asian style, which is quickly cooked and immediately served, fresh and crunchy).  Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok, add garlic, ginger and chilli, fry for 30 seconds, add all veg and toss together for a couple of minutes, then add the splash of stock and chilli sauce.

P1140744

The new Beach House herb garden

Serve

In big warmed bowls, polenta poured into the base topped by the veg., spoon on the sauce  Serve and eat asap.

We Love It!

This is a really new take on Polenta for me.  The coconut adds a real luxurious finish to the polenta, which the sweet sauce compliments perfectly.  YUM.

Foodie Fact

Ginger, a pungent root with incredible properties.  Famed throughout the ages for its soothing effect on the intestines.  It can ease intestinal gas and relax the digestive tract.  Ginger is very effective at eliminating the effects of motion sickness and can generally help against nausea.  It contains gingerols that are a powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, aiding ailments like arthritis.  Gingerols also help us to fight off the big ‘C’.  Ginger boosts the immune system, which is why it seems so good on a cold morning with a little hot lemon and honey.  What a root!

Boozy Bit

Light white, medium bodied wine.  I would recommend a nice German White like a Riesling or Gewürztraminer.  Good German whites are not cheap, but well worth it, especially with spiced Eastern dishes.

P1140850

Jane outside the Beach House, the day after the spring blizzard.

Categories: Local food, Recipes, Special Occasion, Vegan, Wales, Welsh produce, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

El Limonar Stew – A Taste of the Spanish Sun

The 'El Limonar'

The ‘El Limonar’ is not an everyday stew.  It reflects the culture and produce of a special little corner of Spain, the Costa Calida.

This dish that would suit any occasion this summertime, especially a special time when you are eating outside in the sunshine with the people who you love, a time when you are planning to open a few bottles of good wine (it is a Spanish stew after all!) and let the world just pass you by.

‘El Limonar’ is the name of the place my parents have in Spain, its near Cartagena, Murcia, for me it is one of the worlds most beautiful and relaxing places.  The lifestyle in Spain is slow, steeped in history, with much fiesta and siesta.  Relaxing is a way of life and food and drink play a major role in everyday life and traditional celebrations.

When I am in Spain, more than anywhere else in the world, I can happily revert to the wise words below:

‘Sólo un idiota puede ser totalmente feliz.’

‘Only an idiot can be totally happy.’

Mario Vargas Llosa

The Mediterranean sun brings life to the dry red earth.   Murcia is the hottest and driest region in Spain, but the local farmers use a lot of new technology and plenty of old world know-how to make the most of the parched land.  The area is covered with lemon, almond and olive trees, many old and gnarled.  A whole host of incredible local produce blooms with stunning flavours.  This stew combines many of these treats, most notably the sweet and smoky local pimenton (paprika).  We use Coato Paprika, an excellent local co-operative (http://www.coato.com/en/about-coato/).  The figs and almonds reflect the Moorish (North African) influence who were here for hundreds of years.  You can hear the sound of North Africa in every flamenco song.

Being a veggie in Spain is tough, we eat at home most of the time, using the produce from the local markets.  Old men and women gather every Sunday in a car park down at  the port and sell their crops.  We have our favourite olive lady, pepper man, spice mama, knife gypsy, Moroccan mint seller etcetc.  There are an array of characters and smiles.  I love to browse a good market.  It is also very cheap, which makes it that touch more satisfying.

The occasion for the ‘El Limonar’ was a visit from Rob and Linda.  They are super foodies who we met in a local cafe.  These shiny people deserved a treat so I put together this deluxe version of one of my tried and tested simmered chickpea recipes.

The technique is to simmer the chickpeas down until only a little stock remains (chickpea stock is delicious, almost beefy!) then begin to add the ingredients.  I find this retains a lot of flavour and gently cooks everything.  This stew did have some added roast vegetables, but it was most definitely a special occasion.

The best way to recreate this is in a colder country is to buy as much organic produce as possible.  Beautifully ripe tomatoes and a good quality Spanish paprika will give this dish a real taste of the Med!

Local Murcian Pimenton from Coato Cooperative, Totana

This is enough for 4 with plenty for lunch the next day (we are bulk cookers at  the B.H.K).

