It’s been an intense couple of weeks with so many things happening. One highlight chasing the other for each of us! The positivity seems to give us wings to fly higher, faster and smarter. The art lies in preserving these special moments in the midst of the changes and the chances that arise to impact our lives.
One such highlight, that was probably experienced by all three of us differently, was Soeren’s trip to London. For the first time he was to fly alone (without parents) with members of his school to a city he has always wanted to visit. As often as I have been to London, the occasion never came up for him to accompany me. So, I experienced it with slight remorse and quite some elation at his chance to finally be visiting an absolutely awesome city in Europe.
My husband greeted the opportunity, as he was able to fulfil this for his son. As a boy who grew up in East Germany he appreciated the fact that Soeren is able to live a versatile and free life without borders. I guess these are emotions and thoughts that those of us who grew outside of the walls will never really understand fully.
My son - he took it on with confidence. His wanderlust is huge – just like mine and any nervousness he might have felt was wiped away with the thrill of what awaited. Big Ben, London Eye, the Globe Theatre, riding on the Underground, shopping in Camden Town, Tate Modern, a musical, a movie, the Arsenal stadium – the programme was impressive and I slightly envied him!
During the week he was away he called me once and said
“Mum guess what? I am walking on Regent Street, in London all on my own! I was in Hamley’s and bought a drone – all on my own!”
Can I tell you what a burst of mixed feelings exploded in me?
Panic! He is in that big city on one of the most crowded streets in London all on his own!
Pride! He is in that big city on one of the most crowded streets in London and doing it all on his own!
Joy! He is in that big city on one of the most crowded streets in London and living it all on his own!
Wistful! He is in that big city on one of the most crowded streets in London and experiencing it all on his own!
Envy! OMG! He is on Regent Street – one the coolest streets in London and SHOPPING all on his own!
All of these feelings within a matter of seconds.
I am sure there were very similar feelings in him that made him want to call me and share his adventure.
That week the three of us found ourselves separated by distance - Soeren in London, my husband in Austria and me keeping base in Weimar, but we were connected by our thoughts and emotions.
For the first time I became aware of what my parents probably felt when my brother and I began cutting the cord in search of our own lives. For the first time I saw it from a parents point of view! Although I am used to being part of an international family, with my parents in Dubai and other relatives spread throughout the US and India, I realized how differently the heart beats and the brain ticks from the side of a parent. As young adults I remember my eagerness to break free, experience a new independent life, the hunger of knowledge and the motivation of a lioness. As a parent I feel dejected that soon he will be breaking free, I feel proud of the young man he has become, I want to feed his hunger, I balance between giving him his independence and showing him his borders never limiting his passion and motivation of a wolf(f)!
I am sure it will come as no surprise that my kitchen is globally influenced. The dishes I cook are a fusion of the cuisines I have been brought up on and I love the idea of satisfying a part of my wanderlust through the food I bring to the table.
Like these falafels! There are a few dishes that I am particular about. When it comes to falafels and hummus I am a purist. I love the Egyptian falafels made with fava beans and my hummus is made with chickpeas – and only chickpeas, preferably soaked overnight. However, I am very inquisitive and have a deep experimental streak running through me. As cauliflower is a one of my favorite vegetables I wanted to try making a falafel-style dish using a mix of cauliflower and chickpeas. I used Armenian lavash as my bread of choice, wrapping the falafels snuggly with thick slathering of hummus, crunchy red cabbage, spinach and tomatoes. It works!
Recipe: Cauliflower Chickpea Falafel & Hummus LavashMeeta K. Wolff
- For the falafels
- 250g cauliflower florets, washed and dried
- 400g can chickpeas, drained
- Small handful fresh parsley, coriander and mint, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chickpea flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + 4 tablespoons olive oil
- For the hummus
- 250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked till tender (see notes below)
- 150 ml tahini
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- good pinch of sea salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- sumac and/or za'atar
- Store-bought lavash bread or Arabic pita flatbread
- Half a head of red cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
- Handful baby spinach leaves
- Arils of 1/2 a pomegranate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
- Add the raw cauliflower florets to a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Add the can of chickpeas and a small handful of herbs, and process thoroughly until well combined. Add the spices and a good pinch of salt and pepper, along with a glug of olive oil and the tablespoon of chickpea flour. Continue to process until everything is smooth and thoroughly combined. The mixture will be slightly crumbly, but should hold together when you squeeze it in your hand.
- With clean hands, form the mixture into balls, squeezing firmly to hold it together.
- To bake the falafel: place them on a greased baking tray, and drizzle lightly with oil. Bake in the oven for around 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. In between turn them around so that they are evenly browned.
- To make the hummus: drain and rinse the cooked chickpeas well and allow to dry.
- Throw the garlic cloves and the sea salt flakes into a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the chickpeas and pulse a few time to get a coarse mixture. If required add a couple of tablespoons of water, then add tahini, lemon juice and spices. Process until a creamy consistency is reached. You may find that you need to add some more water to loosen the mixture, drizzle it in little by little, till you reach the texture you are after. See notes below
- Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Drizzle olive oil and dust with sumac and za'atar.
- Assemble the falafel lavash wraps by adding the cabbage, spinach leaves, tomato slices and a few falafels. Drizzle with hummus and scatter with the pomegranate arils, if using. Roll into a wrap-like sandwich and enjoy with olives and pickles.
- In a pot soaked chickpeas will take about 1.5 to 2 hours to cook on medium to low heat. You can do this in a pressure cooker to reduce the time.
- Chickpeas are tender when you can squash them between your fingers
- I recommend to leave the hummus to rest for an hour. This allows the flavors to come together and you can judge if you need more seasoning, zest or spice.
- Hummus tends to thicken as it rests - especially if you leave it overnight. I advice to make it slightly thinner. As it rests it will thicken. If you find it too thick mix in either a drizzle of water or lemon juice to loosen it up again.
- Homemade hummus will keep in the fridge, stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
When we all gather at the table from travels far away there is nothing like sitting over a good satisfying meal as tales are told and adventures are shared. After all – far away places are awesome but home is where the heart is!
The images shared here were part of a series I am doing for a client organizing the INOGA 2016 for the World Culinary Olympics - Olympiade der Köche. They represent the colorful fusion of an international and globally influenced cuisine and shows that food can cross many borders.
You might like these globally influenced ideas from What’s for lunch, Honey?:
|Mujadara Jnoubiyeh - Lebanese Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf and Cabbage Salad with Za’atar and Sumac||Ossobuco with Prunes, Apricots and Saffron||Goan Pork Vindaloo with Cashew Nuts|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2016 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First