The Euros kick off today and the joy of such tournaments is not only wall to wall football but also the chance to learn a bit more about the countries taking part.
Even if you don’t like the beautiful game, why you can still try out foodie footy challenge for Euro 21 and by happy co-incidence today’s curtain raiser between Turkey and Italy falls a day before International Falafel Day – which celebrates one of the most popular street foods in Turkey, the Middle East and increasingly many other parts of the world.
Usually shaped into ping pong size balls, falafel, which is something we make ourselves here at SK as part of our Mediterranean range , comprises ground chickpeas or fava beans mixed with herbs and spices and sometimes additional vegetables such as small onions or leaks.
The delicacy dates back thousands of years and originally the balls are likely to have been baked, producing a crisp outside and soft inner.
Nowadays it’s more common for falafel to be deep fried and served with tomatoes and cucumber alongside hummus and sesame paste, perhaps with a spicy sauce drizzled over or wrapped in flatbread or pitta for a falafel sandwich.
They can be made at home or bought in supermarkets, from street vendors or in restaurants.
The biggest falafel ever made was cooked up by ten chefs from Jordan’s Landmark hotel and would have been enough to feed a football stadium. It weighed 75kg, used 80kg of chickpeas, 5kg of onions, 2kg of fresh parsley and coriander, 1.2kg of garlic, and was deep fried in 350 litres of vegetable oil.
A bit like football, falafel is now popular throughout the world and can be enjoyed by almost everyone – regardless of dietary requirements.
Whilst falafel are usually round, our savvy chefs have given tradition a twist with falafel waffles and tweaked the ingredients to produce delicious variations such as beetroot falafel.
So, as the Euros kick off why not kick back and enjoy Turkey v Italy accompanied by some delicious falafel, possibly drenched in a rich Italian ragu?