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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Potato Balls Stuffed With Fava Beans: Not Your Usual Potato Balls!

The family being miles away, it has been a very quiet Christmas day for us today. However, there is something in the air on Christmas day, I find, that makes it merry and peaceful. Hopefully, you've all had a wonderful time.

Some fava beans caught my attention at our local supermarket the other day. I don't recall having seen those in the UK or Ireland. In consequence, I had actually never cooked or eaten them before. They look close to a butter bean size-wise with a reddish brown colour.

After a google search for some recipe ideas, I've found them to be used pretty much like most beans, cooked in sauces, pureed as dips or mashed and made into burgers and balls. Well, I thought I'd make use of their size in a recipe rather than mash them all up.

Soaking time took 24 hours, during which I changed the water twice. Then I boiled them for about 20 mins with the skin on. After boiling, I peeled them and tasted one. I would say they are 80% close in taste to a butter bean but with a slightly more nutty flavour.

To save time on this recipe, pre-boil the fava beans and freeze with the skin on until required. Then defrost and warm a little by pouring some boiling water on the beans, allow to cool slightly before peeling. I find that the skins come off easier when the bean is still a little warm.

In this recipe, I've used red potatoes which are slightly on the waxy side. So, this gave these balls a somewhat chewy texture. If you prefer the floury type, baking potatoes might work too but they will need to be more compactly formed into balls for them to hold without breaking when being baked or served.

Potato Balls Stuffed With Fava Beans (Fat-free, Gluten-free)

Ingredients (12 - 14 balls)

5 medium-sized red potatoes (about 350g)
12 - 14 fava beans, boiled and peeled
1 medium-to-large carrot (grated)

1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste

Fresh jalepeno chilies


Add the paprika, cumin and salt to the fava beans, mix well and let sit while preparing the other ingredients. (You can also make this the day before and leave the beans to marinade overnight in the fridge).

Boil potatoes until soft. Peel and mash. Add salt to taste.

Take some of the mashed potato, slightly less than the size of a pingpong ball, roll to form a ball and then flatten a little.
Place 1 bean in the centre and enclose with the potato, forming a ball with the hands.

Roll potato ball in the grated carrot. Press between the hands so that they are well adhered to the potato ball.

Repeat with remaining beans and potato mash. You may need to wash your hands in between a few balls as they will tend to get sticky.

Place on a baking tray over some greaseproof paper. You can brush with some sunflower oil if desired although this is not necessary.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Farenheit) for 30 minutes or until slightly firm / crisp on the outside.

A spicy dipping sauce is a good condiment choice to go with these. Tabasco was perfect with these but I found fresh jalepenos gave them a nice kick!
Add a pineapple piece (for some sweetness) and a fresh slice of chili to make these a spicy tasty appetiser at your party.
Have a very Happy Holiday!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Handmade: Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

Where have I been? Ahhh! I've missed this blog and my Facebook page so much during these past two months. Well, there's been a lot happening for me and the biggest change is that I've moved country. It has been two incredibly busy months and I'm now in Canada! Yay!
Boyfriendlovlie and I left Ireland last month and made it to Quebec in the beginning of November. It has been quite a change from Europe. But we really like it so far. We have already been blessed by 12 - 15 cm of snow! Here's what I can see from my window at the moment.


So far, we are settling in okay. We have yet to see how our first winter in Canada goes through. We have been busy finding a place to live, initially, then finding some furniture and furnishings. Now things are smoothing out and I hope to be back posting more regularly.

Needless to say that I've already been around health shops and 'sniffing' around for vegan friendly places! Still getting used to some new ingredients and tastes. All in all, it is really quite fun to discover new things all over again.

With all the excitement of the move, I've been feeling really creative these days: crochet projects and crafty stuffs. And so, I went along and had a go at playing with air dry clay again. This time I though of trying something different to jewellery: a soap dish.

We needed a soap dish for the bathroom and a generic one from the stores wasn't quite appealing. A handmade one was much more inviting and I'm glad I made this soap dish as it added a lot more flair to the wash basin in the bathroom. The enchanted world has always attracted me; everything woodland will always catch my attention. So, I went with this Leaf and Mushroom theme.

Here's a few working shots.

I started cutting out the shapes in clay and affixed a skeleton leaf to the bottom one. Also rolled out fat snakes for the mushroom stems that I tucked underneath the leaves.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

After drying (1 day later), I painted the leaves and mushroom with acrylic paint.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

Then, I glued the skeleton leaves in place.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

I glued the mushroom heads on the stems.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

Here's a top view. All done and left to dry.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

I then applied a 2-part resin mixture to make it waterproof. I left it to dry for 2 days, then applied resin onto the under side as well and left it to dry for another 2 days.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

Boyfriendlovlie had to photograph this outside on the pebbles. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

Now the soap laid on this dish feels like fairy magic.

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

Woodland Leaf and Mushroom Soap Dish, Air Dry Clay

So, what do you think?
Stay tuned, I'll be back for more and more updates on my new adventures in food, jewellery and crafts!

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