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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Chickpea and Lentil PatTEAs

Isn't it an absolute giggle how certain words take on an entirely new meaning once children happen.
Take TEA for example.
Not sure why that's in CAPS, but now that I've done it, it can stay that way.
Although it took me longer to type out the above totally useless sentence (not to mention this one) than it would have to erase and re-type tea in its grammatically correct avatar, but oh well. My fingers sorta do their own thing sometimes. Freaky, I know.

Anyway, we were discussing tea. Or TEA. Whichever you like, my dahlings.

So in the pre-kid era (I just love that phrase "pre-kid era" by the way. It's got an out-of-wordly charm to it.  You know, like the pre-historic era. Which it may well be, really, given how long ago it all seems.)
But anyway, in the pre-kid era, tea to me was tea. As in the drink.
A nice hot steaming cuppa Darjeeling brewing in a fat round teapot. Preferably a white one. Don't ask why. One doesn't ask silly questions.
So yes, tea meant tea. And tea time meant, sitting on the sofa, garden door open, shoes kicked off, legs tucked under, with a good book, teapot (yes the white one) having done it's job, sipping delicately on the freshly brewed Darjeeling.

And NOW?
(that's fully intentional CAPS usage, in case you're wondering)
NOW. Hmph. 
I shudder as I type. Which makes for tricky tpygni. 

See, NOW,  when one says "TEA" in my world, it means something entirely different.
Which is kind of a dramatic understatement on my part.
Because compared to the above described scenario, we could well be on different planets.

Because, now, tea means a whole host (I don't count, it scares me) of grimy nearly-4-year old boys stomping into my house from the garden after playing whatever sport they happen to be playing on any given day.
Frankly, I never really know what they're playing. Looks all the same to my untrained eye, because really all they seem to be doing is climbing on top of each other. And a few chaps seem to get properly pounded while they're at it. Oh and there's always a ball involved. And sometimes some bats or racquets. But sometimes not. Truth be told, I'm amazed the lot of them manage to disentangle themselves in one piece. Seriously. I have actually stopped watching them because my heart stops a little too much, a little too often when I do, and really - that can't be good for you. 

The only civilised thing in the whole shebang is the fact that they take turns to get pounded. Seems (interestingly) in this rather strange game that everyone's clamouring to get pounded. As in, the goal is to get pounded like a mutton chop. I once asked my son the rules of the game and he gave me a rather pained "like, really, how can you not get this" look and then proceeded to say "I don't know"
So I left it at that.

Still, the important thing (and one that makes my heart swell with so much pride, it's practically a balloon inside my chest) is that these guys take turns. Gentlemens' code of conduct. Or something.

Anyway, so after the above-described activities which happen quite routinely in my garden conclude,  
they all traipse in, demanding tea.

But you know of course that they don't really want tea
As in my notion of tea.
This lot aren't even allowed tea.
Unsurprisingly I might add.  Add caffeine to their already overstimulated nearly-4-year systems and they might all just explode with excitement.
Which might be quite fun, except I dare not try it.

So, no.
The tea they want is food.
And enough to feed a small city
How these kids have this much tummy capacity in their entire 24 inch frames is beyond me
But as you know by now, much of what they do is beyond me
I just stand and watch in dumb amazement most of the time
Which I find is really very helpful

Right, so mostly because I got rather bored, rather quickly, of making cucumber sandwiches or cheese sandwiches or cheese and cucumber sandwiches, I started exploring a few marginally more exciting options.

And NOW I can boast that TEA is part of my repertoire

For e.g. I refer to these chickpea and lentil patties
Or PatTEAs
yes yes thats where I was going all along, very clever of me I know, thank you

Here's what you need:

200g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
200g can red lentils, rinsed, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
50g raw cashew nuts
½ bunch coriander, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
50g chickpea flour

Here's how you do it:

Combine 2 cups water, chickpeas and lentils with some salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender and falling apart, about 10-15 minutes. Drain in a colander, and let cool to room temperature

Meanwhile, toast cashews in a small dry skillet over  low heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant. Chop them as finely as possible.

Finally, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, and translucent. Keep aside. 
When all of the above has cooled, mix all the ingredients together and shape into patties - its time to cook!

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in the pan.  Fry the burgers for 2 minutes on each side, then cook in the oven for 10 minutes, or until warmed through.

These are SO, SO good for you, you know. Chickpeas and lentils are packed with good carb and protein - just the kind of health enhancing, life lengthening stuff one feels obliged to feed children. Fresh coriander adds both aroma and flavour, while the spices lend a subtle kick of flavour to it all. I've borrowed inspiration from Mark Hix, who adds cashews to his potato patties and its a frankly brilliant touch - it adds a smooth, creamy "meatiness" to the patties that is just delish and really just brings it all together for me.

As an accompaniment, I use toasted pittas and a raita/yogurt sauce that is cooling and refreshing, the perfect foil for our piping-hot-off-the-pan patties.

Here's what you need for it - just mix it all together!!

100g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp tahini paste
2 tsp maple syrup
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
¼ tsp chilli powder

My troupe of dirty, muddy, sweaty, grimy - and eternally adorable - boys seem to love their patties - hope you do too! x

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