By Andrea Cullen
April 27th 2014
Wow what a glorious day! I woke a bit feeling like this:
So after taking myself down to the market between the bridges and for coffee in Killaloe, Co. Clare and chilling for a bit over work I then took to the hills. This is my church and solitude; the time when the answers float by without my having to do anything other than set one foot in front of the next. And I was blessed with sunshine on a day when rain was forecast. Here are some pics; taken using my iPhone so excuse the quality. I walked up Steppe Hill which is beside Keeper Hill and is a very quiet walk; normally I don’t pass a soul.
I also picked up some nice chunks of white quartz; or at least I am sure this is what they are. The hills here are full of this little stone; sparkling amongst the granite and iron rich muck. There is plenty of information about quartz and its healing properties on the internet if you are pushed to explore 🙂 .
So onto my flirtations with Hummus this evening (OR Hummus, Houmous, hummous, hommos, humos, hommus and hoummos…..I am not going to argue!)
I have a complete addiction to hummus and I get laughed at due to the fact that when it is in the fridge it has to go on the side of almost everything I eat. Traditionally hummus is made with chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice, olive oil, dried cumin, and garlic. Here is a traditional recipe.
Given I eat so much of the stuff and to to fall in line with my rule to clients of variety being important for nutritional balance I make my own hummus with twists.
I often use the following tweaks to traditional recipes for variety, nutritional clout, and well to prevent boredom!
- Exchange other beans or lentils for traditional chickpeas.
- Use other spices such as Garam masala, Paprika, Chipotle chili, curry paste, harissa, Sambal Oelek, Thai spices, Mexican spices, etc. Agreed this is creating something that isn’t traditional hummus but it does rock!
- Italian seasoning such as pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, or red pesto also tickle the taste buds.
- At this time of year wild garlic pesto is available in local delis and farmers markets.
- Exchange traditional Extra virgin olive oil for healthier lower fat options such as a combination of coconut oil and stock (shop made and commercial hummus can be loaded with olive oil; and many recipes call for a LOT of oil. Olive oil is very healthy for you however it will add a calorie tally and so I prefer to keep my hummus on the lean side and add fats by way of other foods such as nuts, salmon, seeds, avocado, etc.).
- Include toasted nuts, pine-nuts or ground flax or chia seed for healthy fat, vitamin, mineral and amino acid wallop.
My flirtations with hummus as a vegetable dip don’t stop here and I thus far have used hummus to:
- Create a tasty crust topping for fish – I mix ground flax seeds through and seasoning through hummus to make a gluten-free crust which I toast under the grill on almost oven-baked fish
- Replace mayonnaise
- Replace guacamole; or sometimes I compromise and add avocado to my hummus to bring omega-9 and Vitamin E benefits
- Dollop into soup instead of cream
- Replace cheese
- Replace butter in sandwiches (I rarely eat sandwiches but this is a great substitution for those still hooked on bread )
- Dip my soft fried / boiled eggs into…. alongside a bed of steamed spinach; breakfast heaven
- Dip my home-made sweet potato or squash fries into or stuff into a baked potato
- Create tasty chard or cabbage leaf wraps
In fact this is exactly what I did this evening; I rolled salmon, hummus, pine-nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes up into fresh chard leaves. YUM
I am both an impatient and a creative cook; tonight the following got chucked into the mix. This is the first time that I have used toasted nuts and oh boy I can tell you it wont be the last!
- Dried chickpeas; one 500g bag soaked overnight, water changed, then boiled and simmered until soft for approximately 90 minutes. (Alternatively use 2 cans of cooked chickpeas)
- Cashew nut pieces – generous amount
- Pine-nuts – approx. 3 tblsp.
- 1 tblsp Jarrow formulas virgin organic coconut oil
- 2 tsp. approx. dried coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. approx. dried cumin seeds
- 1 tblsp approx. sambal oelek
- Himalayan salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tblsp. Tahini paste
- Sautéed carrots and onions (Dad was making boiled chicken for his dinner so I nicked the carrots and onions from the remaining cooked broth. If I had needed to add more fluid to the hummus I would have used some of this fresh stock but I actually didn’t need to add any further liquids to the blend)
- Toast the cashew pieces and pine-nuts under the grill. Be careful as these buggers will burn as soon as you take your eyes off them!
- Place all ingredients (drained chickpeas, toasted nuts, tahini paste, spices, salt and pepper, coconut oil, onions and carrots) in a large bowl. (I simply added everything to the large saucepan that I cooked the chickpeas in to save extra washing up).
- Note that the only reason that there isn’t garlic in this recipe is that I personally am not a fan of raw garlic. If you are a garlic fan then knock yourself out!
Blitz using a hand-held blender to desired consistency. I prefer my hummus rough (like my men some may say), so I barely blitz this. You can blend this as much or as little as you like.
- Transfer to serving bowls and consider as I have done; freezing some portions for later as this recipe will make a lot of hummus!