I had always equated falafel with those tasteless grey, dry pellets you get vacuum-sealed from the local health-food shop, heartburn the only sensation worthy of note.
In truth the fabled land of the Pharaohs is also home to the real falafel. But when we ventured out there in 2001 we set off unaware and unsuspecting.
The origin of the croquette is réchauffé (re-heated) food: left overs were given body with mashed root vegetables, pulses, béchamel and other sauces, then breaded and fried or baked till golden crisp.
Depending on the occasion you might opt for unpretentious simplicity or an intense flavour sensation to knock your guests off their chairs in a gustatory rapture . The croquette gives you a lot of creative elbow room.