The Bits

5 cups of fat chickpeas (pre-soaked overnight), 1 bay leaf, good veg stock (enough to cover the chickpeas in the pan by 1 inch, maybe 1 litre), one big red onion (all veg chopped into interesting looking chunks), 1 large sweet red pepper, 1 aubergine, 1 courgette, 5 sweet tomatoes, 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, 6 sundried tomatos, 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 2 tbs Coato paprika, 1 big glass of Spanish red wine (for authenticity), 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 teas of thyme, zest and juice of one large unwaxed lemon, 2 smoked dried peppers (if you can get your hands on them), 1 handful of roasted unsalted almonds (soaked overnight), 1 good handful of chopped dried figs, 1 good handful of pitted green olives (preferably manzanilla), chopped mint, coriander and parsley, s + p, olive oil to start and finish.

Do It

Most of these steps can be done beforehand and kept in the fridge overnight, the flavours will intensify.  Even better, cook everything for a little less time, get the stew together and re-heat it on the day. 

Add your pre-soaked chickpeas and one bay leaf to a pan of good veg stock, it should cover them by 1 inch.  Bring to a gentle boil then simmer until tender, normally 1 hour.   Skim of white froth regularly.  If the stock evaporates too quickly, put a lid on it.  After cooking the chickpeas should be just poking through the stock.

While they are simmering, chargrill in olive oil your large chunks of aubergine (should be well coloured and gooey inside), pepper, onion and courgette in a frying pan or griddle.  Best to do in batches and keep warm in a covered plate.  I chargrill my cherry tomatoes quickly to give them a little colour.

Add the paprika to the chickpeas and stir in well, then the tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and thyme, put the heat up and before it reaches a boil, add the rest of the ingredients except the wine, which you add just before the stew is about to boil.  Season.  Little finesse here, but maximum flavour!

Once the stew has reached a very gentle boil put the heat down to low and leave simmering, covered for one hour letting the flavours infuse nicely.  Check that the sauce has thickened and is not too thin, if so, turn the heat up and cook down.  Do not boil, this kills flavour.

Just before serving, check seasoning, add a glug of olive oil for shine and richness (or a glug of oil from your jar of sun-dried tomatoes as I did), the lemon juice and most of the chopped mint, coriander and parsley, mix gently in.

Serve

I topped it with a splash of olive oil, some of the left over herbs, finely sliced dried fig and a fistful of crushed almonds.

We ate our stew under the stars, over halved roasted butternut squash with brown rice, a spinach salad with a lemon and honey dressing and a cucumber and local spring onion (like wild garlic) yoghurt.  I think Rob and Linda were amazed at how much we eat!  It’s difficult for me to not get carried away with a kitchen full of amazing produce.

Jane having our 'millionare lunch' (which cost 8 euros)

Foodie Fact

Good old Christopher Columbus got his greedy hands on the pepper plant in South America and like everything else he found of value, brought it back to Spain (I’m not a huge fan of the behavior of these old explorer/conquistador types).

Paprika is made by grinding dried peppers, different paprika uses different peppers and can be sweet, smoked or spicy.  Paprika is used extensively in the cooking of Spain and also quite randomly, Hungary.  Good Goulash would be lost without it.  The name ‘Paprika’ actually comes from the Hungarian word for ‘Pepper’.

Paprika has a high sugar content which must be considered when cooking with it.  It burns easily.

By weight, Paprika contains more Vitamin C than lemon juice.

Boozy Bit

I haven’t had the chance to write about wine in a while.  Thank you Spain for giving me the excuse!

This is best with a wine from the south of Spain.  The stew incorporates many of the flavours of this evocative land, therefore the local wines compliment it perfectly.  We went for a young ‘Casa De La Ermita’ Organic Monastrell from Jumilla (a local wine region), with ripe fruits, lovely vanilla scented oak and dark violet colour.  Monastrell is generally a concentrated wine with good structure and this one held its own with this blockbuster stew.

Casa De La Ermita is a wondeful winery and you can buy the wine in the U.K., I think I even saw it in Tescos.  The Crianza is a very stylish example of the quality of wine now produced in Jumilla, formerly a very ‘rustic’ wine growing region.  They also make a great white and an interesting Petit Verdot.

Here’s their site:

http://www.casadelaermita.com/vinos/casadelaermita_tintoecologico.php

'Casa De La Ermita' Crianza, fine wine from Jumilla, Spain.

Categories: 'The Good Life', Dinner, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Organic, photography, Recipes, Relax, Special Occasion, Travel, Vegan, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

King Quinoa Burger (Vegan)

I love quinoa.  The Incas ate it!  It has a full, nutty taste and is super healthy.  I thought it would make an interesting burger/ falafel/ patty……etc…whichever shape you fancy.

