We discovered very cheap flights to Berlin, via Kerry airport. They were so cheap that after checking our son could host us we pressed the buy button. Next thing we were signed up for a couple of days in the city.
Kerry airport is very cute. It’s so small that the ‘departure lounge’ looks more like a busy doctors waiting room and the ground staff jolly everyone on to the plane; on our return, the local gardai manned the passport desk. It’s a far more personal option than travelling all the way to Dublin and the car park is right next to the door. Easy peasy.
The spring in Berlin has well and truly arrived and it’s certainly warmer than here. It’s a city with lots of green spaces, tree-lined streets and an efficient transport system. There’s the u-bahn (underground), s-bahn (overground), buses, trams, gazillions of bicycles and an amazing app to rent cars and motor scooters. When this app is turned on it pinpoints all the vehicles in your vicinity so you can select and reserve. You then have twenty minutes to pick up, drive to your destination, park then carry on with what you’re doing. It’s cheap to use and means car ownership in the city isn’t necessary. We thought this was very cool.
The city is huge so we couldn’t cover that much in the couple of days that we were there, but we did enjoy eating all sorts of food. With all the walking we just kept on working up an appetite. There are Turkish, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Italian, fabulous bakeries and so much vegetarian and vegan food it’s almost like a take over. It suited us down to the ground.
We sat in the sunshine at one of the Lebanese and enjoyed a plate of falafel, hummus, baba ganoush, salad and labneh all mopped up with flat bread for the princely sum of €7 each. Making falafel was our first million dollar idea when we moved to Ireland and although we didn’t get rich we still have a soft spot for them
We’re just back and full of falafel enthusiasm so here is our recipe.
Serve with salad, stuffed into toasted pita breads and drizzle over tahini sauce. If the mix is too much it can frozen for another time.
200g dried chickpeas
1 onion – peeled
2 cloves garlic – peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
large handful fresh coriander – chopped
large handful fresh parsley- chopped
Rinse the chickpeas and check through for any stones
Put them into a large bowl and cover with at least three times as much cold water.
Leave the chickpeas to soak for 18-24 hours then drain and leave the chickpeas in a colander for a few minutes to dry off.
Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic.
Put the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic and salt into a food processor and buzz for a few minutes until the chickpeas are quite fine. Add the ground cumin, ground coriander and the fresh coriander and parsley and buzz again for another four or five minutes.
Tip into a bowl and stir the baking powder into the mix (do this just before frying.)
Heat some frying oil in a wok or large saucepan. Test the temperature by slipping a piece of bread or similar into the oil, if it pops to the surface the oil is hot enough, if it sinks to the bottom the oil is not hot enough and if it goes crazy turn the heat down!
Use a small dessert spoon to take a scoop of the mix and gently slip it into the oil. Fry for three to four minutes, until a deep golden brown then lift out and drain on a piece of kitchen towel. Don’t overcrowd the pan, cook the falafel in batches.
Juice 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 big tbs light tahini
a pinch of salt
a little water to thin the sauce
Put all of the ingredients into a bowl except for the water and stir. The sauce will (surprisingly) thicken as you mix. Thin with water to achieve a thick pouring consistency.
Here’s hoping for a heatwave. Fingers crossed for May!
Lettercollum Kitchen Project,
22, Connolly Street,