The Herb Diaries

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Baked Kale and Parsley Falafel

DSC_0289 I can’t believe that about two years ago I had never even tried falafel! One of my best friends, Sophie, is a MEGA fan, but I was always a bit skeptical. I can’t remember exactly when it was that she gave me a big bite of her falafel wrap in our favourite lunch spot, but it was proof that she is a legend because the falafel in that place is seriously too good to share. DSC_0266 Whenever people come to Paris they go mad for the falafel on Rue des Rosiers in the old Jewish quarter. It is such a pretty little street with delicious bakeries and so many falafel stalls, serving the most amazing pittas stuffed with red and white cabbage, tomatoes, baked aubergine, pickled jalapenos, crispy falafel and a really big dollop of creamy hummus, they are insanely good. The problem is that the falafel is deep fried, and the idea just doesn’t sit that well with me. So I decided I had to make a healthier, fresher version. DSC_0281DSC_0282 I had hoped my baked falafel would stay a bit rounder… but despite their funny flat shape, they crisped up well and make an awesome change from the heavy baked version we are all used to. They will provide you with tons of wonderful plant protein, loads of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and a big boost to the immune system thanks to the chickpeas, kale and garlic.

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 big handful of kale
1 handful parsley
1 tsp each of cumin and paprika
2 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper
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Method:

Blitz the kale and parsley in the blender until it is in tiny pieces. Chop the onion and garlic. Add all the ingredients into the blender and pulse until the chickpeas are almost completely broken down and the mixture begins to stick.
Bake at 200 degrees celsius, turning the balls every 10 minutes until the are cooked. This should take 30-40 minutes. Serve with lemon tahini dressing (get the recipe here) in a wrap, on a salad, as a snack….
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Buckwheat Porridge with Homemade Cinnamon Hazelnut Milk

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My sister keeps telling me that I need to stop posting sweet recipes and start doing some proper savoury meals! I am working on it for her, and have  a few ideas in the pipelines, so I promise soon you will start to see a little bit more variety!
 
Until then, here is my new favourite breakfast recipe. Buckwheat is a fairly new discovery for me, but once you are introduced to a new ingredient it suddenly pops up everywhere.I first discovered it in my favourite vegan restaurant in Paris, but under it’s french name, sarrasin. Since then I have found that my local bakery makes the best buckwheat bread, and my flat-mate Rosie was brought up being fed it by her Russian nanny (but she knows it as kasha). I now have buckwheat flour in my cupbaords, and this porridge recipe shows how versatile it is, making it such a brilliant pantry staple.
 

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The main advantage of buckwheat is that it is completely gluten free. Gluten puts a lot of strain on the digestive system, even for people who aren’t intolerant to it, so it is good to give your body a rest sometimes. Buckwheat is high in dietary fibre, and slows down the rate of glucose absorption, making you feel fuller for longer by preventing dramatic changes in blood sugar levels, and it contains all 8 essential amino acids, making it an awesome source of nutrients for non meat eaters.

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Ingredients:

Serves 2

1 cup buckwheat
2 bananas
1 tbsp ground flax
1 cup raisins
2 cups of your favourite mixed seeds and dried fruit
1 cup hazelnuts
1 tsp cinamon
Agave/almond butter (optional)
 
Method:
For the hazelnut milk – soak the hazelnuts overnight then blend with 2 cups of water and the cinamon. Strain and put in the fridge.
For the porridge – Boil the kettle, then pour two cups of boiling water into a saucapan with the buckwheat and raisins.Keep stirring, adding hazelnut milk bit by bit, until the buckwheat is cooked. This should take between 15-20 minutes. Never let the buckwheat run out of liquid, whether it is water or milk. When it is almost ready, slice one banana into the pan with the buckwheat and add the ground flax.
Separate into 2 bowls, top with sliced banana, dried fruit and seeds, plus a drizzle of agave or almond butter if you like.