Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hummus Two Ways

In the final few days before we go on holiday, we always play a game of chicken with the fridge - how much fresh food can we use up before we go, and what sort of weird meals will that require? We're doing pretty well in terms of meat, veg and dairy products, but as I've got a few spare days off at the moment (which is every bit as good as it sounds), this game does mean that lunch options for me are somewhat limited. 

Today, the available options I was looking at were raw carrot and cherry tomatoes. The best way to turn that from rabbit food to actual food seemed to be some kind of a larder-based dip and because I was bored and greedy, I created not one but TWO! I know, it's non-stop excitement around here.

I've been meaning to try home made hummus for a while and as I've still got tahini cluttering up my cupboard from the delicious Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad (which I do wish I were having again today, it's that good), this seemed like a good opportunity. Smitten Kitchen seems to be patron saint of my chick pea adventures so far (see also: Roasted Red Pepper and Chick Pea Salad, nice but not as amazing as the squash one), so I turned to her again for today's recipe.

I then ignored the main point of her recipe - the surpassing brilliance of using dried, soaked and cooked chickpeas - and cracked open a tin from the larder instead. Look, I know that's useless, but I'm lazy and I'm going on holiday, ok? There are sunglasses to be bought and sun tan lotion to find! While I can believe that it's nicer with more effortful chick peas, this version was still really tasty and definitely a lot quicker. The downside was trying to work with American cup measurements so these measurements are a bit slapdash. Why do they do it? It's so much more difficult! 

While our herbs are going bananas in the window box, I decided to try whizzing some peas, parsley and mint in with some of the hummus and let me tell you, I think I actually prefer it. The peas and mint add a dash of sweetness and delicacy which really appeals to me in this springlike weather, although I can see that in full summer I might prefer the unadulterated variety. I'll reserve final judgement until it's hot and sunny (ie: never).

And because no post on a dippable foodstuff would be complete without a photo of it being dipped, I give you my hand. Voila! Home made hummus from the larder, DONE. Using up spare fresh veg, DONE. Packing? Finding my sun hat? Let me get back to you on those points.

Normal Hummus
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

- 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves
- half a cup of tahini (about 8 tablespoons)
- juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste

Mush the garlic to a paste with half a teaspoon of salt (lacking a pestle and mortar, I just scraped it all together on a board until it reached the right consistency). In a processor, whizz together the garlic paste, tahini and lemon juice until it looks pale and combined. She says "white and contracted" but mine never went white and I didn't know what she meant by contracted, so just do it for as long as you feel like. 

Add the water and whizz again. Then add the chick peas and process until it's the consistency you want, whether that's super-creamy or coarse and rubbley. Taste, adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice, then serve sprinkled with parsley and cayenne.

Pea, Parsley and Mint Hummus

Simply blitz some of the hummus above with a handful of peas (I only had frozen, which I cooked quickly in the  microwave then drained) and a few sprigs of parsley and mint. Serve drizzled with a little bit of extra olive oil, and think of Spring.

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