Spending New Years Eve/New Years Day battling a raging fever isn’t ideal. Far from desirable. Of all 365 days of the year you go into 2015 simultaneously sweating like a pig and shivering like a kitten caught in the rain. Woop woop! Yet whilst it’s not been particularly pleasant, there’s really nothing to complain about. Sure I may whine about being unable to ‘properly exercise’ for two days in a row (two whole days). I might fret about the fact that – heaven forbid – I have to remain curled up on the couch in the biggest and baggiest dress I own (hellllooo clammy skin) reading until the worst of the fever passes. Big deal. Count yourself lucky girl. It’ll pass in due course. In any case a little sickness every now and then is a good reminder to value one’s good health. And of course food plays a significant role in ensuring that one stays bright and bouncy.
One can’t help but wonder if the less-than-optimal eating over the festive period paved way for the onset of this bug. Cynical? Perhaps. However too much sugar/fat/refined foods/food in general and not enough vegetables/lean protein and fresh fruit is virtually a sure-fire recipe for a less than stellar immune system. Time to get back on track with a revamped a.k.a. healthified (not technically a word, but hey we can blame the fever right?) classic. First and foremost these Felafel with Pistachios and Pumpkin Seeds are baked rather than deep fried. They’re also packed with protein thanks to the chickpeas, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. With just a smidge of spelt or rice flour (which-ever takes your fancy) they’re virtually refined carbohydrate free. Definitely a bonus after all the cakes/pastries/puddings of weeks gone by.
The baking leads to a delicate structure – think crisp outside and soft centre (there’ll be no stodgy deep fried felafel around these parts), whilst the seeds and nuts provide a satisfying crunch. The mint and parsley result in a ‘fresher’ felafel that pairs well with the Chilli Yogurt Sauce. You may serve the felafel traditionally, however I prefer these alongside a ratatouille or wrapped in cos lettuce alongside a few sweet cherry tomatoes. We said we’d be predictable and start the New Year with a nutritious post and here it is! Here’s to good health and holding one’s word for the rest of 2015…
Felafel with Pistachios and Pumpkin Seeds
8 sprigs of mint, leaves picked
Large handful of parsley, leaves picked
80g pistachio nuts (substitute with almonds if you wish)
50g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2x 400g can chickpeas, drained (or 2 cups cooked)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp spelt or rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
Chilli Yoghurt Sauce
2 tbsp greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 drops Tabasco
Squeeze of lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Place the herbs in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds or until quite finely chopped. Add the pistachio nuts and pumpkin seeds and blitz for another 30 seconds or so until well combined, but still a bit chunky. Now add the rest of the ingredients and pulse for approximately one minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl every 20 seconds or so. You want the texture to remain relatively rough. Add a drop of water if the mixture refuses to come together.
With damp hands, take tablespoon sized chunks of the mixture and roll into balls. Place on the baking tray, leaving a centimetre or two between each one.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the outside is slightly crisp and the bottoms have browned.
Serve immediately or set the pans on a wire rack to cool. Serve the Felafel with the Chilli Yoghurt Sauce and your choice of accompaniments.
Chilli Yoghurt Sauce
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper according to taste.
Source: Adapted from The Green Kitchen