trick your kids: deep-fried latke balls

okay so that’s a horrible picture for lots of reasons, the first one being that i had to cut the balls in half to cool down quicker. but that’s the point, really – my toddler is actually eating them.

my youngest is a shit where it comes to food. he now pretty much refuses to sit in a chair and be fed, so i’ve been scratching my head on what the hell to feed him.

i made homemade mini fucking pasties for fuck’s sake, and he refuses to eat them. now our freezer has loads of them in, and there they shall stay for like two years.

but! i got a brainwave. who doesn’t like deep-fried anything? (okay correction: what *kid* doesn’t like deep-fried anything?)

and i remembered that a couple years ago i made finicky eldest loads of vegan latkes, which he ate without complaint (the litres of ketchup may have had something to do with it).

so i decided to make deep-fried latke balls out of the root veg in our box. and the toddler actually ate them!!

the recipe below is very, very customisable – just use whatever veg you have to hand. stick whatever uncooked balls your monster won’t eat into the freezer for another day ^_^

deep-fried latke balls
ingredients
1 medium potato, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, washed and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, destringed and grated
1 small-medium onion, peeled and grated
1/4 cup plain flour

method
mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. work the flour in with your fingers – the grated veg should have generated enough water for the flour to make a binding, sticky dough. if the mixture is too wet add more flour; if too dry add more water. form the mixture into tight little balls, slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball. you should have close to 20 balls.

either heat your oil in a deep-fat fryer, heat in a deep pan, or if shallow-frying, heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup oil in a skillet. make sure the oil is extremely hot – it should pop and sizzle when you throw a drop of water in. drop the balls into the oil and fry until golden brown – if shallow-frying, you will need to turn while cooking.

if serving to a hungry toddler, cut in half to facilitate quick cooling. 

the white sauce grimoire

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see this?  it’s called a roux, and it is your new best friend.

just by combining flour and margarine over the hob, you now have a magic thickener that enables you to turn a 59p carton of soya milk – or any other non-dairy milk, hell, even water – into a delicious white sauce that even your omni friends will love.

(apologies if you already know what a roux is, my tone is perhaps more condescending than strictly necessary.)

i’m going to give you my recipe for a basic, bare-bones white sauce, and then tell you how i fancy it up.  all measurements are for around 100g of pasta, or enough for two people.

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oooooh lookie i did a mise-en-place! lol

basic white sauce
ingredients
2 to 3 Tbsp margarine
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp flour (can be gluten-free flour if you must)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soya milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (if you don’t have any to hand, substitute with 1/2 to 1 tsp marmite.  but add more salt to get rid of that bitter aftertaste!)

method
1. melt the margarine over a low-medium heat.  add the salt and flour, and stir until combined into a paste – about one minute.

2. immediately add a splash of the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth.  add the yeast and stir.

3. gradually add the rest of the milk while stirring, until the sauce is smooth and well-mixed.

4. allow to thicken over the heat.  don’t worry if it boils – this is non-dairy milk!  add more milk for a thinner sauce.

5. take off heat.  sauce will thicken upon standing.

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pictured: fancy chipotle mac

variations
bechamel – add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, and possibly a bay leaf while on the heat

pepper sauce – bechamel + 1 to 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

mac’n’cheez – add 1/2 tsp garlic granules and 1 tsp cider vinegar

cheddar mac – mac’n’cheez + 1 Tbsp tomato passata (or 1 tsp paste)

chipotle mac – mac’n’cheez + 1 tsp chipotle paste (or 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce such as cholula), and 1 to 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander and a quarter of a lime added when the sauce is off the heat.  i also added avocado and vegan chorizo sausage to mine.

fondue – add 1 tsp garlic granules and 1/4 cup hard cider or beer

hollandaise – add 1/2 to 1 tsp mustard powder, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, and either half a lemon’s zest or a quarter of a lemon’s juice

lemon cream – add 1/2 tsp garlic granules and the zest of a whole lemon. smoked paprika is nice with this one too.

that’s what i got today.  stay tuned for why you really need to keep nutritional yeast around at all times!