Teatime dramas. And healthy sweetcorn and chickpea fritters.


My smallest little sunbeam, never one to be thrilled by meal times has, of late, become almost unbelievably tiresome where food is involved. Her big sister, now 9, has always been a pleasure to cook for: she relishes *most* things put in front of her (everyone has their limits and even she couldn’t force down my slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese) and generally requests seconds. She is a bottomless pit. The smaller version, isn’t particularly fussy, per se, but mealtimes have always been an inconvenience, wasting time that could be more productively spent playing.

Recently, family banquets haven’t been complete without dramatic performance and some pretty cutting criticisms of the food provided. A recurring complaint has been that many things, from fish pie to tomato pasta to jacket potato and beans ‘smell of sick’. I feel this is rather unjust, but she is resolute.

At the end of the dramatic interlude, she cleared her plate and declared the fish pie worthy of 8/10. This was quite generous in fact, the sauce, whilst not smelling of sick, was rather runny.

Anyway, to buck this trend, I am pandering to her capricious ways and trying to find things that don’t arrive ready breadcrumbed and frozen that will whet her appetite. Astonishingly, one of her very favourite things to eat are cottage cheese pancakes – partly, I suspect because they take little effort to eat – and I am going to try something along the same lines tonight.

A week or two ago as I was browsing, I came across a recipe for sweetcorn and chickpea fritters and thought this may act as a bridge between falafel (my fave) and the sweetcorn pancakes the children love. We will see. Anyway, I cannot remember for the life of me where I saw the original recipe, so I have freestyled and the results have been a surprising success. I have previously chronicled falafel failure and friction, so I’m living dangerously with this really, but I am ever the optimist.

These are tasty and filling; quick to make and quick to eat. I have added quite a lot of what I imagine to be vaguely Moroccan spices, so the blandness of the chickpeas is disguised. I’ve made quite a big batch – obviously time will tell how popular they prove to be/how strongly they smell of sick. I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: these were not the answer. The search continues.

The picture, by the way, shows my crepe pan which I bought in France a couple of years ago and seemed entirely destined to be consigned to the furthest depths of the highest cupboards along with the pasta machine and the melon baller, but is actually amongst the most useful and used things in my kitchen. I heartily recommend.

Chickpea and sweetcorn fritters

Like most things I make, these tasted better than they looked.


  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ large tin/1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp (ish) of whatever you’ve got and like and think will be tolerated by your diners of:  ground cumin/ coriander/ cinnamon/ ginger (you could use paprika instead of these, cayenne pepper is good if you like it spicy.)
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour as necessary
  • Oil for frying – I always use olive, any will do.

What to do

  1. Tip chickpeas into a large bowl and mash using a potato masher or large wooden spoon. You could use a food processor, but it’s very easy to turn it into a horrible, gluey paste this way, and they’re a nuisance to wash up.
  2. Tip in the spices, lemon zest and salt and pepper and mix in.
  3. Tip in the sweetcorn and mix with the spoon, until it all comes together. It won’t look great, but should smell good. (If needs be, at the point stir in a couple of spoons of flour to make a consistency that you’ll be able to roll into balls)
  4. Pinch off balls – it doesn’t really matter what size, but make them equal.
  5. Heat some oil in a frying pan and cook until golden on both sides and piping hot throughout. Don’t put too many in the pan at one time – you’ll probably need to do at least two batches.

I have had some for my lunch in a wrap with some rocket, with some yoghurt and mint sauce drizzled over, which was rather nice, but I shall probably serve the little diners these with crudités and salsa for dipping as I grit my teeth and cross my fingers.img_3685

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