Gently heat ½ TBSP oil in a large non-stick frying pan (skillet) and cook the onion, garlic and bell pepper for 2 minutes. Stir in the dry spices, then remove from the heat.
Place the chickpeas in a fine mesh sieve. Rinse under cold water then shake vigorously to remove all the water droplets.
Place the contents of the frying pan, the chickpeas, parsley, coriander leaves, dates, apricots, sesame seeds, bicarbonate of soda, salt and oats in a food processor and blend to make a coarse paste. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the mixture to firm up (it can be left overnight).
Tip the flour onto a plate. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of the falafel mixture. Roll lightly in the flour, shake off any excess flour, then flatten the falafel slightly. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
If possible, use two frying pans (skillets) to halve the cooking time. Coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Cook the falafel on medium heat until browned on the underside (about 4 minutes). Flip them over and cook for a further 3 minutes or so. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before serving (the falafel will firm up as they cool).
These falafel are delicious served warm or cold. They will keep for three days in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.