Falafels have kept me alive and healthy when I’ve been visiting places where veganism is an almost unknown quantity. They’ve maintained me in a similar state even where veganism is well understood as they’re one of the cheapest ultra-healthy foodstuffs you can buy. A pitta stuffed with falafel and salad is pretty much everything you need to sustain full fighting and drinking strength.

They’re also dead easy to make at home with stuff that any self-respecting vegan should have in their cupboard, fridge and garden / windowsill. Once the mix is made, it takes mere seconds to cook and serve ’em up. With the summer settling in and lazing about with mates being the best way to spend an evening, falafels are the perfect accompaniment.

Makes 10 falafels, scale up as needed.

  • 175g / 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½-1 tsp salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed / finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh parsley and / or coriander, chopped
  • 1 fresh chili (red for spicy, green for not quite so), finely chopped or a good pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • A good grind of pepper
  • Veg oil for frying

Rinse the chickpeas and soak in cold water for 24 hours. Drain then pat dry in a tea towel.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a pan on a low heat, shaking often, until beginning to colour and release a lovely smell. Grind them coarsely in a pestle and mortar or spice mill.

Uncooked falafel

Uncooked falafel

Put the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse for a minute or two. You’ll need to stop regularly and scrape down the sides to make sure they get properly smashed up. About halfway through add the rest of the ingredients and blitz until fully combined. The finished mix should be gritty (like couscous grains or bulghur wheat) rather than totally puréed. Remember too that this is the basic recipe, you can jazz ’em up with different flavourings as you see fit.

Put the mix into a bowl, cover with clingfilm, and chill for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Pour oil into a wok to around 1″ deep, just enough to cover the falafels, and put on a medium heat for a couple of minutes until nice and hot. Take about a large walnut’s worth of mix and flatten slightly into a small burger shape. Put as many falafels as will comfortably fit into the wok. Cook for a couple of minutes each side until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place onto kitchen towels to soak up any excess oil. Alternatively, deep fry at around 175°C.

Serve in pitta or tortillas with a load of salad and, if you really like chickpeas, a big smear of hummus too. For more punch use a chili sauce. You can also make a tahini or soya yoghurt sauce to drizzle over, or maybe try a squeeze of lemon or lime. A couple of fresh mint leaves roughly torn and sprinkled on also works really well. In fact, customise ’em however you like. It’s all good.

Cooked falafel

The finished article

The Mob, Bristol 08.04.11


Click to enlarge

For the first time in nearly 30 years, one of the most intense bands from the first wave of @-punk took to the stage and blew 400 minds. The Mob are back. And this time round, they’ve got the kit to really do their sound justice. Mark even smiled! Sure, there were a couple of hiccups, and the guitar wasn’t always 100% in tune with itself or anything else (hey, it’s punk) but, married with the strength of the voice, the pounding rhythms and the intense basslines, the synergy produced from every element created one of the most awesome atmospheres I’ve ever experienced at a gig, punk or otherwise. I have no idea if they’re going to do any more gigs (rumours of a London show were heard) – if they do, get there by any means available.

Here are a few of the pics (click to enlarge) I was able to grab in between regressing to that 16-year-old optimistic human being that still lurks somewhere inside me.

Rubella Ballet
Rubella Ballet 1

Rubella Ballet 2

Zounds 1

Zounds 2

Zounds 3 - Mark Astronaut

The Mob
The Mob 1

The Mob 2

The Mob 3

The Mob 4

Anti-Fascist Oi! (‘n’ Ska ‘n’ Punk ‘n’ Dub ‘n’ Rockabilly…)

Antifa gig in Leeds

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Here’s plenty of advanced warning to all punks, skins and herberts to get saving and make a date in their Filofaxes for an upcoming anti-fascist fundraiser featuring Cardiff legends The Oppressed and a load of their mates. The gig will be an absolute stormer, trust me. Roddy and the boys have lost none of their edge over the years and, like a fine wine, have just got better with age. So polish your boots, iron your sharpest togs and get along for a proper ol’ moonstomping session.

Punks Against Tsunamis!

I’ve been asked to give a shout out to a benefit gig organised to raise some much-needed cash for Save The Children Japan. There are some cracking acts on the line-up running the whole gamut of punk rock, from ranting poetry to pounding crust. So make a date in your diary and get along if you can.

Tsunami benefit

Click for larger image

The ever-indefatigable Mike Park of long-running and staunchly DIY label Asian Man, and founder of the Plea For Peace Foundation, has also put together a deal with every penny going to a charity aiding in the tsunami aftermath (voted for by the punks themselves). For $40 (plus $6 for post if you’re in the US and $18 if you’re in the UK) you get 8 CDs and an AM t-shirt that together would normally cost you $76. He’s also selling a chunk of test presses for $100 a piece, so now’s your chance to get your hands on some ultra-rare chunks of plastic from the likes of Bomb The Music Industry!, Kevin Seconds and The Queers.

Even if you can’t support either of these efforts directly, I’m sure you’ll find your own way to show the Japanese people that they’re not alone. It’s what we punks are good at.