The terminology of veggie food can be so mis-leading and unneccessary.  It’s a grey area.  Is something shaped like a burger, really a burger?  Mos people would say no?  We can buy sausages, burgers (that are a field mushroom or lumps of roasted peppers), bacon (made of god knows what?) etc.  Do vegetarians really want to eat bacon?  Things that taste like meat?  I don’t.

I think the global veggie community should get together and re-brand all of these dishes.  Come up with some new, interesting terminology.  Leave the burgers for the mincemeat crowd.  I like the name ‘chunk’.

Whatever we call this, it is very tasty, satisfying and healthy.  This is the King of veggie burgers!  Even better, it’s vegan and gluten-free also.

We were having a ‘date night’ in the Beach House (there aren’t many places to go around here, so we have in-house dates) so I went all out on the accompaniments.

This is a hearty burger, packed with chickpeas and the sweetness from the potatoes.  This recipe will make at least 6 big burgers/ patties and many little falafels.  The only difference between these is how you want to form them with your hands.  Whichever size fit.  Be gentle here, you don’t want to play with them to much.  Quick dip in flour, patted into a nice shape and straight into the hot oil.  The one quick, clean flip.  This will ensure a nice burger, that doesn’t fall apart.  It will turn out nice and crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.  YUM!

The Bits

2 cups of cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa), 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (or one can), 1 cup of chopped and roasted sweet potatoes, 1 red onion (chopped), 3 tbs chickpea (gram) flour, 1 1/2 teas smoked paprika, 1 teas ground cumin,  3 cloves of chopped garlic,  2 inch ginger (chopped finely), 1 lemon zest (finely chopped), 2 teas mixed herbs (or preferably fresh and chopped rosemary and thyme), 1/2 cup of chickpea (gram) flour (for dusting), 1 small glug Linghams sweet chilli sauce (optional), 3 tbs olive oil, s +p.

You may want to go all out with this one, add a couple of handfuls of grated cheddar cheese.  But beware, that will be a mega-burger!  Not for the faint hearted.

Do It

Soak and cook off your chickpeas (or open the can), pan fry your chopped sweet potatoes until nicely coloured, set aside.  Cook quinoa. Boil a kettle and pour water over until covered by 2cm of water (cover and leave for 10 minutes).  Put all of these and the rest of the ingredients in a blender, add oil last.  Pulse blend for a few burst, you want around half smooth, half chunky.  Put into a bowl and stir.

Get a plate and cover it with a good layer of chickpea flour.  Warm a pan on medium heat, oil should be just about smoking, make sure the base of the pan is well covered with oil.

Take the required amount of mix in your hand and fashion a burger/ patty/ falafel.  Give it a good covering of flour, dust of excess and drop into the pan.  Work quickly and gently, get them all in the pan at a similar time (it’s easier that way).  Use a flat spatula, this will mean easier flipping and less battering to the burgers.

Fry for around five minutes per side, until golden and crispy.  Remove and place on kitchen paper to remove excess oil, cover and keep warm until serving.  For a normal shaped frying pan, you’ll need a couple of batches here.  The falafels will take lot of work, it would be easier to deep fry them.  That would be amazing!

The mix keeps well in the fridge and will be better and easier to work with if prepared the day before.

Serve

We had ours with homemade hummus, onion marmalade, wilted swiss chard and spinach (with a drop of garlic) and pan-fried potatoes with Jerusalem artichokes (pinch of paprika).  It all went a little restaurant-y.

You could have it in bread (or flat bread for the falafels) with a nice relish or yoghurt dressing and salad.  Maybe even some chips (American friends, this means french fries)!

We Love It

Date nights are ace!  Our food, music, atmosphere and no taxis afterwards!  Packed full of goodness, this is a super tasty burger-type creation.

Foodie Fact

Once called the ‘gold of the Incas’  quinoa gives ‘complete protein’, meaning all of your amino acids.  It’s also full of lysine, which helps tissue growth and repair.  Quinoa has unusually high amounts of manganese and magnesium, the list goes on here.  Quinoa is a real deal superfood!

Pickled Part

We drank a light, young Primitivo, which was full of sweet berries.  It went down a treat with the sweetness of the potatoes and chickpeas and wasn’t over powered by the spices or hummus.  Make sure your wine isn’t too light, especially when dealing with spicy or creamy dishes.  You need good acidity and fruit to conquer these strong flavours.  A medium white would have been fantastic, something like Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer.  I love German wine, especially with spicy foods.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegan, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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