June 1st, 2008

Recipes by request: Honey & ginger cookies

This was originally from a recipe book published by the American Museum in Bath. It doubles or trebles fairly easily (though you may find three times the dough is a challenge to mix)

12 oz flour
4 oz butter
10 oz sugar
1 egg
4 oz honey
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and honey and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients and mix in thoroughly [editor's note: add a little more flour if the mixture seems too damp]. Roll into small balls. Place on baking sheet, flatten slightly, bake at 350 F / 180 C / gas 4 for 10 - 15 minutes. [Editor's note: do not overcook, you want these to be golden rather than dark brown; they should cool to a slightly chewy consistency rather than to a solid consistency like ginger nuts.)

Makes approx 36.

Recipes by request: Falafel

This is a recipe originally found online and adapted a bit. The original doesn't specify what size "tin of chickpeas", but from previous experience with American recipes involving such tins, the US tin of chickpeas is usually a bit bigger than ours. Three standard-sized tins (400g before draining) seemed to work OK for double the quantity, so you'd be looking at 1.5 tins for one quantity.

Tin of chickpeas (see above)
2 - 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 - 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour

Place the drained chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, coriander, salt, chili powder, garlic, and cumin. Process until "blended but not pureed." (There is not really enough liquid in this for you to wind up with what I would call a puree.)

The original recipe suggests that you then sprinkle the baking powder and flour in and pulse the food processor to mix it in. I found this really didn't mix it properly -- again possibly because the mixture was not wet enough -- so turned the chickpea mixture out into a bowl and mixed the flour and baking powder in by hand. You are looking to get the mixture to a point where it's more like a dough than a puree -- I found it took more like 6-8 tbsp of flour.

Refrigerate the dough (covered) for several hours.

Form into balls about the size of a table-tennis ball. Normally one fries falafel but I found that baking them worked just as well; about 20 minutes at 180C/gas 4 cooked them through without drying them out too much.